In recent posts we’ve looked at both large- and small-bodied affordable guitars—from PRS’ neat new parlor to Epiphone’s reissue of a rare and fancy dreadnought, the Masterbilt Excellente—many with built-in electronics. You might not be out gigging right now, but with any luck that will change in the coming year. And when you’re back out there, it’ll be useful to have good sound reinforcement, which brings us to this installment’s topic of budget-friendly amps and more.
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The Orange Crush Acoustic 30 ($399) is a colorful little combo amp that can run on ten AA batteries, with a tilt-back design that helps with projection.
If using a PA is more your jam, JBL offers two smart new systems—the IRX112BT ($379) and the IRX108BT ($329)—which our reviewer finds offer brawn and flexibility in portable packages.
Getting smaller, we found the Palmer Acoustic Pocket amp ($188.18 at press time), which is about the size of a drink coaster, to be a versatile, feature-laden musical tool for acoustic (or electric) guitars with piezo, transducer, or magnetic pickups that serves these functions and more.
Then there’s the ToneWood amp ($249). This ingenious removable device mounts to the back of a guitar and acts as a DI box, iOS interface, and effects unit, offering delay, reverb, tremolo, auto-wah, distortion, and more—all unplugged.
Speaking of effects, though once reserved all but exclusively for electric guitarists, there are now plenty of dedicated acoustic pedals for those who would like to explore this territory. The Nexi Acoustic ($299) is a pedalboard with a built-in tuner and boost that includes a reverb pedal, with optional stompboxes like compressor, looper, and chorus.
L.R. Baggs Align pedals are a little pricier, but still a bit less expensive than the typical boutique effects unit. AG has auditioned six of them—Session, Equalizer, Reverb, DI, Delay, and Chorus (from $159). All are brilliant-sounding and easy to use: plug in and play at its best.
Finally, Fender, the maker of the classic Acoustasonic amplifier, has just released a trio of new amps—the Acoustic Junior ($379.99), Acoustic Junior GO ($499.99), and Acoustic SFX II ($599.99). As soon as we get our hands on them we’ll report back.