A passive pickup doesn’t produce a very strong signal, which can result in a small amount of volume and an anemic tone. However, the signal can either be boosted at the p.a., your amp, or the most versatile option' via an Acoustic Preamp. Active pickups don’t require any external technology to boost, though they do require a battery, but some people still use acoustic preamps for the tone shaping and DI benefits..
When discussing the science of tone, it’s safe to assume that we all know how electric guitars work. Pickups are electro-magnets that sense string vibrations and produce a signal that ultimately blares out of the amplifier. Of course, we all know that myriad other factors influence the sound, as well. Body shape, wood choice, string selection, pedal effects, rack effects, humidity, amount of people in the room, and the guitar player’s recent fight with his girlfriend are just some of the items that can alter a guitar tone from performance to performance.
This is our top pick for the best dreadnought guitar under $500. It has the looks of something you’d see in a honky tonk bar. It is a really cool looking acoustic guitar. It is a classic with it’s sunburst color and decorated hummingbird pick guard. It is the more affordable version of the Gibson Hummingbird. It has a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides. It also has a pickup so you can amplify it for gigs. Owners describe it as having a big sound with great playability. Nice low action will make playing much easier. The tapered neck is great for beginners and makes forming chords less difficult. See more pictures of this guitar here.

There's no denying the popularity of the Stratocaster, thanks to it being the weapon of choice for a long list of iconic players that include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck to name a few. The American Professional Stratocaster is the latest iteration of this classic, carrying over much of the look and feel of the original, but more reliable and road worthy.


Power-valve distortion can also be produced in a dedicated rackmount valve power amp. A modular rackmount setup often involves a rackmount preamp, a rackmount valve power amp, and a rackmount dummy load to attenuate the output to desired volume levels. Some effects pedals internally produce power-valve distortion, including an optional dummy load for use as a power-valve distortion pedal. Such effects units can use a preamp valve such as the 12AX7 in a power-valve circuit configuration (as in the Stephenson's Stage Hog), or use a conventional power valve, such as the EL84 (as in the H&K Crunch Master compact tabletop unit). However, because these are usually placed before the pre-amplifier in the signal chain, they contribute to the overall tone in a different way. Power amplifier distortion may damage speakers.
The only guitar instrument I can think of that is NOT sampler-based and that actually sounds decent would be RealGuitar. It's not the most realistic (IMO) and it's $160+. But if you ask most people for recommendations on realistic guitar instruments, you will hear stuff like Shreddage, Electri6ity, ProminyLPC, Lyrical Distortion, Strawberry Electric Guitar from Orange Tree... all Kontakt libraries, and all undoubtedly better than the 3 products you listed in your initial post, two of which are simply synths and not at all meant for realistic playing!
If you want to take your tracks to the next level, a multi effects processor can do the trick. For a high-end example of what one of these units can do, check out the Eventide H8000FW 8-Channel Ultra-Harmonizer Effects Processor. It supports 24-bit audio and comes with an impressive 1,600 pre-set effects. Some are even pre-customized for 5.1 surround sound, so production for home theater playback is a cinch. Its smorgasbord of I/O options includes AES/EBU, ADAT, S/PDIF and FireWire with sampling up to 96kHz, so whatever you're looking to connect to the H8000FW, it's a safe bet that you can get the job done. Of course, not all of the processors here are quite as advanced. There are plenty of setups out there that just need a straightforward solution, and if that sounds like yours, don't worry: you'll find plenty of those here as well. Take the TC Electronic M350 Reverb and Effects Processor, for instance. This single-space rackmount is easy to fit into any budget, living up to TC's reputation of delivering amazing bang for your buck. It's loaded with 15 different effects plus 15 reverbs, and even includes control software for your AU/VST environment.

The Eastcoast Vintage T Series Custom Electric Guitar seen here in Flame Red is a cheap electric guitar that certainly doesn’t suck! It features appointments usually associated with higher tier guitars such as a solid alder body and hard maple neck. In addition, you have a high quality 22 fret rosewood fingerboard as well as 2 x single coil pickups to achieve a wide variety of tones from rock to blues to country – this thing can handle it all. The “T” style bridge is a great feature often found on guitars 3 x the price. A fantastic option and an extremely hard working, handmade guitar for those in need of a high quality first guitar or a great second option for the studio or stage.
Many amplifiers have effects built in, but even those that do are no substitute for a well-equipped pedalboard. There are literally thousands of effects to choose from, some of which (like the Boss TU-3 Chromatic Pedal Tuner) are more like accessories that don't directly impact your sound. Others will transform it completely. For example, two of the most popular effects are the Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Effects Pedal - these are both overdrive pedals, and together with a good amp, they'll take an electric guitar's sound from its default, vintage-like tone all the way to the high-powered distortion of a modern rock anthem.
I got this one because my 18-year-old Takamine G-series has some serious fret wear, and a slightly warped neck, even with the truss rod maxed out, and will cost more to repair/refurbish than this one cost outright. Hence, the action is quite high, and it's hard to play bar chords higher than the 3rd fret, and there's some noticeable buzz and rattle unless I hold my mouth just right...
I had a Soundgear 5 string bass when they first came out and it was one of the worst basses I have ever owned. Crappy electronics, uncomfortable neck and the list goes on. I used it as a back up when I was touring 100+ shows per year and luckily my Tobias Killer B5 never had issues other than the occasional broken string. The best thing I can say about it is I lent it to a "colleague" and he ended up stealing it. Good riddance!
Every guitarist would love to have a place all to themselves to play their heart out, but the reality is that we can't all be so lucky. Family, neighbors and roommates are usually a factor, and they're not as likely as you are to appreciate that you finally nailed that tough passage at two o'clock in the morning. Here's another situation where headphone guitar amps come through for you: since you're the only one hearing it, you can focus on your sound completely. With a headphone amp, there's no more curfew on shredding.
It’s quite interesting to look into the psychology behind our behavior when it comes to how much we pay for things in connection with how good we think they are. In one experiment, restaurant guests got served the same dish. Some of them payed a high price for their dish and some a normal lunch price. Did the guests think that their food tasted differently? Yes, they did. The guests who payed the high price thought that their food was much better than the people who got it for cheap.
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One of the key features that makes this stand out is the 7-inch high-resolution touch display which allows you to move amps, effects and set up your pedal board to exactly how you want it, sculpting the chain to your exact specifications. Want to run a reverb pedal before a distortion? Well, just move it around using the touch screen! The OLED scribble-strip and assignable colour LEDs appear above the switches and allow you to keep track of where your effects are – a great idea!

This is a really cool program. It let's you fiddle with a lot of cool effects, without having to spend a lot of money. The program works really well, after a bit of fiddling with the Jack server, and it far exceeds some of the commercial programs I have tried. I hope that this project gets some attention :) If I wasn't a "coding dyslexic", I'd be the first to sign up.

Jazz guitars are big bodied, often semi-acoustic, and designed to coax out some wonderfully rich, warm tones. Historically, jazz was played on acoustic guitars. However, in the days before amplification, the guitar often became lost in the mix of the big band sound. Until, that was, the introduction of arch top acoustics. Containing a magnetic pickup, arch tops ushered in a new era of guitar manufacturing. This meant that players could be heard in the way they wanted.


The “New Improved” mid-’37 Supro line is illustrated in the 1938 Sorkin catalog from New York, as well as in the 1939 Grossman Music Company catalog from Cleveland (pecking order and all that). While the illustrations are heavily retouched versions of the older artwork, certain changes are evident, including a change in pickups. The Supro line continued to include the Spanish guitar and the late-’36 Hawaiian, plus a newly-designed amplifier.

With sharp double-cutaways and the recognizable Rickenbacker body shape made from maple, the semi-hollow Rickenbacker 330-12 12-string electric guitar has proven to be one of the brand's most popular models since the 1960s. The 330-12 has been used for its jangly sound, perfect for pop and various other genres, by the likes of Tom Petty, Johnny Marr, and Peter Buck, to name a few.


Another early analog delay was the Binson Echorec, this unit recorded your guitar signal onto a magnetic disk much like a hard drive does. This unit was favored by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Analog delay pedals made their debut in the 70’s with the use of what was called bucket brigade chips. These chips move the signal down a line like the way an old bucket brigade would pass buckets of water down a line to put out a fire. The most famous of these pedals is the Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man.

In 1933, Dobro released an electric guitar and amp package. The combo amp had "two 8″ Lansing speakers and a five-tube chassis. Dobro made a two speaker combo amp that was on the market over 12 years before Fender launched its two-speaker "Dual Professional/Super" combo amp. In 1933, Audio-Vox was founded by Paul Tutmarc, the inventor of the first electric bass (Tutmarc's instrument did not achieve market success until Leo Fender's launched the Precision Bass). In 1933, Vega sold a pickup and amplifier set for musicians to use with existing guitars.

Seeing one in the hands of Ed Sheeran was a huge shot in the arm for the small-body acoustic market, and now players are picking these up as good-quality, usable guitars which are equally at home in the living room as they are on the stage. The Martin LX1E is perhaps the best known and best respected small body acoustic, and can hold its own tonally against many of its regular-sized peers.
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