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Running an Electric Guitar direct into PA?


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I recently picked up a Gretsch Hollowbody Electric, and I was showing it to a friend the other day and he mentioned that I should use this on one of our acoustic gigs. I play in an acoustic duo and I have a Gretsch acoustic that I run through a few pedals and into our Mackie 808 powered mixer We use Yorkville YX15 mains. I am wondering has anyone ever tried doing this? Granted, I believe the Gretsch pickups are going to be a lot hotter than the acoustic piezos and I will have to pull the level down on it. I really love the sound of the new gretsch, but don't want to risk damaging the speakers. Any recommendations or suggestions are always greatly appreciated!:thu:

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I'm not a fan of electrics ran straight to the PA, even hollow bodies. But, you should try it and decide whether you like the tone or not. It may work for your application. Without some type of preamp, you're probably going to have a very weak signal.

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I recently picked up a Gretsch Hollowbody Electric, and I was showing it to a friend the other day and he mentioned that I should use this on one of our acoustic gigs. I play in an acoustic duo and I have a Gretsch acoustic that I run through a few pedals and into our Mackie 808 powered mixer We use Yorkville YX15 mains. I am wondering has anyone ever tried doing this? Granted, I believe the Gretsch pickups are going to be a lot hotter than the acoustic piezos and I will have to pull the level down on it. I really love the sound of the new gretsch, but don't want to risk damaging the speakers. Any recommendations or suggestions are always greatly appreciated!
:thu:

 

A guitar amp is a large part of the tone that the instrument produces. The PA is meant to faithfully reproduce the combined tone of player/instrument/amp and project it to a wider audience then the amp itself can do.

 

While you certainly "can" run it direct, you may get better results with mic'ing a small 15-20 watt amp.

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An old joke:

 

Q: How many bluegrass musicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Nine.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(One to screw it in, and eight to stand around and complain that the damn thing's electric.

 

In other words, if you're REALLY an acoustic act, stick to microphones and leave the pickups at home. Piezos color tone too, though in different ways than their predecessors.

 

But the main thing is that you like what you hear. Try it, and if it sounds good, do it!

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Which Gretsch do you have? They are wonderful guitars! If you ever get a chance to upgrade your pickups, check out TV Jones (if it doesn't have it already). He is 'THE MAN' among filter trons.

 

Like has been said before, a large part of the sound is the amp. Especially with my Gretsch, it sounds o.k. until I get it loud enough so the guitar 'hears' itself. In other words, the guitar top vibrates according to the sound coming out of the amp. Not so loud that it starts feeding back, but loud enough to affect the tone.

 

Johnny

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Interesting thread. There is nothing wrong with running an electric guitar direct into the mixer... so long as it works, and you like the sound of it. Nothing wrong with blending the sound of a hollow body electric guitar with an acoustic guitar... so long as it works and you like the sound of it. Nothing wrong with making an amp a part of the whole thing either... so long as it works, and you like the sound of it. If it starts not working, then you need to either try something else to make it work, or change directions. If you don't like the sound of it, then that is a different problem. I am not trying to be cheap or cheesy. I say go for it... but try to keep it simple, and don't let it get too loud.

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There are products out there intended to be used between an electric guitar and a PA system. The most famous unit is the Line 6 POD, although there are others. They emulate the sounds of several electric guitar amps so you can get a more authentic tone through the PA without having to use an actual guitar amplifier.

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In other words, if you're REALLY an acoustic act, stick to microphones and leave the pickups at home. Piezos color tone too, though in different ways than their predecessors.

There have been so many advances in pickups over the last 10 years that in many (or even most) cases the sound quality can be better with a good pickup than with a mic (for live use)... especially with some stage volume or if the player moves around any.

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Which Gretsch do you have? They are wonderful guitars! If you ever get a chance to upgrade your pickups, check out TV Jones (if it doesn't have it already). He is 'THE MAN' among filter trons.


Like has been said before, a large part of the sound is the amp. Especially with my Gretsch, it sounds o.k. until I get it loud enough so the guitar 'hears' itself. In other words, the guitar top vibrates according to the sound coming out of the amp. Not so loud that it starts feeding back, but loud enough to affect the tone.


Johnny

 

I picked up a G5120- I am putting TV Jones in there- The Pkups now are pretty dark, but I have to say the guitar sounds awesome- esp running through my Vox AC30- it sounded great through my Bassman as well! The thing is, I could take one of those amps, but it may be too much! We play smaller venues and those amps need to be kicked up to really shine.

I do like the idea of running a Pod before the mixer- I have a Pod Pro 2.0 that just sits in a rack and hasn't been fired up in eons. Hmmmmm?

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There is something called a hot rod or maybe a hot shot??? supposed to get inbetween the guitar and tube amp to permit the full flavor of the tubes to shine... but at a lower volume... maybe someone knows about them. Once you enter into the realm of "How do I get that full blown tube tone - but at a low volume?" tread carefully, because you may never leave. I know guys who have been lost in there for decades. (On the other hand - there may be no better place to be than that... it is a quest with honor.)

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I think it would be fine for acoustic gigs, I'd want to run it with a bit of compression and EQ. There have been many "famous" recordings that used a DI electric. Tuck Andress used to run his hollow body electric DI through just an EQ, not sure if he changed up his rig in later years.

 

fZDee_Jv3Ds

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I recently picked up a Gretsch Hollowbody Electric, and I was showing it to a friend the other day and he mentioned that I should use this on one of our acoustic gigs. I play in an acoustic duo and I have a Gretsch acoustic that I run through a few pedals and into our Mackie 808 powered mixer We use Yorkville YX15 mains. I am wondering has anyone ever tried doing this? Granted, I believe the Gretsch pickups are going to be a lot hotter than the acoustic piezos and I will have to pull the level down on it. I really love the sound of the new gretsch, but don't want to risk damaging the speakers. Any recommendations or suggestions are always greatly appreciated!
:thu:

 

Yes, plenty of performers play guitars direct to the PA. Even those with giant stacks of amps on stage! Assuming you set the channel gain to the same relative levels you use with the acoustics, you won't damage speakers any sooner with this guitar than any other. A PA system is really no different than a guitar combo amp other than having different preamp/EQ voicing.

 

And I'll echo the previous suggestion to be sure to use a DI box, which will better match the guitar's impedance to the mixer's.

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I think it would be fine for acoustic gigs, I'd want to run it with a bit of compression and EQ. There have been many "famous" recordings that used a DI electric. Tuck Andress used to run his hollow body electric DI through just an EQ, not sure if he changed up his rig in later years.


 

I worked with Tuck (and Patti) through much of their Windam Hill days. He kept a pretty simple signal path from what I remember.

 

(It's worth checking out their music BTW, really good and nice folks too.)

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I picked up a G5120- I am putting TV Jones in there- The Pkups now are pretty dark, but I have to say the guitar sounds awesome- esp running through my Vox AC30- it sounded great through my Bassman as well! The thing is, I could take one of those amps, but it may be too much! We play smaller venues and those amps need to be kicked up to really shine.

I do like the idea of running a Pod before the mixer- I have a Pod Pro 2.0 that just sits in a rack and hasn't been fired up in eons. Hmmmmm?

 

I think that would be a great idea. If I recall, the POD Pro 2.0 has an XLR direct out that lets you plug right into a mixer, eliminating the need for a direct box. First off, try the guitar straight into the mixer (probably with a normal DI in the middle) and see how it sounds. Then try the POD if you want something that sounds more like an actual guitar amp.

 

Like CraigV said, PA systems usually have different eq and different preamps than guitar amps. Generally speaking (and I'm making some pretty broad generalizations here), a PA system is fairly even in its response. Its job is to reproduce sound sources as faithfully as possible. Guitar amps, on the other hand, are weird beasts. They have really peaky frequency responses and are definitely not flat and even. The speakers play a huge role in this too, of course. I doubt you'll ever see someone building a Pro Audio cabinet with 35 watt Celestion Greenbacks. ;) With guitar, certain frequencies are accentuated, whereas PAs generally lack guitar-specific eq tailoring.

 

Try both and see which one suits you. The POD will probably give you a more authentic guitar amp sound.

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I think what guitcrazy is looking for is that more simple, unaffected type tone, not so much the POD tone or amp tube tone. I've run direct before with a piezo acoustic, and i've liked the tone. Like a few others have said above, go with what works. I think a direct box would be the most simple route. If you are going to use a POD or a modeler, i know a few have acoustic modles in them, perhaps you could give that a try.

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I picked up a G5120- I am putting TV Jones in there- The Pkups now are pretty dark, but I have to say the guitar sounds awesome- esp running through my Vox AC30- it sounded great through my Bassman as well! The thing is, I could take one of those amps, but it may be too much! We play smaller venues and those amps need to be kicked up to really shine.

I do like the idea of running a Pod before the mixer- I have a Pod Pro 2.0 that just sits in a rack and hasn't been fired up in eons. Hmmmmm?

 

That's a great guitar! Beautiful to look at too! Are you getting the TV Jones Classics? I had those in my Setzer Signature. Gorgeous tone, simply gorgeous!

 

Anyway, it might seem redundant, but maybe have your amp low, but mic it & pump it up in the monitors a bit so that sound, it's hitting the guitar. You can try all sorts of combinations. Also, the Blues Jr is a tiny, rather inexpensive amp & sounds really nice. Doesn't have to be over powering to get that happening tone. I kind of wish I had one since my Super is just WAY overpowering even at only 40 watts! I'll play my friends Blues Jr for a while & totally enjoy it! But, after a while, I'll switch back to my Super and wonder 'Why bother with the Jr when you've got the Super?'. LOL!

 

Hope you find your tone that you're looking for & if you haven't already, check out the gretschpages. Very informative discussion forum for gretsch-heads!!!

 

That reminds me. I think I'll go plug in before the wife gets home!!!

 

Johnny

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The problem with what you're trying to do, is that a mixer/PA input has way too low of an input impedance for guitar pickups (usually around 600k) mainly because those inputs are meant for mics or outboard gear.

 

Guitar pickups need to see at least 1M input impedance to avoid massive tone loss, especially in the highs.

 

I would suggest one of the Tech 21 Sansamp products, you can dial it in as clean as you want, while emulating a mic'd speaker cab, or something similar. I think those Radial boxes are pretty good too.

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