Acoustic Guitar Preamp Pedals

Fishman ToneDEQ

As of September 2022, this is my current acoustic guitar preamp pedal of choice when going direct with no amplifier. It has just about everything I need/use and nothing I don’t: an excellent compressor, a boost function for solos, a useful and musical-sounding EQ section, two GREAT sounding banks of effects including a couple of lush reverbs and a wonderfully haunting, evocative tremolo. It’s not perfect – in particular the placement of the input trim and boost level controls on the SIDE of the pedal and their small and fiddly physical size are an irritation, but nothing more. In the real world this pedals sounds great and gives me the confidence to gig without an amp, the first pedal that has achieved this in my many years of playing acoustic guitar. I have a full video review of this coming to my channel:
Video review part 1
Video review part 2

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Boss AD-2

One of the simplest acoustic preamp pedals available today – basically a DI box with a built in notch filter, reverb and one-knob EQ. Ideal if you have a pedalboard set up with other boss pedals. Does not feature an XLR output, but the line out is fully balanced and can be converted to XLR with a simple TRS to XLR adapter. The ambience control is basically a room reverb, and the acoustic resonance control is a one knob EQ that goes from flat to scooped as you turn the knob. The higher settings are useful for older piezo pickups, lower settings or are best for more modern systems. I have a full video review of this pedal on my channel.

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Zoom AC-2

If you like modelling pedals, this is a pretty good one. I have a full video review of this pedal on my channel, including a complete discussion of modelling pedals and how they differ from straight ahead preamp pedals. In terms of features this pretty much has it all, including a tuner/mute function that is very useful, a nice-sounding reverb, three band EQ, a boost function for solos and selector switch that pre-voices the preamp for piezo or magnetic pickups. Very unusually, it also has BOTH mono (XLR) AND stereo (quarter-inch) outputs, with the former being switchable pre/post processing, which means that if you wanted to you could send three signals to your sound engineer: mono dry and stereo wet, for a complete sonic picture of your instrument. This is a power-hungry pedal, needing over 500mA of current. Fortunately, it ships with a power supply, and can also run off USB power OR internal AA batteries.

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