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View Full Version : Jazz uke amp recommendations?



aarondminnick
02-07-2017, 02:44 AM
I am playing horns, tenor banjo, and tenor uke (low G) in a 1920s-30s "Cotton Club" / Jazz age combo. I've been using a powered speaker as an amp for my Rubin/Caramel acoustic-electric tenor uke, but it's not ideal. Does anyone have recommendations for an amp that would be suitable for "jazz uke"?

I suspect amps suitable for jazz guitar would also work and below is a link to a great review site. But I'm wondering if anyone has uke-specific experience to share.

Jazz guitar amp review compilation: http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/popular-jazz-guitar-amps/

EDIT: Based on the reviews and a good local deal, I just purchased a used Fender Mustang amp (http://shop.fender.com/en-US/guitar-amplifiers/contemporary-digital/mustang-i-v.2/2300100000.html#start=1). I will try it out tonight!

lfoo6952
02-07-2017, 03:52 AM
Hi aaron: if I am not mistaken, it appears that most of the amps reviewed in the article you provided are electric guitar amps. For acoustic instrument amps, my 3 recommendations are Schertler Jam, Fishman Loudbox, and AER 60.

Best of luck in your search.

aarondminnick
02-07-2017, 04:45 AM
Thank you! Your response illustrates my ignorance of this new area for me: I didn't realize there was a difference between "electric amps" and "acoustic amps" (though I'm aware of the difference between true electric pickups vs. acoustic pickups).

Well, I already sprang for an electric amp so hopefully it will be versatile enough to work with my instrument! I'll report back on results. I notice my new amp has a variety of equalization settings so I'm betting that something will work for me.

sam13
02-07-2017, 06:47 AM
I like playing jazz with my Ukes and singing.

I am very picky.

I bought a Fishman Artist ... full and warm, sounds great to my ears.

lfoo6952
02-07-2017, 08:12 AM
Thank you! Your response illustrates my ignorance of this new area for me: I didn't realize there was a difference between "electric amps" and "acoustic amps" (though I'm aware of the difference between true electric pickups vs. acoustic pickups).

Well, I already sprang for an electric amp so hopefully it will be versatile enough to work with my instrument! I'll report back on results. I notice my new amp has a variety of equalization settings so I'm betting that something will work for me.

Hi aaron: acoustic amps will give you a neutral tone due to flatter frequency response, meaning it gives your instrument a natural sound. This is what you want. An electric guitar amp will give you a harsher tone and adds color to the sound. Regretably, I think you may have to return the amp you bought.

I agree with Sam. Start off by looking at a Fishman amp. A starter model is the Fishman Loudbox Mini for about $300.

kohanmike
02-07-2017, 09:40 AM
I second the Fishman Loudbox Mini. The leader of our uke group used that for the longest time until it finally died and she replaced it with a Loudbox Artist.

sam13
02-07-2017, 03:07 PM
I second the Fishman Loudbox Mini. The leader of our uke group used that for the longest time until it finally died and she replaced it with a Loudbox Artist.

Down Up Dave has a Loud Box mini and it is excellent.

At the time, the Loud box Artist was on sale so I went for it. Sweet ride.

2xbass
02-07-2017, 05:10 PM
If you're willing to spend the money...

Henriksen "The Bud"

or

AER Compact 60/3

wc-uke
02-07-2017, 07:48 PM
Hello Aaron, I have a Fender Mustang i v2 amp and play mostly guitar through it but, I have played my Lanikai S-TEQ tenor through it and think it sounds decent...of course I play mainly at home or at small group sessions, no gigs. I use a K&K preamp or my Baggs pre to add a little more boost and control. If you keep the Mustang I suggest using the Fuse software and saving a couple of presets using the "Studio Preamp" model...it is about as good as you can get for acoustic instruments with this amp/speaker with a fairly flat amp and no cab models, you can however add effects if you like. I also like this with my acoustic guitar with a single coil Woody sound hole pick up. There is another "secret" setting you can try with the Mustang amp, hold down the tap button while powering on the amp, this takes away any preamp tone or color completely. You can't use the internal effects with this mode but it is interesting to try and you might have external pedals or something to use. My 2 cents....

dhbailey
02-08-2017, 12:11 AM
I have the Roland BA330 amp which does a great job amplifying my wife's violin (with pickup on the bridge), my guitar (acoustic with Fishman pickup in the sound hole) and my mandolin (with pickup under the strings near the end of the neck). It does a great job with electric guitar and electric bass as well. It has four channels, the first two of which can be used for either instrument or mic (1/4" jack and XLR jack) and the 3rd and 4th are stereo channels so that actually it would be possible to use 6 instruments through this amp. It can be used plugged in or with 8 AA batteries (over 7 hours straight with a set of rechargeable batteries!) and produces 15 watts of power in each of the two stereo output channels. It's got a great speaker configuration - two matching sets of speakers in it angled about 30 degrees apart for stereo sound. And even though the promo literature says good for audiences of about 100 people, I have found that it can work well for many more people than that. It's a very efficient amp that produces much more sound than its 15-watt rating would indicate. It's not very heavy and the fact that it runs on batteries (with no change in power between batteries or when plugged in) makes it a great amp. It has a built-in speaker stand adapter, and when put up on a speaker stand it has served as a PA amp with my community band for an audience outdoors of several hundred people and everybody could hear the M.C. very well.

anthonyg
02-08-2017, 12:30 AM
I own a Mustang floor unit and they are very versatile. I'm sure you will get it to work with a little fiddling so don't sweat it. Nominally the advise favouring an acoustic amp is good advise but in this case I'm sure the Mustang amp will work.

Anthony

Rllink
02-08-2017, 02:30 AM
Before I knew the difference, I used a Marshall electric guitar amp and then a Voss battery powered electric guitar amp. But then I learned that there was a difference and I bought a Kustom PA50. I looked closely at the Fishman Loudbox, and it is a very nice acoustic amp, but the Kustom seemed to me to be just as good an amp, and it was half the price. There are also many other features I like about the Kustom PA50. The Fishman is however the in thing right now and carries a bit of status with it, but you pay for that.

But back to the electric guitar amps. They do distort the sound a bit, and both of mine have effects that you can dial into them. Some say that is not a "natural" sound. But I have a blast with them. Sometimes I don't want a "natural" sound. I've busked with the Voss on many occasions and it is fun to play around with. I even have effect settings jotted on some of my playlist because I think some songs from the seventies and eighties lend themselves to the effects and they sound sort of bland over an acoustic amp without them. I would just suggest that the natural sound of some songs is not acoustic. So that is just my experience, and I wouldn't dismiss an electric guitar amp just on the basis that is does not sound acoustic.

aarondminnick
03-03-2017, 06:47 AM
Hi gang, thanks for all the thoughtful f/b. I wound up with a Fender Mustang just because it was a great deal at the local 2ndhand shop. I tried the built-in "Jazz Warm Tone" preset and didn't care for it at all -- there was a distinct distortion from my (acoustic/electric) tenor uke.

I then loaded a Fuse Preset from the Fender forum called "40's Jazzmaster" (https://fuse.fender.com/mustangv2/presets/aurchitect-40s-jazzmaster/) and I am off and running! Lovely warm tone with a moderate amount of reverb that provides a nice sustain. It seems to have a compression/expansion gate because it's gentle when I fingerpick or strum softly, but gives a real punch on attack when I lay into the strings.

lfoo6952
03-03-2017, 09:56 AM
I'm glad it worked out, Aaron.

All the best,
Luke

aarondminnick
03-13-2017, 03:00 AM
Demo of my setup: Rubin (now Caramel) rosewood tenor thru Fender Mustang amp with 40s Jazzmaster preset. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YebEIXqWI-8