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View Full Version : What's involved in amplification?



LazyRiver
06-24-2009, 05:04 PM
I've never amplified or played and amped instrument before, so my question is basic: What is involved? Pickup, amplifier, speakers, anything else?

Thanks,
-- Al

sukie
06-24-2009, 06:30 PM
I'll tell you what I have: I had a pickup installed in my ukulele when I bought it -- thanks, MGM. Then I bought a VoxDA-5 amp. I also had to get a cord to plug into the amp and the ukulele. That's it. Works great for me and the amp runs on electricity or batteries. RicDoug helped me with my choices.

Spooner
06-24-2009, 06:32 PM
An amp, a cord and an instrument with a pickup.

hoosierhiver
06-25-2009, 03:13 AM
There are pick-ups that you can stick onto your uke so you don't have to have it modified.
Get a decent fender cord and look in a pawn shop for a "crate" for similar small amp, they can be gotten pretty cheap.
Then rock out!

LazyRiver
06-25-2009, 04:01 AM
Thanks. I see the amps actually include the speaker - at least the ones I checked at Music 123. I was afraid it was going to be a much bigger/expensive deal.

-- Al

KC8AFW
06-25-2009, 04:18 AM
http://www.music123.com/Ibanez-GTA-Series-GTA10-10W-1x5-Guitar-Combo-Amp-620325-i1449321.Music123

http://www.music123.com/Dean-Markley-Artist-Transducer-304005-i1127974.Music123

There you go...every thing you need. Rock On! :rock:

ichadwick
06-25-2009, 09:00 AM
You might consider a microphone instead of a pickup. Different physics involved, and the result can be quite distinct from an under-saddle pickup.

If your instrument is already acoustic, you may want to test it with a mic first. And a mic can do double duty for vocals (or triple - for harmonica!).

Of course, you need an amp. Roland's Cube series is good and not too expensive.

PoisonDart
06-25-2009, 09:50 AM
Playing with an amp frequently requires you to also sing into a microphone.

Which is a skill that is learned through practice, for sure.

LazyRiver
06-25-2009, 09:57 AM
There are a lot of things to juggle, not the least of which is that I don't have an immediate need to do anything. One obvious question is do you add a pickup to an acoustic instrument or get an instrument with one already in place. Does it matter to the sound? Do you convert a "lesser" instrument or a "better" instrument? Does a preinstalled pickup govern what amp I need?

-- Al

Spooner
06-25-2009, 10:11 AM
There are a lot of things to juggle, not the least of which is that I don't have an immediate need to do anything. One obvious question is do you add a pickup to an acoustic instrument or get an instrument with one already in place. Does it matter to the sound? Do you convert a "lesser" instrument or a "better" instrument? Does a preinstalled pickup govern what amp I need?

-- Al

Amplifiers are a personal preference just as are ukuleles.
You can have a pickup installed on any uke you would like to play through an amp. If you are not a gigging/actively performing musician and have an ukulele that is hollow and has a sound hole...than why would you need to amplify it? It makes plenty of sound on it's own.

You don't NEED an amplifier to play the ukulele. You NEED and amplifier if you are playing for a crowd (refraining from making things confusing by talking about mic options vs. amplifiers-pickups).

If you want an amplifier...than have a pickup installed on the uke of your choosing...high end or low end uke...makes no difference. Whatever uke you want to play through an amplifier...go for it.

You can buy an ukulele that has one installed. Personally I think that's the better way to go.

LazyRiver
06-25-2009, 11:59 AM
Thanks, Spooner. That's a lot of what I was looking for.

-- Al

Spooner
06-25-2009, 12:14 PM
Thanks, Spooner. That's a lot of what I was looking for.

-- Al

Anytime Al! :shaka:

Im glad I could help.

buddhuu
06-26-2009, 12:04 AM
I'm not going to argue the case for mic versus pickup. We each have our preference. I've worked with both, and I know which I prefer (and it ain't a pickup!)

I am going to argue the case for having BOTH! :D

If you have a pickup and it fails, it's good to have an alternative. Same with a mic - if it breaks down it'd be good to have a pickup to fall back on.

If you use a guitar amp, then most pickups will need a preamp to sound good. Active pickups have a basic preamp built in (and need a battery), while passive pickups have no preamp. Most passive pickups sound weak and tinny, or just really harsh and piercing when plugged into most guitar amps unless you use a preamp. LR Baggs and Fishman make out board preamps that work well with passive pickups.

Both pickups and mics can give feedback problems when you crank up the volume. Best to experiment with your gear to learn the situations where this is likely to occur, and best to learn that before you start going to play gigs!

I'd suggest getting a pickup and a condenser mic and stand. Give yourself plenty of options, and the opportunity to learn what works and sounds best for you.

On Saturday I'm playing an outdoor mini festival. I'll be playing into a mic, but you can bet that I'll also have a stick-on pickup in my gear bag in case I need it!