Small quality amp for a 6-string bari/guitalele under $200

c-hwll06

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Hey all, I recently ordered the Luna Henna Dragon 6-String. It's acoustic-electric and I would like to eventually get an amp for it, preferably under $200 or so. I don't need anything too big, just something for my bedroom and maybe some small backyard parties and such. I don't know much about amps and have virtually zero experience with them, especially for an acoustic-electric instrument. Do you guys have any good recommendations? Thank you for any and all help!!!
 
Electric guitar amps are designed to cut out many of the best parts of acoustic instruments. You need an amp designed for acoustic guitar or keyboard. Yamaha THR5a is right at your price limit but is all-metal so shielded against ugly buzzing and great quality. Looks cool too. Runs off AC or AA alkaline or nimh batteries
 
Electric guitar amps are designed to cut out many of the best parts of acoustic instruments. You need an amp designed for acoustic guitar or keyboard. Yamaha THR5a is right at your price limit but is all-metal so shielded against ugly buzzing and great quality. Looks cool too. Runs off AC or AA alkaline or nimh batteries
That Yamaha amp is really cool but definitely at my price limit. Is the 10W and two 8cm speakers enough for good volume in a mid-size backyard? If not, could it be plugged into a larger speaker or something like that? How do you think it would compare to something like the Acoustic A15 or Fender Acoustasonic 15?
 
Do you intend to actually use [or experiment with] the Yamaha THR5a "modeling" and "COMPRESSOR, COMPRESSOR/CHORUS, CHORUS, FLANGER*, PHASER*, TREMOLO*, DELAY, DELAY/REVERB, HALL REVERB, SPRING REVERB*, *NOISE GATE (*only available in the THR Editor)"

Is battery operation a necessity?

Do you want an input for a microphone so it can also be used as an instrument amp/vocal PA system?

Or do you just want a portable amp with full, clear, tone and EQ controls that you plug into a normal A~C outlet?
 
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Positive Grid brand, model: Spark Mini
 
Roland makes several nice ones in that range.
 
That Yamaha amp is really cool but definitely at my price limit. Is the 10W and two 8cm speakers enough for good volume in a mid-size backyard? If not, could it be plugged into a larger speaker or something like that? How do you think it would compare to something like the Acoustic A15 or Fender Acoustasonic 15?
The fenders were not available when I bought my yamaha so I can't speculate on comparisons. I think the Yamaha is loud enough for people who want to hear you. If you want to stop all conversation at the party dead and be center of attention then perhaps not. fYI If you want something twice as loud as a 10w amp you need a 100w amp.
 
I have the Spark 40. Fantastic for my electric guitar but it's not as great with piezo pickups on my acoustics. I prefer the Yamaha for acoustic. Spark mini is so tiny though its hard to not like.
I found mine works better with a pre amp or booster first.
 
Do you intend to actually use [or experiment with] the Yamaha THR5a "modeling" and "COMPRESSOR, COMPRESSOR/CHORUS, CHORUS, FLANGER*, PHASER*, TREMOLO*, DELAY, DELAY/REVERB, HALL REVERB, SPRING REVERB*, *NOISE GATE (*only available in the THR Editor)"

Is battery operation a necessity?

Do you want an input for a microphone so it can also be used as an instrument amp/vocal PA system?

Or do you just want a portable amp with full, clear, tone and EQ controls that you plug into a normal A~C outlet?
For pretty much all of the features of the Yamaha amp, they are not an absolute necessity but would still be very nice to have. Overall I think my decision on an amp will come down to the price-to-performance ratio. The Yamaha amp is quite pricey but has a lot of really nice features that I would enjoy having, whereas something like the Acoustic A15 is very barebones but much cheaper.
 
Get comfortable with your new Dragon then take it to the nearest Guitar Center to try out a few amps. That is what their showrooms are for.
I plan on doing so soon but there are unfortunately only 2 amps within my price range currently in stock there - and they're the same brand/model but 15W versus 20 😭 Other local stores don't have any either so I'm a little worried. I don't plan on buying an amp immediately, I'll probably do so over the summer, but I would like to know what I should be scrimping and saving for, y'know?
 
The fenders were not available when I bought my yamaha so I can't speculate on comparisons. I think the Yamaha is loud enough for people who want to hear you. If you want to stop all conversation at the party dead and be center of attention then perhaps not. fYI If you want something twice as loud as a 10w amp you need a 100w amp.
I don't think I need something that loud, nor do I want something too physically large. Judging from pictures and reviews, a 40W amp would probably be the loudest I would want/need.
 
a 40W amp would probably be the loudest I would want/need.
More, unless you're going to be playing somewhere big, by which point you won't need to ask us!

If you are playing in a room full of people and they're talking, don't play louder - if you do, they'll talk louder and then it will become unpleasant. Play quieter and if they're interested they'll lean in.
 
It's a bit out of my price range at $230 but wow - what a list of features! I'm definitely saving that for the future, it may be worth saving up a little while for.
Check back into the website every week or so. They routinely have special promotions for holidays or something significant to musicians. In fact, if you hang around on the website for a while, there will be a pop-up box offering a percentage discount for giving up your email address to receive promotional items. It’s a remarkable little piece of technology combined with the app. And the speakers are fairly robust if you don’t abuse them ;-)
 
More, unless you're going to be playing somewhere big, by which point you won't need to ask us!

If you are playing in a room full of people and they're talking, don't play louder - if you do, they'll talk louder and then it will become unpleasant. Play quieter and if they're interested they'll lean in.
That's kind of what I was thinking. I don't want to be overpowering in volume, especially since 98% of my time playing is just by myself. I want to play for people who want to listen, so I think it may make a little more sense to get a smaller, higher-quality amp like the Yamaha or Spark amps that have been recommended by others.
 
Check back into the website every week or so. They routinely have special promotions for holidays or something significant to musicians. In fact, if you hang around on the website for a while, there will be a pop-up box offering a percentage discount for giving up your email address to receive promotional items. It’s a remarkable little piece of technology combined with the app. And the speakers are fairly robust if you don’t abuse them ;-)
Yeah, I think I'll probably do that. Now I can't decide between the Spark Mini and the Yamaha THR5a 😭
 
Yeah, I think I'll probably do that. Now I can't decide between the Spark Mini and the Yamaha THR5a 😭
As an afterthought, also check on the sweetwater.com website. They do good job of mirroring what’s on the positive grid website as far as prices concerned. In addition, they offer an extended two year warranty as well as a very generous return policy. I don’t know anything about the positive grid return policy because I’ve never had to use it. But as far as Sweetwater is concerned, it’s very generous and easy to use if necessary.
 
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