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  • everett 2:52PM

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Archtop Amplification

Hey folks, I have a Peerless Leela that I love playing acoustically and amplified at low volumes. However, when I crank up the volume on my AER Compact 60 at gigs, it's boomy, and it isn't easy to hear the individual notes in chords. I've tried turning the bass knob to 0 and the treble knob to 11, but it's still not as crisp as I'd like it to be. Should I try replacing the pickup or perhaps a different amp? 


  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Altamira M-01D, Epiphone Joe Pass
    Posts: 72

    I'd ask Michael what amp he used for his demo of the Peerless Leela on his website here. It sounds fantastic to me, every note & chord is warm & clear. Nice playing too!

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited September 8 Posts: 5,893

    @wdickerson My guess is the amp is the problem. Quite a few people do like AERs for jazz, including many pros, but they are very colored and midrangey by nature. They have almost no bass response and the trebles are rolled off quite a bit. You may prefer something with a flatter response, like a Schertler which is almost like a PA (no coloration and a full frequency response including a real bass register.) You'll probably get better chordal definition with a different amp. I used this amp on the demo:

  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 478

    I also would reccomend using a PA type amp for archtop electrics; or a great small tube amp (I have an Ampeg Jet 2 that for sure sounds good with my eastman (and others).

    I don't love the color of the AER for gypsy with my DPA (prefer acoustic image- which also has a color, but less mid and nasal) . .


  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Stringphonic FV Brazilian
    Posts: 45

    Different opinion from someone who plays mostly electric guitar (including cocktail gigs and other jazz) - Quilter. It's definitely moving more towards electric and less amplified acoustic, but they're built like tanks, sound nearly as good as tube, super light and compact, loud enough for any application (any louder and you're getting mic'd by a sound guy.

    For reference I have a vintage Deluxe reverb, and a Quilter 101 Reverb. The quilter sounds about 90% of the way there, has more headroom than the Deluxe, never broken down, weighs 3lbs, etc.

  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 478

    @ChristopheCarington Do you play any acoustic gigs - Quilter supposedly makes an acoustic amp as well - ever tried it?

  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Stringphonic FV Brazilian
    Posts: 45

    @bbwood_98 The few acoustic jazz gigs I've played were wedding oriented (e.g. engagement parties, etc), or sitting in with the Hot Club of SF. My opinion on going for acoustic sound is purist: no amplification or my AT831b mic, preamp, and PA speaker (I have a QSC K12.2). I've used the QSC (also made by Pat Quilter - nice guy!) on two gigs, where I needed background music when the band wasn't playing, and an extra input for a vocalist/bassist/announcements (basic MCing). However, if I know the venue is small enough I try to not bring my equipment and only the guitar.

    I have not tried Quilter's acoustic amp, but I don't think I'm the right guy for that type of opinion. I generally dislike non-mic solutions for Selmac guitars (AERs, Bigtones, CS sensors, etc.). To me they're all exercises in compromise. At that point I prefer the more gritty electric tone of a stimer/peche a la mouche into a slightly saturated amp - that full electric Django mojo.

  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 478

    @ChristopheCarington you and I might share that - I use a DPA through my acoustic image or a PA . . . or if the venue is small enough and quiet enough just acoustic. Bigtones are nasal and squawk and AER is quite colored for me . . . (IHMO) Acoustic amps need full range frequency response, active/responsive EQ, and lots and lots of headroom, and multi imputs (quarter/xlr) with phantom power.

    Thanks for letting me know,

  • wdickersonwdickerson Austin, TXNew Holo #73
    Posts: 39

    Thanks for the responses! I thought about just messaging  @MichaelHorowitz  but asked here in case others could benefit from the information. Size and weight are important considerations for me since I commute to gigs by bicycle or Vespa. The Schertler Unico looks great despite being a little large. It is also worth noting that the sound is muddy even with a direct line into a Scarlet 2i2 interface. 

    @ChristopheCarington I usually go with a Krivo into an AER with a Tube Screamer (gain set to 0) for bar gigs with my Holo.

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