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Re: Acoustic questions and "Hello!"

Since I hijacked another thread with my own questions pertaining to
looping acoustic guitar and microphones, I'll turn it around and try
to answer some of your questions.

1) Guitar pickup: you'll blow your budget on a good pickup for the
acoustic. If you want to go really cheap, though, Dean Markley makes a
little button transducer that attaches to the soundboard via putty.
It's called the "Artist Transducer". It's only $40. It sounds OK. The
only real drawback is that it has a cable attached to it (not a jack).
When I used one on my ultra-cheap starter mandolin, it worked really
well. Right up until the day I got to a gig and discovered the cable
had pulled out of the pickup. The pickup is sealed, so there's no easy
way of getting in there and reconnecting. I'd have called Dean Markley
about it, but I was already in the market for a 'next step up'
mandolin, and figured I'd use a different pickup system for the new
mando. I'd recommend the Dean Markley pickup with the caveat of the
being careful with the attached cable.

2) PA system: This will depend largely on the size of venues you're
planning on playing. For me, I'll be able to get by with a single
keyboard or acoustic guitar amp (either a Peavey KB100 or a Carvin
AG100D). You might be able to get by with a keyboard amp or some other
full-range amp as long as it has enough volume for the venues you're
playing. You might be able to get a used one for cheap. Otherwise, you
could check out some of the low-budget PA systems that certain online
retailers have in their catalogs. Kustom comes to mind as one brand. I
have no experience with them, however.

2b) The matter of sending multiple signals to the looper...definitely
requires a mixer with some sort of aux send capability. Incidentally,
further searches prompted by some responses to my questions in the
"patchbay" thread resulted in my finding a 1U rackmount mixer that
might fit the bill for my needs: the Rolls RM65b. It has 6 channels,
all of which have both XLR microphone and 1/4" inputs. It also has an
aux send and a separate monitor send (which I think I can use as a
pre-fader aux send). It runs $250.

3) The matter of a looper: I had great fun with my first looper: Akai
Headrush E1. I've since expanded to 3 loopers (Headrush, Line 6 DL-4,
and Echoplex DP), contracted back to 2 (sold the Headrush), and will
likely sell the DL-4 in the not too distant future. As previously
mentioned, the "Tools of the Trade" pages on the Loopers Delight site
are invaluable for figuring out which looper fits your needs. As was
also mentioned, those pages do quite a lot in the way of convincing
you which looper(s) you *neeeeeeed*. Proceed with caution.

You're going to have to compromise something in putting together this
rig: either the quantity of components, the quality of components, or
the budget itself.

a) Quantity of components: If you want to maintain a certain level of
quality within that budget, you will likely have to piece it together
gradually. Perhaps a decent PA system first (along with either a
decent mic for the guitar or an inexpensive pickup to at least get
started), then a decent looper when the budget allows, followed by
refinements to quality of each component (e.g. better pickup for
guitar, higher quality PA mixer/amp, etc.)

b) Quality of components: I you want to maintain the quantity of
components and stay within the budget you'll have to cut corners on
the quality. Cheap PA, cheap pickup, very basic looper, etc. You can
of course, refine each component as budget allows.

c) Budget: Even buying used, the primary necessary components of
modest quality will likely eclipse your budget. Unfortunately, in many
cases, old loopers don't get too much cheaper on the used market.

Best of luck,

Jon Southwood