Can you use a Keyboard amp for Acoustic Guitar? Many acoustic guitar players have wondered at some point: Can you use a keyboard amp for acoustic guitar? Many also often subsequently find themselves asking, Are guitar and keyboard amps the same?
The short answers to both questions are yes and no.
Are Guitar and Keyboard Amps the Same?
Keyboard amps are not equipped to handle the same frequency range as guitar amps. So while there are some advantages to using a keyboard amp for a guitar, it’s generally recommended only if there’s no guitar amp present or the guitar player is running very late to a gig.
A keyboard amp is designed to handle only up to seven octaves. Hence, they cannot give the mid-range color to the sound that makes most acoustic guitars sound good. It also makes it hard for the guitar to be heard over loud screaming and drunken brawling. However, they do well in the studio. Keyboard amps are much more closely related to bass amps than guitar amps.
They also differ significantly in function.
Keyboard amps are designed to produce as little distortion as possible. They go directly into both the mixer and PA systems, however, some specialized amps do this automatically. In addition, most of them are made to accommodate more than one instrument, hence, they have more than one outlet.
Guitar amplifiers are built to magnetically signal sounds also from electric guitars. That’s why they’re specially designed to correctly voice mid-range tones. Guitar amps are also made to properly voice saturation.
They differ in features as well:
-Keyboard amps have the line out that goes straight to the pre-amp from the board. Most guitar amps, on the contrary, are usually still manufactured the old-fashioned way with the microphone in front of the pre-amp.
-Keyboard amps are also built to handle more than one keyboard, piano, synthesizer, etc., at a time. The keyboard amp can handle all of these simultaneously with separate EQs and volume adjustments. On the other hand, guitar amps are generally made to handle just one guitar at a time. Not that it wouldn’t be nice to be able to plug more than one string instrument into one amp as well.
-Most guitar amps have just two channels, the clean one and the distorted one. This is what is needed for most guitars to sound great on stage. Whereas most keyboard amps have single channels and multiple inputs, keyboards, pianos, etc., don’t need any distortions to give color to their melodies.
-Most keyboard amps are made as reference amps, so they have the tilted backward look to them. Some guitar amps have that same appearance but are not particularly known for it.
-Although rapidly evolving digital technology has helped both amps to come very far in making their ideal sounds, the guitar one generally still only has the reverb and the distortion. Most keyboard amps now have a full DSP engine range, making it sound better than ever in studios.
Can you Use a Keyboard Amp for Acoustic Guitar?
Yes, but, first, a couple of cautions need to be exercised.
First, it would be best to use a digital modeler or a multi-effect pedal. Otherwise, it will sound too clean.
Secondly, everyone in the band should be aware that a guitar amp should never be used on a keyboard. The distortion option on the guitar amplifier can cause major damage to a keyboard.
Ways that using a keyboard amp on a guitar can be an advantage:
-Guitars with piezo pickups or microphones tend to do better with keyboard amps. This is because most of the sound is naturally manipulated from the instrument itself. As a result, piezo pickups do best with specialized acoustic amps, but they can do just as well on keyboard ones. Traditional guitar amps make them sound too muffled and tend to give too much feedback.
-Since keyboard amps have flatter responses and neutral tones, they can make great experimental sound pieces, especially for novice guitarists.
-If the band is playing in a low-key and small venue, those are friendly for the studio sound. As a result, they’re guitar-keyboard amp combination friendly. Again, however, this is not friendly for large venues or loud bars.
Using a keyboard amp for guitars
For the most part, using a keyboard amp for an acoustic guitar is fine. However, for the sake of damage prevention, it’s important to remember that they can’t do mid-ranges or much distortion. It is even important to remember never to attempt to do the reverse and use a guitar amp for a keyboard.
For live performances, it’s best to keep the use of a keyboard amp for a guitar for smaller and quieter gigs. For larger venues or loud bars, it makes it very difficult for both the player and the audience to hear the guitar.
The bottom line is that to prevent any damage, either way, it’s always essential for everyone in the band to be aware of the significant differences between the two amps. This most directly answers the question: Can you use a keyboard amp for acoustic guitar?