Amplifying the Strumstick
We get asked often about amplifying the Strumstick. Here is information about that.
Do you have a pickup? A pickup converts the vibrations of the Strumstick into an electronic signal. Most acoustic instruments use a piezo-type pickup (converts physical vibrations directly into a signal). Electric Guitars use magnetic-type pickups that sense the vibrations of steel strings in a magnetic field, and convert that into a signal.
We offer a great Built-in Pickup (piezo-type) for an additional $90 when you are purchasing a Strumstick, and we offer a Retro-Fit pickup, send us a Strumstick you already have and we will install a pickup, for $90 plus shipping.
There are also many "stick-on" type pickups available on web and in music stores. These use a removable sticky adhesive to temporarily attach a pickup to the soundboard of an acoustic instrument, and usually have an attached cable
Our pickups use standard 1/4" guitar cables, available at any music store.
There are many kinds amps to choose from. Any Guitar amp you have around will be useable. Three specific solutions we have chosen are the Roland Micro-Cube, the Blackstar Fly, and the Behringer 8" Powered Speaker. Here is what to look for in general, and a description of these three.
What to look for in a Strumstick Amplifier:
Power: 2 Watts is enough; more is fine.
Tone Controls: A single tone control (adjusts bass-treble balance) is typical, having two controls (one bass, one treble) better. The Strumstick is intrinsically a bright toned instrument, and piezo pickups accentuate that brightness. Turn down the treble and turn up the bass for a very natural tone from the amp, or add more bass (fullness) to go beyond what the straight acoustic sound of the Strumstick is.
Effects: Some amps come with selectable effects like reverb, delay, chorus, and amp models/distortion settings. These are all fun. These same effects can be accomplished with guitar effects pedals ( "stomp boxes"). See Delay Discussion Below.
Inputs: One 1/4" jack is sufficient. Bigger amps may have additional inputs for a microphone or other instruments.
Battery Power: A light, battery-powered amp is a good pair with the ultra-portable Strumstick. battery powered amps are usually smaller and lower powered.
Blackstone Fly. $70 Tiny (6"x4"x5" approx.). Cheap. Battery powered (AC optional extra). Very acceptable sound, amazing for size. Marginal tone control, but great delay effect, with level and delay time controls (see Delay discussion below). 2 Lbs.
The Behringer 208D 8" Powered Speaker. About $208. Powered speakers intended for monitor and PA use that can make nice Strumstick amplifiers. I often use this Behringer model as a Strumstick amp, often with an effects pedal. AC only. I like the clean sound, the separate bass and treble tone controls, and the fact that I can use it as a monitor or part of a PA system when playing gigs. About 14" tall, weight 14 Lbs.