2022 HOLIDAYSPECIALS

D-33 $169

Amps for Strumsticks

Inexpensive, Small Amplifier for Strumstick

A built-in pickup lets you plug your Strumstick into an amplifier (amp). Amps come in many sizes and prices.
We have tested a nice, $60 range, small amp for your Strumstick with a built-in Pickup. It's called the Fly Acoustic, by Blackstone. We don't sell this product but it is widely available (see sources below). 
By small, we mean about 6.5"w x 5"h x 4"d. It is a 3 Watt amp with a 3" speaker, powered by 6 AA batteries (a wall power supply is also available). 
An amp can make the Strumstick sound louder, which is useful playing onstage or in a loud band, but it also lets you modify the sound of the Strumstick, either by adjusting the controls on the Amp, or by using effects devices; some amps have one or more effects built into the amp.
    
The Fly Acoustic has a very useful effect, a delay effect (the Fly calls this Echo). Simply put, what a delay does is repeat whatever sound you play into it, one time or multiple times. If the sound is repeated multiple times, it creates an echoing effect. 

 

Controls: The Fly's primary controls are a Volume control, plus Bass and Treble controls. Piezo pickups (such as the Strumstick has) are intrinsically quite bright ( lot's of treble) sounding; It is very good to be able to increase the bass and decrease the treble when playing through an amp. You can even make the Strumstick sound more bassey (deeper or fuller sounding) through the amp than it does naturally through the air.  The Fly also has controls for its delay effect (which they call Echo). A small knob adjusts the Echo volume, and a larger knob lets you change the echo time (the amount of time between repeats). 

Here are some of the ways you can use the Echo controls. You can adjust the Echo time control so the timing matches the rhythm (the beat) you are playing. Using the echo for rhythm works with medium lengths of time control settings, like knob somewhere between 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock.

The Echo volume can be high for a dramatic rhythm effect, or quieter for a more subtle sound. Very important: you have be able to hear and listen to the repeats, so you can keep your playing in time with them, so loud Echos are where to start with. Remember, you can listen and adapt to the delay, the delay cannot listen and adapt to you

Once you choose a time control setting, whatever you play will repeat several times, at the time interval the control is set to. Playing faster or slower won't change that time interval.  Besides making musically useful sounds, synchronizing your strumming to the Echoes is like having a rhythm coach helping you keep your rhythms steady.

Short Echo Time settings times give a dramatic pulse to your rhythms (the repeats are too fast to be playable rhythms).

With much Slower echo times and high echo volume, you can create cascading melody lines that sound like you are playing in the Taj Mahal or a big cavern

Sources for the Blackwater Fly Acoustic Amp: We particularly like both Sweetwater and B&H for musical equipment and electronic gear. They are also available from Guitar Center and Amazon.

Search