Acoustic guitarists can seem shortchanged in the march to modernity through technology. The folks at ToneWoodAmps seem to be doing their best to change that. The ToneWoodAmp ($249 direct) uses a combination of DSP (digital signal processor) and a surface exciter to vibrate the back of an acoustic guitar, producing sound effects such as reverb, echo, delay, tremolo and more.
To use it, you need a pickup on your guitar. The output of the pickup is sent to the ToneWoodAmp and the sound comes out of the guitar’s sound hole. It lets you add effects without using an external amplifier. In other words, you can sit around the campfire, miles from an electric plug, and still add reverb, delay and other effects to your acoustic instrument. The ToneWoodAmp operates on three AA batteries for an average of ten hours. Batteries are easily replaceable through a battery door.
The device can also be used as a multi-effect processor when you amplify your guitar. You can connect the output jack to an amp or P.A. system and use the blend mode to dial in the amount of guitar and/or effect you want to send.
In addition to the ToneWoodAmp’s internal DSP, it can also connect with all iDevices, so you can use your iPhone, iPad etc. to experiment with an unlimited number of effects; even play Virtual MIDI instruments, all played through the body of the guitar and emanating from the sound hole. To do this you will need an iDevice adapter for an additional $9.95
The initial installation and setup of the ToneWoodAmp requires no tools and has no permanent impact on the guitar. After the initial install, detaching and attaching the ToneWoodAmp is simple. It can be installed on any flat or (slightly) arched-back acoustic guitar. Steel string guitars sporting magnetic pickups and both nylon and steel string guitars with under saddle Piezo pickups will work. If you get an X-Brace for each of your acoustic guitars ($29 each) you can easily move one ToneWoodAmp from instrument to instrument.
The ToneWoodAmp is not located in the center of the instrument’s back but more on the edge. In most seating situations it should have no contact with your body. The unit weighs roughly 8oz.
This is an overview, not a review. I haven’t tried it myself, but it looked interesting enough to let Guitar Moderne readers know about it.