Jamming with an Acoustic Electric, iPad and an amp

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by arjunrc, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    Hi folks,

    I've been following this forum for a few months and have been reading up on various threads to learn how to work towards my goal. Having bought stuff that I thought would solve my issues, I'm having some issues, so I thought I'd get out of lurk mode, register and ask for help :)

    I have a acoustic electric guitar (Martin DX1RAE, with a Fishman Sonitone pickup) and a Acoustic AGW 15W amp. Its a great combination for jamming with my friends - not really concerts etc - just getting together and reveling in how bad we actually are a guitarists.

    My goal:
    Anyway, there are times when I wish I could get an 'electric distortion' sound for some riffs just for fun. I don't need them to be amazing quality but reasonable for our purpose.
    (Like this guy posted on youtube - he never added details)

    My idea & subsequent acquisition:
    After researching this forum, I decided to buy the Apogee JAM, installed GarageBand for my iDevices (iPad, iPhone, Mac), and bought a 1/4" (Mono) to 1/8" (stereo) cable.

    What I hoped to achieve:
    My DX1RAE would connect its output to the JAM. The JAM would connect to my iDevice. The headphone out of my iDevice would connect to my acoustic amp in. I'd add a drums track in garage band, choose a software amplifier on GB with some distortion effects and voila - I own an electric guitar that can shred (well, not quite, but sounds reasonable enough)

    I got my stuff yesterday. My first "iDevice" was my 2010 MBP. I connected as above with the exception that I turned on the MBP speakers - I did not connect the MBP to the amp - I just wanted to test the first part: i.e . how my guitar will sound via GB.

    The results were not good at all: I could barely hear by guitar from the MBP speakers - it was set to full volume and whenever I added any sort of stomp box to the software amp, it sounded terrible. Monitor is on, when I record and playback, I can hear the guitar but it doesn't sound that great. When I want to 'play through' I don't hear my guitar if I use a clean combo amp on GB. Monitor is on. JAM light is green.

    Has anyone use an acoustic electric with JAM and GB? What settings do you use for playthrough ? Have you tried to add distortion? How does it sound?
  2. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    Likely your guitar is not outputting a high enough level signal. Or you have the interface (Apogee) set for line-in and it needs to be set for Instrument-in.

    Also while the modeled amps and effects in Garage Band are not bad "Aptitube" is the best one I've found. And they have a free version you can try.

    If the guitar pickup is sending a low level signal you can always get a booster pedal. A real analog pedal.

    I don't like the Apogee. It lacks a gain input knob and a UV meter. The UV meter would be very helpful if you had it so you could SEE the output level of the guitar.

    On the other hand a cheap Fender or "Squire" Statocaster sells for under $200. a LOT less for a used one. You might find the Strat is easier to play, lower and lighter action, longer neck, the strings are easy to "bend". They are cheep on Craigslist.

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