A few weeks back, Dan & Mick started a conversation on how to get the best unplugged feel when plugging in your acoustic guitar. This week, they did part two of the exploration with a focus on pedal-based solutions, featuring the all-new line of gear on the floor from L. R. Baggs.
If you’re an acoustic player yet to delve into the world of pedals or an electric aficionado who can’t do without them, the L. R. Baggs Align series provides expertly engineered and accessible gear to ensure your acoustic sounds stellar through a P.A. or into a desk.
If I had to pick an “always-on” style of pedal for my acoustic, I think this would be the one. The Session provides a studio-quality and custom feel to your recorded or amplified acoustic sound. Or, as Mick put it, it gives your guitar “a little studio juice.” What you hear, then, with the Session is a touch of gain, compression, added dynamics, and tailored EQ. For Dan, “it gives [that feel] of a bit of desk push.” With the Session at your feet, you can take a bit of power back from the engineer on the other end of the line and dial in these parameters to taste.
As Dan & Mick noted throughout the episode, this little wood-paneled box is particularly well-suited to guitars whose pickup system needs a little love. The reality is that not all acoustic pickup systems were created equal. If you’re at all like me, they’re kind of out of sight and out of mind…until you need them to sound good. Having an L. R. Baggs Session pedal underfoot can be a great way of enhancing an already great sound or sending even a mediocre one on its way to becoming epic.
As the segment drew to a close, Mick remarked, “I really like that, I think I’m going to get one of those… the dynamics in it are pretty staggering!”
I’ll admit it: That Pedal Show has revolutionized my understanding of, and ability to tweak, EQ on my guitar gear. Yet it wasn’t until this week I gave the topic much thought when it came to my acoustic playing. Even for Dan & Mick, this can be an admittedly tough topic: “It’s a tricky thing, I always struggle with acoustic EQ.”
The L. R. Baggs Equalizer pedal was built by acoustic players for acoustic players. This means the EQ frequencies it focuses on matter most for this style of instrument. Across the middle of the pedal, you’ll find six knobs for dialing in different EQ frequencies and switches for phase, high pass filters, and gain. Up top, you get a master volume and a sweepable “notch” control. As Mick explained, this style of filter is another sort of parametric mid-frequency control. “It picks a really narrow band of frequencies and cuts them [in a v-notch]” to help avoid unwanted feedback in a difficult room.
While this style of pedal could be an asset in any number of playing environments, Dan remarked it would be a real benefit when doing acoustic shows sans bass player where you need to deliver a little more bottom end. For Mick, an EQ pedal “is endlessly useful,” whether for making the most of a difficult live sound set-up or helping an acoustic pickup system that just needs “a little fixing.”
Mick lead in this segment by noting, “who doesn’t want a little bit of reverb on their acoustic guitar?” The L. R. Baggs Reverb pedal is a streamlined yet highly effective reverb pedal. With a single algorithm allowing you to dial in degrees of size and decay, the pedal provided a stunning array of sounds from spacey yet familiar to ambient yet distant reverbs. With four knobs for volume, tone, reverb, and decay, the simple design of this pedal will minimize your time tweaking and get you back to the playing.
If you’re in a playing situation where you often have zero control over what happens to your signal after it leaves your acoustic, the L. R. Baggs Align series provides exceptional tools for sculpting your sound. While Dan & Mick didn’t explore the final item in the lineup, the L. R. Baggs Align Series Active DI, you can even be sure your direct in is brokered well.
Whether you’re an electric player in need of a new acoustic guitar fix or an acoustic player in need of some pedal assistance, head over to see us in store or online for all your studio, gig, and practice needs!
TPS Rig Rundown:
Guitars: Martin OMC-28E with LR Baggs Anthem pickup system, Martin OM-18E with LR Baggs Anthem pickup system, Collings CJ35 with K&K Pure Mini System.