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This article was originally published in issue #56
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The powerful “SansAmp" EQ section lets you sculpt the lows, mids and highs to flatter your guitar and suit the musical setting. If you’re playing solo, a little more low end and more aggressive scoop in the midrange can add weight, width and gravitas to your performance.
A perfect solution for the travelling acoustic guitar player.
Great range of inspiring sounds.
Can’t be run on phantom power.
Rugged, All-metal Housing
Metal Footswitches and Jacks
Silent-switching, Custom Footswitch Actuators
Utilizes Included 9V DC Power Supply
Tech 21 Acoustic Fly Rig
MSRP £359 (UK) $199 (US)
Nick Jennison takes a look at the latest addition to the Tech 21 Fly Rig Series in the form of the Acoustic Fly Rig. Billed as being specifically tailored to complement the particular nuances and traits of acoustic instruments; with grab-and-go pro tones for both live and studio engagements, the Acoustic Fly Rig isn't likely to let you down, no matter where the gig is.
The Tech 21 Fly Rig has become something of a phenomenon in recent years, and rightly so. It addresses a real problem that many working guitarists face: “how do I get my tone when I can’t take my gear with me?”. Be it a shared backline gig in a busy city venue, a festival slot with ludicrously short changeover times or (as the name would suggest) a fly date, where you’ll need to take everything you’ll need for the gig on the plane with you. With its powerful tone tweaking options and small size and weight, the Fly Rig is a near perfect solution to the problem.
Enter the Fly Rig Acoustic. For the performing acoustic guitarist, amplifying the guitar can be a real headache. Aside from the all too common feedback issues, it takes a skilled sound engineer with the right tools to get the best out of an amplified acoustic guitar. Even if you get lucky, and the venue you’re playing at has a great engineer with great gear, they’ll have to adapt to the quirks of your guitar and make adjustments accordingly, which can be a real stretch if you don’t have a long time to set up and soundcheck. This is where the Fly Rig Acoustic really shines.
The powerful “SansAmp" EQ section lets you sculpt the lows, mids and highs to flatter your guitar and suit the musical setting. If you’re playing solo, a little more low end and more aggressive scoop in the midrange can add weight, width and gravitas to your performance. In a band setting, you can dip a little low end and bring in a touch of midrange bark to help cut through the mix. Particularly interesting is the low pass filter, which rolls off the sibilant, scratchy high-end that can plague some piezo systems. There’s also a notch control, to help defeat low feedback or any bass notes that might be ringing out too loudly.
The “comp” section is a great sounding FET-inspired circuit that’s less about being “transparent” as it is “musical”. It does a great job of controlling an excessively dynamic guitar (or playing style!), but it also lets the tone breathe, and bloom is a very pleasing way. Once you switch it on, it’s hard to imagine wanting to switch it off! If you need a little more “lift”, either for a solo or to compensate for changes in your playing style, there’s a footswitchable boost. The boost isn’t completely transparent and introduces a very slight midrange lift to help the guitar cut through a mix.
The built-in effects are tasteful and easy to use. There’s a rich and warm reverb that’s unobtrusive even at it’s most extreme settings, and the “EFX” section offers a choice of chorus or delay (with tap tempo). The chorus is rich and analogue sounding, and perfect for those syrupy 80s ballads. The delay is the star of the show for me, with a warm tape-inspired voice and loads of time on tap. You can conjure anything from a convincing country/rockabilly slapback to U2-esque stadium ready repeats. It’s a very inspiring effect to have on hand and definitely sets the Fly Rig Acoustic apart from similar products that focus exclusively on tone sculpting.
The Fly Rig Acoustic is super easy to use, sounds great and provides a comprehensive palette of inspiring sounds.