I'm running an acoustic/electric guitar into a small Fishman acoustic amp, and need a little boost sometimes. I've considered using an overdrive pedal I have, but I want to make sure it's okay to do that with an acoustic amp. I don't have any particular reasons for my worry, it just seems like an acoustic amp might not be built for those tones.

Could it cause damage?

  • 1
    Check your battery on the acoustics pre-amp to make sure its not low, and how do other electro acoustics sound on it? Apr 1, 2015 at 15:52
  • I don't know much about the Fishman product in particular, but watch out for feedback.
    – Theodore
    Sep 15, 2021 at 12:55

6 Answers 6


It won't cause damage. The main consequence of using electric guitar effects with an acoustic amp is the sound will be different.

An amp for an electric guitar actually changes the sound a lot, both the sound of the pedals and of the guitar.

An acoustic amp is more meant to be like a mini PA that cleanly reproduces the sound. Distortion pedals might sound a lot more shrill and scratchy on the high end since a high end roll off is typical of a normal electric guitar amp. Some pedals won't put out as much high end in the first place so they might sound the same.

Otherwise you'll be fine. Have fun!


As Todd stated above he is correct in the use of pedals and amps, and the differences in acoustic amps and regular electric guitar amps. However, you can get away with it, it just may not have the sound you're looking for as Todd stated. But, you can use a Maxon OD 9 overdrive pedal, and it will have more bass response than the old Tube Screamer overdrive pedals.

I would check out different overdrive pedals if you can get access to some to play with. You might find one works best with your amp and guitar. I do know, of guitar player before I saw in Guitar World. He was strictly and acoustic rocker type of player. He'd fit his guitars with pickups as usual, and plug into a Ibanez Tube Screamer overdrive pedal. And the guy has some wicked tone! I believed he played through mostly Dreadnought bodied guitars.

But from what I heard of his music then, his tone was massive and sounded like a growly beast of a guitar and could pull all kinds of sounds out of it. Give it a try is all you can do. It won't damage your amp being an acoustic guitar into an acoustic amp. Just as Todd stated it might not be the sound you're looking for. But accidents can make the best situations sometimes.


I was worried about this same problem. i had a small 10 watt Marshall Mg that I played with a les paul. It was good for quiet practice in my basement but i wanted bigger sound. However i didn't have big money to go spend on a tube amp or anything. What i did have was a Fender Acoustasonic 30watt amp. Even with an electric guitar plugged in it have a great clean sound and a nice array of digital effects.

After doing some research I bought the fulltone OCD overdrive/distortion. and surprisingly it sounded awesome once i plugged it in to the acoustasonic amp. Plaing around with it i got sounds ranging from john mayer blues tones to slash and even some heavier metal tones.

the most important thing is to realize that all amps are different and react differently to different pedals and effects. In my case i turn the treble on the amp all the way down because the pedal provides tones and also keep the bass on the amp down because the pedal boosts that too.

So long as your amp has a 3 band eq (bass, middle, and treble controls) and the drive/distortion pedal has good tone adjustment on it you can dial in the tone with any amp/pedal combo.

So to highlight points, it doesn't matter if your amp is tube or solid state, every amp sounds different with every other pedal, and the more tone adjustment you have the easier it is to get the tone your looking for. Oh yeah and the Fulltone OCD is a killer pedal.

Basically the only way to know how its gonna sound with your amp is to buy it and try it if you dont like it be clear on the return policy. but your amp wont explode.


I blew up a Fishman Loudbox Mini using an acoustic guitar and a Fender Smolder acoustic overdrive pedal. After using the pedal off and on for a 2 hour gig, the amp itself became very "raspy" and distorted sounding before quitting altogether. It just stopped making any noise. Pilot light was still on and no blown breaker, etc. Not sure if the amp stage or the speaker was the culprit. The amp was fairly new and was replaced by Fishman under warranty.


Yes, I also blew up my Fishman Mini. The problem I guess that it has a tweeter that cant stand any distortion pedal. I hooked a multi-effect and my electric guitar and the Fishman kaput. I m searching for an acoustic amp for my electric guitar (and sometimes hollowbody). Why? Because they usually have a mic channel that I need for vocal job. I am looking at the Bugera 60, it has a loop, so I think the pedals can go through there. This amp has no tweeter which in this case is an advantage, The other idea is to use amp or cab simulator.


The principal question you want to answer regarding whether loudspeakers are going to mind using a distortion pedal is whether you have separate tweeters. If so, they are usually dimensioned at a fraction of the total available speaker power while a heavily distorted signal will put out a significant ratio if not the majority of its energy on the tweeter. Guitar amps that just have loudspeaker chassis of a single kind, in contrast, are not likely to blow them.

A separate consideration is whether the electronics are going to mind. Tube amps tend to saturate while still in operating range. Solid state amps tend not to be dimensioned for continued actual overdrive since an overdriven solid state amp does not make for a pleasing sound (they tend to have artificial overdrive controls that don't operate anywhere near the safety margin).

If your overdrive sound is exclusively from a pedal, the amp electronics should be dimensioned to keep up with it. However, if you are in the process of blowing out your speakers by continuous overload, the failure mode is the insulation of the coils burning off and the coils shortcircuiting by and by. The shortcircuits reduce the resistance of the speaker progressively so that the overall loudness is not affected as much while the speaker gets less and less efficient and draws more and more current from the amp for the same loudness.

This failure mode (in contrast to the coil breaking connection altogether) can very well also smoke the electronics of an amp when dimensioned strong enough for nominal operation at the limit for a longer time.

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