If you played both a strictly acoustic classical guitar, an electric guitar (say a strat), and also a keyboard (I play an upright piano now, but I'll be getting a keyboard when I move), and you want to amplify all three instruments without shredding your wallet, then how would you go about it? Can this be done without using three separate amps or a PA system?

I own an decent guitar amp, mics and a small PA system, so if I play with an bassist or drummer and I need to cut through, then yes I will absolutely use the PA. But I mostly play in my living room, so less is best and the minimalist in me is wondering, are there sub $350 combo amps that get good sound out of a strat but also have a mic channel with an XLR input so I can use a dynamic or condenser mic and get good sound out of a classical guitar as well? Or maybe the solution is the right piezo pickup and pre-amp for the classical guitar and something portable that amplifies both it and the keyboard.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I have been playing electric guitar since before I was a teenager, so I'm comfortable with what is and isn't necessary, but I've only been playing jazz/blues on the piano for a couple of years, and less than that for the classical guitar, so I don't know the marketplace.

Best regard, joeb

  • 1
    Are you trying to get down to one amp, or would you be happy with two? A piano and a Strat really need different amps to sound at all good, but I suspect that you could use one amp for both guitars, with a piezo on the acoustic. Sep 6, 2015 at 0:44
  • Sorry. To clarify, yes getting down to 2 amps is fine. You're right in that 1 amp for both a strat and a keyboard won't do at least one of the instruments justice. Really I'm wondering how to amplify the classical guitar, and if that can be done with whatever means I have for respectively amplifying the strat and keyboard. For instance, an amp for both guitars, and then a powered monitor(s) that can handle the wider range of the keyboard.
    – joeb
    Sep 6, 2015 at 11:27
  • 1
    The classical and keyboard have the same needs. The two guitars don't go together as well as the classical and the keyboard, which both need full range amplification. Sep 6, 2015 at 11:29
  • Why do you need any amplification at all to play classical guitar in your living-room?? Sep 6, 2015 at 12:30
  • 1
    So maybe I should clarify. If I play with a bassist and a drummer in my living room and I want to cut through, then maybe I won't get everything out for the PA. If I play with them live in a small venue, then absolutely the PA is the way to go. I just don't want to move a PA around for the hour I have friends over a month
    – joeb
    Sep 6, 2015 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


I would use an electric guitar amp for the electric, because it won't sound right otherwise. Then I would get a pickup for the classical guitar and a two channel keyboard amp or keyboard amp and a small mixer or a small mixer and a powered speaker for both the keyboard and classical guitar.

  • I like the idea of a small mixer and a powered speaker, because I already have a guitar amp, and a mixer that's somewhat small, leaving only a pickup and powered speaker to get. Any recommendations for these latter two items? Oh, and I love the Bachelors in Math. It reminds me of college.
    – joeb
    Sep 6, 2015 at 11:41

You might be able to get two of three fairly easily. I've seen combos with a dedicated "acoustic" channel to get the cleanest signal (with some "tasteful" modeling controls for tone or EQ).

Or something like the Roland Jazz-Chorus JC-120 could cover the electric and the keyboard, but not necessarily be ideal for the classical.

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