The Boss AC-3 is an acoustic simulator pedal and its use is quite simple. It is an average Boss stompbox that uses Boss’ new “COSM” modeling system to make an electric guitar sound like an electric acoustic.
The AC-3 has five control knobs and can be a little tricky to squeeze a good sound out of it, but once you find that sound you don’t really need to change it again. The first is your average level knob, which is skirted by a reverb knob. The confusion here is that the reverb knob is also an overall level / clarity knob, and when it is all the way down, there is no sound coming out. For maximum quality i usually leave both these knobs cranked all the way. The next two knobs are essentially low end and top end filters, labeled “body” and “top”, respectively. The final and rightmost knob is the COSM Mode selector. The AC-3 has four different acoustic guitar models to choose from. “Standard”, “Jumbo”, “Enhance” (Enhance was not included in the AC-2 to my knowledge, just the AC-3. It magically seems to cut through the mix extremely well when playing live with a band) and “Piezo” which in my opinion sounds the least like the average acoustic electric.
The AC-3 has 1 input and two outputs, “Line Out” and “Guitar Amp Out”. Personally I use the Line Out when the pedal is in my chain because it sounds more robust and full. I use an Ibanez AX-S 42 which, although it may look like an SG, sounds suspiciously similar to a Les Paul. Don’t get me wrong, I WISH I had a strat, tele, or jazzmaster, but alas I was young and foolish… (My amp is a Fender Frontman 212R 100w solid state with beautiful shimmering cleans and a craptacular drive channel i never use) Anyway This pedal sounds great outta my humbuckers but sounds EXACTLY like an acoustic when using single coils. It’s uncanny.
Obviously being Boss it is not true bypass but isn’t really a tone suck. On the down sides, this little guy is pretty noisy when engaged, but roll back on the reverb a bit and it cleans up nicely. The noise isn’t straight feedback, it just sounds the way an electric acoustic does. Kinda hummy in the background for a split second after you stop strumming. I (Can’t believe I’m saying this…) actually kinda like it. It sounds more authentic. Also this thing is the hugest battery suck Ive ever seen. If you don’t power your pedals with some sort of ac adapter, brick, or chain, expect to be swapping out 9v batts like crazy. Anyway you can find the AC-3 online for around $80 to $100, and it’s a great and unique pedal to have in your arsenal. Peace.
About the author:
I’m a christian guitarist with a bad bad case of “Pedal Acquisition Syndrome” 🙂 I’ve been playing for about 6 years. My current set up is as follows:
Ibanez AX-S 42 > Dunlop Standard Crybaby GCB-95 > Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator > Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive > Digitech Hot Head Distortion > Danelectro Tuna Melt Tremolo > Digitech RP50 Processor (Piece of crap, only used as a tuner) > Boss DD-7 Digital Delay > Fender FM212R
You can follow Andrew on Twitter (@AndrewElmore)
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