Ahwatukee inventors create electric effects with acoustic guitars | Money

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Helene and Ofer Webman are live on crowdfunding website Kickstarter every day in hopes of bringing their creation – the ToneWoodAmp – to life.

The ToneWoodAmp – or Twamp for short – allows acoustic guitarists to add live effects to their instrument without having to connect to an external amplifier. The smartphone-sized device is battery-operated and attaches to the back of a guitar after the magnetic strips are installed, using a guitar-safe adhesive. However, Helene says that “once people put it on, they don’t want to take it off.”

“Great musicians have told us that they often have an acoustic guitar in their living room, and picking it up without having to plug it in is a huge plus,” Helene said.

What makes the Twamp unique is that it creates sonic vibrations on the front and back panels of an acoustic guitar. Only the front panel resonates when you normally play an acoustic guitar, but when the back panel is included, it gives a rounder, more distinct sound.

“You don’t have to be a guitarist to hear and feel the difference,” said Helene.

Ofer presents the Twamp and its various effects on https://soundcloud.com/tonewoodamp/tonewoodamp-sound-demo-clean-fx-no-idevice.

For electro-acoustic guitars, the Twamp syncs with the instrument’s own pickup. For non-electric acoustic guitars, players will need to install a static soundhole pickup. Ofer recommends piezo magnetic or under saddle pickups. The Webmans plan to sell mics with their amp if gamers need them.

The Twamp is also able to connect to all iOS devices for use with any guitar app. Ofer’s favorite apps to use with the Twamp include MIDI Guitar, SampleTank, ThumbJam, AmpliTube, and Audiobus.

The Webmans featured the Twamp at Summer NAMM 2014, a music convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Ofer says that many professional guitarists have tried the Twamp and that “almost everyone who has tested it has fallen in love with the device”. They report that they currently have over 700 pre-orders for the Twamp.

“We basically developed a concept and a product from scratch,” Ofer said. “I always wanted to come up with something that would allow my acoustic guitars to sound like electric guitars, while retaining the nature of acoustics.”

Right now, the Twamp can be pre-ordered at a discounted price. When it goes on sale in early 2015, it will be priced around $200. Backers on Kickstarter will have the option to pledge for the Twamp at significantly less than retail price.

For more information on their Kickstarter debut and sound samples, visit www.tonewoodamp.com or www.facebook.com/tonewoodamp.

• Stephanie Holland is a sophomore in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is an intern this semester for the AFN.

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