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By Dan Day
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
A scene in a city park: A stranger approaches a picnic area, a shadowy outline, like a gunfighter from a spaghetti Western. Instead of a six-shooter, he’s wielding a guitar with all six strings a-blazin’, producing smokin’ riffs, and screaming feedback. But wait—there’s no amp strapped to his back or hip? What the . . . ? It’s yours truly trying out the Mighty Moe AmpStrap, the first all-in-one amp, strap, and cable. Just sling on the comfortable, wide strap, attach it to any electric or acoustic-electric guitar, plug in the 1/4" cable, and you’re all set.
We’ve seen the mini-amp that hooks onto your belt, the amp built into a guitar case, even an amp built into a guitar, but until now, no amp built into a strap. The Mighty Moe AmpStrap has a streamlined look and patented all-in-one design that makes it easy to put on and start playing. The whole unit with battery weighs just 11 ounces. It makes walking and playing simultaneously easier because there’s no amp clipped to your belt, scratching your guitar’s finish and banging up against your leg and hip. No hassling with a cable that’s either too short and pulls on the guitar or too long and has to be coiled up.
The amp section is actually slimmer than my miniature half-stack amp. It has a low profile with side-mounted controls that are easy to reach and operate. The on/off/volume thumbwheel is on one side of the amp housing and an overdrive thumbwheel is on the other. The Mighty Moe pumps out about 1W of power through its heavy-duty 3" speaker producing surprisingly bodacious volume. You get up to nine hours of rockin’ powered by a single 9V battery mounted in the back of the amp. The connecting cable stays out of your way because it’s routed inside a strip stitched along the backside of the strap. The 6" coil cord with an angled plug plugs easily into any 1/4" input. The entire AmpStrap fits easily in a guitar case and it comes with a handy tote bag.
While on my walkabout, I discovered how the AmpStrap makes it easy to pull off a few famous guitar moves: the Chuck Berry duckwalk including his famous split leg-stretch; the Angus Young schoolboy headbanger strut; the punk-rock pogo; and for pros only, the John Cleese Minister of Silly Walks.
When playing at home, I found it easier to deal with interruptions like the phone or doorbell ringing. Instead of having to turn down my amp before I unplugged the guitar to answer, I could just get up and go. I used it while sitting at my computer to work out some lickety-split rockabilly riffs and to work out a chord sequence for a new song while strolling through my neighborhood. When I wanted to keep my music to myself, I plugged my headphones into the jack on the side of the amp to mute the speaker and rocked my brains out.
By slinging the strap over the upper bout of my SG, I created a direct connection of amp and guitar body, producing outrageous, howling, sustaining feedback. At this point you may be asking, "How does the AmpStrap hold up under such punishment?" To answer that, I put the 3" speaker through the wringer. I did my best to trash it—to blow it out. The only rule: the guitar plugged straight in with no effects units added. The Mighty Moe ran the gauntlet of pickup tones: from the high-end slash of a single-coil bridge pickup, the beefy roar of a bridge humbucker, the Tex-Mex churn of a single-coil neck to the low-end rumble of an active high-gain neck humbucker, the AmpStrap speaker stayed the course, producing the complete range of tones. I started with the volume control set to low for the intro to "Wind Cries Mary," then wheeled the volume to max for the super crunchy part. Then, I totally dialed-up the overdrive control for "Star-Spangled Banner," producing freakout distortion with no speaker breakup. The Mighty Moe’s speaker proved its mettle by passing these stress tests with flying colors.
The Mighty Moe AmpStrap is compact, lightweight, and packs a real punch so you can practice, play, rehearse, and compose anytime, anywhere. Grab your guitar, slip on the AmpStrap, and you’re good to go; whether you’re "Goin’ Mobile," a "Travelin’ Man," or "On The Road Again."