We asked our Facebook group of thousands of professional drivers if they traveled with guitars. As we suspected, lots of truck drivers love to relax with six strings during down time. While most traveled with acoustics, many of them don’t do well with rapidly changing temperatures that may come on the road during the fall and winter months. Cold, dry air has a terrible effect on fragile wood arches and tops. So we thought we would focus on travel rigs for sturdier electric guitars.
There are two ways to play electric guitar in the truck cab:
Small Amps that Sound Great in the Cab
Vox DA 5 – This one can run on batteries or an adapter, it has 11 digital effects, a headphone jack, a line in so you can play along with your favorite mp3s and much more.
It has a host of 24 bit digital effects that can cover nearly any sound.
The DA5 effects settings are auto-wah, chorus + delay, chorus + reverb, compressor, compressor + chorus, compressor + phaser, delay, flanger + reverb, reverb, rotary + reverb, and tremolo + reverb.
The 5 inch speaker is enough to fill the space of your sleeper cab, but probably not much more. It sounds best as a headphone preamp (and when we say headphones, we mean cupped versions, not earbuds).
Line 6 Spider IV – This is also a small 1×8 amp with a digital effects interface, but it’s a bit different than the Vox, in that it’s tuned to sound like other amps. It has four specific settings that go everywhere from glassy cleans of a Fender, to a growling crunch of a Marshall plexi, to over the top grind of metal amps like VHT and Dual Rectifiers.
Add color and texture to your tone with the six Smart FX knobs: Chorus/Flange, Phaser, Tremolo, Sweep Echo, Tape Echo, and Reverb.
It’s got plenty of EQ sweep and actually doesn’t sound that bad for such a tiny little guy. Obviously these amps are more suited as headphone drivers, so keep that in mind.
Other features: Built-in tuner; 1/4-inch input; 1/4-inch headphone/direct output; 1/8-inch CD/MP3 input.
Blackstar HT-1 combo amp – If the other two amps here seem like toys, then this could be the one for you. The Blackstar HT-1R is a small, one watt all tube amp that has no fluff and 100% great sounds.
The controls are simple, and you can use the gain and master volumes together to go from clean and sparkle all the way to grit and doom if you need to.
Add a fully specified speaker emulated output, MP3 / Line Input, plus an 8Ω speaker output (that’s right, this little guy can drive a full 4×12 speaker cab when you’re at home) and you have everything you need for practicing. The HT-1R also has an additionally fourth knob, you guessed it… that ‘R’ stands for Reverb! It comes in a combo amp form and a standalone head. You can also get a $25 mail in rebate from Blackstar Amps if you buy the HT-1 combo before January 2013. Find the form here.
Digitech RP155 – This one is a great buy because it’s less than $100, features 99 presets, has nearly any effect your could want, it has a headphone out, a USB port to link to your computer if you want to put it through an Audio Workstation and it can also be an effects module that goes in front of an amp.
It’s also got some built in drum patterns so you can work on your riffs to a metronome beat, a jazz kit, a big booming rock kit and even synth drums.
- Built-20 Second Looper
- 83 Amps, Cabinets, Stompboxes and Effects
- USB Audio Streaming for computer recording
Behringer X V-amp This compact but powerful effects unit has 2 TRS inputs for mp3 players or CD units and dual headphone outs. The 24-bit high-resolution stereo multi-effects processor includes not only one but 4 models of first-class stomp box simulations of each chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, rotary speaker and pitch bend effects and many more.
Amp and cabinet simulation, compressor, noise gate, EQ, modulation effects, delay and reverb can be used simultaneously in any combination.
This one also has a handy tuner incorporated into the design so you never hit a flat note while practicing.
Boss ME 25 multiFX unit – Boss may be the biggest name in guitar effects because they constantly keep the innovation coming, but they also don’t go overboard with bells and whistles when it comes to features. Most players love Boss effect units because they sound good, they’re intuitive and they rarely fail. The ME line of effects is no different.
It can run in front of an amp, it can be a headphone pre-amp for silent practice or it can be your digital interface between your computer recording setup. Anything is possible with this affordable and powerful unit.
The built-in SOUND LIBRARY gives you instant access to dozens of classic and modern effects. Simply choose a category, select a variation, and play.