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Rivera Sedona Guitar Amplifier Review

March 1, 2011 by  



Rivera Sedona Doyle DykesRivera’s Sedona is essentially two amps in a single package, but before you hit the next button on this page thinking that it’s just another two-channel combo, you should be aware that it is the only amp we know of that combines and electric guitar amp and an acoustic guitar amp in one. This is welcomed if you frequently double on electric and acoustic instruments, or if you have a hybrid electric/acoustic axe like a Parker Fly or Hamer Duotone and you’re sick of hauling several amps to a gig just to sound convincing.

Musician's Friend

The Sedona was designed for Nashville fingerpicker Doyle Dykes, who wanted an amp that he could plug both his Tele and his Taylor into and have each sound equally outstanding. Featuring two fully independent channels that are respectively voiced to deliver optimal electric (channel 1) and acoustic tones (channel 2), the Sedona also features an ingenious speaker system consisting of a 12-inch JBL full-range speaker and a 5-inch high-frequency Electro-Voiced driver that can be set to switch on only when you select channel 2. The EV tweeter provides an enhanced treble response that perfectly complements the extended frequency range of an acoustic guitar, providing rich, natural-sounding tone.

Covered in brown Tolex and featuring a matching brown grille and classy leather handle, the Sedona looks right at home in places where the clientele is more likely to sip cappuccinos than Coors. But don’t be fooled by its gentrified appearance as the Sedona can pump out enough volume and distortion to shatter earthenware mug.

Rivera didn’t skimp when tic amt to supplying features for this amp. Each channel comes with a full complement of tone and gain controls (bass, middle, treble, volume and master). Both channels share a single set of presence and reverb controls. Several of the controls are also pull switches that provide additional functions: channel 1’s pull functions include channel select (volume) and boost (master), channel 2’s pull functions are bright (treble) notch (middle), and Ninja boost (master), which lets you overdrive the amp’s output section. The front panel also boasts a pair of level and frequency controls for the amp’s anti-feedback equalizer, which is active only when channel 2 is selected. These controls not only help you eliminate feedback, they also help enhance the sound of acoustic instruments plugged into the amp by giving you even greater control of the instrument’s frequency response.

Even more controls reside on the Sedona’s back panel. Here you will find a balanced XLR tube direct box output for running the signal P.A., mixing board or recorder, an impedance selector switch and a pair of tweeters and speaker output jacks for connecting the Sedona to Rivera’s matching extension cabinet, which also features JBL 12-inch and a switchable 5-inch EV tweeter. All these features add up to an amp that’s suited for the studio or stage without requiring an expensive add-ons or modifications.

While all of these features sound good on paper, the only way to truly appreciate the Sedona is to plug some acoustic and electric guitars into it and let the fingers fly. Rivera says that the electric guitar channel is voiced like a British amp, and all it takes is a few mighty power chords to realize that they’re right on the mark. Thanks to the JBL 12-inch, the Sedona provides a brisk Hiwatt -like chime at clean settings. When you crank up the distortion, amp delivers a satisfying crunch and singing lead tones without any of the sag and lack of definition commonly encountered from single speaker combos. Even though the Sedona’s dual EL34 power tubes provide 60-watt of output, this amp can keep up with its 100-watt competition.

But while the electric guitar channel is wholly satisfying, the Sedona really comes into its own when you plug in a pickup-equipped acoustic guitar, switch to channel 2 and let it rip. Thanks to its all-tube circuit, the Sedona provides a warm, round and rich tone that beautifully complements the characteristics of an acoustic guitar. Channel 2 has significant head-room, allowing you to generate quite loud signal, helped substantially by the anti-feedback controls which eliminate howl, rumble and shrieks. The EQ tames the harsh transients often encountered in piezo pickup systems, providing a wonderfully natural sound.

Channel 2’s clean, natural acoustic sounds are stellar, but you can also generate some incredible sounds by cranking up the gain and letting the signal distort. Blues players and rockers will love the raunchy sound of an acoustic guitar pushed into overdrive. The Sedona’s harmonically rich distortion allows a distorted acoustic guitar to sing, maintaining crisp note definition. Add in a touch of lush reverb courtesy of the Sedona’s six-spring, long-pan Hammond Reverb tank, and you’ll be swimming in a heady sound unlike anything you’ve ever experienced from an acoustic guitar before. It may even cause you to stop playing electric, so be forewarned!

Note: the channel 2 also sounds great with an electric guitar, so you can use the Sedona as a normal two-channel amp on gigs where you may not feel inclined to haul along your acoustic-electric. If desired, you can bypass the tweeter altogether by pulling out the frequency control.


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