• 08-19-2010

    Pillows, Balloons and O-Ports

    There are a few things in a guitar tech's workbox that might puzzle a casual observer. I have at various times carried around pillow stuffing, which was used to tame an overly responsive Dobro from feeding back.

    Other odd items you might see are a few black balloons. Inserted into an ES-335 or similar semi-acoustic and then blown up, they serve to deaden the top and back enough to stop feedback and they also work in acoustic guitars. You might need to wait until Halloween to get black balloons, but they do come in handy.

    If you want a more traditional approach to feedback suppression, Planet Waves offers two great products.

    The Screeching Halt, which is hands-down my favorite product name, is a sound hole plug and top dampener for acoustic guitars. The slightly tapered edge make it compatible with most sound holes.

    The other option is using the amazing O-Port. Designed to project the sound out of your guitar in a fashion similar to the ports on high quality speakers, the O-Port doubles as a top dampener.

    I use it in just that manner on Brian Nutter's Sigma 12-string. If you've been to a live Keith Urban show lately and heard "Stupid Boy", that was Brian playing the Sigma with an O-Port, standing in the spotlight at the very edge of the stage, practically in front of the house P.A. speakers....no feedback.


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