Quick Hit: Grace Design FELiX Preamp Review

An investment-grade preamp that offers powerful EQ controls, dual channels, and a flexible interface.

Capturing the essence of an acoustic instrument in a live setting is difficult. A high-quality condenser mic would be ideal, but, depending on the situation, it might not be practical—especially if you’re playing in a band with drums. The Grace FELiX preamp is a feature-packed unit in an absolutely gig-proof housing that can tackle nearly any possible rig setup you throw at it.

During testing, the dual-channel control configuration allowed for a wealth of EQ options with a rather nuanced parametric mid section that was invaluable for dialing out some of the boxiness that might appear with more passive or piezo-style pickups.


Even with a Millennium Falcon-esque level of controls, the FELiX is rather simple to use, although it takes some learning to fully put all the options into good practice. My Cordoba D9-CE sounded a bit weak in the high frequencies through a Fishman SoloAmp, so I boosted some of the upper mids and moved the high frequency knob to about 2 o’clock. I found the response—especially in the mid controls—to be extremely good and the flexibility to boost highly useful. The $1,000 price tag is likely to ward off some weekend warriors, but if you’re a solo or duo act that needs an all-in-one preamp, the FELiX might be a worthy investment.

Test gear: Cordoba D9-CE, Gibson Hummingbird, Fishman SoloAmp, Apple Garageband

Ratings

Pros:
Immaculate build quality. Plenty of powerful EQ options. Ability to blend inputs.

Cons:
That price! No built-in tuner. Could use individual boost control. A bit of a learning curve.

Street:
$999

Grace Design FELiX Preamp
gracedesign.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

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Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on his solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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