I forgot to mention, you can find those built in pre-amps with tuners online for anywhere from 15-300$ depending on the quality. You'd have to cut a hole in the side of your merlin to install the display into, and youd have to cut a slot into your bridge under your saddle for the pickup to sit in. Nothing too complicated to do yourself, and definitely something you could get done by a pro if you wanted to. Just make sure you get a preamp small enough to fit in your instrument, perhaps a ukulele preamp.
Maybe ive been in the dark but how cool is THIS?
I have built a dulcimer with a fishman preamp that I recycled from an acoustic guitar. It had an UST or basically a pickup under the bridge and had a built in metronome, tuner, and tone controls.
Personally I am not a big fan of how amplification changes the tone so much, however I'm also not a big fan of the hollow, plunking tone that strumsticks often have. I have tried one of those little piezos, and preferred that, because the original tone was mostly preserved. In my opinion, many strumsticks players are also guitar players who want a more gutsy, guitar like tone, and install pickups to achieve that.
When it comes to tuners built into amps, maybe this is just me, but I find their displays to be very unintuitive to use to tune. I have a headstock tuner but I mostly use an app on my phone. A modern smartphone has a very high quality microphone, typically better quality than you'll ever need for tuning, and also typically better than an actual tuner, plus the display is much bigger and has more details. The clip on can be handy in a group setting or anywhere noisy.
updated by @nate: 09/10/23 04:29:40PM
A Merlin in spruce- with an ONBOARD TUNER and Preamp? They make one in Mahogany, also. I know, it costs more than just clipping on a tuner but think- if Seagull didn't think people would buy it they wouldn't make it. This means that enough people, somewhere, said to them "hey, what if you......" meaning there is interest enough in it for them to invest tens of thousands of dollars or whatever to actually come up with one!
For a 'roots' instrument, that's pretty damn cool.
updated by @alathea: 09/10/23 07:10:43AM