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Review: Strum Buddy Portable Guitar Monitor/Amp

(Image credit: Fluid Audio)

I know you. You’re a lot like me. You’re chillaxing on the sofa, watching Netflix with your electric guitar in hand and staring at the amp on the other side of the room. You really want to plug in, but that would require effort that’s far too ambitious in this comfortable state. I know, I know.

What if I said, “Don’t move! I’ve got a mini-amp that enables your idleness while allowing you to play that electric guitar from the comfort of your couch—or anywhere else”? Well, buddy, let me tell you about the Fluid Audio Strum Buddy portable guitar monitor. Strum Buddy is a mini-amp that conveniently suctions onto your electric guitar’s top and amplifies it with three popular effects.

The Strum Buddy houses a 6-watt amplifier powered by an internal lithium ion rechargeable battery, along with a 40mm neodymium magnet speaker in an ABS plastic enclosure the size of a tennis ball. It has a flexible rubber suction cup at the bottom to easily mount it onto your guitar’s top, where it remains firmly in place. What’s important is the Strum Buddy is safe to use on any top—even guitars with nitrocellulose finishes. The Strum Buddy features three DSP guitar effect presets for distortion, reverb and chorus, which are accessed via push buttons that can be turned on/off individually and combined.

The Strum Buddy is very easy to use. Simply plug in the included 1.4–inch to 3.5mm mono guitar cable into the unit and the other into your guitar’s input jack (a lit LED lets you know it’s operational), select the effects you feel like hearing and fire away. I personally love the reverb and chorus, which are loud and clear enough to enjoy without bothering your better half on the other side of the couch. The distortion is also good enough to work out your favorite solos. Even better is the Strum Buddy’s battery power lasts up to 3.5 hours—about the same time as a Lord of the Rings movie, if you’re so inclined to noodle throughout any one of the trilogies.

STREET PRICE: $69.99
MANUFACTURER: Fluid Audio, fluidaudio.net

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Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.