Acoustic-electric guitars are extremely popular amongst musicians. Whether you’re looking to perform or record, having the best acoustic-electric guitar is essential if you’re a budding guitar player.
However, there are hundreds if not thousands of this type of guitar on the market. In this article, we’re going to show you the top 10 acoustic-electric guitars, as well as some useful buying tips that help you master your guitar purchase.
Before we do that though, let’s take a look at what an acoustic-electric guitar is and why you might need one.
What Is An Electro-Acoustic Guitar & Why Do You Need One?
An acoustic-electric guitar is very similar to a standard acoustic guitar. However, the main difference is that this type of guitar is fitted with a pickup that allows it to be plugged into an amp/PA system.
There are many reasons why this may be of interest to you, however, the two main reasons that people purchase this type of acoustic guitar is that they either want to use it for live performance or they want a simple solution for recording at home or in the studio.
Whether you are a professional or hobbyist, owning an acoustic-electric guitar is a must-have for any guitarist.
Best All-Round Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Yamaha is one of the most famous musical instrument companies in the world. Producing instruments such as electric guitars, acoustic guitars, ukuleles, pianos and many woodwind and brass instruments. Yamaha has a knack for creating a wide variety of instruments at all price ranges.
Guitarists that have been known to play Yamaha guitars include players such as Bob Dylan, James Taylor and Paul Simon.
When searching for the best acoustic-electric guitars, one of our favourite models is the Yamaha A5R. A high-quality instrument, that works well for a variety of genres.
The Yamaha A5R is easily one of the best acoustic-electric guitars available. This guitar offers excellent quality tonewoods and features a solid Sitka spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides, TUSQ nut and saddle, ebony bridge and an African mahogany neck complete with an ebony fretboard.
All of these woods work together beautifully to create a tone that is not only rich but filled with a warm bass response and mid-range. As well as this, the dreadnought body really helps the guitar to produce a lovely acoustic tone that any player would be delighted with.
However, one of the advantages of this fantastic electric acoustic guitar is its preamp system. What makes the electronics in this guitar unique is that the fact it uses a blend of a piezo pickup and a digitally processed mic emulation of popular studio mics the Royer-122 and Neumann U67. Although you may have just flinched at the word ‘digital’, this emulation is extremely accurate and allows the player to blend between piezo and studio-quality mic sounds, enhancing the overall tonal spectrum and allowing you to really craft your own acoustic sound.
Not only does the guitar sound great, but Yamaha also produces quality instruments and has a reputation for making guitars that play exceptionally well. The hand-rolled fretboard edges give the user an excellent playing experience and the low action allows lead, chordal and fingerpicking work to feel delightful under the fingers.
Overall, if you’re looking for a guitar that is going to last a lifetime. Whether you’re in the recording studio or gigging environment, the Yamaha A5R is an excellent choice.
- The onboard electronics are fantastic and perfectly portray the guitar’s acoustic quality.
- Use of solid woods such as solid Sitka spruce and rosewood.
- Scalloped bracing on the guitar enhances the guitars volume and overall midrange.
- Excellent build quality and craftsmanship.
- Although it’s a fantastic instrument, it may be too expensive for some players.
- No fully dreadnought option.
Best Parlour Acoustic-Electric Guitar
PRS SE PE20P Tonare Electro Acoustic
Although probably more famous for their production of electric guitars. PRS has recently begun to dip their toes into the acoustic guitar market. Designer ‘Paul Reed Smith’ is well-known for creating fantastic quality guitars, and his acoustic range is no exception.
Featuring guitars of all shapes and sizes, their Parlour guitar, the ‘PE2OP’ is a fantastic instrument that sounds and looks fantastic.
If you’re for an excellent quality parlour guitar that is stylish, affordable and sounds great, then the PRS SE PE20P is one of the best acoustic-electric guitars out there.
To begin with, let’s discuss the guitar features. Like a lot of acoustic electrics in this price range, this guitar features Fishman electronics (GT1 pickup), satin mahogany top, back and sides, neck mahogany and ebony fingerboard. The body and neck mahogany offers the users a lovely mid-range that suits this sized guitar extremely well.
Aesthetically, this guitar gives a nod back to traditional parlours of the 1940s but also has modern attributes too. The small body size and satin finish feel extremely comfortable when playing the instrument, PRS is known for their production of quality instruments and this model feels like it’s built to last.
Although this guitar won’t compete volume-wise with dreadnought guitars, it still packs a punch. Tonally, a parlour guitar can work fantastically for playing chords with fingerpicking technique and as a result this suits genres of music such as folk, blues and country.
As well as this, PRS’s trademark birds and vintage style buttons look fantastic and the Fishman GT1 electronics help emphasise the guitars mid-range quality.
To conclude, if you want a parlour guitar that isn’t going to break the bank. The PRS SE P20E is worth considering.
- The small body size works suits teenagers and women and feels extremely comfortable.
- Mahogany neck, body and solid mahogany top enhance the tonal palette of this guitar.
- Vintage looks are aesthetically appealing.
- The guitar comes in a variety of colours and finishes.
- The addition of a padded gig bag is a nice touch.
- Not all woods on this guitar are solid.
- The overall set-up may need adjusting on arrival.
Best Dreadnought Electro Acoustic
When discussing the best acoustic-electric guitars, it’s impossible not to mention Martin. ‘Martin’ was founded in the 1830s and are one of the longest-standing brands in the business. A martin guitar is an industry-standard in the professional music world and the brand has had many notable players over the years. This includes Elvis, Willie Nelson and Kurt Cobain.
One of our favourite Martin guitar models is the D10E. Let’s learn more about it.
Made in Mexico, the Martin D-10E is a fantastic gorgeous guitar that is guaranteed to suit a wide range of guitar players. Whether you play musical genres such as country, blues, pop or jazz, the Martin D10E can easily handle whatever playing styles you throw at it.
The D-10 E is an affordable option for the gigging guitarist who wants something that is going to be an excellent workhouse in the performance environment. Most of the time, when playing in bars and clubs, you don’t want to take your prized guitar with you. As we all know, there’s nothing worse than having an expensive guitar ruined by a punter.
However, this isn’t to say that this acoustic-electric is no good, the D-10E offers a wealth of features that enhance the playability and tone of the guitar. For example, like most acoustics, the dreadnought body features a solid Sitka spruce top that boasts a satin finish that feels extremely nice when playing the instrument.
Although this legendary guitar doesn’t use all solid woods, it does feature the use of richlite woods for the bridge and fretboard as well as a select hardwood for the neck. One feature that makes this instrument stand out, is the built-in tuner that is hidden within the acoustic guitar’s body, this is of course complemented by the MX-T Fishman pickup system that offers volume and tone controls.
Upon plugging in this acoustic-electric, we’ve treated to an authentic acoustic sound and not the infamous piezo quack that guitars in this price range can suffer from.
Even though these aren’t cheap acoustic-electric guitars, they do offer excellent quality and value for money. So, if you’re a musician who wants to get a solid quality acoustic for performing, this D-10E is worth checking out.
- Features a built-in tuner and Fishman’s MX-T system.
- The natural satin top with a solid Sitka spruce top and cherry back and sides look extremely appealing.
- The D10 produces an iconic sound that only Martin guitars can achieve.
- Increased playability due to Martins slim neck.
- Dreadnought guitars don’t suit everyone.
- Although part of Martins more affordable instruments, more solid woods would have been nice.
Best Grand Auditorium Electro Acoustic
Taylor 214 CE Deluxe
Just like ‘Martin’, ‘Taylor’ make some of the best acoustic-electric guitars available on the market. Although they were only established and founded in 1970 by Bob Taylor, they have since risen in popularity and are now one of the best selling acoustic brands in the world.
Taylor is known for producing high-end guitars and as a result of this, many famous musicians such as Tori Kelly, Dave Matthews and Zac Brown have all been known to use Taylor Guitars at some point in their career which is an indication of their quality.
One of our favourites is the 241ce deluxe, let’s learn more about it.
The ‘Grand Auditorium’ body shape popularised by Taylor, and the 214CE is one of the best guitars in this category. Similar to the D-10E, this Taylor guitar is made in Mexico and features a Sitka Spruce top, layered rosewood back and sides, an expression system 2 pickups and a Venetian cutaway.
Compared to other products on the market, the 214CE is extremely playable. One of the best acoustic-electric guitars on the market, this same guitar offers a slim neck shape and comfortable body, playing techniques such as strumming, lead, fingerpicking or percussive styles are easily achieved with a guitar like this.
Furthermore, Taylor’s own expression system 2 is one of the best pickups that you can get in an acoustic-electric instrument. The addition of volume, bass and tone controls allow you to dial in a balanced tone and in addition, produce a rich acoustic sound that any guitarist would be proud of.
One aspect that sets this guitar out from the rest is the padded gig bag, it feels extremely sturdy and is guaranteed to protect your guitar from studio to stage. However, some users have mentioned that it does come apart after frequent use.
Our only criticism of this instrument is that it uses layered back and sides, at this price range we’d expect solid woods. However, there is no denying Taylors commitment to quality and craftsmanship.
If you’re looking for an acoustic-electric guitar that is going to work for the modern player, the 214CE is well worth looking into.
- The Expression System 2 is of extremely high quality and lets the natural sound of your guitar sing when amplified.
- The cutaway on this instrument gives you access to the higher frets and allows you to delve into lead guitar playing styles.
- The addition of high-quality woods such as rosewood, solid Sitka spruce allows this guitar to truly sing acoustically.
- On a guitar of this price range, we’d expect the guitar’s body to have solid woods. Not layered back and sides.
Best Jumbo Electro Acoustic Guitar
Guild Guitars F-240 E
When looking for the best acoustic-electric guitars, it’s hard to look past the Guild F-240E. This jumbo acoustic-electric is a fantastic guitar and an affordable price point. So whether you’re a beginner looking for an upgrade, or a professional who wants a decent instrument that will put up with the intensity of gigging. The F-240E is well worth a look.
The Guild F-240 E is one of the best jumbo acoustic-electric guitars available. Coming in at under $500, this acoustic has a wealth of features that punch well above its price range. This includes a Solid Sitka Spruce top, Mahogany body and back and sides, Pau Ferro fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and Guild’s Fishman designed AP-1 pickup system.
Although the large body may be tricky for some players, what it does provide is an excellent tone that projects extremely well. The large body of this guitar provides extra bass, which clearly reverberates against when strumming chords. However, it doesn’t get too boomy as the Mahogany back and sides add mid-range and the spruce adds a top-end that brings the tonal quality of this guitar together.
Although this guitar is excellent value for money, some users have complained about some quality control issues. This includes some fret ends that could have had a little more attention and out of the box, the set-up may not be to everyone’s taste. However, a quick trip to a guitar luthier would sort this out.
Acoustic-electric guitars in this price range are often guilty of having cheap piezo pickups in, which can lead them to sound undesirable. However, Guild has fixed the issue by working with Fishman to produce a pickup system that is worthy of a guitar of this quality.
Overall, if you’re looking for one of the best jumbo acoustic-electric guitars, this offering by Guild is well worth checking out.
- Extremely competitive price at under $500.
- Comes with a solid spruce top and mahogany sides.
- The jumbo size offers the player a strong tone that projects extremely well.
- The addition of the Fishman designed electronics enhance this guitar performance when amplified.
- The large body of this type of guitar may not suit everyone.
- The pickup system underneath the body can be hard to adjust on the fly.
Best 000 Electro-Acoustic Guitar
As stated earlier, Martin makes some of the best acoustic guitars available on the market. However, one of the downsides of Martin is that they are often very expensive. To purchase a USA made Martin Guitar, you’re looking at easily $1000 and above.
One thing that Martin has done to compensate for this in recent years is produce more affordable models. One of our favourites is the ooo1xae. Let’s learn more about it.
One of the best acoustic-electric guitars in the triple 0 categories is the Martin 000XA1E. This versatile guitar offers a small comfortable body shape but without the usual compromises in a tone that travel and parlour style guitars bring to the table.
Out of all of Martin’s 000 guitars, this guitar is one of Martin’s most affordable acoustic-electric models, however, this doesn’t mean that there’s a compromise in quality here. As this is a Martin, you can rest assured that you’re going to get a well-built instrument with a great sound.
This acoustic-electric instrument features a high-pressure laminate on the back and sides, rich lite wood on the fingerboard and bridge and a stratabond neck.
Although the use of laminate woods may seem like a downside, most of the tonal quality from an acoustic comes from the top wood, and Martin has certainly not skimped on quality here. The 000X1AE comes with a solid Sitka spruce top that gives the instrument a well-balanced tone across the frequency spectrum, and with Martin’s exceptional build quality, you’re always guaranteed a great sounding axe.
Tonally, this guitar has a warm sound that is neither too thin nor too boomy, it sits somewhere in the middle. This offers the guitar player a good range of tones, particularly for light strumming and fingerpicking, however, users should be aware that due to the smaller body size, the guitar can only produce so much volume.
Electronically is where this guitar really shines, featuring a Fishman Sonitone pickup that uses a tone and volume control, the natural quality of this acoustic-electric is easily replicated when amplified, providing the user with a decent plugged-in sound that is perfect for recording or gigging.
Overall, if you want a great guitar that has a decent preamp system and fantastic acoustic qualities, the Martin 000X1AE should be on your list of considerations.
- This guitar has less of an impact on the environment compared to other instruments due to the use of HPL woods.
- Offers a louder sound than travel guitars and parlours.
- The instrument uses a fishman pickup.
- You can rely on Martin’s exceptional build quality and use of sold top woods.
- Small bodied acoustics such as this have their sonic limitations.
- Although the guitar is of excellent quality, the use of solid woods would have been nice.
Best Nylon Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Although the name ‘Cordoba’ may make you think instantly of Spanish and Flamenco music, this company is actually based in Santa Monica, California. However, don’t let that put you off! The company was initially set up by Tim Mikalaucic, with the aim of filling in the gap in a heavily saturated market of steel-string acoustics and electric guitars.
One of our favourite models of there’s is the Cordoba C5-CE, let’s find out more.
Although within this article, we’ve mainly discussed steel-string acoustic-electric guitars, it wouldn’t be right to not talk about a nylon guitar. There are so many to choose from, however, we believe that the Cordoba c5 CE is the best within its price range.
One of the main attractions of nylon strung guitars is the soft tonal quality of their strings. Although not suited to acoustic strummers, they do work exceptionally well for styles of music such as Flamenco, Classical and Jazz.
Sporting a gloss finish, these acoustic-electric guitars come with a solid cedar top, laminated mahogany back and sides and a rosewood fingerboard. Cedar isn’t as popular as spruce, but it does, however, offer a tonal quality that beautifully compliments a nylon string guitar.
Just like many guitars within this price range, it comes with a Fishman piezo system that is guaranteed to authentically replicate the sound of most acoustic-electric guitars.
Our only criticisms of this instrument are that the gold hardware can look a little cheap and that large classical necks can be a struggle for some guitarists. However, if you want a nylon string that isn’t going to break the bank, this is a great choice.
- Interesting tonewoods are used such as a solid cedar top, laminated mahogany back and sides and a rosewood fretboard.
- Cutaway suits the modern player and gives access to the upper frets.
- Fishman pickups enhance the amplified tone of this instrument.
- Extremely well priced and offers excellent value for money.
- Larger classical necks don’t suit everyone.
- This acoustic-electric may need an additional setup out of the box.
Best 12 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Guild Guitars F-2512E
Guild guitars are the dark horses of the guitar industry. Although not as famous as companies such as Gibson or Fender, Guild makes fantastic guitars that suit a wide range of styles.
Based in America, Guild guitars have partnered with many companies over the years, including Fender, Epiphone and Cordoba. As well as this, they’ve had users such as John Lennon and Muddy Waters.
One of their most unique guitars is the F-2512E 12 string model, let’s take a look at it.
There is simply nothing that beats the sound of a 12 string acoustic and the Guild F-2512E is one of the best that there is. Boasting a jumbo-sized body, this is one of the best acoustic guitars that are available on the market.
The main features of this instrument that make it stand out from the crowd are a solid spruce top, maple sides and arched maple back. These attributes allow the instrument to project a decent volume whilst also offering a tone that is bright, present and full of sustain.
As well as this, key features of this product include a Pau Ferrod fingerboard, bridge, bone nut and saddle and Guild’s Fishman electronics AP-1 pickup that features volume control and tone control, allowing you to control the overall output and top end of the instrument.
Although a jumbo design won’t suit everyone, for players that it does, there is simply that not that compares to the low-end thump of an acoustic of this nature. As well as this, the neck is on the thicker side so that can take a little bit of getting used to, overall though this would make a perfect 12 string acoustic for most guitarists.
To conclude, if you’re on the hunt for one of the best acoustic-electric 12 strings, the Guild F-2512CE offers intermediate and advanced guitarists an instrument with a balanced sound that competes with many high-end guitars.
- Extremely well priced considering the quality of woods and build quality.
- Matt finish on the wood makes this instrument a pleasure to play.
- Nothing beats the jangle and clarity of a 12 string guitar and this Guild is no exception.
- The large body offers the player a large bass response however the addition of a maple wood keeps the brightness of the guitar in check.
- Well set up with a low action out of the box, this is rare on instruments at this price range.
- 12 string guitars can take a little bit of time to get used to.
- The jumbo body won’t suit all players.
Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under 300 dollars
Although most famous for their electric guitars such as the ‘Stratocaster’ and ‘Telecaster’. Fender also makes fantastic acoustic guitars throughout every price range.
Fender is a company that is always innovating and pushing the boundaries of guitar design and the ‘CC-6-sce’ is no exception. This is a great budget-friendly guitar that is suitable for most players, let’s learn more about it.
When searching for the best acoustic-electric guitars, it’s hard to ignore more budget-friendly models such as Fender’s CC-60SCE. Despite their low price, these affordable acoustic-electric guitars come with many features that wouldn’t look out of place on a guitar two times the price.
Aimed with the beginner/intermediate player in mind, these electric acoustic guitars are available in two finishes, natural or black. Choosing the right colour for you is of course personal preference, but it’s a nice touch by Fender nonetheless.
This acoustic instrument comes with a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, solid neck mahogany, fingerboard made out of walnut and a gloss finish. This can feel a little sticky at first, but after a while, it’s easy to get used to.
One feature that makes this one of the best acoustic-electric guitars in its price range is the Fender’s ‘easy to play’ neck shape with rolled edges. This is extremely comfortable to play and suits beginners and intermediates extremely well.
- Solid spruce top with scalloped x bracing.
- A small concert-style body is suitable for beginners.
- Comes in a natural or black finish.
- Features electronics by Fishman, as well as a built-in tuner.
- Some users have complained about quality issues such as the guitar needing a setup and fretwork.
- Doesn’t come with a gigbag, but can be purchased separately.
Best Travel Electro Acoustic Guitar
Taylor GS Mini E Koa
Not only does Taylor produce fantastic full-size acoustic guitars like their dreadnought and grand auditorium models,they also make great travel guitars.
Their GS mini-series and ‘big baby’ guitars are hugely popular, and there’s a good reason why. They are fantastic guitars that look fantastic, sound great and have excellent build quality.
One of their favourites is the ‘GS Mini E Koa’, let’s find out more.
One of the top acoustic-electric guitars is the ‘GS Mini’ series by Taylor. This particular model consists of a Hawaiian koa top and layered koa back and sides. Koa wood is extremely attractive, however, it also offers a warm sweet sound that only gets better over time.
Although there is no three-band EQ on the pickup system, the onboard volume, tone and tuner controls enhance your acoustic tone and ensure that you are consistently in tune.
One element of this guitar that makes it different from its competitors is its scale length. As this is a smaller guitar, the scale length comes in at 23.5 inches and works perfectly for guitarists who have smaller hands. As well as this, the smaller body of this instrument means it’s the perfect companion for travel or for chilling on the couch.
One advantage of the GS mini-series is that they offer alternative tonewoods. Whether you require solid mahogany, rosewood fretboard or spruce, Taylor offers all of these woods and more throughout this model of guitar.
Furthermore, what makes this one of the best acoustic-electric guitars is the fact that it comes with an excellent quality gig, enabling you to travel easily with the GS mini.
Overall, if you’re looking for a sweet acoustic guitar that sounds rich, looks gorgeous and has a smaller scale length, then the Taylor GS mini is worth a look.
- They offer a wide range of choices in tonewoods such as Mahogany, Koa and Rosewood.
- The guitar is extremely comfortable due to its slim neck and body size.
- The koa woods on this instrument look aesthetically pleasing.
- Features an onboard chromatic tuner with an LED display and a low battery indicator.
- Some may consider this style of guitar to be expensive for what it is, however it is considered one of the best acoustic-electric guitars on the market.
- Pickup system could be improved if using the Expression 2 system from Taylors higher models.
When looking for the best acoustic-electric guitars, it can often be hard to know what to look for. From guitar to guitar, there is often so much variation between each product.
Whether it’s different body shapes, woods, pickup systems or fingerboard types. All these contrasting factors can make a huge difference when it comes to finding the right guitar for you.
However, fear not. In this buying guide, we’re going to break down the core details of acoustic guitars, ensuring that you’ll be able to master your acoustic-electric guitar purchase the first time.
There are many acoustic body shapes, however, we can break them down into the following categories:
- Grand Auditorium.
- Martin 0, 00 & 000 body shape.
Out of all the body shapes, the dreadnought guitar is the largest and most common. Pretty much every guitar maker has a dreadnought body in their lineup.
This type of body is known for producing a large sound that is deep and full. This guitar can work for most genres, but it is most commonly used for styles of music such as blues, country and rock.
The grand auditorium shape was popularised by Taylor Guitars. Although it’s a relatively new shape in the acoustic guitar world, it is still worth a mention. This guitar has a medium body shape, and as a result of this, produces a rich tone that works well for most genres of music.
Initially, these guitars were created in the 1930s & 1940s as a budget alternative and are the smallest of our guitar body types. However, don’t be fooled by its petit size. This guitar packs a punch!
Due to modern construction techniques such as internal bracing, these guitars have a warm tone and work well for the travelling musician who isn’t willing to compromise on tone.
These are the biggest type of acoustic guitars. Popularised by manufacturers such as Gibson, these guitars produce rich and warm tones that work perfectly well for strumming.
Initially produced in the 1930s, these acoustic guitars have been popular throughout rock, pop and country ever since their debut.
Martin 0,00 & 000 body shapes
Martin guitars are considered one of the best acoustic guitar manufacturers of our time, so it would be wrong to not include this popular body shape.
Martin has three popular body shapes, the 0, 00 and 000. Each of these body shapes has a certain tone and characteristic that will appeal to each individual musician.
- 0 – Similar to a parlour guitar, this type of acoustic guitar has a warm mid-range that is perfect for blues and folk.
- 00 (Grand Concert) – As the name might suggest, this guitar acoustic guitar is slightly bigger than the 0 size that martin offers. As a result of this, this guitar has more projection and suits musicians who want a smaller body size but don’t want to lose the projection of a conventional acoustic instrument.
- 000 (Orchestra Model) – The largest of the martin range, (bar the dreadnought) this guitar was initially designed for musicians who wanted a larger sound that wasn’t as mid-range focused as the 0 and 00 models. As a result of this, these acoustic guitars work well for strumming and are the first choice for artists such as Eric Clapton.
When looking at acoustic guitar body woods, there are a wide variety of woods that can potentially be used. However, the main types are as follows:
Spruce, also known as ‘Solid Spruce’ or Solid Sitka Spruce’ is a popular tonewood that is used widely on acoustic guitars.
This wood is extremely strong and has a flat neutral sound. Although this might seem like a downsize, it’s actually great as it means the wood doesn’t dominate the overall tone of the instrument.
Often, many makers will use a different back and side wood to further manipulate the tone of the instrument.
Mahogany is less common on acoustic guitars, however, it is used. This tonewood is often used as back or side wood, although some instruments do feature a mahogany neck and top.
In terms of tone, this guitar produces a warm tone, with a rich mid-range. You’ll often find this on smaller-bodied acoustic guitars such as parlours and 0 or 00 shaped instruments.
Out of all the woods, Maple has the brightest acoustic guitar tone. It’s often used as a top wood on larger type guitars such as jumbos or dreadnoughts, as these guitars have a low powerful tone, the bright sound of maple balances this out.
As well as being used as a top wood, it can also be used a back and side wood. This is compliments darker woods such as solid mahogany well.
Rosewood is easily the most expensive wood and is often used on premium guitars such as Taylors and Martins. Rarely used as a top wood, this wood is often used on fingerboards and backs and sides of instruments.
Tonally, this wood has a mid rich sound that works perfectly for fingerpicking and strumming.
String Types – Steel & Nylon
For acoustic-electric guitars, we often get two types of strings used. These are steel strings and nylon strings.
Steel strings have a bright vibrant tone that suits techniques such as strumming, fingerpicking and lead playing. This is the most common string type and is often used for more popular genres such as country, rock, blues and more.
Nylon strings are a little less conventional but are not uncommon. This string type has a softer sound and suits Spanish and Brazilian types of music such as flamenco and Bossa nova.
Electro-Acoustic Guitar Pickups
There are many different types of pickups for acoustic-electric guitars. We can break it into four different categories. These are:
- Piezo Pickups.
- Internal Microphones.
- Soundhole Pickups.
- Combination Pickups.
A piezo is the most common acoustic guitar pickup. This is a magnetic pickup that sits underneath the bridge of an acoustic. This technology picks up the vibrations of the strings and then that signal gets sent to either a PA system or amplifier to be increased further.
The best thing about this type of pickup is that it is extremely easy to use and often solves the issue of common stage issues such as feedback. However, as piezo pickups are widely available on instruments of all price levels their quality can vary.
A sure-fire way of getting a decent piezo system is by making sure that has an onboard preamp and three-band EQ controls.
In the most traditional setup, an internal microphone is a small microphone that is often placed underneath or on top of the body. This picks up the sound of the guitar and allows it to be amplified.
Although this method sounds great and allows the true sound of your guitar to be represented, these pickups can often be susceptible to feedback.
A soundhole pickup is usually a physical ‘block’ that is placed across an acoustic guitar sound-hole. Within this pickup, the magnets pickup up the vibrations of the strings and are then made louder through a PA system or amp.
This type of pickup is great as it allows you to modify an acoustic guitar that you already have. However, they can sometimes be tricky to set up which can lead to your guitar being damaged.
A combination pickup blends a piezo and microphone pickup together. This is the rarest type of pickup, however, it gives the player the most versatility.
You get the ease of use of a piezo pickup, but also the natural sound of an internal microphone. The main bonus of this is that you can easily blend between the two types of sounds to get your desired tone.
However, the only downside of this is that you can often spend more time twiddling controls than actually playing the guitar.
Despite this, this is probably the best solution for getting a natural acoustic guitar sound on stage.
What is the best inexpensive acoustic-electric guitar?
There are many guitars in this category, and it’s simply impossible to pick one! However, you can’t go wrong with anything by Fender, Ibanez or Seagull.
All are reputable companies that make great electricacoustic guitars at the best prices.
Do you need an amp for an electro-acoustic guitar?
Although you can use an acoustic amplifier to amplify your acoustic-electric guitar. This isn’t the only way of doing so.
Many guitarists will also plug into a PA system. This is often just as good as plugging into a dedicated acoustic amplifier.
I already have an acoustic, can’t I just add a pickup to that guitar?
Yes, you can. The easiest way of doing this is by adding a ‘soundhole’ pickup. This is a pickup that fits in the soundhole of the guitar. Companies such as LR Baggs and Fishman all make this type of pickup.