Finding The Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars
Planning to record a quick track or wish to perform for a huge crowd? However, you find it quite bothersome to fuss with the microphones. Well, you need not worry any longer. Opt for these top acoustic-electric guitars to produce melodic and classic sound quality.
Not sure how these plugged in or acoustic electro beauties work? Well, these guitars come with a preamp and pickup that can amplify your acoustic sound to a higher level so that your audience can hear clearly. Moreover, it provides solid electronics combined with incredible playing experience. Now that we’re aware of its working, let’s find out some of the best acoustic-electric guitars available.
Buying Guide About The Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars
With the emergence of numerous acoustic instruments, it’s high time you look for a popular acoustic-electric guitar. You may have to go through heaps of options to choose the right one that caters to your budget and needs. In this guide, we will help you to make the right choice.
#1 Takamine EF341SC Review – Best Acoustic Electric Guitar
Looking for a high-end model? The Japanese brand Takamine EF341SC is a great option. This one comes with a dreadnought body that has a deep cutaway. The unique shape of this model gives it a real performance guitar look. As for the top portion, it’s made using solid cedar wood material. You will find the sides and the back are completely laminated using maple wood. Moreover, the entire body is fully concealed using a high-quality polish that has a black finishing. This is further coated with a white top binding and the soundhole has decorations to enhance the elegance.
As you move upwards, you will find the C shaped neck made of mahogany that connects with the body. It’s connected using a sturdy dovetail joint at the 14th fret. The neck has a nut width of 1.675 inches. As for the fretboard, it’s made using rosewood and houses 20 frets with small inlays that consist of tiny diamonds. This refined option provides both amplification and sound system. The CT-4B II preamp system uses a special Palathetic under-saddle pickup. It has 3 band EQ which includes treble, mid and bass, a built-in chromatic tuner that’s handy, and a volume slider. A set of chrome tuners that have great accuracy is present at the headstock. You will also find the rosewood bridge with the bone nut and saddle at the blacktop.
- Provides a rich and full acoustic sound.
- Apt for playing great unplugged sessions.
- Cutaway body style allows instantaneous access to higher altitude solos.
- Come with a sturdy hard case.
- Not suitable for those who wish to have a traditional acoustic feel.
The overall design of this model is quite simple with a classy appearance that’s built to offer great performance. When it comes to the CT-4B II preamp electronics, it provides a natural and resonant acoustic sound that’s available at any volume you want. Watch this video to find out more.
#2 Breedlove Solo Concert Review – Great Runner-Up!
Best suited for intermediate and advanced guitarists.
Breedlove Solo Concert is a brand from Oregon that’s quite popular for producing exceptional and unconventional sounds. When you look at the body initially, you may think it has some defects. This is because you will find a huge hole at the side of this concert model. This soundhole is purposely added to allow the player to hear the exact sound that the audience can hear. This secondary hole will not impact the stability and resonance of the guitar. This petite model has a length of 24.9 inches with a soft cutaway that appears incredible. It ensures the players with unhindered access to 20 frets present on the fretboard made of rosewood.
As for the neck, it consists of mahogany wood and has a small hand-friendly and slim framework. It is perfectly coated using a smooth and semi-glossy finishing. The top area consists of sturdy red cedar that has honey shaded grain complemented using a glossy finishing. The preamp and L.R. Baggs under-saddle piezo pickup have 3 band EQ controls. These controls offer great versatility to the electro acoustic model. The bridge contains pinless rosewood that makes it easy to change the strings and provides incredible soundboard stability. The chrome tuning machines present on the headstock do their job perfectly.
- Cedar top produces a mellow and nice sound.
- The cutaways provide access to the upper frets.
- Has an input jack that offers amplified output.
- Has an excellent setup and craftsmanship.
- Due to the skinny headstock, you can’t temporarily clip the capo.
- Has a concert-sized body which is not powerful as a dreadnought.
- Needs more effort for setting up.
Moreover, it comes in a padded and soft gig bag that makes it easy to carry about. Plugging into the amp produces huge sound volume and also helps with sound shaping capabilities. Overall it produces a balanced and perfectly defined sound with a woody and warm appeal. View this video to understand in detail.
#3 Martin LX1E Little Martin Review – Best Travel Acoustic Electric Guitar
Looking for a mini-sized model? Martin LX1E Little Martin is a small-sized option that’s suitable for young players and small individuals. It also works great for hauling from one place to another. Martin used sturdy Sitka spruce material on the top and mahogany on the sides and back. This is commonly seen in most of their models. This material gives a dynamic and bright sound while playing the guitar.
On the sides and the back, you will find a special Koa pattern that makes use of high-pressure lamination. As for the Saddle, it’s made using TUSQ which is commonly present in the high-end versions. It consists of synthetic material which is far better than it’s plastic counterparts. The nut is perfectly built from Black Corian components and the bridge contains Black Richlite material. The Stratabond or the neck is fully laminated using layered wood where 35 strips are seamlessly glued together.
The fretboard consists of synthetic and non-toxic Richlite material which is resistant to heat, stain, and scratches. The Fishman Isys T electronics combined with a preamp system allows you to customize your sound levels. It features phase control, volume control, and built-in tone shaping. Two strap buttons are present in this model. One near the input jack plate and the second one at the heel of the neck.
- Suitable for both left and right-handed players.
- The presence of the lamination gives it great durability.
- Lesser prone to any warping.
- Available at a budget-friendly option.
- Not suitable for heavy set individuals.
- Due to mini size, it lacks bass and dreadnought sound impact.
- Not easy to adjust the truss rod.
Though this material is hand made, the fingerboard and the bridge consist of dense ebony material which evokes a classy appearance. Possessing a special vibe, it produces a sound that is good enough for its size. Watch this video for further details.
#4 Martin Road Series DRS1 Review – A Solid (Legendary!) Choice
In need of a model that will give you a kicker sound punch? If so, you will surely appreciate this eco-friendly Martin Road Series DRS1 model. As for the back, top, and sides it comprises of Sapele material. It’s a highly sustainable tonewood that looks and sounds similar to mahogany. Moving on, you will low oval and modified select hardwood neck that contains a fingerboard made using black richlite. This features small white dot markers and 20 frets.
When it comes to the electronics part, it uses the Fishman Sonitone system. This system has controls that are perfectly hidden at the soundhole of the gadget. Hence you don’t have to cut any holes at the sides to attain the preamp controls. The Fishman Sonitone system is mainly used for the electronics, which features controls hidden in the soundhole of the guitar. This means no hole needs to be cut into the side of the instrument for the preamp controls.
Sticking to the forest-friendly theme, the bridge also comprises certified richlite material. With its sturdy construction, it can handle a few slight punches while transporting. It has 6 strings that make use of Fishman Sonitone electronics and Fishman pickup. Here the nut consists of white Corian and the saddle comprises white tusq material. You will also find diecast chrome turners present in groups of three across the headstock.
- Suited for left-handed players.
- Tonewood mix gives a unique, warm, and organic sound feel.
- Ensures sonic accuracy coupled with impeccable intonation.
- Has a neck shape that offers a great playability.
- Beautifully encased in a ply hardshell case
- Some musicians may not prefer the Sapele tonewood.
- Live performers may opt for a higher end pickup system.
Be it in the plugged in or unplugged regime, this model is capable of cutting through any mix. The shape of the neck is such that you can grab onto the chords effortlessly or create fast-paced runs up and down through the scale. Watch this video for more information.
#5 Gibson J-200 Standard Review – Best High-End Acoustic Electric Guitar
Gibson J-200 Standard sports a great finishing with a vintage Sunburst shade. This dark tobacco model is further enhanced using classic design accents that’s present from the engraved scratchplate to the bridge. As for the headstock, it’s placed perfectly at a 17° angle to give a visual definition along with the cream binding. You will find the machine heads have a gold finishing of Grover Rotomatics.
Edged in a cream shade, the black truss rod covering lies above the Tusq nut. This crowns the rosewood fingerboard elegantly using a rolled edging and is further inlaid with pearl crown fret markers. The fingerboard contains 20 frets and connects with the body on the 15th fret with an incredible finishing. Moreover, it ends with a flowing double curve as it comes in contact with the soundhole. The neck has a walnut seam and consists of a 2 piece maple construction. With the help of a compound dovetail joint, it connects with the body and has the same Sunburst finishing.
The LR Baggs Anthem along with Tru-Mic Technology incorporates an Elemental pickup and a condenser mic. When it comes to the large scratchplate, it’s made using acrylic tortoiseshell with a floral engraved design. The back constitutes flamed maple wood comprising of 2 piece construction that’s inlaid seamlessly with a 3 ply binding. The discrete preamp holds control systems that include phase, mix and volume controls, and a battery test button.
- Thin nitrocellulose lacquer finishing allows the guitar to breathe.
- The build quality is superb and faultless.
- Offers an amazing balanced tone.
- Produces a crisp and clean tone having a well defined tight low end.
- Lacks refined sound quality.
The body constitutes a AAA Sitka spruce top coupled with black and 5 ply cream binding. Moreover, it is enhanced using a double-ringed rosette that gives a traditional highlight.
#6 Takamine GN93CE-NAT Review.
Produces lush sound rich in warmth.
Takamine GN93CE-NAT has a NEX body that appears like a scaled-down jumbo. The model comprises of a sturdy spruce top with the sides completely laminated using rosewood material. This is then spiced up with a back that contains quilt maple and 3 piece rosewood. The combination of rosewood and maple along with the classic spruce top makes it a noteworthy combo.
When it comes to the neck, it utilizes a piece of mahogany that has a 12-inch radius. This is perfectly bound to the rosewood fingerboard that has dot inlays and 21 frets. The mahogany used offers great sturdiness combined with a high level of craftsmanship. This gives the neck a sturdy construction that does not bend easily and is easy to play with.
The model is home to the TK-40D preamp system that is well known for its amazing level of tone control. This is all thanks to the 3 band EQ onboard controls that comprise a mid-contour switch, EQ bypass, notch filter, and gain controls. To sweeten things up, the mix sports a standard built-in gold die-cast tuner. This is further coupled with a dark wood rosette, rosewood head cap, neck and headstock binding, split bridge saddle, and a synthetic bone nut. Due to the great resonance of the body, it acts as a handy option for the percussive players.
- Electronic system is versatile.
- Produces a renowned sound with incredible smoothness and clarity.
- Great option for country music players.
- Has a classic glossy finishing to depict the wood grain.
- Made using top quality materials.
- Some users reported many cracks in their finishing.
This guitar contains a unique combination of different tonewood varieties which results in a sound that’s worthy of appreciation. Whether unplugged or plugged, this instrument shines well to produce a top-quality sound that is loud, organic, clear, and crisp. For further details, go through this video.
#7 Epiphone DOVE PRO
Shows off characteristics of a classic 1960s design.
Interested in creating your striking signature grooves? Then you should go for the Epiphone DOVE PRO. Due to its incredible aesthetics and sound, you can either perform for a lively band or do solo acoustic gigs. It is more like a classic Gibson Dove with electronics and slightly different materials. It brings the old rock and roll icon into the modern age, and the hands of less wealthy guitarists.
The body consists of laminated maple and has a sturdy spruce top which offers a warmer tone that enriches with age. The neck comprises a slim taper D shaped profile made of maple and connects with the body using a dovetail joint. Furthermore, it has a fretboard radius of 12 inches and a nut width of 1.68 inches. As for the rosewood fretboard, it contains a classic Pearloid parallelogram inlays which makes it easier to distinguish the 20 frets. The presence of the imitation bone gives the compensated saddle and nut great durability and a rich harmonic tone.
When it comes to the tuner controls, the Grover 14:1 set eases the tuning for a longer period. Due to the modern integrated Fishman Sonicore pickup system, it exhibits a greater acoustic sound. It also allows you to adjust the Master volume, bass, and treble. With the help of a single battery, you can power it up and use it for about 100 hours.
- Works well for most music genres which include rock, country, and folk
- Capable of attracting seasoned players.
- The electronics are effective in producing natural sounds.
- Gives a vintage happy.
- Does not come with a built-in tuner.
- You may have to tune it constantly.
- Midtones aren’t sturdy enough.
From 1962, this model is popular among rock and country artists across the globe. This is due to its iconic look coupled with the noteworthy acoustics. As for the regular players, it works great due to the incorporation of modern electronics in the mix.
#8 Yamaha FGX800C
Timeless beauty with great quality.
Hunting for an instrument with better specs and entry-level pricing? Yamaha FGX800C is popular for its impressive sound quality and traditional appeal. With a dreadnought body, this guitar outfits a sturdy Sitka spruce top. It’s solid wooden top helps in the aging of the tone gracefully and further improves the sound as you keep playing. With extensive use over the years, the instrument will enhance the harmonics and tone balance.
The presence of the innovative scalloped bracing gives this instrument an excellent appeal and top movement to produce higher projection and low ends. The instrument consists of a nato built to produce a warmer tone which is quite similar to the mahogany option. This helps in maintaining incredible clarity and enhances the mid range frequencies. It’s one of the impressive aspects that makes most strummers opt for this model. The sturdy construction gives it a long lasting effect so that you can play for many seasons.
You also get to enjoy the preamp electronics with the System-66 pickup and high quality tuners. A battery compartment is present at the upper region which makes it easier to access and configure. For upgrading the device, a 3 band EQ is present. This when paired with the sweepable Mids will allow you to get rid of the additional buzzing sounds that can otherwise ruin your entire performance.
- The classic design ensures comfortable playability.
- Top cutaway makes it easy to access when the final frets.
- Apt for stringing up fabulous folk music.
- Enriched with impressive features and has an affordable price range.
- Has a right-hand orientation.
- Tuner quality is not up to the mark and requires constant tuning.
Considering it’s an incredible body and tone quality, it’s a great option for seasoned as well as novice guitarists. Whether you’re planning to do a jamming session with your buddies or play for gigs, this is a great purchase. Go through this video, for further info.
#9 Fender California Newporter Classic
Holds the inspiration of the Californian beaches.
Fender California Newporter Classic Officer is a midsized acoustic version that has stunning detailing and design framework. The presence of the incredible features coupled with the beautiful finishing gives it a distinctive appearance. The entire body along with the headstock is fully painted in a vibrant Hot Rod Red or Cosmic Turquoise shade.
As for the iconic Strat-style headstock, it has a six in line design that captures the attention of the guitar enthusiasts. The body is uniquely bound using koa to offers the soundhole rosette. With a size that’s similar to the auditorium acoustic version, it serves as a comfortable model for players of all sizes. When it comes to the construction, it’s commendable due to the presence of a sturdy Sitka spruce top. These sides and the back are further complemented using the strong unpainted mahogany wood material.
The traditional neck has a slim and tapered C shaped profile that consists of mahogany components with a strong satin finishing. Moreover, it sports a pau Ferro fingerboard with comprises of 20 frets which are easier to access due to the presence of the cutaway. The presence of the headstock houses that are completely sealed in nickel tuning machines does a great job in holding the tunings stable. To match along with the fretboard, a Pau Ferro Viking bridge and a bone saddle and nut are available.
- Suitable for electric players that are planning to switch to acoustic options.
- Has a bright tone ability.
- Packaged in a deluxe padded Fender gig bag which increases the value.
- Comes with slight finishing flaws.
- Requires additional gear to attain more benefits.
- The preamps are not versatile.
For plugging this instrument, the preamp and pickup make use of the Fishman custom-voiced electronics. These electronics are fully supported with the help of some subtle controls that are present on the top about. It constitutes the treble, mid and bass control along with the built-in tuner controls.
#10 Taylor 214ce Deluxe Grand Auditorium
Comes well to adapt to country and rock music.
Taylor 214ce Deluxe Grand Auditorium depicts a narrow-waisted body size along with a Venetian cutaway. Additionally, this cutaway has a steep slope that’s coupled with round and soft edges. As for the body top, it comprises of solid Sitka spruce similar to the original version. However, the sides and the back consists of laminated 3 layers of Indian rosewood veneer material instead of the laminated koa pattern.
The neck contains a satin finishing and made using Sapele with a Classic shape. This slim and tapered shape makes it easier to play with and has an ebony fretboard that contains 20 frets. Apart from the tonewoods, it’s the presence of the minute details that enhances the quality of this model. You will find tiny diamond inlays present on the fretboard instead of the basic dots. This is further concealed in an incredible glossy finishing and stunning single-ring rosette.
This instrument sports Expression System 2 electronics that comes with an advanced level behind the saddle pickup. On the top bout, you will find a small portion for the controls. It provides controls for treble, bass, and volume and acts as the solid options for those who wish to plug in and use. The presence of the nickel sealed tuners, ebony bridge, Micarta saddle, and NuBone nut gives it added reliability.
- Has an ergonomic design framework.
- The build and aesthetic impression is quite striking
- Suitable for both right and left hand oriented players.
- Well protected in a brown Taylor Deluxe Hardshell case.
- The system does not offer much versatility.
You will find that this model is available in either the vintage tinted Sunburst or the natural finishing. As for the vintage tint, it is available at a higher price range. Go through our video, for more info.
Wish to enjoy a bit of versatility? Choosing acoustic-electric guitars is the best option. However, selecting the perfect model can be a daunting task due to the numerous brands available in the market. Based on your budget and experience, you can choose the best model. If it works well with you, you can take it along to spice up your jamming sessions.
Our best pick goes to Takamine EF341SC. This is because this Japanese brand has a flexible system with a dreadnought body shape. As for the tone, it’s rich and warm when not plugged and when amplified it retains its natural fullness. This is mainly due to the presence of the high-quality CT-4B II preamp system that’s come with Palathetic under-saddle pickup.
This EF341SC legacy series option has a single-cutaway with black glossy finishing. As for the cedar top, it has scalloped X bracing and the sides and back consists of solid maple wood. The black finishing is a perfect contrast to the rosette soundhole inlays and the white 6 ply body binding. Here you will also find a rosewood bridge with bone nut and saddle and a black pickguard. The bodies are comparatively huge with a width of 16 inches at the lower bout and a thickness of 4-5 inches. When it comes to the mahogany neck area, its seamlessly connected to the guitar using a dovetail joint. Towards the end lies the chrome sealed back tuners that offer great accuracy. It’s one of the best options for stage performers who wish to take it around for their stage tours.
How To Choose The Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars?
Here are some of the factors you need to consider while selecting the best electro-acoustic guitar.
Body Style: The size of the guitar will also impact the sound quality of the instrument. Though you may wish to play using a huge guitar when it comes to tone, portability, and comfort you may prefer to go with the comfortable option. If you are a heavyset or tall individual, opting for a jumbo guitar would be the best. For small players, mini size or travel models will work great.
Acoustic Pickups Types:
Each pickup offers different levels of quality and is available at a varying price range. You will find 3 types of pickups in the market.
Piezo: These are quite inexpensive and commonly found options. They produce a brighter tone and has a solid mid-range response. Furthermore, it’s bundled with preamps to produce the unplugged acoustic sound.
Magnetic: Magnetic pickups are present in both electric guitars and acoustic-electric models. Normally, it’s situated at the soundhole hence it doesn’t require any permanent modification or drilling. They produce a metallic sound whereas the higher-end options have an acoustic tone.
Transducer: If you need an authentic acoustic tone, this pickup would be a great option. This is because it produces a complex and rich tone while retaining the overall flavor of the instrument’s voice.
Some of the commonly found tonewoods are the following.
Mahogany: This one has a great emphasis on the midrange and bass frequencies resulting in a fairly dark tone. Koa a popular tonewood has similar properties as that of mahogany.
Spruce: Spruce is the popular top wood that produces a brighter tone that goes well with fingerpicking or strumming. It works well when paired along with mahogany.
Rosewood: This tonewood is much brighter than the mahogany option. When you pair rosewood with spruce, the tone produced is quite focused and bright. This is best suited for fingerpicking and leading.
Cedar: This one is also used as a top wood and is commonly present among classical guitar options. It works well for mellow strumming and fingerpicking. However, it is not suitable for making lively genres like bluegrass and blues.
What Is The Difference Between A Acoustic And An Electric Acoustic Guitar?
Acoustic guitars do not have electronics pickups and are commonly referred to as steel-string guitars. Acoustic-electric guitars come with pickups that are used as amplifiers. To be more accurate, an acoustic-electric guitar is a mix of both electric and acoustic instruments. The electro-acoustic option is a better option if you have plans of doing a stage performance as it sounds more beautiful and loud. Moreover, it delivers a natural acoustic tone with higher power. Hence it gives you a two in one feel when plugged into an amp. The preamps can provide varying tone controls of different types up to 6 frequency bands.
Is It A Must For Electric Acoustic Guitars To Use An Amp?
It’s not essential to use an amplifier to get your electro-acoustic guitar working. You can play them even without it however the volume will be very low and you won’t have any control over the effects. Also, you will find that most of the models when unplugged, give a low volume and tonal quality due to slim bodies and other modifications. If you’re planning to play acoustic more often, you may need to get a preamp.
What Is The Best Body Type For Acoustic-Electric Guitars?
The most common body types are either solid wood or laminated modes. As for the solid wood, it comprises of a single piece of solid wood. When it comes to the laminated option, it contains several thin sheets of wood material glued perfectly together. Solid wood option produces higher resonance to produce better and louder sound quality. As for the laminated option, the glue that binds the pieces together decreases the amount of vibration. This, in turn, reduces the volume and frequency of tone production. However, the laminated woods are reliable, resilient to different weather conditions, and cost-effective.
Which Is The Easiest Acoustic-Electric Guitar Type To Play?
The easiest guitar you wish to play with would be the one that you have a greater interest in learning. Often people prefer to opt for guitars that are easier to play. By using the acoustic-electric models you will be able to satisfy your desire for higher volume and power which is not present in the acoustic models. Moreover, it would be a great companion if you’re planning to play on stage for a bigger crowd.
Go through the above reviews of our best acoustic-electric guitars before you make your final decision. Pick the one that suits you well and share your valuable feedback with us in the comments below. Share this post with your music buddies as well.
Good luck with your electro-acoustic guitar experience!