Acoustic-electric guitars, also known as electro-acoustic guitars, are advanced acoustic guitars that have built-in electronics to increase sound amplification. By appearance, acoustic-electric guitars are similar to acoustic guitars except it has a pickup installed in the bridge and its controls are built either at the side or at the edge of body panels. An acoustic-electric guitar has controls for volume, tone, equalization and tuning. Acoustic-electric guitars have all the properties of an acoustic guitar and can be played exactly like one. If extra volume is required, you just have to just plug it into an amplifier, and it will amplify the sound of the guitar.
Difference between an Acoustic-Electric and Electric Guitar:
An acoustic-electric guitar can be played plugged as well as unplugged, whereas an electric guitar can only be played when it is plugged in. Lots of adjustments have to be made on electric guitars before playing, but acoustic-electric guitars are easy to use and simple to play.
An acoustic-electric guitar can be plugged into an electric amplifier for louder sound, whereas an acoustic guitar sound can only be produced by the vibrations of the strings. The sound is amplified by the wooden body of the guitar. To know more about electric and acoustic guitars, check out this detailed buying guide.
Things to Consider:
Every guitarist has his own unique style of playing this instrument. Some like large body guitars, some prefer soft nylon strings over steel strings, etc. When you decide to buy an acoustic-electric guitar, you should buy according to your budget. Branded electro-acoustic guitars are good but they are expensive, and might make big holes in your pockets. Be realistic while choosing the best electric acoustic guitar.
Choose the Acoustic-Electric Guitar You Love the Most:
Unfortunately, sometimes the instrument you love is out of your budget. If this happens with you, then you should try to get that particular brand by saving or by purchasing a second-hand copy of that guitar. You should play the instrument that you like the most, because it will be the most enjoyable for you to play.
Play Each Guitar Present in the Store:
Before buying your guitar, find out which piece sounds best. Play some of your favorite tunes on all the instruments before buying one. After trying all the brands present in the store, compare your notes and then come to a decision about the perfect piece. The very first guitar might blow the others out of the water, or maybe another one catches your fascination. Make sure you play all the brands plugged as well as unplugged. Then shortlist your favorite electro-acoustic guitar and take it in a corner and play it.
Check for the Tuner and Adjustment Knobs:
Most of the acoustic-electric guitars give you the liberty of controlling tunes, effects and sounds. Some of them come with built-in tuners and adjustment knobs that give far more options on the sound quality than the instruments built in the eighties.
Test the Sounds:
- Some of the first-time buyers are hesitant to test the sound of the acoustic-electric guitar in the store. You shouldn’t be shy of testing the guitar on which you are going to spend your money. In fact, the salesman also expects you to ask to test the guitar before buying it.
- Start checking chords of the acoustic-electric guitar. Play a few chords up and down the fretboard. This will help you to measure the responsiveness of the fretboard and the strings.
- Check the distance between the strings and the fretboard. You should be able to strum it hard without making extra noise (if the strings are too close to the fretboard, you will hear a buzzing sound). Make sure that the strings and the fretboard respond properly when the guitars is played plugged as well as unplugged. Also check its sound in the amplifier room.
- As a beginner, you should not start with a thousand dollar guitar. Instead, start with comparatively cheaper guitars. There are chances that the salesman may not always give you accurate and reliable information about the guitar so always take extra advice from an expert who actually plays that particular brand.
- Choosing the best electro-acoustic guitar does not mean compromising on quality or on the money. According to seasoned guitarists and musicians, a good quality acoustic-electric guitar costs somewhere between $300 – $600. Once you make your decision, take appropriate care of the guitar. Instead of putting it here and there or wrapping it in a thin plastic case, store it in a hard-shell guitar case.
Examples of Acoustic-Electric Guitars:
- The Epiphone PR-5E acoustic-electric guitar comes with a studio ten acoustic amplifier with a balanced line input that can be used to add microphones. It has a mahogany body to add more style. It has a 10-watt amp that has all the controls. Ideal for beginners
- The Fender CD-60SCE dreadnought cutaway features a laminated mahogany top that includes a scalloped X-bracing. To add some visual appeal, the bank and sides are also laminated mahogany. It has an onboard amplifier and tuner. It might not be suitable for experienced players.
- The Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Bundle is the perfect guitar for beginner guitarists. It features a dreadnought body style with a natural gloss finish. This bundle comes with a gig bag, picks, guitar straps, clip and digital tuner. It may not be perfect for professional guitarists.
- The Fender factory special run CD-60E has a laminated spruce top, and it’s back and sides are laminated mahogany to give it some visual appeal. It comes with a hard-shell case for easy carrying and protection. It is heavy for young or small people and not appropriate for beginners.
- The Glen Burton GA204BCO-NT comes with a flame top with basswood back and sides. This stage-ready guitar is made of high-quality material. It has steel strings and sealed gear tuners and it also has an equalizer for volume and tone control.