Acoustic Electric Guitars
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Amplify your sound with an Acoustic Electric Guitar
Among the different types of guitar you will find when looking for the right musical instrument for your personal playstyle is the electric acoustic guitar. And while this type of guitar shares traits with both electric and acoustic guitars, it is a hybrid instrument that has become very popular with musicians seeking to bring their acoustic-inspired music to a wider audience.
What is an acoustic electric guitar?
Sometimes referred to as a “plug-in acoustic guitar” an acoustic electric guitar is any standard acoustic guitar that comes equipped with a pickup system or onboard microphone, so the instrument can be connected to an amplifier or PA system.
Why use an acoustic electric guitar?
An electric acoustic guitar is a very versatile instrument, especially if you play on stage or play to crowds, such as when busking. While it is obvious that, with onboard pickups or microphone, an acoustic electric guitar’s chief advantage is that it enables musicians to amplify the sound of their instrument. However, acoustic electric guitars also offer players the opportunity to maintain a consistent tone during live performances, as the instrument is plugged directly into an amp or PA system, and not being amplified by an external mic, which can result in sound from other instruments ‘bleeding’ in to the microphone. You also won’t have to mess around with positioning an external mic, and with a pickup system you will have more freedom of movement on stage or in front of a crowd, as you won’t have to be standing directly in front of the mic. It is just a more practical and versatile setup for when you are playing acoustically to a larger crowd.
Acoustic electric guitar construction
Both acoustic and acoustic electric guitars have hollow bodies that allow the sound of the vibrating strings to resonate and be heard. Most of the cheaper electric acoustic guitars have exclusively piezo pickups built into the bridge, but some have actual microphones inside the instrument.
Things to Consider When Buying an Acoustic Electric Guitar
No matter the guitar you ultimately choose, it must be comfortable to play. If the action is too high (meaning that the strings are too far from the fretboard) your fingers will certainly pay a price. Look for low, even action up and down the fretboard. Also, check for fret buzz by playing chords and single notes at different spots on the neck.
Another thing to consider is the material from which the guitar is constructed. Entry-level models are typically made of some sort of laminated wood, which does not mature as it gets older – so, what you hear is what you get, period. However, more expensive models generally feature solid wood tops combined with laminated back and sides. The best and most expensive acoustic electric guitars are made of solid wood, which produce a richer and more resonant sound. Spruce is usually the most common wood used for guitar tops, followed by cedar, rosewood, maple and mahogany. The different types of wood affect the tone and overall sound of the guitar, and some are preferred for different styles of play, such as fingerpicking, or strumming.