What is an Acoustic Electric Guitar

What is an Acoustic Electric Guitar — An Ultimate Guide

To aid your dream of becoming a rockstar, an electric acoustic guitar might be the right pick for you. Here we are going to tell you why acoustic electric guitars might be a better choice than traditional acoustic guitars, how they differ from electric guitars, and why are they quite popular!

What is an Acoustic Electric Guitar and How Does it Work?

The acoustic electric guitar is an acoustic guitar in its build and overall nature. However, it comes with a magnetic pickup system installed in it. The same system that is used by electric guitars.

The acoustic electric guitar is usually preferred by artists who want the style of an acoustic guitar with the pickups of an electric guitar.

What is an Acoustic Electric Guitar

Acoustic guitars have an empty body and a profound sound hole. This allows for more prominent sound reverberation. Notwithstanding, it is hard to deliver a lot of volume with a standard acoustic guitar.

The acoustic electric guitar is an alteration of the customary acoustic guitar that makes it easier to cover a larger area with more volume.

Acoustic electric guitars are equipped with electric pickups that basically function the same way that an electric guitar functions.

The pickup system works by using the magnets, it creates a flux-field, and hence when the strings are strummed, the magnets pick up the vibrations and translate them into meaningful sounds.

The pickup is basically responsible for the sounds the guitar makes with the help of an amplifier, speakers, and pedals (optional).

The Two Types of Pickups

Basically, acoustic electric or electric-only guitars use two types of pickups. The most common one is the magnetic pickup we just talked about. However, a Piezoelectric pickup is famous for classical guitars.

You might have seen many live performing artists who use acoustic electric guitars, such as, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and many more. The fact is, this guitar can be plugged into most speakers and sound systems, hence, covering a greater area with its sound.

Magnetic Pickups

Magnetic pickups only work on acoustic guitars with steel strings. A magnetic pickup won’t work with nylon wires as it can’t recognize the vibrations from the nylon material.

Piezoelectric Pickups

The Piezoelectric pickup is widely used and installed on nylon wired guitars. This pickup system helps to transmit the nylon string sounds and amplify them for greater volume and coverage.

What Is the Difference Between an Acoustic Guitar and an Electric Acoustic Guitar?

A normal acoustic guitar is not equipped with a magnetic pickup system. It works by echoing the sounds inside the body of the guitar, which are generated through the vibration of strings.

In order to create proper musical notes the guitar must be tuned, which means that the wires are tightened in a purposeful manner. Tuning the guitar occurs by tightening or loosening the strings so that the vibrations of the strings correspond with set tunings.

An acoustic guitar can not be plugged into a sound system or speakers, hence, the volume power of this instrument is quite limited. Mostly, these guitars are used for small scale performances, practice, and studio recordings.

You will have to use a standard mic to enhance the sound coverage of an acoustic guitar.

The acoustic electric guitar, on the other hand, uses this same model but is adaptable to increase its volume thanks to the microphones and the amplification system.

Is it Different from Electric Guitar?

The main difference between an electric guitar and an acoustic electric guitar is the sound hole. If you focus on both of them, you shall see that the acoustic electric guitar has a pretty similar making to a standard acoustic guitar.

The electric guitar, on the other hand, is usually quite slim and does not have a sound hole.

Since the function of the sound hole is to transmit the sound when the strings are played, you might have figured out by now that the electric guitar won’t transmit much if any sound when it’s being played without an amplifier.

The acoustic electric guitar can produce a large volume on its own, however. The strings and sound hole make it possible for the acoustic electric guitar to do that.

Another subtle difference between these two instruments is that they sometimes use different strings. An electric acoustic guitar uses traditional acoustic guitar strings that are made of steel and usually thicker while electric guitars often have thinner metal strings.

Ultimately, we can’t really compare either instrument with the other because they both have their own set of pros and cons. The purpose of electric guitars is quite different from acoustic guitars, so you could say that an acoustic electric kind of fits in between the other two on a scale.

However, what matters is what is right for you!

Make Your Guitar Work with an Amplifier

As I mentioned before, an acoustic electric guitar does not need an amplifier to transmit sound: it can do so without an amplifier. However, that does not mean that acoustic electric guitars don’t work with amplifiers.

What is an Acoustic Electric Guitar

Acoustic electric guitars are 100% compatible with amplifiers and you can even play them by attaching an electric guitar amp to it!

Many famous artists use their electric amps to connect their acoustic electric guitars and we assure you that this will not harm your guitar in any way.

However, if you are looking for an authentic acoustic guitar sound, then we would not recommend using an amp specifically designed for an electric guitar — rather, buy an acoustic electronic amp for it.

So, there are two types of acoustic electric guitars that are most commonly used.

Traditional Acoustic Electric Guitar

The traditional one is pretty basic and uses the same features that come in with an electric guitar amp, except that it is optimized to deliver an acoustic style sound versus a modified electric guitar sound.

Classical/Nylon Acoustic Electric Guitar

The difference between an acoustic guitar and a classical guitar is the strings. Nylon strings give a classical guitar a more melodic soundi, while steel strings are responsible for the traditional “guitar sound.”

Classical guitars are widely utilized by many artists who play fingerstyle guitar, like classic jazz and blues.

Are Acoustic Electric Guitars good?

Yes! They are pretty much used in every situation. Whether you are playing for an audience or by yourself for practice, this might be the best option for you due to its adaptability. It can be played as an electric guitar as well as an acoustic guitar.

However, there are some limitations to it as well, hence, it depends on your situation and what you are looking for in a guitar.

Can I Make My Acoustic Guitar into an Electric Acoustic Guitar?

Well, you can do that but it might cost you the big bucks. You will have to purchase some equipment that includes a pickup system and at times a pedal. You can get the pickups installed on your acoustic guitar and then your guitar will work as an electronic acoustic guitar.

We would recommend purchasing a pedal and amp together, hence, you will have all the required items for converting your acoustic guitar into an acoustic electric guitar.

Are Electric Acoustic Guitars Expensive or Not?

It depends on which brand and guitar you are looking at. There are some high-end electric acoustic guitars that range from $5000 to $9000 and more, while most quality electric acoustic guitars start around $300.

Generally speaking, you can get a good new electric acoustic guitar for $600 to $1000.

If you are a beginner you don’t need to buy a premium range guitar though, you can always start with a moderately priced one. There are plenty of good options that start around $300.

Many brands manufacture amazing acoustic electric guitars. The best and well-respected guitar brands like Martin, Fender, and Taylor are a choice for many.

Before selecting any guitar, just make sure that it complies with your needs.

Do They Provide a Good Sound Experience?

The acoustic electric guitar is made to enhance the audio experience of an acoustic player. Its purpose is to make sure that the player (and audience) receive a good sound experience.

The pickups that are installed in the guitar play an important role in determining the sound factor of the guitar, however, the acoustic electric guitar provides a better music experience when compared to a traditional acoustic guitar.

Do Pedals Work with Acoustic Electric Guitars?

Pedals are fully functional with acoustic electronic guitars. You don’t need to buy a separate pedal for them, you can use your electric guitar pedals. But, to get the best music results though, find optimized pedals for acoustic electronic guitars.

The pedal works by transferring the signals which are transmitted by the guitar to the amp and creating a distortion effect of some kind. Most of the time, you need to set your distortion first to successfully benefit from pedal effects.

It might not seem like this is a hard task. However, trust us, it’s not that easy if you’re a beginner, especially when playing a riff and you need to switch the pedal on at the right beat. Therefore, we suggest you use a pedal board, which may be the best choice for managing all of your effects and distortions.

What to Look for When Buying an Electric Acoustic Guitar?

When buying an acoustic electric guitar, pickups are a really important thing to look at. You may need a good pickup to get a solid volume out of your instrument. Apart from that, you may want to have a look at things like its build material, fretting, and strings.

What is an Acoustic Electric Guitar

Otherwise, look for the same things that you would look for in an acoustic guitar: a comfortable body, action, and fretboard length, as well as any other things you care about.

If you’re not familiar, the action refers to the space between the fretboard and the strings. Make sure that the action is not too high (a huge gap between the fretboard and strings) or low. If the guitar is hard to play, you’re not going to enjoy it.

Some electric acoustic guitars also come with tuners installed in them! If you’re a beginner, this will make your life much easier. Built-in tuners provide you with an easy and accessible way to tune your guitar anytime, anywhere.


How Long Do Acoustic Electric Guitars Last?

There is no specific time period for how long an instrument will last but if you take good care of it, it is likely to last for a lifetime.

Repair work and technical adjustments are always needed for guitars (like fixing the action, pegs replacement, bridge placement, etc.). If you stay on top of this your guitar will last decades.

Can You Attach Electric Guitar Strings to Acoustic Electric Guitar?

This is possible but there’s no real benefit to doing so. The two types of strings are generally optimized for their specific guitar types so the tone, fit, and other aspects of the strings may produce odd notes.

There’s also a chance that the strings (or worse, your guitar) could break early because the tension isn’t “correct.” In short, only do this if you’re experienced enough to know what types of strings fit your guitar.

How Is an Electric Acoustic Guitar Tuned?

An electric acoustic guitar is tuned by using the pegs at the end of your guitar. You need to to tighten or loosen the pegs to change the tension in the string (to make the right note). The pegs are usually built of steel, plastic, or wood, which provides a durable and easy solution for tuning your guitar.

How Do I know I Have Tuned the Guitar the Right Way?

By using a tuner! Tuners are made to ensure that you tune your guitar the right way. If you tighten the string too much, it is most likely to break, hence, always keep a tuner with you.

If you are a practiced musician, you might be able to tell if your guitar is in tune simply by listening to it.

There are also quite a few apps available on the Apple and Google Play stores, which make your cell phone (or computer) work as a tuner and they are pretty easy to use as well!

Is the Tuner installed in Acoustic Electric Guitar Accurate?

Most tuners that come pre-installed in acoustic electric guitars are very accurate. Nevertheless, if you are not happy with your built-in tuner, you can always get it replaced.


Acoustic electronic guitars have recently gained a lot of popularity among music lovers and guitarists due to their high performing features and unique sound experience. The acoustic guitar remains in its place but you might think of the acoustic electric guitar as an upgraded version that lets you use a traditional instrument in the 21st century.

Electric acoustic guitars might have been a niche instrument when they were first launched, however, as of now, many music lovers and musicians themselves have endorsed them and played them.

Frank DeMaria
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