For centuries, people have constantly made improvements to the design of acoustic guitars. The desire for high-quality sounds has led to the development of top-notch musical instruments like the electro-acoustic guitar. You would be amazed at the varying sound frequencies produced by the fusion of electronics with the acoustic guitar.
There are several guitars in the market to choose from, whether you are a beginner or an expert. It can be a bit of a challenge to pick a guitar with a good acoustic range at an affordable price. There is a product for everyone, from the opulent to mass production models.
Electric-acoustic guitars produce impressive sounds when plugged in due to the propagation of the string vibrations. These guitars come in several sizes with unique designs. Whatever your intentions for getting one, there is a guitar that meets your requirement from silent practice guitars to parlourguitar and so on.
- Top 15 Recommended Acoustic Electric Guitars
- 1. Martin Road Series DRS1
- 2. Yamaha FGX720SC
- 3. Taylor 114E Grand Auditorium
- 4. Takamine GN93CE-NAT
- 5. Yamaha A-SeriesA3M
- 6. PRS SE A50E
- 7. Fender Sonoran SCE
- 8. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought
- 9. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
- 10. Ibanez AE500-NT
- 11. Gibson Montana Hummingbird
- 12. Yamaha SLG200S Silent Guitar
- 13. Kona K2TBL Dreadnought
- 14. Fender T-Bucket 300CE
- 15. Yamaha APXT2 ¾
- Why Choose Electro-Acoustic Guitars?
- Things to consider when buying an electric acoustic guitar
Top 15 Recommended Acoustic Electric Guitars
1. Martin Road Series DRS1
The Martin Road Series DRS1 is an acoustic-electricguitar that features a Sapeletop and sides. The back too is made of this very strong and resilient tonewood native to Africa. The bridge and fingerboard are crafted from the highly durable Richlite which is firm and unaffected by humidity or changes in temperature. It has six steel strings and white Corian nuts
The preamp needs of the instrument are handled by the Fishman Sonitone system which is installed under the soundboard near the sound hole. It has a piezo type of pickup system. When plugged in, the Martin DRS1 produces a sharp electrifying tone. The tone control does just enough to give the perfect sound.
It is quite affordable and has a left-handed model.
2. Yamaha FGX720SC
The top of the Yamaha FGX720SC is made of solid spruce with the neck, back and sides made of the durable nato wood. It has the appearance of the traditional acoustic guitar with a cutaway on the body for easy access to the higher frets. The bridge and fingerboard are craftedfrom rosewood.
You can acquire the FGX720SC guitar bundle that comes with a hard-shell case to make travelling with it easy. There are other accessories like a padded strap, extra strings and a clip-ontuner that enables you to play your favourite instrument out of the box. It has six stringsof length 650mm each.
The preamp needs of the instrument arehandled by the Yamaha System 55 1-way which has a frequency control tuner and piezo type bar sensors to produce the desired sound. To minimize feedback, it employs Yamaha’s Auto Feedback Reduction (AFR) technology which applies a notch filter to the frequency causing the issue.
3. Taylor 114E Grand Auditorium
The Grand Auditorium is one of Taylors foremost acoustic guitar models. The 114E guitar has a solid spruce top and a Sapeleneck. The back and sides are also made of Sapelewhile the fingerboard and bridge are madeof layered walnut which is highly durable and can withstand high temperature and humidity. It has six steel strings and TUSQ nuts.
It has a traditional appearance and includes the Taylors revolutionary Expression System 2 with a piezo type pickup. It also comes with a tuner and volume controls for an amplified dynamic tone.
It is made of sturdy material making it a great choice for beginners and players with intermediate skills.
4. Takamine GN93CE-NAT
The Takamine GN93CE-NAT is a guitar with a NEX-style body and cutaway that makes it easy to handle. It has a solid spruce top and a back made of both maple and rosewood. The fingerboard and bridge are also made of rosewood while the neck is madeof mahogany. It has a well-designed headstock and gold die-cast tuners that give it a flashy appearance. It has six steel strings and synthetic bone nuts.
The preamp needs of the instrument are handled by the Takamine’s onboard TK-40D system. It comes with an EQ bypass switch and three-bandgain control with a notchfilter to deliver great sounds when plugged in.
5. Yamaha A-SeriesA3M
The Yamaha A series is a line of excellent acoustic-electric guitars that areeasy to play. It is fittedwith the cutting-edge Studio Response Technology (SRT) preamp system and a built-in mic. The additional treble and bass controls help produce sharp and consistent sounds when plugged in.
The top of the A3M guitar is madeof solid spruce and mahogany for the back and sides, enhanced with the Yamaha Acoustic Resonance Enhancement technology. The neck is also made of mahogany while the fingerboard and bridge are made of rosewood. It has six steel strings with saddle and nuts made of urea.
It has 19 frets that help produce wonderfultones.
6. PRS SE A50E
The PRS SE A50E Angelus electro-acoustic guitar has a cutaway body shape that improves playability. This mid-range guitar has a classy design with a solid spruce top and a mahogany neck. The back and sides are made of maple while the fretboard is made of ebony and lined with beautiful abalone. It has a synthetic bone saddle and nuts.
The PRS A50E guitars come installed with Fishman GT1 preamp system fitted under the soundboard near the sound hole. That is a piezo type of pickup. This positioning of the pickup system ensures that the design remains classy while it produces bright,unique sounds.
It comes with built-in tuners to filter sounds and a hard-shell case for ease of transport.
7. Fender Sonoran SCE
The Fender Sonoran SCE is a compact dreadnought acoustic-electric guitar with an impressive design. It has a retro style body with a cutaway that gives the player easy access to higher frets.
The top is made of solid spruce with a fancy checker rosette finishing while the neck is made of maple and sports 20 frets. It has a synthetic bone saddle and nuts.
The guitar is fitted with the Fishman Isys III electronics. This includes an on board preamp and under-saddle pickup with three-band EQ and tuner controls for an amplified dynamic tone.
It is attractive, quite affordable and has a friendly feel. Thus, making it ideal for beginners.
8. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought
The Fender CD-60SCE is a mid-range acoustic-electric guitar with a classic design suitable for newbies and intermediate players. This guitar with a large dreadnought size offers a cutaway that grants the player access to more frets for a comfortable play.
The back and sides of this guitar aremade of mahogany while the top is madeof solid spruce. It comes with a preinstalled Fishman Isys III electronics consisting of a preamp and pickup system for high-qualitysounds. It also comes with a phase switch, tuner and volume controls.
The Fender CD-60SCE guitar bundle comes with hard-shell for safe transport of the instrument, extra guitar picks and strings, as well as a clip-on tuner to maintain the desired sound.
9. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is an acoustic guitar with a retro-style build, and a vintage faded cherry finish.The back and the sides are made of laminated mahogany while the top is made of solid spruce. The fretboard is made of rosewood with abalone parallelogram inlays. The bridge is also made of rosewood. It has synthetic bone saddle and nuts with 6 D’Addario steel strings.
The preamp needs of the instrument are handled by the spectacular Epiphone electronics that includes bass and treble controls for a warm and rich tone. When plugged in, the under-saddle pickup and shadow ePerformer preamp ensures that you get the right rhythm for your stage performance.
10. Ibanez AE500-NT
The Ibanez AE is a dreadnought shaped acoustic-electric guitar with a classy design. It is quite affordable, making it ideal for beginners and intermediate players.
It comes in a laminated spruce top with the sides and back made of mahogany. The neck is also made of mahogany and a rosewood fingerboard that sports 20 frets. It has chrome die-cast tuners and a well-designed headstock that makes it a sight to behold. It has synthetic bone saddle and nuts with 6 strings spaced 11mm apart.
The guitar comes fitted with Ibanez electronics that include an AEQ200 preamp system, accompanied with an under-saddle pickup. It also has bass and treble controls along with a volume adjuster.
11. Gibson Montana Hummingbird
The Gibson Montana Hummingbird is an electro-acoustic guitar with a cherry sunburst finish and ornate designs. It is easy to play with a cutaway that allows you to reach extra frets.
It has a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back, sides and neck. The rosewood fingerboard sports 20 frets. The bridge is also made of rosewood while the saddle and nuts are made of TUSQ for a consistently bright and warm tone.
The guitar comes fitted with an under-board LR Baggs Element VTC system that handles its preamp needs. There are additional features like the bass and treble controls along with a volume adjuster. It is a very affordable Hummingbird that produces great amplified sounds when plugged in.
12. Yamaha SLG200S Silent Guitar
The Yamaha SLG200S is an acoustic-electric guitar with almost zero acoustic volume due to its lack of a hollow body. Through headphones, you can listen to the sounds played with superb audio quality. When plugged into an acoustic amp, the sound producedis very sharp with no feedback.
It is a mid-range guitar with a durable mahogany top. The back and sides are made of both maple and rosewood. The neck is also made of mahogany while the fretboard is made of rosewood with 22 frets. This instrument is not difficult to handle, andit produces breath-taking sounds with beautiful fretting.
It sports the SRT preamp and pickup with additional features like the bass and treble controls along with a volume adjuster.
13. Kona K2TBL Dreadnought
The Kona is a very affordable and easyto play electro-acoustic guitar. It is lightweight and suitable for beginners and intermediate players.
The top is made of laminated spruce with a transparent blue finish while the back and sides are made of mahogany. It has a dreadnought style body and a cutaway that makes it easily playable. The bridge and fretboard are made of rosewoodwith 20 frets. Its well-designed headstock and gold die-cast tuners that give it a flashy appearance.
The Kona K2TBL comes preinstalled with an EQ-505 preamp and active piezo pickup system. Additional features include three-band EQ and tuner controls for an amplified dynamic tone
14. Fender T-Bucket 300CE
The Fender T-Bucket 300CE guitar is dreadnought shaped with a single cutaway for easy access to all 20 frets that allows you toplay in different styles.
The top is made of laminated maple with a glossy cherry burst finish. The back and sides are made of mahogany, while the neck is made of maple. The fretboard and bridge are made of rosewood. It has Nubone saddle and nuts
The T-Bucket is fittedwith the Fishman Isys III electronics which includes an active preamp with a pickup system. Extra features include a tuner and volume controls that produce rich amplified sounds when plugged into a sound system.
15. Yamaha APXT2 ¾
The Yamaha APXT2 guitar is one of the company’s travel guitar versions. It is a compact guitar that is durable and easy to move around with on stage during live performances.
The APXT2 is packed with Yamaha’s revolutionary Acoustic Resonance Transducer (A.R.T.) System68. This includes a contact pickup system and a tuner that helps minimize low-frequency feedbacks to deliver a natural acoustic tone.
The top is made with solid spruce, and the back and sides were built with meranti. It has a mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard and bridge.
You also get a padded gig bag that enables you to carryit easily to your destination.
Why Choose Electro-Acoustic Guitars?
The electronic pickup system built into some acoustic guitars is what makes them electro-acoustic. This helps amplify your sound for a greater audience. Installing a pickup system on your regular acoustic guitar may involve dismantling the entire guitar. Fixing it properlyrequires a great deal of knowledge and experience.
Most manufacturers now produce acoustic-electric guitars with the pickup already installed. You do not have to go through the trouble of setting it up yourself. The pickup systems are usually different. You may need to sample different guitars to find one with the right design, sound and pickup systemthat you like. Some of them come with additional features like phase buttons, notch filters and tuners to enable you to amplify your sound for an enchanting experience.
These instruments can still be played without being plugged into a mixing console or amplifier. But during a live performance on a stage, the pickup system gives you the flexibility to adjust the sound output whether it’s a steel-string, nylon string or classical acoustic guitar. For the production of consistent sound, the electric acoustic guitar is what you need.
Things to consider when buying an electric acoustic guitar
The Guitar Design
Most electro-acoustic guitars are designed in such a way that a player can easily access all the frets along the neck of the instrument for better sound. Although there are other guitar designs, the most popular is the dreadnought. Beginners tend to favour smaller-sized guitars for their lightweight and compact nature. Makers of guitars tend to find ways to ensure that their product is not too bulky but easy to travel with.
The back, sides and neck of most guitars are madeof strong tone-wood like mahogany, maple, Sapeleamong others. Solid spruce, laminated spruce or rosewood may be used for the fingerboard and bridge. The size or shape of the guitar does not have to determine the range of the sound projection. The pickup system makes it possible to build acoustic-electric guitars in shapes that suit different playing styles.
Acoustic Pickup Systems
Good knowledge of the different pickup systems enables you to choose an electro-acoustic guitar that meets your needs whenever you are in the market for one. The readily available pickups are the under-saddle piezo, magnetic and contact transducers. Installing the piezo is quite straight forward and easy. It is located inside the bridge of the guitar where it simply pickups up string vibrations for brighter output.
The magnetic pickup as seen on most electric guitars is installed just between the neck and the bridge. Although they may not be as cheap as the piezo, they are relatively affordable and easy to install for those that love electric sounds. They are rarely usedon nylon-string guitars which work better with the piezo.
The contact transducers on the other give an output with a natural woody tone. It picks up a lot of low-frequency feedback due to the vibrations from the top and other parts of the guitar. This can be rectified through an amplifier or a feedback reduction unit.
There are guitars that come with a combined system of a pickup and microphone. This enables the user to get both the amplified sounds produced by transducers and the natural effect of a microphone. Manufacturers have introduced the preamp that helps refine the output for a perfect tone.
Beginners should consider guitar bundle offers with a wide range of accessories that allows you to play for an audience of your choice with ease. These bundles come with accessories like the feedback buster that helps reduce excess feedback when playing at higher volumes. You could also get an amplifier that propagates the audio sound range, spare strings and a bag for easy transport, all at an affordable price.
Guitar models that come with a built-in preamp usually require batteries to supply power. These batteries are durable and may not requirereplacement for a long time. But endeavourto remove them when the guitar is not in use. Some have tuners that enable you to adjustthe pitch of your guitar strings.
There is the phase shifter helps give your sound different phasing effects and the notch filter which separates a series of frequencies there by minimizing feedback. These features enable you to get an amplified sound which should be a louder rendering of what is produced by your classical acoustic guitar.
To get the best out of your acoustic-electric guitars be sure to follow the recommended safety procedures to keep yourself safe and the instrument in good shape.
- Batteries: Endeavor to install the batteries before connecting to an external sound system. Connecting the guitar to an external sound system automatically powers on the built-in preamp. The cables should be removed from the output jack to ensure that the preamp remains of when you are playing without amplification or the guitar is not in use. To avoid leakage, remove the batteries before when storing away the guitar. Replace depleted batteries.
- Pickup and Preamp System: Try to keep the volumes of the guitar and that of the external sound system low before connecting or disconnecting to avoid sharp sounds that may affect your eardrums. Ensure that you use acoustic-electric guitars in a safe environment to avoid electric shock or other accidents. Leave maintenance and repair of faulty preamps or pickups to well-trained technicians.
People tend to give up easily while learning to play the guitar because they feel the whole process is quite complicated. Choosing the electric version which is quite easierto playmight be helpful but getting better at it requires diligence. As you sharpen your skills through constant practice, you begin to understand the type of guitar that suits your playing style. It helps you figure out when you need an upgrade.
If you already have a cosyold acoustic guitar and justneed to amplify the sound, installing a pickup system on it is the way to go. If you are having difficulties getting the ideal tone, you may want to buy an electro-acoustic guitar with a built-in pickup system. They have been factory tested and optimizedfor better performance.
Be realistic when picking out a new instrument so that you do not spend too much on a flashy model, whereas a cheaper model can do the job equally well.