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Many people when first starting to play the guitar are not sure whether they want to learn an acoustic or electric guitar, so a good practical solution is to try an acoustic electric guitar.

What is an acoustic electric guitar?

An acoustic electric guitar is normal acoustic guitar that has been fitted with an electrical pickup so it can be played through an amplifier and speaker system

This can be any acoustic guitar from a full sized steel string guitar to a classical or flamingo guitar with 6 or 12 nylon strings.

Benefits of an acoustic electric guitar

Apart from just wanting to make a louder sound with your guitar, there are other benefits in choosing an acoustic electric guitar such as producing a more consistent and versatile sound.

You do not require a microphone for your guitar so your sound is easier to control when you’re playing and allows you the freedom of movement while you’re playing

Types of pickups

The four most popular types of pickups for acoustic electric guitars, are:

  • The piezoelectric transducer, this sits just under the strings at the saddle. This requires the use of an onboard power source, usually a 9 volt battery and a preamp
  • A bar shaped pickup can be installed at the sound hole just under the strings. This is the most common method and the one that requires the least amount of work to mount and does not require and alteration to the guitar
  • The third most popular method is to install a condenser type microphone inside the guitar
  • Another method some people prefer is a portable pickup that straps onto the guitar. The advantage of this type is that it can be used or transferred to any acoustic guitar as required

Acoustic guitar manufacturers make a range of different combinations of guitar pickups such as having an internal microphone and a magnetic pickup or a piezo and an internal microphone.

Many acoustic players like to customize their guitars to get the sound they prefer so may have a multiple output setup

Issues with Acoustic Electric Guitars

  • Guitars that have a powered 9 volt pre amp system require the battery to be replace periodically so it’s best to keep a spare ready
  • Often a direct pickup system can change the tone and character of a guitar
  • At high volumes some people have feedback issues so often a feedback buster is used

If you like your present guitar and just want to increase your volume then have a pickup system professionally fitted to your guitar.

If your acoustic guitar is an average type of guitar, then it’s well worth considering upgrading to a professionally made acoustic electric guitar because the pickups will be properly installed and optimized for that particular guitar.

The main advantage of having an electric acoustic guitar is to have the sound you love from an acoustic guitar with the advantage of extra volume and reach.