Are Electric Acoustic Guitars Stupid?

photo of an electric acoustic guitar by Takamine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electric Acoustic Guitars Try to Please Everyone

Electric acoustics take a classic acoustic guitar and add electronics so you can plug it directly into an amplifier.

Does This Make Sense?

This article asks whether the electric acoustic guitar is a good idea.

Why Combining an Acoustic Guitar with an Electric Guitar Seems Like a Bad Idea

The Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar has an unmistakable musical sound that relies on craftsmanship.  The maker of stringed instruments, originally the lute, and now guitars, is known as a luthier.

Invented before modern electronic amplification, the acoustic guitar uses the ratios and surfaces of a hollow body and careful selection of fine woods to create pleasant natural amplification.

The acoustic guitar’s resonance or timbre results from “tuning” or “voicing” the wood, an art of the luthier.  Acoustic guitars are known to improve their sound as the wood ages.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR

The Electric Guitar

Unplugged, an electric guitar doesn’t sound like much.  That’s because the electric guitar uses electronic amplification instead of the timbre of a hollow body.

In fact, the electric guitar design intentionally uses a solid, heavy, hard slab of wood to create a simplified natural timbre with a long sustain.  The electric guitar is a rock solid platform designed for amplification using magnetic “pick ups” that convert the motion of steel strings into an electrical signal.

ELECTRIC GUITAR

The two guitar designs have almost nothing in common!

So why in the world would a guitar manufacturer electrify an acoustic guitar?  Or “acoustify” an electric guitar?

Well . . . neither the acoustic nor the electric is perfect.

A list of shortcomings for both electric and acoustic guitars:

  • The acoustic guitar neck only gives easy access to the first 12 frets.
  • The electric guitar needs to be plugged into an amp.
  • The acoustic guitar has an upper limit on level.  Yes, it can be miked, but the player has to remain in position.
  • The electric always has to be plugged in.
  • The acoustic guitar doesn’t let you feed a signal though effects boxes.
  • The electric guitar is almost useless at the beach.

There is no perfect guitar unless it’s this one, the virtual guitar.  Like utopia, it doesn’t exist.

Does the electric acoustic guitar overcome these 6 shortcomings?

Let’s take a look at this popular model, the Takamine GD93CE-NAT Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar

  • ♥  The body cutaway gives access to the higher notes.
  • ♥  It doesn’t need to be plugged into an amp, although it can be.
  • ♥  Since it plugs into an amp, it has no limit on level, and the player can still walk around.
  • ♥  It doesn’t always have to be plugged in.
  • ♥  Once you plug it in, the acoustic electric lets you feed the signal  into anything you want, including a mixer and recorder
  • ♥  You can play the acoustic electric at the beach!

Check, check, check, check, check, check.  Six shortcomings bite the dust.

When you examine the electric acoustic guitar it turns out to have a lot to love!

An electric acoustic is ready to play, whether or not it’s plugged in.  Just pick it up and play.

Feel like amplifying the output or running it through a mixer for recording?  Go for it.

But how does a good electric acoustic guitar sound?

I own and play an older model of the Takamine G Series EG340SC Dreadnought Acoustic Electric Guitar.

It’s my favorite acoustic!  I like the ability to reach the upper frets.  I rarely plug it in but if I want to, I can!

Apparently the sound of the Takamine is excellent based on the reviews.

Change your strings when metal fatigue sets in.

For an electric, I recommend Ernie Ball.

Pick the right guitar pick.

For me it’s a medium, but I can see using heavy for bass and light for . . . Well, I don’t like light that much. Whatever pick wight work best for you, I was told by a friend to learn to play guitar with a pick. “If you know how to play with a pick, you can make do with fingers if you don’t have a pick. But not vice versa.”

Do you like to read reviews by guitar players who are PICKY about their picks?

Here are more than 200 reviews of the Dunlop TORTEX pick, used by top musicians (which is why I’m not allowed to use them!).

 


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