When beginners come across the word “electric-acoustic guitar,” it can sound like the conflict between choosing an electric or an acoustic guitar has finally ended. This is true to a certain extent, however, neither the acoustic nor the electric guitar can be replaced by an electric-acoustic guitar. You’ll understand why as you get to know the instrument better.

What is an Electric-Acoustic Guitar? 

The simplest answer to this is, an electric acoustic guitar can be played unplugged like an acoustic guitar or can be connected to an amplifier or a public address system (PA system) if there’s a need for increased volume. These guitars are also known as electro-acoustic guitars, and apart from a cutaway to the upper bout, they are usually manufactured with exactly the same specifics when it comes to size, wood, strings, etc. Most manufacturers also sell them as the electronic option of an acoustic guitar model.1

How is Sound Amplified on an Electric-Acoustic Guitar?

An electric-acoustic guitar is fitted with pickups, preamps, and other electronics. It can be plugged into an amp, mixer, or a PA system. The pickups convert the sound produced by the strings into an electrical signal, which is then amplified by the preamp before it reaches the main amp.

What are the Differences Between Electric-Acoustic, Acoustic, and Electric Guitars?

The body of instruments that produce sound acoustically requires internal bracing for support. The pattern, design, and wood used to brace the body of an acoustic guitar differ from those used on an electric-acoustic guitar, since the latter is designed with electronic components. 

The type of bracing and the space occupied by the electronics have a major impact on the tone of an acoustic instrument. Due to this, electric-acoustic guitars are reported to have lower sound quality when played unplugged, and some instruments don’t sound great with electronic amplification either. 

Externally, the structural design of electric-acoustic guitars includes a cutaway on the upper bout. This single-cut design, according to experts, further reduces the tonal qualities of the guitar sound, making the guitars sound tinny and flat.    

While some experts claim that they sound just as good as an acoustic guitar when played unplugged, others argue that the external and internal differences, no matter how few or minor, lower the quality of the sound of the instruments. 

Some effects can be added to the sound with the help of an amp or an effects board, such as reverb, delay, chorus etc., however, this does not mean that the instruments are as versatile as the electric guitar, which can be used to play many different genres of music.

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References

  1. Acoustic vs Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Which is the Best? (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2022, from https://oldtimemusic.com/acoustic-vs-acoustic-electric-guitar/