If you are in the market for the best acoustic electric guitar, there are many factors to consider in order to select the instrument that is best suited for your playing abilities and preferences. You may have already begun your research and we know how difficult it can be to sort through your options. There are also many terms and details that are confusing and unclear. That’s why we are here break down the most important factors you should look for when purchasing a guitar, compare and contrast the top brands on the market today, and answer the most common questions guitarists have when looking for their next acoustic electric. By the end, you should have a better understanding of what guitar will work for your needs.
We’ve looked at the best-selling guitars on the market and compared their prices, features, and more to deliver a comprehensive list of factors to consider. Budget is key when looking for good acoustic electric guitars. Remember that there isn’t a best guitar on the market. Much of what will work best for you may not work best for the next musician. Consider your price range, ability, and the factors that are most important to you when reviewing the information.
|1||Yamaha APX600Check price||
Body Material: Nato
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|2||Martin LXK2Check price||
Body Material: Sitka Spruce
Specifications: Right-Handed, Left-Handed
|4.9 of 5||Check price|
|3||Epiphone HummingbirdCheck price||
Body Material: Mahogany
|4.8 of 5||Check price|
|4||Epiphone EJ-200SCECheck price||
Body Material: Maple
|4.8 of 5||Check price|
|5||Martin LX1ECheck price||
Body Material: Sitka Spruce; Mahogany
|4.8 of 5||Check price|
|6||Glen Burton GA204BCO-BKCheck price||
Body Material: Maple
|4.7 of 5||Check price|
Yamaha APX600 - Best Acoustic Electric Guitar
With its thin-line body and top fret access, you get a comfortable playing experience. This makes it great for beginners and those performing on stage for extended periods of time.
Martin LXK2 - Great Acoustic Electric Guitar
This is the best acoustic electric guitar for cutting through a small band without feedback. Its construction allows it to open up well, allowing warm projection and resonance so that you can stand out.
An active undersaddle allows to have brighter output. The top, back, and sides made from sapele and braced further contributes to that, especially in a band environment. Meanwhile, the modified low oval neck style makes it comfortable to play.
Epiphone Hummingbird - Best Sounding Acoustic Electric Guitar
This is ideal for smaller players and beginners. It offers a bright output with or without an amp so you can play it as well in gigs as you can while sitting on your porch.
The use of a spruce top gives it a rich tone, and mahogany offers warmth. This Hummingbird Pro uses an undersaddle Shadow Pickup System to amplify the guitar and still offering an acoustic sound. As for the neck, it’s small in diameter for smaller hands to hold easier.
Epiphone EJ-200SCE - Best Acoustic Electric Cutaway Guitar
This is beneficial to play for novice and experienced users alike with its balanced, full tone. It’s especially useful for singer-songwriters as well as rhythm guitarists.
Epiphone’s use of maple helps brighten the sound and offers good durability. The undersaddle NanoFlex pickup cuts out any harshness from the acoustic tone, while the neck design allows a smooth ride up and down the fingerboard.
Martin LX1E - Best for Travel & Practice
If you’re looking for comfort while you play, this guitar offers an ergonomic taper that offers greater fretting-hand feel. It also features compact electronics for those that want a quick plug-in and play, something that’s perfect for gigs.
With Martin using sapele, it has good sounding bass. Its neck design helps you glide across with ease, and the electronics are easy to handle so you can change tone in real time, a useful feature for those playing live.
Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK - Best Cheap Acoustic Electric Guitar
Beginners may find this the most useful considering the kit it comes with that includes an amp, strap, bag, etc. It’s stage-ready, and it’s also useful for those recording sessions or practice.
Basswood offers this Glen Burton guitar better balance and warmth in addition to providing quality sustain. The undersaddle piezo pickups detect vibrations at a greater rate.
Key Factors to Consider When Looking for the Best Acoustic Electric Guitars
First, you need to decide on a budget before buying the best acoustic electric guitar for your needs. Are you a beginner just looking for a starter guitar that won’t limit your abilities to learn? Cheap acoustic electric guitars can cost under $400 and still deliver the right sound and playability for beginners.
While you are sure to find a guitar under $300 at big box stores, you are unlikely to find a guitar that has a build quality that will last. So, do not head to your nearest big box store to purchase that instrument, either. Playability also becomes an important factor when looking for the best budget acoustic electric guitar, because nothing discourages a beginner like an unplayable six-string.
For the experienced guitarist who has been playing for at least a year and has the basics down, it might be time to look for the best acoustic electric guitar under $500. If you’ve out-played your last rig based on your skill level, in order to achieve a significant upgrade at an affordable price, look at mid-range brands priced under $1000 or under $700. Maybe your first instrument was one of those box store knockoffs that barely stayed in tune. If that’s the case, it’s time for an upgrade!
Build quality significantly improves when you start looking at acoustic electric guitars priced under $2000 and under $1500. Seasoned musicians who have been playing for over two years should consider what the word best means to them when selecting an acoustic electric guitar. You know your budget and your abilities as a musician. If you are likely to play your guitar daily and occasionally use it to perform live in front of an audience, it is essential to have a guitar that will stand up to travel and standard wear and tear.
Your budget is determined by the amount of money you are willing to spend at the end of the day, but you should consider your skill level, your practice frequency, and how long you want the instrument to last when determining a realistic budget.
Pay Attention to the Guitar Body Material
Consider the body of the guitar and what type of material it is made out of, as each brings with it its own unique sound, and feel. A quick browse through guitar shopping websites will reveal a number of different sizes, looks, and types of guitar bodies. That can be intimidating. Let’s start here: Most acoustic guitars are made out of woods like spruce, mahogany, rosewood, or cedar.
- Spruce wood is among the most commonly used material for acoustic guitars. It is lightweight and sturdy and carries with it a true and powerful tone. While your sound might blend in with other spruce guitars, it is a rich and loud sound that might save you some money, if that’s a concern.
- Mahogany is a very dense wood that brings out the punchy high-end in most guitars. On the low-end, mahogany produces a warm tone that resonates both chords and individual notes well. Mahogany is also a dark color wood, which should be considered for shoppers that have a certain aesthetic in mind.
- Rosewood is best known for its deep low-end tone and biting high-end, with much left to be desired in the mid-range. This works well for musicians that play in bands, as other instruments can help fill in the gaps in tone where a rosewood sound lacks.
- Cedar is a wood that carries with it a specific sound a playability that guitarists should hear before making a purchasing decision. If you play with a heavy pick or tend to strum loudly, cedar guitars can sometimes sound overloaded or distorted. If you strum quietly or often use fingerpicking techniques, then the sound tends to come through clearly and vividly.
In addition to the type of wood used in the body of a guitar, you must also consider whether you prefer a laminated or solid top guitar. Laminated guitars are made using thin layers of wood stacked on top of each other and tend to be more affordable in price.
A solid top acoustic electric guitar uses one solid piece of wood for the top of the guitar and are featured in higher-end instruments because of their superior tone quality.
The best thin body acoustic electric guitar is made with quality woods and use a solid top material. Another factor to consider is the shape of the guitar, as that impacts the sound and access to certain frets. A cutaway allows a player to reach above the 14th fret to play higher notes. A full-body guitar limits access to higher frets but tends to have a fuller, warmer sound.
What About Built-In Electronics?
There are many different ways guitar manufacturers electrify their acoustic guitars through different types of active and passive pickups. Keep in mind that acoustic electric guitars are essentially standard acoustic guitars that have been equipped with electronics that allow them to be plugged in an amplified.
Remember that it in order to achieve the best sound for your guitar, it is not recommended that you plug your acoustic electric guitar into an electric guitar amp. Special acoustic electric amps, keyboard amps, and PA vocal setups will deliver a much better sound.
One benefit of almost all acoustic electric guitars is that you get an acoustic guitar with a built in tuner. Often referred to as the “pre-amp,” the electronic device built into your acoustic electric guitar will usually come equipped with a build in tuner on board. With the click of a button, guitarists can check their tuning and get to playing immediately. If this is an important factor to you, look for guitars that feature a built-in tuner.
Active pickups are externally powered devices that “pick up” the sound from your guitar and send it to the amplifier. Active pickups are almost always powered by an external battery. Passive pickups are not externally powered. Passive pickups are transducers that use copper wire wrapped around a magnet to cause an electric current to pass through. Different musicians prefer different types of pickups and it is best to listen to each yourself and decide which suits your style best.
Piezo acoustic guitar pickups are passive pickups that attach to the inside of the body of your acoustic electric guitar and amplify the sound through vibration. They are a prime example of transducer acoustic guitar pickups. They are often installed under the saddle of the guitar and produces a very accurate representation of the guitar’s sound, with all of the imperfections included. This is best for experienced guitarists who can control their tone and dynamics with skill.
Magnetic acoustic guitar pickups are similar to the kind you would find on an electric guitar and are typically located above the soundhole of the guitar and under the strings. The straightforward design suits both beginners and seasoned guitarists looking for a direct pickup system.
Guitar Neck Width
The best acoustic electric guitar for small hands is one with a small neck. This allows guitar players easier access to the fretboard and in turn, an easier ability to play notes. When selecting your next guitar, look at the dimensions of the neck in the description. Compare and contract several models in your price range to see your options. The standard width of an acoustic guitar is 1.72 inches.
If you have bigger hands or have already gained experience on guitars with wider necks, you are at an even greater advantage. Switching to a guitar with a slightly smaller neck may increase your speed while playing scales and switching chords.
Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Brands
There are many good acoustic electric guitar brands on the market, today including Japanese brands like Yamaha and Ibanez who have gained a reputation for delivering a quality product for beginners and experienced musicians at an affordable price, as well as brands like Fender who make guitars that fit all budgets, including entry-level. And lastly, Gibson subsidiary Epiphone delivers classic acoustic electric guitar models at a much cheaper price.
While brand reputation and reliability is key, it is also important to consider every guitar on its own merit. Given that most of these well-known brands cater to several price points, there are advantages and disadvantages within each model.
Ask yourself these key questions:
- What can I afford?
- What do I want my guitar to look like?
- How do I want it to sound, unplugged and amplified?
- What neck will work best with my ability?
After narrowing down your options with these factors in mind, it’s up to you to select the best acoustic electric guitar.
Check out our list of the top rated acoustic electric guitars
If you’re looking to add some electronics to your acoustic performances, then you’ve probably considered purchasing the best acoustic electric guitar. Finding that guitar can usually take time, so to help you out in your search, we put together reviews of six top-rated acoustic electric guitars. By the end of it, you’ll even learn about what we feel is the best acoustic electric guitar overall.
After you’ve read our acoustic electric guitars review, check out some interesting points. Though we have offered our take and reviews about the best acoustic electric guitars on the market today, there are a couple of notes to address. These include discussions about which band produces the most quality acoustic electric guitars overall as well as taking a look at the best guitar that sells for under $500.
Who makes the best acoustic electric guitars?
When you are thinking about thee many acoustic electric guitar brands, Martin seems to dominate many lists as a favorite amongst beginners and seasoned guitarists. Many enjoy the usual superb Martin sound that is balanced, warm and tends to project very well. They also usually feature quality electronics that are easy to control.
The majority of these acoustic electric guitars from Martin have a classic sound and many sell at an affordable price that makes them good contenders against the more popular, top-selling brands like Gibson.
What is the best acoustic electric guitar for under 500?
If you’re searching for something that’s more budget-friendly than what Martin can make, then consider an acoustic electric guitar from Epiphone. The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is the best acoustic electric guitar under 500 that can still produce remarkable, full sounds.
It’s relatively easy to play as well, so if you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t have a hard time learning using this acoustic electric guitar. This also has a great finish that won’t wear out, so you not only have a quality-performing guitar at a low price, but one that will look good over the years.
What is the best acoustic electric guitar? Let’s see…
Out of the guitars we reviewed, the Martin is our top pick as the best acoustic electric guitar. It features solid, lasting construction that can withstand years of use, especially for the traveling musician. The DRS1 can also help you sound good if you’re in a small band setting, letting you project enough to stand tall among the other instruments.
If you’re looking to invest in a high-quality acoustic electric guitar that offers great projection and balanced tunes, then we recommend you try out the Martin Series.
- Epiphone Hummingbird Pro: This amplifies well while not disrupting the traditional acoustic sounds.
- Yamaha APX600: Good thin-line constructed for comfortable playing.
- Epiphone EJ-200SCE: Offers good stability and low-end resonance.
- Martin LXK2: Lightweight and holds its tune well.
- Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK: Low-costing and comes with an ideal beginner kit.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our reviews on the best acoustic electric guitars.