Play Like A Pro With The Best Acoustic Electric Guitars In 2018
In the good ole days before the invention of the piezo electric guitar pickup and acoustic electric guitars, the way you used an acoustic guitar in a live performance was to try to mic it. Sound men across the planet hated this because the method was prone to feedback and the guitarist had to remain motionless otherwise the sound levels would fluctuate.
It was in the 1950’s that Gibson first attempted to produce an acoustic electric guitar. However it did not produce a very good acoustic sound. It wasn’t until Country Music legend Glenn Campbell asked Ovation Guitars to make him an acoustic electric guitar that the modern version of the acoustic electric guitar was born. Now they are one of the most widely sought after musical instruments.
If you plan to do live performances then you will do well with any of these top acoustic electric guitars which will sound wonderful on most acoustic guitar amps.
Defining The Best Acoustic Electric Guitar
Everybody will have a different definition of best acoustic electric guitars. Some will equate it to best bang for your buck. Others will equate it to quality and tone. Yet others will simply mean the best for the type of guitar playing they do.
So I am not going to try to convince you which one is the best quality or best bang for your buck. Instead I am going to show you acoustic electric guitars in different price ranges and let you decide which one is the best guitar for you. I do have 3 recommendations but you are the one that has to decide if the acoustic electric guitar is the right type for your style of music and playing ability.
If you need help deciding which acoustic electric guitar would be best for you, I suggest you read our Acoustic Electric Guitar Buyers Guide.
In this article you will find a quick comparison chart of the best noise cancelling headphones, and then below you will find product listings for each acoustic electric guitar pulled from Amazon’s product database for you to compare.
Our Top Acoustic Electric Guitar Picks
How We Chose These Acoustic Electric Guitars For You
Why You Should Trust Us In Finding Your Next Acoustic Electric Guitar
We spent over 40 hours researching and writing this list of the best noise cancelling headphones so you wouldn’t have to spend your time doing the research. We consulted with the top experts in the industry and coupled that with our own personal experience to bring you this list. We do not accept free products or incentives when we review products in order to keep our opinions unbiased and helpful to our readers.
In making this list of the best acoustic electric guitars we kept 3 things in mind: Quality, affordability, and customer satisfaction.
As an avid guitar player myself the last thing I want to do is cause you to buy a bad guitar because of a review we gave. So when I decided to make this list of acoustic electric guitars, quality was the number 1 consideration.
That is why you do not see off brand knock offs on this list. You only see the top brands in the guitar making industry. One thing I can say. All of these guitars you will want to use a hard shell case to carry around. You won’t want to just shove them in those cheap gig bags that is for sure!
Although our list of acoustic electric guitars has axes that range from $200.00 to $1,000.00 these are not the highest priced acoustic electric guitars by any way shape or form. Some of the most expensive guitars can run in the multiple thousand of dollars.
Customer Satisfaction With The Guitar Manufacterers
We spent the time reading all the customer reviews left on these acoustic electric guitars to ensure that any guitar we recommend is well liked by real guitar players. Every acoustic electric guitar we recommend was rated with 4 stars or better at the time of this writing.
Taylor's 100 Series is a great guitar-playing experience accessible to everyone with these real wood instruments. 2017 models, like the 110ce Rosewood Dreadnought, have layered rosewood backs and sides, as well as new architecture for even more volume and dynamics.Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
- "Body Body type: Taylor Dreadnought Cutaway: Yes Top wood: Solid Sitka Spruce Back & sides: Layered Sapele Bracing pattern: Taylor Standard II Bracing (Forward Shift Pattern) Body finish: Matte 2.0 Orientation: Right-Handed Neck Neck shape: Standard Taylor Profile Nut width: 1-11/16"" (42.8mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Sapele Scale length: 25-1/2"" Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Matte 2."
- "Taylor's 100 Series makes a great guitar-playing experience accessible to everyone with these real wood instruments
- For people taking the first or next step in their musical journey, these instruments promise to accelerate players' growth and enhance their enjoyment
- Taylor's famous neck profile combined with a 1-11/16-inch nut width make it easy for developing players to form barre chords
- All 100 Series models include a durable, 600-denier nylon gig bag with double-stitched seams and reinforced stress points, built by Taylor for an optimal fit
There's something undeniably inviting about the Taylor GS Mini's scaled-down size, yet a single strum reveals the impressive voice of a full-size guitar. That mix of portability and musicality has proven to be a winning combination that fits into so many scenarios in life, from the couch to the campfire to the concert hall.Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
- Body Body shape: Other Cutaway: Non-cutaway Top: Hawaiian koa Back and sides: Layered koa Bracing pattern: Other Body finish: Varnish Orientation: Right handed Neck Shape: Other Nut width: 1.687" (42.8mm) Fingerboard: Ebony Wood: Tropical mahogany Scale length: 23.5" Number of frets: 20 Finish: Varnish Electronics Onboard: Yes Brand: Taylor Configuration: Undersaddle piezo Preamp EQ: 2-band
Fender's Sonoran SCE is decked out for even more sun-and-fun acoustic action, upgraded with a three-ply pickguard, bone nut and bridge saddle, and vintage-style Fender “Viking” bridge. It’s perfect for those who dig vintage styling and seek to ride the wave of Fender’s classic Southern California history and vibe.Usually ships in 1-2 business days
- Solid Spruce Top with Laminated Mahogany Back and Sides
- Maple Neck with 20 fret rosewood fingerboard
- Scalloped X Bracing
- Rosewood with Compensated Bone Saddle
- Fishman Isys III System with Active On-Board Pre-Amp and Tuner
Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $1,000.00
Guitars that are in the $1,000 dollar range are not for beginners. They are for experienced guitar players that want the best sound they can possibly get. Here are our choices for a great sounding guitar for an experienced guitar player.
- New scalloped bracing design and hand-rolled rosewood Fingerboard
- Satin Mahogany neck finish and slim taper profile
- New SRT2 pickup system
- STAGE ready setup
- Now ships with elixir strings!
- New scalloped bracing design and hand-rolled rosewood Fingerboard
- Satin Mahogany neck finish and slim taper profile
- New SRT2 pickup system
- STAGE ready setup
- Now ships with elixir strings!
Built on traditional styling and legendary Martin tone, the DRS1 acoustic-electric is one of the most affordable solid wood models they offer.Usually ships in 24 hours
- Solid Sapele Top, Back and Sides
- Modified Low Oval Select Hardwood Neck w/Black Richlite Fingerboard
- Fishman Sonitone Electronics
- Black Richlite Bridge w/White Tusq Saddle, Chrome Enclosed Tuners, White Corian Nut
- Includes Hardshell Case
The 6-string Martin DX1RAE acoustic-electric guitar features a D-14 platform, a dreadnought body designed to produce a powerful, rich sound that is perfect for live performance and in the studio.Usually ships in 24 hours
- Full dreadnought Rosewood body Spruce top Fishman electronics Case sold separately
- X Series Guitars feature patented high pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top, patented mortise and tenon neck construction, and professionally installed Fishman electronics
- The result: great-sounding, great-playing guitars, that are environmentally friendly, and priced to fly out the door
- This is one of Martin's best values ever
- The X Series affirms Martin's commitment to providing an affordable and competitive option to players dedicated to live performance
Beautiful to behold, it has huge sound that you can easily amplify via the under-bridge pickup. Features a big jumbo maple body with a select spruce top, Moustache bridge, gold hardware, and crown rosewood fingerboard inlays.Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
- Maple body
- Select Spruce top
- 25.5 scale
The Top Acoustic Electric Guitars Around $500 And Under
Although there are a lot of great acoustic electric guitars under the 500 dollar mark, most of these are most suitable for beginner guitarists or those that are on a tight budget.
There is nothing wrong with these guitars. The will do the job quite well. It is just that they are not considered professional grade acoustic electric guitars.
However I know quite a few musicians that have some of these they use in a pinch.
Derived from the FG830 which has a solid spruce top and rosewood back/sides, the FGX830C has a cutaway body and the electric system. Yamaha's proprietary under-saddle piezo pickup and System66 analog preamp ensure the solid plugged-in performance.Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
- Solid Sitka Spruce Top
- Rosewood Back & Sides
- Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
- Diecast Tuners
- System 66 feature an under-saddle piezo pickup with a 3-band EQ, an adjustable mid-range frequency control, and a precision chromatic tuner for optimum sound tailoring.
- this guitar has an adjustable truss rod
The Ibanez PF15ECE Performance Series Acoustic-Electric Cutaway Guitar uses mahogany back and sides to provide rich, warm lows and sweet sustain. The Fishman Sonicore pickup and SST preamp assure an accurate reproduction of the guitar's natural tone when plugged in.Usually ships in 24 hours
- Mahogany back and sides provide rich, warm lows and sweet sustain
- Ibanez Under Saddle pickup and AEQ-2T preamp maintain the guitar's natural tone when plugged in
- Gloss black finish and chrome die-cast tuners give guitar distinguished appearance
- Includes an onboard tuner
- Get professional features, quality, and great sound at extremely inexpensive price
Acoustic Electric Guitar Buyers Guide
Buying an acoustic electric guitar is fun! When I am in the market for a new guitar I am like a kid in a candy shop. There are so many options and varieties to choose from it is hard to make a decision.
The most important question you need to ask yourself is “What am I going to use my guitar for?” Am I just going to play at home? Am I going to do gigs with it? Or am I going to try my hand at self-recording? This will determine the type of acoustic electric guitar you are going to purchase and the price point you are looking at.
Basic Components Of An Acoustic Guitar
The basic parts of an acoustic electric guitar are…..
- The Binding
- The Bridge
- The Fingerboard
- Machine Heads
- Pick Guard
- Fret Position Marker Inlays
- Strap Button
- Tuning Keys
Acoustic Electric Guitar Tonewoods – Different Woods For Different Sounds
Guitar makers and craftsmen, called luthiers, have found that the single most important piece of wood in making a guitar is the top wood. Different woods resonate differently with the sounds. Finger players will want a different type of wood than strummers, and strummers will want a different type of wood than pickers.
After the top wood, the wood used in the back, sides, and neck are the next important wood types used in an acoustic electric guitar.
It is important to remember that the types of wood used in a guitars construction can only do so much. It is just as important to take into consideration the quality of the craftsmanship in constructing the guitar as well as the individual quality of each piece of wood used. You can have a good piece of spruce or a bad piece of spruce. The same goes for the other types of wood used as well.
Here some of the more common types of wood used in crafting an acoustic electric guitar and their own particular qualities.
Spruce is one of the more common woods used in crafting guitars. The most common type of spruce is the Sitka Spruce. It is a very rigid wood for being considered a softwood. It is very lightweight which is why guitar makers and players like it. Spruce gives a very direct sound and keeps its clarity when being played forcefully.
Cedar is a popular top wood because of its warm rich sound. Most guitar craftsmen try to use Western Red Cedar when building a guitar designed for finger players. It is a very responsive wood for those with a light touch.
Mahogany topped guitars have a great punchy sound that works well if you are going to play country music or the blues. When acoustic guitar craftsmen use mahogany in the sides or back of the guitar then it gives the guitar a great range of overtones coming out of it.
When acoustic guitars are made with Sugar, Big Leaf, or Bearclaw Maple, they have a more “true” or “transparent” sound. This means that what is being produced by the guitar is not colored or shaded by many overtones.
Rosewood is known for its high acoustic response rate. This is why it is used so often in bridges. It gives you a complex sound filled with lots of dark and warm overtones. It provides a rich sound both in the low ends and in the mid and high ranges.
Acoustic Guitar Body Styles
There are 3 basic acoustic guitar body styles. They are the dreadnought, the classic, and the jumbo.
The dreadnought is by far the most popular and versitile of the 3 shapes. It was launched by CF Martin years ago and was named after an old English warship. Its distinctives is its rounded shoulders and the fact that most dreadnoughts join with the neck at the 14th fret.
The dreadnought has by far the most even balance between size, volume, and ease of play.
Next comes the classic guitar body style. I would wager that if you were given a guitar as a child, you played one with the classic guitar body style. These are more commonly called classical guitars. They have the nylon strings and are the easiest to on your fingers to play. They are not as large as the dreadnoughts.
Classical guitars have a Spanish origin and accounts for the flamenco style of guitar playing associated with them. They are normally smaller in size than their steel stringed cousins.
Finally we have the jumbo guitar body style. The jumbo guitar lives up to its name. It has a jumbo size and jumbo volume. It was first released in 1937 by Gibson and was used as a rhythm guitar to complement the more precise lead guitars. Jumbo guitars are meant to be used in concert with other guitars. It is not well suited for standing on its own.
7 Things To Look For In Your Next Acoustic Electric Guitar
There are 7 things you should consider when purchasing your new acoustic electric guitar. The level of importance of each of these things will depend on what you are going to use your new guitar for.
As I mentioned earlier, the tonewood will change the way your guitar sounds. Pay attention to what the top is made of. This is the most important piece on the guitar. Understand that the rarer the wood, the more expensive the guitar will be and hardwoods are becoming scarcer over time.
I just covered the different types of body styles. However remember that the body style will effect both the ease of play and the sound that is projected. Some acoustic electric guitars come with a cutaway body style that gives you easier access to the fret board. You might want to take this into consideration as well.
Also the size of the guitar might matter. If you are just going to use it for home use or maybe take it with you on trips, you might want a smaller size.
The neck can be a very important consideration. If you are like me, I was gifted with short, fat, stubby fingers. A wide neck makes a guitar much harder to play for me. The thickness and width of the neck is generally based on the size of the guitar. Many guitars necks are listed as 12 or 14 fret necks but this is not the size of the neck. This is referring to the amount of frets are clear of the guitar body.
I am one of those people that are in-between sizes. I can play a full sized guitar but a 3/4 size guitar is much easier to play for me.
Tuning Machines Or Pegs
The type of tuning machines, or sometimes called pegs is important. If they are not very good quality then your guitar will need to be constantly tuned. It will lose its tune as you play. Enclosed tuning machines are the best. They resist corrosion and do not get dust in them. They will last much longer.
The Bridge And Fingerboard
The materials of the bridge and fingerboard or fret board do not have a lot of effect on the sound quality. However they do have an effect on ease of play. Some guitar players like to lower the height of the bridge to lower the strings so they do not have to press so hard in order to lay the strings across the frets. The downside to this is that if you lower the strings too far, they can buzz on other frets or will buzz if you press too hard.
The Guitar Finish
The type of finish may have a slight effect on the tone of your guitar. However it is really beyond your control the type of finish that is on your guitar unless you have a guitar custom built for you. Most quality guitar manufacturers are aware of this and choose appropriately.
The finish is put on the guitar to protect it. It is usually one layer of stain or paint followed by several layers of clear coat finish.
The Guitar Electronics
Acoustic electric guitars come with pickups and pre-amplifiers already installed in them. These are either placed in a hole in the side of the guitar or mounted inside the guitar body. Some acoustic electric guitars come with not only a pickup and pre-amp but comes with an EQ and a tuner as well. I have even seen some with special effects electronics as well.
You will want to make sure that you have volume and tone controls. The rest is just bells and whistles.
Why Are Some Guitars More Expensive Than Others?
There is a long list of reasons why some acoustic electric guitars are more expensive than others. One of the primary factors is how and where it is built.
If your guitar is hand crafted in the USA then it will be more expensive than if it was pre-fabricated in a factory in China.
Wood also plays a big part in the cost of a guitar. Premium guitars are made with premium wood where the lower cost guitars are made of laminate woods, also known as plywood. Laminate woods do not resonate as well as solid wood pieces. However they are more predictable in different weather types and temperatures. Many players find laminates work great for live stage performances.
Whether you are looking to buy your first acoustic electric guitar, or you have purchased many, it always helps to review how to choose a guitar. We all want the best acoustic electric guitar for the money. So I decided to share with you what I have learned about how to choose an acoustic electric guitar over the last 40 years of being a guitar player.
3 Tips On How To Choose An Acoustic Electric Guitar
I don’t want to go into great depth here. I could write 5,000 words about choosing a guitar, but these three things will help you wrap your head around what is important in choosing a guitar.
Price Of The Guitar
In choosing the best acoustic electric guitar for you the first thing we have to deal with is price. You see, it does no good for me to talk about the types of wood or the types of electronics if you do not have the budget for high quality handcrafted solid wood guitars. So ask yourself these questions.
- Is this guitar for a student or beginner guitar player? If so, then you need a lower priced acoustic electric guitar.
- Will I be using this guitar for live performances or will it just be used for personal enjoyment? If it is being used for live performances then you need a mid to higher priced guitar. If it is just for personal enjoyment then you can consider purchasing a lower priced guitar unless you just want a really nice guitar and are willing to pay the price.
- Will I be using this guitar to record music professionally? If your answer is yes, then you really need to consider purchasing a higher end acoustic electric guitar. A Taylor or Martin guitar can run you as high as $3,000.00
The best choice in a guitar for you will be one that meets the need that you have.
Wood Used In The Guitar
The next thing you need to consider is wood. Now I am just going to give you a brief overview of woods in a guitar. I don’t want to make this article a novel.
The first thing you need to consider is if the guitar has a solid wood face or plywood. (The manufacturers spin this term as laminate.) It is plywood with a solid wood top laminate. Plywood (laminates) do not give you the same tone as a solid wood face. It does not resonate as well because of the lower quality wood used in the plywood.
Usually only the less expensive guitars use plywood.
After that, you need to check which type of solid wood is used. Harder woods like spruce give of a clear tone but will lack deep rich tones. Softer woods like cedar or mahogany give off a deeper richer tone but do not have as much clarity and punch.
Ask yourself whether you will use your guitar for picking and doing guitar riffs or if you will be strumming and providing background sound for the lead musicians. If you are going to be picking and doing riffs then you need a harder wood and if strumming a softer wood.
All acoustic electric guitars come with internal pickups. That is why they are called acoustic electric. However not all pickups are created equal.
There are two types of electronic pickups found in acoustic electric guitars. One is a Piezoelectric pickup found in the bridge of the guitar, or a small microphone pickup found in the body of the guitar. Some guitars come with both styles of pickups.
If you are using your guitar in a live setting like on a stage for a concert, you will want a guitar that uses a piezoelectric pickup rather than a mic pickup. This is because you will have monitors pointed towards you and the mic pickup will pick up the monitor sound coming at you and cause feedback. If you are using your guitar in quieter settings, the microphone pickup works better.
Normally piezoelectric pickups are clearer and mic pickups give you a deeper sound depth.
8 Things To Consider In Buying An Acoustic Electric Guitar
I found a great video on what to consider when choosing an acoustic guitar. Each of these things are just as important in choosing an acoustic electric guitar as well.
Final Thoughts On Choosing Your Acoustic Electric Guitar
In the 40 years I have been playing guitar I have ran into some great guitars and some duds. Pay attention to the customer reviews. Musicians are picky people. They will let you know if a guitar is a dud or not.
Also remember that you get what you pay for. Guitars made out of plywood will never sound as good as guitars made out of solid wood faces. Guitars made in a factory will never be as good as hand crafted guitars. As long as you remember these things you won’t have expectations that are greater than what is reasonable.
I hope that this article on how to choose an acoustic electric guitar has helped you go into your next guitar purchase informed on what to look for in your next guitar. Let me know if it has helped you or not.
If you haven’t purchased your next acoustic electric guitar, you might want to check out our list of the best electro-acoustic guitars on the market today. Or you can read our complete acoustic electric guitar reviews and informative acoustic electric guitar articles.
At Taber’s Best Reviews We Have Reviewed These Acoustic Electric Guitar Manufacturers
- Fender Acoustic Electric Guitars
- Yamaha Acoustic Electric Guitars
- Martin Acoustic Electric Guitars
- Taylor Acoustic Electric Guitars
- Epiphone Acoustic Electric Guitars
- Ibanez Acoustic Electric Guitars
Check out our complete reviews below.
Acoustic Electric Guitar Reviews And Articles
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Are YOU Looking For A Great Sounding Guitar? DISCOVER How YOU Can Sound Like The Pros After Reading This Epiphone EJ-200SCE Review.
What Is An Acoustic Electric Guitar? What Does The Term Acoustic Electric Guitar Mean? DISCOVER What Makes This Guitar Different Than Others.
Do YOu Want To Learn How To Record An Acoustic Electric Guitar? DISCOVER The Two Methods YOU Can Use When Recording YOUR Acoustic Electric Guitar.
Are YOU Thinking About Buying An Acoustic Electric Guitar But Do Not Know How To Choose One? Check Out This INFORMATIVE Article On What To Look For In A Guitar.
Do YOU Want To DISCOVER How To Tune An Acoustic Electric Guitar? Learn The 3 Methods REVEALED In This Informative Article.