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What Is An Acoustic Electric Guitar? – Terminology

What Is An Acoustic Electric Guitar image

I have had a few people ask me on my acoustic-electric guitar buyers guide what the term acoustic electric guitar means. So I figured I would do an article giving a brief explanation on what does an acoustic-electric guitar mean.

The term acoustic electric comes from the style of guitar and the use of electronic pickups with this style of guitar. The style is acoustic as opposed to a solid-body electric guitar. The electronics used with the guitar make it designated electric. Sometimes people call this type of guitar an electro-acoustic guitar.

What Makes An Acoustic-Electric Guitar Unique?

The acoustic-electric guitar is fitted with piezoelectric pickups, magnetic pickups, or a microphone pickup depending on what type of guitar you have. Guitars like classical acoustic-electric guitars do not use metal strings, so they do not have magnetic pickups.

The design of the acoustic-electric guitar is different from the semi-acoustic guitar which is an electric guitar with a sound chamber hollowed out of the solid wood body.

Most acoustic-electric guitars come with a piezoelectric pickup which requires a pre-amp to amplify the signal before sending it to the guitar amplifier or sound system. These are usually installed in the body of the guitar.

The pre-amp usually has tone controls, volume controls and some have a guitar tuner. Some people call these guitars plug in guitars since they are directly plugged into the amplifier.

Ordinarily, acoustic-electric guitars are used when you need more volume than strumming a regular acoustic guitar can provide. Many bands and musicians use these guitars in live performances because they free up the musician to move around on stage rather than sit still in front of a dynamic microphone.

Our Top 3 Acoustic Electric Guitar Picks

NameRatingBest ForPrice
Yamaha 6 String Series AC1M 4.5/5 Best Bang For Your Buck View At Amazon
Taylor 110ce Dreadnought 5/5 Editors Choice Best Acoustic Electric Guitar View At Amazon
Fender CD-140SCE All Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Guitar 3.5/5 Best Budget Acoustic Electric Guitar View At Amazon

Brief History Of The Acoustic-Electric Guitar

It was in the 1950s that Gibson Guitars first attempted to produce an acoustic electric guitar. However, it did not provide a very good acoustic sound.

It wasn’t until Country Music legend Glenn Campbell, who recently passed away after battling Alzheimer’s Disease asked Ovation Guitars to make him an acoustic-electric guitar that the modern version of the acoustic-electric guitar was born.

Watch Glen Campbell Play The William Tell Overture On An Acoustic-Electric Guitar

If anything can show you what does an acoustic-electric guitar mean it is Glen Campbell playing the William Tell Overture

Duke Taber

Duke Taber has been a Senior Pastor of various churches since 1988. Prior to that, he was involved in the Christian rock scene opening for such notables as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Rez Band, and once played briefly with Darrel Mansfield. Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world. He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center.