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.
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.
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 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.