A Guide to Purchasing a Quality Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars aren’t just for folk and country music anymore. These days the word “unplugged” has become an adored description of a popular rock or pop song. Artists and bands such as “Ryan Cabrera” “Michelle Branch” and The “Goo Goo Dolls” have brought the acoustic/electric guitar back into the realm of popular music. It’s not uncommon at all to see a local cover band do an unplugged set in a performance. Even in a non acoustic set of songs, a rhythm acoustic guitar in the background along with an electric guitar and bass can add presence and color to the sound of the band.

How Much?

It used to be that a good sounding acoustic/electric guitar for performance with a good feel would cost you at lease $1000. These days, you can grab a decent acoustic /electric guitar for under $500.

First, let’s define “Acoustic/Electric Guitar”. An acoustic/electric guitar is a guitar that appears to be an acoustic guitar but also has the option of plugging it into an amplifier or public audio system. They enable the guitarist to get that unmistakable acoustic sound and have it amplified without having to place a microphone in front of the sound hole.

These types of guitars can go anywhere from around $2000 US dollars to around $5000 US dollars. Some acoustic/electric guitars by companies such as “Martin” and “Taylor” can easily fetch $5000 or even well over. (And they’re worth every penny in my opinion). But a lot of us don’t have that kind of money to spend on an instrument.

Fortunately, companies like “Ibenez” and “Washburn” make some decent quality acoustic/electric guitars and offer them at a very reasonable price. These (and the more expensive ones) all have on board electronics in the form of an equalizer and volume controls. Many have not only the standard quarter inch high impedance output but also have a low impedance output like top grade microphones.

Acoustic Amplifiers

These days with the popularity of acoustic based music and solo performers, acoustic guitar amplifiers have become a common sight on the stage of the weekend band as well as some of the big and famous acts. Most of them, have a dual purpose and also sport a microphone input that gives the amp the functionality of a public audio system so that you can have your guitar plugged in on the first channel of the amp and your vocal microphone plugged in on the second channel. Each channel has it’s own equalizer and the performer is able to tweak his or her settings as they wish.

Amplification Options

There’s no question that a decent acoustic amplifier is a great thing to own but do you really NEED one? If you’re intending on doing the solo thing and performing as a solo act in small lounges or coffee shops, I would say, “Yes, you DO need one”. But if you’re in a band and you have microphones plugged in and a decent speaker system (no less than a 15″ speaker and a horn for your highs) on each side of the band I would recommend that you put the purchase of an acoustic amp on hold for now. In the meantime, you can plug your acoustic guitar directly in the PA system. You can get a great sound too. Companies like Boss and Digitech make on the floor stomp boxes that are especially made for acoustic guitars but if you can afford one of them, a simple $50 US dollar chorus effect pedal added to your acoustic guitar sound and give your instrument a very sweet sound coming through the PA system. The acoustic processors give you every possible effect that you could desire for your acoustic guitar and are great but can run from about $100 US dollars to around $300. By going with the PA system rather than the amp you can bring your amplification cost down to well less than $100 or if your PA system has on board effects or perhaps a multi effects processor patched in, or if you would rather go with zero effects, you can wipe the amplification cost down to zero.

Shop around and be patient. There are a lot of jems out there my guitar slinging comrade. Do layaway, savings account or whatever but owning a quality acoustic/electric guitar is well within your grasp! Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ 9 = eighteen