A wall of acoustic guitars at a store

What Is The Best Acoustic Electric Guitar?

What is the best acoustic electric guitar?  The acoustic is an incredibly dynamic instrument and should be carefully selected. Use these tips to make the right choice when buying an acoustic or selecting an acoustic for recording or live performances.

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What Is The Best Acoustic Electric Guitar?

The acoustic guitar is one of the most dynamic and important instruments.  It can support a solo performance, create melodic and rhythmic interest in a song, and captivate an emotion.

So what is the best acoustic electric guitar?

Well before we get into that let’s talk about a few things to consider when selecting one.  If you are using the acoustic for recording then you don’t want to use the DI to plug in.  DI’s sound thin when recorded.  So you’re going to be paying attention to how the guitar’s build quality and sound.  When shopping for an acoustic guitar I like to play a lot of them and select based on how they sound because every guitar sounds different – even if it’s the same make and model.  With that said I have some favorite brands for recording guitar.

Martin’s tend to have a rounder sound if you’re looking for something beefy and round but not too bright.  Taylor guitars tend to be on the brighter sound having more high end and treble.  I like a Takamine for its bigger sound on the mid-high end models. 

Are you planning on using the guitar for recording but not going to use it for guitar solos in performances?  Then I highly recommend using a full body guitar without a cutaway.  The bigger the space the bigger the sound.

Acoustic Electric Guitars For Live Performances

What about for performances?  The electronics are extremely important.  I would argue that the electronics are more important than any other piece of the guitar if you’re planning on using it for live performances.

Back in the early 2000’s, I went to a concert with my mom to see Keith Urban.  I arrived at the show someone who was not a fan of country music at all.  I left a Keith Urban fan.  His guitar playing and performance skills are next level.  But the thing I noticed most… he stepped out with a tiny acoustic playing a solo rendition of his song Raining On A Sunday.  My jaw hit the floor.  The engineer in me said, “what the hell is that?!” 

I ended up talking to him for a short time after the show and ended up buying the same model that he used years down the road.  The thing that made this three-quarters size acoustic sound so good was the patented state of the art AP5 pickup system in the Maton Mini EMD Special.  Whenever I performed out with that guitar I had people come up to me asking how my little guitar sounded so huge.  It was the pickups!  But I would NEVER use that guitar to record because of the small size and equally small sound without being amplified.

My other favorite acoustic that I used was a Takamine who uses a similar pickup system to the AP5.  It’s easy to dial in a nice sound.  Taylors also have a nice DI sound as I said earlier.

So when selecting the best acoustic electric guitar for you decide what you want to use it for primarily.  If you want something well rounded I recommend the Takamine D-Series acoustic guitars, Taylor 300 series, or the larger Maton guitars.  But realistically, just go to the store and play them all.  You’ll find that you start to develop a preference for certain sounds.

Remember that an acoustic sounds different when played with a pick or fingerpicked.  It sounds different when miked up vs being plugged in.  Take all of this into consideration when purchasing.

I hope that this tip helped you in answering what is the best acoustic electric guitar!  Be sure to watch my video on acoustic guitar micing techniques and subscribe to Digital Recording School to learn more.

Remember… you’re just one song away.

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