In today’s article, we shall discuss the difference between an acoustic guitar and an electric acoustic semi-acoustic guitar.
We shall also discuss the pros and cons of each type.
The Acoustic Guitar
The basic acoustic guitar is simply a guitar made from hollowed wood with steel or nylon strings.
It also has an adjustable truss rod and does not have any electrical components to help plug in the guitar.
Simple and ready-to-play, the acoustic guitar is there since the 1800s and have stood the test of time. Used widely by beginners, the acoustic guitar simply is the basic form of guitar.
Which acoustic guitar is the best?
The answer to this depends on the following criteria:
- Playability – The most important factor while choosing or buying an acoustic guitar is its playability. If the guitar is too uncomfortable to play – strings are way above the fret board, the frets are sharp and not well rounded, the neck has too much bow – all these factors do not allow a good experience for the player. Hence, always check the guitar before you buy.
- Sound – The second most important factor is the sound of the instrument, if the sound does not encourages you to pick up the instrument and play it, there is no point in investing in that instrument. An ideal sound should be pleasing to the ears and has enough sustain and resonance to feel the emotions behind the notes.
- Build Quality – The craftsmanship of the instrument goes a long way and it separates the cheap and affordable guitars from the expensive and great sounding guitars. Rolled frets, polished fret ends, neck and body binding, good quality natural woods, etc. contribute to the build quality of an acoustic guitar.
However, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars in order to buy a well built guitar. Brands such as Yamaha, Fender, Epihphone and Cort provide great quality guitars at an affordable range.
A few acoustic guitars which you should definitely check out:
Yamaha F280 (Indian Made)
Yamaha F310 (The real OG guitar)
Fender FA-125 (For those who want their first guitar as Fender)
Fender CD60S (The best in its range)
How to record an acoustic guitar?
The best way to record an acoustic guitar is to use a dedicated microphone. A standard condenser microphone is best for recording at home or at the studio.
However, some guitarists also prefer using a combination of a condenser and a dynamic microphone. The dynamic mic can be near the bridge while the condenser mic sits near the soundhole.
Later both these sounds are then layered and edited in a dedicated DAW to give the best possible output.
I highly recommend this approach if you are recording an album.
However, a microphone is NOT the ideal way to record if you live in a noisy environment or plan to record your guitar outdoors. For that, you need the electro-acoustic guitar.
The Electro Acoustic Guitar (Semi-Acoustic Guitar)
The electric acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar is very similar to a normal acoustic guitar. Except, this guitar has a built-in pickup to record or project sounds through an amp.
Usually, a magnetic pickup near the soundhole with an equalizer is installed in order to capture the sound.
The electro-acoustic guitar can be played both plugged in or without plugging into an amp.
Usually, such guitars are preferred by professional guitarists who play in large halls. Also, it is for anyone who lives in a noisy environment where recording with a microphone is not possible.
Which Electric-Acoustic Guitar is the best?
The criteria for the best electric acoustic guitar is the same as the acoustic guitar as mentioned previously. However, the pickup configuration is an added factor that needs to be considered.
The pickup should either be a piezo pickup – in case it is a classical guitar. As the nylon strings of a classical guitar do not allow standard magnetic pickups to capture the sound.
Brands like Kremona provide excellent piezo pickups which are detachable and can be used for live performances.
For magnetic pickups, Fishman pickups are well known to provide excellent sound.
These also come with an on-board equalizer which can help you make micro-adjustments during a live performance and also help tune your guitar as well.
A few guitars that you should check out are:
How to record an Electric Acoustic Guitar?
The best way to record an electro-acoustic guitar is to blend in the sound from the microphone with the sound from the pickup.
This approach is best when you need the chimney output from the pickup and need the natural reverbs from the wood.
Also, always ensure to use a dedicated USB audio interface and DAW software to record your playing. This gives you so much room to play around with your sound and give you professional results.
Which Acoustic Guitar to buy?
To sum it up, if you are a casual player, a simple acoustic guitar is the best choice for you.
However, if you want to perform in halls and arenas, an electric acoustic guitar is the best choice.
In case you are low on budget, then you should consider buying a good acoustic guitar without pickups and then either upgrading it with a pickup or using a microphone to record yourself.
Remember, microphones are the best way to record the natural sound of an acoustic guitar. Good luck with your purchase and let me know if I missed out on any guitar models in the comments.