Best acoustic electric guitar. Comparison, Reviews & Buying Guide

VALUE EDITORIAL


WHY PURCHASE AN ACOUSTIC ELECTRIC GUITAR?

This type of guitar really gives the player the best of both worlds; the classic warm tone that you get from an acoustic guitar with the volume and power that an electric guitar provides. Typically made with a built-in amplifier, you have the versatility to play the guitar either way without distortion in the quality of your music. Particularly pleasing in live situations or on stage, this type of guitar is usually very easy and comfortable to play. It also allows the musician to create any type of music that he or she so desires.

STRUCTURE AND DESIGN OF YOUR INSTRUMENT

Best acoustic electric guitar

You want to look for a guitar that has plenty of durability and stamina for your play. It must be comfortable for you to play, produce your perfect sound and is overall high functional. The body of your guitar should fit the contour of your body and playing style, while the neck should feel good to hold and provide easy mobility between frets. Also, different woods will help to produce different types of sounds and should be taken into account when choosing your instrument. Finally, your music should be a reflection of your personality. Thusly, your guitar should compliment your personality as well.

WHAT TYPE OF WOOD IS THE GUITAR MADE OF

The type of wood that is used to construct a guitar has a tremendous effect on the instrument. First, the obvious, durability. Of course, you want a guitar that will grow with you and will not be damaged easily. The second, and not so obvious, is that the type of wood used actually has an effect on the overall sound that is produced.

EBONY


Typically used for the fretboard, ebony is sturdy but with a sleek texture. A dense hardwood, this wood tends to be loud with considerable overtones throughout its vast range. The lower, bass tones tend to be quite strong.

CEDAR


This wood allows guitars to produce very warm, resonant and bright tones. It tends to be more on the porous side, which enables a quicker sound response. very warm and resonant sound

SPRUCE


A standard for acoustic electric guitars, this wood is quite strong but also very lightweight. There are some variations within the Spruce family that would also be used for guitar production. These include, Sitka and European Spruce, as examples. Each
version has its only unique and distinct qualities and colors that are brought to each instrument they become a part of.

MAPLE


Mostly used for the sides and backs of a guitar, this wood will produce a 'dry' sound. This can be useful if you are playing in a band or within a group. The sound that is produced by an instrument using Maple wood can be heard and sometimes even stand out amongst other instruments that are playing at the same time.

MAHOGANY


Guitars that are made of this wood tend to produce very strong, high-end tones; like what are typically used for country or blues music.

COCOBOLO


A Mexican wood, it is quite strong and will most typically be used
to construct the sides and backs of a guitar. This wood allows the instrument to produce very bright tones.

SAPELE


An African wood, also typically used for the back and side of a guitar. This wood produces a similar tone to that of Mahogany. In contrast, Sapele adds a bit of treble to it, allowing it to be a bit more distinctive in its tone.


GUITARS MADE FROM SOLID WOOD VS. GUITARS MADE OF LAMINATED WOOD

Solid wood guitars are built right from the tree. In other words, the wood is cut and then shaped into the portion of the guitar it is intended to be used for. Laminate, on the other hand is quite different. It is pressed plywood that consists of many layers of thin processed wood that are bonded together for strength and stability. This creates workable wood that is much less costly than hardwood. The differences between the two are quite vast. Laminate will have a very different look, price point and durability than solid wood.

However, the biggest difference for most musicians is the tone between the two types of wood. Although entirely subjective, tones from more budget-friendly guitars tend to be a bit more inconsistent than those of hardwood. In the end, laminate guitars cannot resonate as freely as a solid wood guitar can. Resonance is generally considered to contribute to the overall harmony and balance of the overtones. Consequently, laminate instruments will have a varying tone as opposed to solid wood built guitars.

OVERALL GUITAR SIZE

acoustic electric guitar
For many musicians, the sound of an acoustic-electric guitar is highly coveted. With a similar look to a standard acoustic guitar, the hollow chamber provides expert harmonics while providing the ability to create precise solid tunes of an electric. Determining which of these guitars is the best for you could be a bit of a daunting task. That is why we have scoured the market and compared the various options that are available. We looked at features such as the type of wood that is used to construct the instrument, the sound quality, whether it has a built in amplifier and if there are any other accessories that are available. Our thorough research has led us to configure the best acoustic/electric guitars for sale.

The size of your ideal guitar is of the utmost importance. You need to feel comfortable while you are playing and the size of your instrument has to fit with you, the player. If you have smaller hands, for example, you will need a guitar that is of smaller stature overall. Also, if you prefer strumming, the body of your guitar can be a little larger than one of a play that traditionally finger picks as he or she plays. If you have larger hands, you will be better accommodated by a guitar with a wider neck. Without fail, you must consider size before anything else when you are choosing your guitar.

REVIEW THE MAKE UP AND QUALITY OF THE STRINGS

The more strings, the richer and fuller the sound. Most acoustic/electric guitars are standard six-string instruments, which makes the quality of you strings an even more integral part of the quality of the overall sound. Nylon strings produce a more mellow sound and are typically used for classical style playing. Other types of strings, such as bronze, will produce a brighter sound and with a smoother and warmer tone.

DO YOU REQUIRE PICKUPS FOR YOUR STYLE OF PLAY

Depending on what type of sound you are going for and where you intend to play will heavily influence your pickups preferences. Pickups provide a more classic electric guitar sound. Pickups are good for amplifying your sound without feedback or distortion that can come for using a microphone.

CAN A CUTAWAY DESIGN HELP YOU PLAY BETTER

Any type of guitar that has a cutaway will allow you easier access to the higher frets. This can be a preference of the player as to whether or not it is important to the music you intend to perform. For example, if you intend to do a lot of solos, this may be important for you. However, for players that are strumming along with the melody, this may not be an imperative feature to have on your instrument.

HOW CONVENIENT AND EASY IS IT TO CONTROL THE VOLUME AND TONE

The electronics included in an acoustic/electric guitar often include built-in tone controls. This allows you to adjust your guitar's tone to become brighter or darker, based on your preferences and musical needs. Volume controls should be located on the side near the top of the body of your guitar. This allows you the ability to adjust the volume with your strumming hand.

SHOULD I CONSIDER A MODEL THAT HAS A BUILT-IN TUNER

Do not get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with external tuners. They are very affordable and highly accurate. But let's face it, there really is no downside to have a built-in tuner on your acoustic/electric guitar. The convenience of being able to check and adjust your tuning in an instant cannot be beaten. This can be particularly true if you are using this guitar for live gigs or events.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Choosing the right guitar for you is an extremely personal and intimate decision. You will need to consider exactly how the guitar feels when playing, the sound tone and quality as well as how often and where you will play when looking for your musical companion. Overall, a guitar should reflect you and your music, while enabling you comfortable play so that you can ensure you are playing the best sound. And, more importantly, you are enjoying the experience of playing your acoustic/electric guitar.

TOP 10 PRODUCT REVIEWS

#1

This classic guitar has been dazzling professionals and newcomers alike for over twenty years. A single-cutaway design provides a full and rich tone, even at the lower registers. A perfect instrument for players of any skill level, this guitar was built to be your music companion for many years.

Features and B​enefits

  • Mahogany body with a select spruce top allow this instrument to stand up to wear and tear
  • Neck has an adjustable truss rod
  • Rosewood fretboard is well-engineered providing easy playability for any level guitarist
  • Highly accurate built-in tuner that runs on battery with a long life span

Pros

  • Consumers are very happy with the quality construction of this guitar
  • The thin body structure creates a brighter overall tone without compromising the range of notes that can be played
  • Body contour makes this instrument easy and quite comfortable to play

Cons

  • Tends to be a bit bass-heavy when plugged into the amp
  • Some of the controls may be difficult to see under stage lighting

Overall Review

This Epiphone guitar is ready to play out of the box. Just tune it and strum to your heart's content. Producing a bright and solid sound, the PR-5E is a timeless piece and a great instrument for professionals as well as beginners.

#2

Do not let the size of this guitar fool you. There is plenty of sound to go around. Produced with transport in mind, this guitar is the perfect size to grab and go while being made with strong, durable components. Ideal for students or just playing around the house, this Martin LX1E is sure to be an excellent travel companion that allows you to play your heart out no matter where you are.

Features and B​enefits

  • Solid Sitka spruce top to compliment the mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides with a satin finish
  • Produces loud volume despite its smaller stature
  • Construction is made of sustainable wood providing superior durability
  • Smaller in size allowing for easier transport between gigs
  • Built to produce a smooth and warm tone
  • Contains a truss rod and comes with a padded soft guitar bag

Pros

  • Excellent pick up when plugged into an amp
  • The smaller stature of this guitar is ideal for those with smaller hands

Cons

  • Truss rod may be difficult to access when necessary
  • Some have complained that the strings are too high

Overall Review

Versatile and portable, this Little Martin guitar produces a warm and powerful tone, definitely one of my personal favourites.


Its smaller size makes this guitar perfect for travel without sacrificing quality of sound. Perfect for a student to practice on, or any professional who is on-the-go.

#3

Number 3 on our list is the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro. Amazingly built and superb performance in a guitar with such an affordable price. An instrument that is sure to dazzle newbies and professionals alike, this instrument boasts a big dreadnought body with square shoulders; the classic look from the 1960s.

Features and B​enefits

  • Solid Spruce Top with Mahogany Back and Sides provide a highly durable product
  • SlimTaper "D" Profile Neck is easier to grab ahold of
  • Shadow ePerformer HD Preamp and Shadow NanoFlex HD pickup system
  • Rosewood fingerboard with Pearled Parallelogram inlays
  • Classic large, dreadnought body with square shoulders shape
  • Includes an arrangement with features such as a master volume control, dynamics control slider, bass and treble controls and a mute button.

Pros

  • Easy for beginners to play, while still maintaining quality for professional musicians as well
  • Maintains the natural and loud acoustic tone even when plugged in
  • Consumers are stating that they consider the onboard pre-amp and pickup to be of very good quality

Cons

  • Musicians have complained about the weight of this instrument, it can be a bit on the heavier side
  • There is no built-in tuner with this guitar, you will need to purchase a manual one separately

Overall Review

A guitar that looks and sounds like a professional instrument, the Epiphone Hummingbird PRO produces a warm, crisp sound. Plenty of volume is provided from this instrument, with or without the amp. This guitar maintains the acoustic sound, even when plugged in and has a classic and timeless shape.

#4

The Fender CD-60SCE has a dreadnought cutaway body that allows the player easier access to the lower frets. Made with quality and durable components, this guitar combines powerful onboard electronics with great tone and easy playability. Scalloped X bracing makes the guitar top sturdy and reliable, contributing to the long lifetime of the instrument.

Features and B​enefits

  • A Venetian-cutaway body for easy upper and lower fret access
  • Solid spruce top with scalloped "X"-bracing
  • Mahogany back and sides will help to prevent damage from occurring
  • Easy-to-play neck with rolled fingerboard edges
  • Chrome tuning knobs with a "mother of pearl" style acrylic design around the sound hole
  • Built-in tuner provide convenience and allows you to keep your guitar in tune no matter where you may be playing
  • Purchase includes bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth

Pros

  • Perfect starter kit for anyone who is just beginning their musical journey
  • Amazing retention for intonation and tuning as you play, giving you a steady frequency range.

Cons

  • More intermediate and professional players may not find the built-in equipment to be adequate for their needs
  • Laminated wood does not mature, leaving the sound the same over time

Overall Review

The Fender Dreadnought is a versatile, user-friendly guitar with a look and sound that is sure to please. Comfortable to play, this guitar includes a built-in preamp with tuner, die-cast tuners, mother-of-pearl acrylic rosette design, and compensated bridge design.

#5

A stunning instrument, the Fender FA-235E concert guitar provides a legendary sound with a budget-friendly price. Quality laminate construction with a modern Fender 3+3 headstock and Viking bridge creates a full sound. This concert-style body is smaller than a dreadnought but built with clear articulation and optimal projection in mind, no matter where you are playing.

Features and B​enefits

  • Highly durable with a flame Maple top, rosewood fingerboard and mahogany back and sides
  • Fishman preamp and built-in Tuner help you take the stage with confidence
  • Purchase includes a bundle with Gig Bag, Strap, Strings, Picks, Fender Play Online Lessons, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
  • Modern Fender 3+3 headstock and Viking bridge allow for easy play

Pros

  • Preamp design has a small footprint, is easy to use and delivers a reliable performance every time
  • Musicians love the electronic tuner and are complimenting its accuracy.
  • Modern Fender 3+3 headstock and Viking bridge create an easy-playing instrument that sounds great

Cons

  • Some consumers complained that the case will break down easily with normal wear and tear
  • The volume produced may not be optimal, even with it plugged into the amplifier

Overall Review

The Fender concert guitar produces a full and rich sound that compliments its stage-worthy visual appeal. This durable guitar comes with a full kit, making it great for a beginner. However, do not discount this instrument if you are a more advanced player; as the tone and quality of this guitar will keep you going for miles.

#6

Number 6 on our list is the Yamaha thin body APX600. This slim shape and build makes this instrument an ideal sized guitar for beginners and those player with smaller hands. Easy to play, the full sound of this instrument may surprise you based on its stature.

Features and B​enefits

  • Extremely durable guitar with Sitka Spruce Top, Nato back, sides, and neck with Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Strung with steel strings for a brighter, louder sound
  • APX shape is comfortable to play for any skill level
  • Electrics include 3-band EQ controls and mid-range frequency slider along with a simple volume knob
  • Standard quality piezo pickup system and a preamp has all you need to create a high-quality sound
  • built-in digital tuner is convenient for the player and works accurately
  • Bundles includes Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, Extra Strings, Picks, and Polishing Cloth

Pros

  • Musicians love the advanced bracing pattern as well as the simple yet effective and quality hardware
  • Exemplifies the brand's reputation for a quality product
  • Provides incredible comfort, easy top-fret access and an incredible sound

Cons

  • This instrument sounds better when it is plugged into the amp rather than when it just played acoustically
  • Some musicians found that frets were on the smaller side and sometimes hindered their performances

Overall Review

The Yamaha thin body guitar is an electric/acoustic guitar that is easy and comfortable to play; making it perfect for beginner players. However, even a more advanced player will appreciate the simplicity of this build in addition to the overall tone from this guitar.

#7

Next we have the Yamaha solid top cutaway FGX800C. The unique bracing of this guitar helps you to produce more power and sounds that are true to the iconic acoustic foundation.

Features and B​enefits

  • Constructed with a solid Sitka Spruce top, Nato back and sides, and Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Diecast tuners are easy to use and built to last
  • APX shape is comfortable to play for any skill level
  • System 66 feature an under-saddle piezo pickup with a 3-band EQ, an adjustable mid-range frequency control, and a precision chromatic tuner for optimum sound tailoring
  • Scalloped bracing allows you to produce a great tone every time you play
  • Features an adjustable truss rod and built-in tuner for precision of tone

Pros

  • Great playability, musical tone and outstanding build quality
  • Highly durable without compromising on the natural sound of the guitar
  • Produces a full bright tone that is sure to please

Cons

  • Others were not happy with the heaviness of this instrument, remarking that the weight hindered the playability

Overall Review

This Yamaha solid top cutaway guitar is an excellent value from a brand that has been trusted by musicians for decades because of its quality construction. This guitar allows you to receive a solid instrument with excellent sound and tone that are all sure to stand the test of time.

#8

The combination of the classic tone musicians have come to expect from Fender and Fishman electronics allow you to command any stage while you are playing. This instrument is sure to sound superb with its quality laminate construction, modern Fender 3+3 headstock and Viking bridge. The FA-125CE is sure to complement any style player.

Features and B​enefits

  • Dreadnought cutaway body allows the player to access the frets with ease
  • Mahogany construction provides a beautiful look with excellent durability
  • Durable chrome tuning knobs will last through transport and extended play
  • Slim neck design enables a better grip and mobility while playing
  • Purchase includes a Gig Bag, Strap, Strings, Picks, Fender Play Online Lessons, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
  • Tuner is built-in providing convenience and accuracy for any player
  • Fishman electronics provide solid amplified acoustic tone

Pros

  • This instrument is durable and very comfortable to play
  • Versatile with a high-quality build that produces a full and warm tone
  • Consumers love the crisp and quick pick-up of this guitar

Cons

  • Some consumers were not pleased with the slim neck design
  • The carrying case is basic and may not hold up to long-term wear and tear

Overall Review

The Fender dreadnought cutaway guitar provides a tremendous bargain for any beginner or intermediate player. This guitar has a classic look and warm, rich overall tone. A built-in tuner and Fishman electronics are the finishing touches on this durable and reliable instrument.

#9

Whether you are looking for a travel guitar, or want to get your son or daughter to begin to learn how to play, the Yamaha APXT2 is a 3/4 size instrument that is durable and cost-effective. It has a fully accessible rosewood fretboard with 21 frets and dot inlays. Simple and basic, this guitar is a great standby instrument or perfect for any newbie to learn on.

Features and B​enefits

  • Quality construction includes a Spruce Top with a Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
  • Made with a System 68 Pick-Up
  • Gig bag Included
  • Bridge Pins are Black ABS
  • Branded tuner that is highly sensitive and extremely accurate
  • Includes volume and tone controls as well as an adjustable truss rod

Pros

  • A fun and well constructed compact guitar perfect for travel
  • Produces a full and wonderful tone, despite its size
  • Smaller stature allows for easier movement around the fretboard

Cons

  • You may need to have the nut action set and the frets polished prior to use
  • The amp has a tendency to throw off quite a bit of feedback

Overall Review

Solid construction will ensure this instrument will continue to play for many years to come, allowing a musician of any skill level to perfect his or her craft. Producing amazing tones from a beautiful and durable body, you really cannot go wrong with purchasing this instrument.

#10

The Jameson thin line is an elegant and classy full-size guitar. Designed for compactness and comfortable play, this instrument is sure to be loved by musicians of all skill levels. This guitar has an impressive body and surprisingly outstanding performance to accompany its gorgeous blue burst finish.

Features and B​enefits

  • Durable diecast tuners and built-in equalizer
  • Gorgeous high gloss dark blue burst finish
  • Thin-line body for ultimate comfort without compromising playability
  • Single cutaway body enables musician to play with ease
  • Maple neck and steel strings enhance the overall sound quality
  • Built-in EQ and an on-board stock pickup provide bright tones and the ability to use several audio settings to find your perfect sound
  • Die-cast tuners will survive a comfortable and constant strum

Pros

  • Purchase includes a Gig Bag and Guitar Picks
  • Excellent guitar for players of all skill levels
  • This instrument maintains tune throughout the entire play session

Cons

  • Many consumers complained that the action was too high on this guitar
  • Strings are not of the best quality and may need replacing shortly after purchase

Overall Review

This Jameson is an excellent value and is a great looking instrument that will produce amazingly rich tones. The built-in electronics are sue to add a bit of something extra to each of your performances. Overall, a quality guitar that will be fun to play.

THE BEST CHOICES

TOP CHOICE-EPIPHONE ACOUSTIC/ELECTRIC GUITAR (PR-5E)

This affordable guitar offers a brilliant tone and resonance. The PR-5E model has been around for a couple of decades, which is a testament to the quality and playability of this instrument. It is easy to keep in tune and comes with an excellent eSonic preamp and NanoFlex pickup system. This guitar is supremely well priced, and comes with a number of features that will help enhance your play.

PREMIUM CHOICE-EPIPHONE HUMMINGBIRD PRO

With a great look and sound, this acoustic/electric guitar will have you feeling like a professional even if you are just starting out. Producing a crisp but warm tone that is clear and strong. With durable construction, this instrument is sure to last for many years.

BEST PRICE-JAMESON FULL-SIZE THINLINE

The guitar on our list with the best price is the Jameson full-size thin-line guitar. It is a quality instrument that will not break your wallet. In addition, this instrument has really good tuners and rings out like a bell without sounding at all shallow. The quality, playability and sound of this guitar have great appeal to budding musicians. A fun and easy to play instrument, you are sure to be satisfied.

Conclusion

For our money, the Epiphone PR-5E acoustic-electric guitar is the best bang for your buck. It is a timeless beauty that has been around for over twenty years. A fun look and design, this guitar produces an exceptional sound. The slim neck makes it easy to move throughout the frets and the large lower bout enables a richer low and mid-range tone that you will not get with the other guitars on our list. Easy to play and quality construction enables you to avoid having to upgrade your guitar as you gain more confidence and skill with your playing abilities. A classic in every sense of the word, this PR-5E from Epiphone is surely an exceptional buy.

About the Author Michele Zangrandi

Hi guys, If you share the same excitement for literally ANY new music device out there, then I would be honoured to call you brothers!

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