You have carefully chosen a great sounding acoustic guitar, now
how do we amplify it? Browse through our tips for playing
electric acoustic guitar and you will discover all amps are not
Now, most of us would think it can’t be too hard to amplify our
acoustic guitar, after all almost every music store has a few
amps. That’s true the world is full of guitar amps, the problem
is most of the amplifiers are catering for solid body electric
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 10
Electric guitar amplifier or acoustic guitar amplifier – what’s
An electric guitar amplifier is not best for acoustic, since it
is designed to be part of the instrument, adding little touch-
ups, effects, etc. In other words, an electric amplifier is
meant to add desired effects, and distortion, while an acoustic
amplifier is like a stereo–it acts as passive as possible,
adding little distortion or effects.
An electric-acoustic through an acoustic amp is supposed to sound
like an acoustic guitar, only louder. If you have an electric-
guitar amplifier, you can use it for your acoustic, and you may
be able to get a sound you like, but electric-guitar amps are
often designed to color the sound, while acoustic amplifiers are
designed to be as clean as possible, almost like a small PA.
Let’s review: standard guitar amplifiers are designed to be part
of the electric guitar sound, they are designed to color and
modify the electric guitar sound, often using overdrive settings
to create heavy distortion and feedback … just the type of
thing we’re trying to avoid on acoustic guitar.
Amplifiers designed specifically for acoustic guitars are
designed for acoustic guitarists’ who do not wish to colour
the sound of their guitar. The comment most heard from people
who play these amps is “It sounds just like my acoustic guitar
Acoustic guitar amps have different speaker configuration to
enhance the specially attuned to the sonic needs of acoustic
instruments, for example, when playing an acoustic guitar in an
orchestra or a jazz band or in a small coffee club.
Often the purpose built acoustic amps feature unique speaker
combinations such as, two specially designed 8″ speakers and a
high efficiency piezo tweeter to faithfully reproduce every
subtle nuance of acoustic instruments, and an internal limiter is
provided for maximum level without distortion.
This type of high frequency speaker combinations would be
unsuitable for the rock guitarist playing a solid body guitar, it
would be like trying to play tennis with a cricket bat!
Reverb, which is included on most acoustic amplifiers, can help
restore some of the ambiance that gets lost when amplifying an
If you want to use one amp for both electric and acoustic guitar,
you could use a clean, wide-range acoustic amplifier in
combination with a modeling preamp for your electric guitar.
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 11
What Amplifier brands produce good acoustic amps?
Behringer 20 & 90 watts
Marshall 50 watts
Fishman 100 watts
Crate 12 & 60 watts
Fender 30 watts
SWR 160 watts
Roland 30 watts
Ibanez 20 watts
Hartke 150 watts
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 12
How much power will I need?
When you are playing electric acoustic guitar you don’t need high
power amplification, if you are performing onstage, your amp will
act as a monitor, the real heavy lifting work as far a s guitar hardware
amplification will be done by the front of house PA system.
It’s quite common for electric acoustic players to only need a 50
watt RMS amp for performance. By using a DI box, you can split
the signal from your guitar sending one signal to the on stage
amp and the other to the mixing console for the PA for front of
house or recording.
One important point when buying amps always look for RMS rating,
some amp manufacturers rat their amp with peak rating. The
difference is a RMS rating on an amplifier means they can handle
peaks of two times their rating. On other words if you had a 100
watt RMS amp you would be certain of having a constant 100 watts
of power at your disposal. Whereas, a 100 watt peak rated amp may
only produce a constant 60 watts.
Tips for playing acoustic electric guitar: tip 13
Best effects to use with your electric acoustic guitar would be
reverb, delay, compression and chorus. Most amp designed for
acoustic guitar will have some or all of these effects. Brands
such as Roland acoustic amplifiers are available in stereo and
have a rich chorus that can be useful for solo acoustic
I hope you find these tips for playing electric acoustic guitar
helpful, remember start with a great sounding acoustic guitar
then use the correct type of amplification and you will have an
inspiring guitar sound to enjoy in any musical setting.