You Should Not Spend Four Figures to Acquire a Beauty.
Acoustic guitars aren’t just for folk or 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 guitars back into the realm of popular music.
It’s not uncommon 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 group.
How much should I spend?
It used to be that a nice sounding acoustic electric guitar for performance with a good feel would cost you at least $ 1000 or more. These days, you can grab a decent sounding acoustic electric guitar for under $ 500.
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. This enables 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 acoustic electric guitars can sell for anywhere from close to $ 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 most of us don’t have that kind of money to spend on a musical instrument.
Fortunately, a couple of companies like “Ibanez” and “Washburn” make some great 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 shelf microphones.
About Acoustic Amplifiers
Today, 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 huge 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 its own separate equalizer and the performer is able to select his or her settings as they wish.
More Amplification Options
There’s no doubt 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 surely 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 meanwhile, you can plug your acoustic guitar directly in the PA system. You can get a great sound also. Companies like Boss and Digitech make on the floor stomp controls 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 no sound effects, you can cut the amplification cost down to zero.
Take your time, shop around and be patient. There are a lot of great gems out there my guitar player friend. Do layaway, savings account or whatever but owning a quality acoustic electric guitar is well within your budget!