When searching for good cheap acoustic electric guitars, keep in mind
how much time will be spent plugged in vs unplugged.
Many models have a deep, full bodied tone that can be lost through the
pickups, making the electronics suitable only for backup or extra line
support, when a stage mic isn't
available, or for minor band support.
Others have thinner bodies with
more dynamic onboard EQs and
only truly shine when amped up.
So, this guide to the best cheap electro-acoustic guitars has
been compiled with both elements in mind. Choose what's
best for you.
Acoustic Electric Guitar #1 - Huge Unplugged Sound
Takamine are renowned
for their big sounding, great value G Series. The beautifully
features a solid spruce top that will sweeten with age, and a TP4T
preamp with onboard tuner that will give you that extra line volume
Mahogany back and sides for deep, full,
TP4T preamp with built-in tuner
Spruce Top /
Mahogany Neck / Mahogany Back and Sides / TPT4 Preamp with Onboard Tuner
What users say
A full dreadnought body with solid top
and mahogany sides sets up the
overall tone - big, warm and resonant. Users note the 340's high
quality fit and finish and playability out of the box, although some
did take it for a quick setup, as expected with most new instruments
you want to get the best out of.
Unplugged, the Takamine has plenty of natural volume, deep bass
presence and good sustain thanks in part to the mahogony back and sides.
The TPT4 electronics are very capable, but unfortunately do not
authentically represent the true beauty of the 340 unplugged. For that
reason, the 340 is really only a plug-in electro for when you need that
extra line volume in a live situation. Mic'ing up is definitely the
first choice, although there is of course the option of investing in a
decent stage mic and stand.
However, the onboard tuner is useful and simple to use, and the
preamp's 3 band EQ gives you adequate control over your tone.
Overall, the EG340SC is for those who seek a rich, warm and bassy
unplugged sound with the preamp as a reliable backup or line support,
even a show-saver
for non-mic'd venues (I've had plenty of those "so... you can't mic it up?"
moments before shows).
Electro Acoustic Guitar #2 - Great Preamp
A smaller bodied electro acoustic that comes alive through its dynamic
If most of your time will be spent plugged in, and your music demands a
strong, clear acoustic presence, the Yamaha
the electronics you need for a big acoustic sound in a live
Top / Nato Neck / Nato Back and Sides / 55T
Preamp (1-way, 3-band EQ, adjustable midrange frequency, chromatic
What users say
With a thinline body and slim profile neck, the AXP500 is, in true
Yamaha style, built for ultimate comfort and playability. The build
quality also meets the standards we've come to expect from Yamaha.
Naturally, given the slimmer and nato dominated cut, the 500 is more
towards the bright end of the spectrum, with a very full and crisp high
end range - great for those more attacking, punky-folk styles
that require more clarity and penetration in the mix.
Users also note the responsiveness of the AXP to strumming/picking
attack, especially when the preamp is activated. The extra mid-range
control on top of the standard 3-band EQ is useful for finding that
often elusive sweet spot in different acoustic environments.
The onboard tuner is equally responsive and accurate.
In a nutshell, this acoustic is perfect for anyone who wants more
control over their amped sound and more high end presence to cut
through the mix during live shows. A good compromise (as in trade off
between unplugged/plugged tone) between a full bodied dreadnought such
as the above Takamine and the ultra slim as featured below.
Electric Guitar #3 - Ultra Light Roundback
roundback or "bowlback", Ovation's signature body design, is preferred
by many studio and stage performers for their lightweight comfort,
similar to electrics. Plug in the Ovation
CC28 for a truly unique sound with plenty of volume.
tops (Maple, Spruce, Amba Waterful Bubinga) / Nato Neck / Super Shallow
Cutaway Body / OP-4BT
Preamp with 3 Band EQ and Onboard Tuner
What users say
Ovation roundbacks are known for their bright, zingy, yet punchy sound
that really cuts through the mix. They are especially good for smaller
guitarists and even children, as they are lightweight and closer in
size to a standard archtop electric.
The CC28 bears these
distinctive features and has met players' expectations who are
specifically looking for that brilliant bowlback tone on a budget.
in, the CC28 has the support of a simple but flexible preamp with
onboard tuner. Notch up the bass to get a magnificent punch for some of
the most satisfyingly percussive acoustic strumming you'll hear.
musicians have praised the Ovation for its clarity and projection in
large, acoustically dispersed venues. It also works great with effects,
like a splash of chorus. Nothing can muddy up the tone of this thing.
Overall, the CC28 gives you that unmistakable, powerful Ovation zing
and high quality fit and finish for less than $350.
the Electro Acoustic Guitars on This Page
Let's take a look at these 3 guitars side by side. Each one offers a
unique look and sound. Which one would you choose?
who want a full, deep body solid top with a full deep sound and only
need the preamp as backup.
who want a light, bright sounding acoustic with a small body. A good
compromise between plugged/unplugged.
want an ultra slim roundback guitar that feels more like an electric
yet retains its acoustic character.
Deep mahogany body.
bright, crisp sound.
roundback and neck.
or Amba Waterful Bubinga
3 Band EQ
3 Band EQ
Extra Mid Control
3 Band EQ
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