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How to Make an Electric Guitar Sound Like an Acoustic – Tips and Techniques
📅 Published : - Author : Dan Kopilovic
📌 Posted under: How-To
If you own an electric guitar and an amp, you may be wondering how to make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic. Fortunately, there are several ways to achieve this effect, from using an effect pedal to installing a custom pickup and preamp. Even professional guitarists such as Jason White and Brian May have opted for this option to avoid having to switch from an electric to acoustic guitar during live concerts.
In this article, we will explore some of the most popular methods for making an electric guitar sound like an acoustic. We will provide an overview of each option, including its pros and cons, so that you can choose the best one for your needs and budget. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist, read on to learn how to achieve a more versatile sound with your electric guitar.
There are several ways to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic, ranging from using an effect pedal to installing a custom pickup and preamp.
Professional guitarists such as Jason White and Brian May have used these methods to avoid switching between electric and acoustic guitars during live concerts.
By exploring these options, guitarists of all levels can achieve a more versatile sound with their electric guitar.
How to Achieve an Acoustic Sound with Your Electric Guitar
There are several ways to make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar. One way is to use an effect pedal that simulates the sound of an acoustic guitar. Another way is to add a special pickup to your electric guitar that will give it the acoustic sound you’re looking for.
Other factors that can affect the tone and sound of your electric guitar include the type of strings you use. Thicker strings can help create a more acoustic-like sound. Additionally, adjusting your amp settings can help achieve the desired sound.
It’s important to note that while these methods can help your electric guitar sound more like an acoustic guitar, they won’t completely replicate the sound of a physical acoustic guitar. However, with some practice and experimentation, you can achieve a convincing acoustic sound with your electric guitar.
Option 1 – Use an Effect Pedal to make the Electric guitar sound like an Acoustic
If you want to make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar, one of the easiest ways is to use an acoustic simulator effect pedal. There are many acoustic simulator pedals available on the market, but two of the most popular ones are the Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Pedal and the Mooer Acoustikar.
Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Pedal
The Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Pedal is one of the most widely used acoustic simulator pedals available. It has four different sounding acoustic modes: Standard, Jumbo, Enhanced, and Piezo-equipped. The Standard and Jumbo modes replicate the sound of a standard or jumbo-sized guitar, respectively. The Enhanced mode provides a sharper attack than the standard tone, making it suitable when you want to stand out in a mix. The Piezo-equipped mode sounds really bright and is supposed to replicate something like a resonator guitar.
The pedal also has a built-in Reverb effect, controlled with a separate knob. The Boss AC-3 pedal is pretty expensive at around $180, but it is a Boss and is among the simplest options available to turn your electric guitar into an acoustic.
The Mooer Acoustikar is a pedal very similar to the Boss AC-3 but a lot cheaper, smaller, and with fewer features. It has three of Boss’ four modes: Standard, Jumbo, and Piezo, and it doesn’t have onboard Reverb. Also, the Boss can be powered with a 9v battery, while the Mooer is powered strictly with a power adapter (or a power bank).
Both pedals do a pretty decent job of simulating an acoustic guitar. The Boss AC-3 seems a lot more diverse, and you notice a bigger difference when switching through the modes. Also, even though they are trying to replicate the same sound with these modes, it’s funny how different they end up sounding. So, obviously, it’s a subjective thing – there’s no one scientific way of how an acoustic guitar should sound.
If you want more diversity of sound and if you need reverb, you should buy the Boss AC-3. If you don’t need those things, and you want to pay a lot less, you should buy the Mooer Acoustikar. The Mooer Acoustikar is only around $50 or so, making it a more affordable option for those on a budget.
In conclusion, if you want to make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar, using an acoustic simulator effect pedal is a great option. The Boss AC-3 and Mooer Acoustikar are both great choices, with the Boss AC-3 being more expensive but more diverse, and the Mooer Acoustikar being more affordable but with fewer features.
Option 2 – Install a Custom Pickup + Preamp to make the Electric guitar sound like an Acoustic
If you want to make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic without using an effect pedal, another option is to install a custom pickup and preamp. This involves adding a piezo pickup to your electric guitar and connecting it to a preamp that amplifies the signal. Here are some popular systems that can help you achieve the desired effect.
Graph Tech Ghost System
The Ghost Graphtech system is an easy-to-install system that adds an acoustic-sounding pickup to your electric guitar. To modify your electric guitar to sound like an acoustic, you need to replace the original bridge saddles with the saddles that Graphtech sells. Then, you need to purchase the “Acoustic-Phonic” preamp, which amplifies the signal and makes it sound more “acoustic.” You also need to connect a battery, a toggle switch, and/or a volume pot to the preamp board, and all this stuff needs to be placed somewhere in your guitar.
The Ghost Graphtech system is relatively cheap compared to other options, but it’s one of the best-sounding ones out there. A set of six saddles costs $137, and the basic pre-amp kit costs $87, bringing the total cost to $224.
The Fishman Powerbridge is a system that works similarly to the Graph Tech Ghost. Instead of replacing just the bridge saddles, you replace the whole bridge. The board is attached to a volume pot that you need to install somewhere on your guitar. This board is optional, but it’s recommended to achieve the best results. If you install the board, you can get rid of one of your tone pots, wire the guitar to one “master” tone, and use the empty tone slot for the Fishman.
When installing the bridge, there’s only a single wire that you need to worry about. So, on a Strat, you can tuck it in easily below the bridge, and on a Les Paul, you just make a little hole in the plastic cover of the pickup and route the wire through there.
The Fishman Powerbridge costs around $330 if you go for the complete package, including the bridge and the “PowerChip” board.
L.R. Baggs X/T-Bridge
The L.R. Baggs X/T-Bridge is a system that consists of two parts – a bridge and a preamp. The bridge has the piezo pickup built in, and you connect the bridge to a preamp. The preamp (Control-X) is a separate board, so plan on having a space for that board, plus a 9v battery, somewhere in your guitar.
If you plan to use the L.R. Baggs system on a Les Paul (the T-Bridge version), there are six separate wires coming off the bridge, as opposed to only one on the Fishman. This is not a huge deal, but it’s obviously easier to route one wire than it is to wire six of them.
The L.R. Baggs X/T-Bridge costs around $290 for the whole system.
All of these systems work in a similar way, and they add some sort of piezo pickup to your electric guitar, plus a preamp that amplifies the signal. Piezo pickups react to vibrations, unlike magnetic pickups that react to disruptions in their magnetic field.
One thing to keep in mind is that these systems generally sound pretty bad when played through an electric guitar amplifier. So, if you want to achieve the best possible results, you should get an acoustic guitar amplifier.
Installing these systems can be a daunting process for someone who never did anything electrically related. If you find yourself in that group, the smartest thing to do would be to bring your guitar to a local guitar luthier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Techniques Can Be Used to Make an Electric Guitar Mimic an Acoustic Sound?
There are several techniques that can be used to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar. These techniques include:
Adjusting the amp settings to mimic the sound of an acoustic guitar
Using an acoustic simulator pedal to add an acoustic sound to the electric guitar
Using a hybrid guitar that combines the sound of an electric and acoustic guitar
Adding effects after recording to create an acoustic sound
Which Acoustic Simulator Pedals Are Recommended for Achieving an Acoustic Tone with an Electric Guitar?
There are several acoustic simulator pedals available that can be used to achieve an acoustic tone with an electric guitar. Some of the most recommended pedals include: