Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Review – Top Rated Models in 2018 with Buying Guide
Whether you’re looking for the best acoustic electric guitar for beginners or a more advanced model, there are so many options that it might be tough to make the right call. If you want to learn more about some of the most popular guitars but don’t have the time to do your own research, then you can count on us to help you out. We’ve scoured the market and compared countless acoustic-electric guitars so we can recommend the best. Our top choice is the Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought. This bundle comes with a full-size dreadnought guitar, a built-in Fishman Isys III pickup system with a preamp, as well as a hardshell case and several other accessories, including a DVD that will teach you some essential guitar techniques. In the unfortunate case that this product is out of stock, you might want to take a look at the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
If you’re looking to get the right model but haven’t got the time to read dozens of reviews of acoustic electric guitars, then you’re in the right place. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Check out our list with some of the most appreciated guitars on the market and find the one which offers the best bang for the buck.
Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought (B01667J2QS0)
With the Fender CD-60SCE acoustic-electric bundle, you get the perfect start to your musical journey. This guitar is a full-size dreadnought with a cutaway design which gives you convenient access to a few extra frets for more improvisational opportunities.
This instrument comes with a mahogany finish, a solid spruce top that features a scalloped X-bracing for a superior sound, as well as mahogany back and sides. You also get chrome tuning knobs and an acrylic design around the soundhole. This model comes with an integrated Fishman Isys III pickup system and a preamp for volume and tone control.
With this bundle, you get a hardshell case to securely transport your music instrument, an extra set of strings, and a digital clip-on chromatic tuner to maintain your guitar in tune at all times. Also included are some extra guitar picks, a polishing cloth, and an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD that can teach you all the essential techniques you need.
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro (B00AFOMX7O)
If you’re looking for a beautiful acoustic-electric guitar that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then the Hummingbird Pro from Epiphone is just what you need. This guitar comes with an attractive Faded Cherry finish, and it plays just as good as it looks.
You get a guitar with a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fingerboard that features pearled parallelogram inlays. This classic acoustic guitar has a warm tone, and you can also give ‘electrifying’ performances thanks to the incorporated Shadow NanoFlex pickup system and Shadow ePerformer preamp.
This guitar comes with a 25.5-inch scale, 20 frets, and a 1.68-inch nut. The rosewood bridge features a compensated saddle for a smoother tone and warmer sound. The mahogany SlimTaper D profile neck makes it easy to play even if you’re a beginner, while the Grover machine heads will ensure your guitar stays well-tuned for an accurate musical performance.
Epiphone Dove Pro (B00ADVITGS)
The Epiphone Dove Pro is an acoustic-electric guitar featuring a classic design and a beautiful finish. This guitar has a spruce top that gives the instrument’s rich and complex sound which only improves as the tonewood matures. The back and sides are made of maple, while the rosewood fingerboard comes with pearloid parallelogram inlays.
The hard maple 25.5-inch scale neck is attached to the body with a dovetail joint which gives this guitar its name. The Dove Pro comes with the Fishman Sonicore pickup system and a Fishman Sonitone soundhole preamp so you can easily plug it into an amp and bring this guitar’s acoustic tone to larger audiences.
The rosewood bridge comes with a compensated saddle made of imitation bone. The classic dove inlays and tortoise pickguard gives this guitar a vintage look and a special character that will certainly delight. This model also has Grover 14:1 tuners, nickel strap-buttons, and D’Addario Phosphor strings which are factory-installed.
Yamaha FGX800C Solid (B01E4QSJCQ)
The Yamaha FGX800C is an outstanding acoustic-electric guitar that comes with a traditional look and an impressive sound. The solid spruce top features scalloped bracing patterns for a distinctive tonality, while the mixed Nato and Okume back and sides confer this instrument with long-term durability for countless performances.
This model comes with an undersaddle piezo pickup and a System66 analog preamp which allows you to easily plug your guitar into a sound system while giving you convenient tone and volume controls. The cutaway body allows for easier hand techniques on the higher frets.
The FGX800C comes in a bundle that gets you everything you need to start playing right out of the box. You get a hardshell case for easy and safe transportation and a clip-on tuner to ensure your guitar stays tuned. You also get a strap for a comfortable fit, extra guitar picks and strings, and an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD for fast learning.
Yamaha APXT2 ¾ (B00FZ07CRY)
Whether you’re looking for a guitar that’s perfect for learning or a compact and lightweight travel companion, the Yamaha APXT2 is a fine choice. This guitar comes with a ¾-sized body which makes it an ideal instrument for amateurs as well as for people wishing to take it on road trips.
Thanks to its small size and slim neck, you get to play this guitar and improve your skills with ease. The cutaway design also gives you easier access to the higher frets for tapping or other more advanced techniques. This guitar has a spruce top that improves the sound quality as it ages, meranti back and sides, and rosewood bridge and fingerboard.
Despite its more than affordable price, this model comes with an ART (or Acoustic Resonance Technology) System 68 contact pickup for an amazing amplified sound. You also get a built-in tuner for accurate tones every time, as well as a gig bag for convenient transportation anywhere you go.
Fender T-Bucket 300 (B01KM7HW56)
The Fender T-Bucket 300 is a cutaway dreadnought guitar that comes with a stylish design and an incorporated pickup system for easy amplification. This instrument comes with a laminated maple top that features a Trans Cherry Burst finish. With quarter-sawn scalloped X-bracing, this guitar offers superior resonance and playability even as time goes by.
The mahogany back makes this instrument resistant while the bound maple neck has a C-shape profile which makes it easier to play. The fingerboard is made of rosewood, and it offers you 20 frets for endless combinations and a variety of styles. The guitar also has a Graphtec NuBone nut as well as a compensated saddle.
With the T-Bucket 300, you also get a Fishman Isys III pickup system which features a tuner as well as an active preamp with tone and volume controls. This system allows you to easily plug your guitar into an amp or sound system and ensure a rich and full-sounding performance.
Oscar Schmidt OD312CE (B005AT3E0O)
If you’re looking for an acoustic-electric guitar that sounds great but comes at an affordable price, then you can’t go wrong with the Oscar Schmidt OD312CE. This guitar features 12 strings for a depth and richness you couldn’t achieve with a 6-string guitar. The sound of the strings is further amplified by the select spruce top for a ‘woody’ warm tone.
The body of the guitar is made of mahogany for a resilient build that will last for a long time. With the full-scale fretboard, you can play to your heart’s desire without any limits. You can choose to play this guitar unplugged and enjoy its natural acoustic sound, or you can make use of the integrated pickup system to plug it into a PA or amp.
The active MET-A07 preamp allows you to control volume and tone while the built-in tuner ensures that you can make adjustments on the fly to keep your guitar tuned.
Yamaha FX325A Acoustic-Electric (B01GK8LL76)
The FX325A is one of the most popular Yamaha acoustic electric guitars especially due to its quality sound and affordable price. This model is suited for both beginners and experienced musicians. With a spruce top and Nato back and sides, this full-size dreadnought is both rich-sounding and durable, able to offer years of enriching musical experiences.
With the die-cast chrome tuners, you get to ensure that your guitar never gets out of tune. The natural finish and large pickguard make this instrument a true classic. You can play this acoustic instrument as it is, or plug it into a PA and let the System 53 piezo pickup amplify its sound. You also get a preamp with 2-band EQ for more control over the tone and volume.
The FX325A is a lightweight guitar and an ideal travel partner, whether you intend to play around the campfire, busk downtown, or take it with you on trips.
Fender Factory Special CD-60CE (B00LI671KW)
The CD-60CE is a Factory Special Run acoustic-electric guitar made by Fender. This inexpensive model comes with a Honeyburst gloss finish and a solid construction that gives a warm and rich sound. This guitar is made of laminated mahogany all-around. The top features scalloped X-bracing patterns for a wider range of frequencies and a distinctive sound.
The rosewood bridge and composite saddle ensure a consistent performance every time, while the die-cast tuning machines allow you to tune your guitar effortlessly. This full-size dreadnought guitar features a cutaway which ensures convenient access to the higher frets for easier handwork and more space for soloing.
You can amplify the CD-60CE through an amp or PA thanks to the built-in Fishman Isys III pickup system. You also get a tuner and a preamp which enables you to shape the tone and volume through a 3-band EQ. This guitar also comes with a hard case so you can carry it easily anywhere without risking any damage.
Jameson Left-Handed Black (B003WGHV92)
The Jameson Left-Handed Black is an acoustic-electric guitar that comes with a slick appearance, a smooth body, and an impressive sound. With its thinline frame and cutaway design, this model is good for both amateurs and seasoned guitar players. You get a guitar that sounds just as awesome regardless if you’re playing it unplugged or through an amp.
This guitar is one of the more affordable left-handed variants that you will find on the market. With a 41-inch body and a full-scale, you won’t find any limitations to the music you wish to play. The body is 3 inches thick which not only makes it comfortable to hold but also play. The cutaway gives you good access to higher frets while also increasing the appeal of the guitar.
With the built-in pickup, you can amplify your instrument with ease. This product also comes with die-cast enclosed tuners to keep your guitar in tune, an added gig bag, and multiple picks.
Ibanez Performance PF15 (B00GXMLI3M)
If you’re trying to find one of the affordable acoustic electric guitars from Ibanez, then the PF15 is just what you’re looking for. This guitar has a dreadnought full-size body, a stylish cutaway design, as well as other features which will allow you to enjoy every minute of playing. You also get an attractive Transparent Blue Burst finish to impress your audience.
This model comes with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides for superior resonating power and a strong sound that’s ideal for a variety of music genres, from folk to blues to grassroots. The cutaway will give you easier access to the upper fingerboard and spare your fingers from demanding overhand techniques.
You also get die-cast chrome machine heads and a built-in tuner for accurate notes every time. This guitar features a pickup system with a 2-band EQ preamp which gives you complete control over the tone and sound so you can give strong performances every time.
Epiphone EJ-200SCE Solid (B0002F6PKW)
The EJ-200SCE is one of the most appreciated acoustic electric guitars from Epiphone by both amateurs and professional musicians. This model comes with a vintage look and a strong build that follows the traditional J-200 style which has been setting the standard for flat-top guitars for over 70 years.
The guitar features a solid spruce top and a maple body for an amazing sound. The pronounced cutaway gives you complete control over the higher frets. The fingerboard is made of rosewood with vintage pearloid crown inlays and a 1.68-inch nut. You can ensure that your guitar stays in tune with the die-cast gold tuners.
This guitar allows you to just plug your guitar into an amp and play, thanks to the modern eSonic pickup system which also comes with a preamp. The preamp gives you controls over the master volume, stereo blend, NanoMag and NanoFlex Tones, and it features a low battery indicator and an anti-feedback phase switch.
Ovation AB24-5 Applause (B00ISQCG4Q)
The Ovation AB24-5 Applause is an attractive acoustic-electric guitar that comes with a loud and defined sound that makes it a prime choice for seasoned players and amateurs alike. This full-sized dreadnought has a Balladeer design and a medium cutaway for superior playability on the higher frets.
The laminated spruce top and bracing pattern ensure a distinctive sound, while the strong rosewood fingerboard can withstand demanding guitar techniques. The body of the guitar is made of lightweight yet strong Lyrachord, while the Applause-style headstock and the rosette pattern around the soundhole give it an elegant appearance.
This model features an Ovation OP-4BT pickup system that lets you plug your guitar into a PA or amp with ease, as well as a preamp that allows you to balance volume and tone for a powerful performance. The strong machine heads and built-in tuner allow you to keep your guitar in tune for accurate notes every time.
Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK (B00OJHISTK)
In case you’re trying to find a guitar that doesn’t break the bank, then the Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK is the right product. This package comes with an acoustic-electric guitar, an amplifier, and a few other accessories that will get you started in no time with this beautiful instrument.
The guitar has a Flame maple top and basswood back and sides for a perfect balance and resonance. The neck and bridge are made of Catalpa, while the fingerboard benefits from a solid rosewood construction. This model also comes with steel strings and sealed gear tuners.
Thanks to the built-in pickup system, you can amplify your acoustic guitar by simply plugging it in, without having to perform any installation or tweaking beforehand. This bundle gives you a reliable 10-watt amplifier for electric performances, a digital clip-on tuner to keep your guitar in tune, a gig bag for safe transportation, a truss rod, extra picks and strings, and a strap.
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light (B000OQI2CI)
The Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light is the perfect acoustic-electric travel companion. Thanks to its ingenious design, this model is extremely lightweight. Weighing just 2 pounds and 14 ounces and measuring 28 inches in length, this is perhaps one of the lightest and shortest guitars on the market.
You can take it anywhere without overloading your bag and ensure that you have a guitar with you at all times. Despite its small size, the guitar has a full-scale that measures 24 ¾ inches. The body is made of solid Eastern American hard maple with the tuning machines located underneath it, eliminating the need for a headstock.
This guitar comes with an undersaddle piezo pickup system and a ¼-inch output. You also get a detachable lap rest so you can comfortably play this miniature guitar. The rosewood fingerboard has 22 medium frets, while the D’Addario EJ15 steel strings ensure superior playability. This compact guitar is small enough to fit even in airline overhead compartments.
Seagull S6 Classic (B00UTWNPJ2)
With the Seagull S6 Classic, you get an acoustic-electric guitar that comes with a solid design and an impressive sound that will delight, regardless if you’re playing it unplugged or through an amplifier or PA. This model features a cedar top that has been tested for pressure resistance, so you know you have a tough guitar on your hands to use for many years.
In fact, as the wood matures and you play the instrument more, the sound becomes even better. The strong top is coupled with wild a cherry back and sides for extra durability. The silver leaf maple neck is attached to an Indian rosewood fingerboard which gives you a full scale to play.
This model also features a custom-made B-Band M-450T pickup system that enables you to amplify your performance, while the preamp with 4-band EQ gives you control over tone and volume. You also get an onboard chromatic digital tuner that ensures the guitar is easy to be kept in tune.
Kona K2TBL Dreadnought (B001AVW1IC)
The Kona K2TBL is an inexpensive guitar that doesn’t compromise quality to sell for a more than affordable price. This instrument comes with a transparent blue finish and a mahogany top, back, and sides. The bridge and fingerboard are made of rosewood with single-ply binding on the headstock and neck.
The guitar measures 41 inches in length, and it comes with a 25.75-inch scale and 20 frets for various playing techniques. You also get strong D’Addario strings for reliable performances every time, as well as enclosed die-cast gold tuners, so you never play an off note. This dreadnought guitar features a cutaway so you can easily practice finger techniques on the higher frets.
The thin body allows for comfortable practicing sessions. With the EQ-505 3-Band active piezo pickup system, you can turn an acoustic performance into an amplified show that will surely impress. This product also comes with two picks, a neck wrench, a polishing cloth, as well as a care guide.
Jameson DRN979CTV Left-Handed (B018WVBHF0)
In case you’re trying to find a left-handed acoustic-electric guitar that doesn’t require you to sell the house to be able to afford it, then the Jameson DRN979CTV is the perfect match. This model plays great as an acoustic guitar as well as when amplified, and its quality construction defies its more than accessible price.
This guitar has a spruce top and Nato back and sides which balance sound and durability. The fingerboard is made of rosewood and the scale measures 25.5 inches. With a full length of 41 inches and a 3-inch body thickness, this dreadnought is a good choice for both beginners and seasoned musicians looking for an extra guitar.
Thanks to the medium-depth cutaway, you can also play the higher frets easier than with a normal dreadnought. You get an incorporated pickup system with built-in tone and volume controls for amplified performances. This item comes with a free gig bag and some extra picks.
Yearly Guide & Report
With the re-emerging popularity of acoustic instruments, now is a great time to go looking for a good acoustic electric guitar. There are heaps of models to choose from, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. You have many options so you can definitely find something to suit your taste, needs, and budget.
On the other hand, the sheer number of highly acclaimed products at more than affordable prices might make it quite difficult to choose the right guitar. Here are a few things you should know before buying your first acoustic-electric guitar.
The benefits of acoustic-electric guitars
You might wonder which is the better option, an acoustic guitar or an acoustic-electric variant? The fact is that the latter is just an acoustic guitar with a built-in pickup system, so if you’re planning to ever amplify your performance, then going for one of the best acoustic electric guitars on a budget is definitely the better choice.
This is because you won’t have to go through all the hassle of doing research on pickups, then finding a way to mount them without damaging your guitar. While magnetic pickups are surely quite easy to install, contact pickups or blended systems with microphones and preamps might require removing the top, drilling, using all sorts of screws and plates, etc.
Doing these without having any sort of experience risks damaging the guitar, which is why getting a guitar with a factory-installed pickup is the way to go. You’ll still be able to play your instrument unplugged without any sound deformation, with the advantage of amplifying your guitar by simply plugging it into a sound system.
There are quite a few types of guitar shapes, with the most popular one being the dreadnought. However, contrary to acoustic guitars, many acoustic-electric variants come with some form of cutaway for better access to the higher frets. This can really come in handy for a wide range of techniques so you don’t have to play with your hand over the body, which can be uncomfortable.
Of course, there are other design choices besides the full-size dreadnought. You can read some acoustic guitars reviews and find that some people actually favor smaller-sized guitars, such as the ¾. These are more compact and have a shorter scale, making them easier to play and thus a good choice for beginners.
There are also even smaller guitars that are easy to play and transport. Some have a different design than normal guitars, as they don’t have a true soundbox body, so they are technically electric wooden guitars.
Some models have the tuning machines relocated under the body to eliminate the headstock. These usually are extremely compact and lightweight, sometimes weighing only 2 pounds or so, making them excellent instruments for traveling.
Common tonewoods used
Most guitars come with a solid spruce top, although some may feature laminated spruce or Nato tops. Mahogany can also be used for tops, but in general, it’s used for the back and sides. There are other tonewoods used in the construction of the guitar body, such as wild cherry wood, basswood, maple, as well as sapele, and other African woods.
The bridge and fingerboard are usually made of rosewood, while the neck can be made of mahogany, maple, or another strong wood that is also elastic enough to bend. The curvature or relief of the neck is usually adjusted by tensioning a steel truss rod.
Types of pickup systems to consider
While looking for acoustic-electric guitars for sale, you might want to check out which type of pickups they have so that you can choose one that’s appropriate. You can choose a simple undersaddle piezo pickup which is relatively easy to install. This type of pickup has a warm and somewhat bright output.
While inexpensive, it generally can’t reproduce the full sound of an acoustic guitar. You can also get a guitar that comes with a magnetic pickup, and that can be quite a good choice if you love electric sounds. These pickups are also easy to install and quite affordable, although they’ll only capture the sound of the strings and not the soundbox.
If magnetic pickups are excellent for traveling guitars, contact pickups are great for amplified acoustic performances. These can capture the sound from the soundboard as well as from the rest of the body. You can also get a guitar that comes with a blended system which combines a pickup with a microphone. A model with a built-in preamp is also becoming the norm these days.
Get a complete guitar bundle
If you’re just starting out, then getting one of the affordable guitar bundles is a great choice. These provide you with a guitar and several accessories that allow you to start playing right out of the box.
These bundles usually throw in a gig bag, so you don’t have to spend extra money to safely transport your gear, as well as spare picks, strings, and an instructable DVD that will help you learn some essential guitar techniques quite fast. You might also want a bundle that comes with a clip-on tuner so that you make sure you can keep your guitar well-tuned on the go.
You might be surprised to learn that some packages also offer an amplifier, although you shouldn’t expect to find anything more powerful than 10-15 watts, especially when it comes to entry-level bundles.
How much do you need to spend?
When looking to buy a guitar, you want to make sure that you’re picking a model that is right for your skill level, playing style, and needs, all that while ensuring that you don’t overspend. If you’re just starting out, there’s probably no need to spend a couple grand on a flashy model when one of the quality cheap acoustic electric guitars will do.
As you improve your playing skills, you’ll know exactly what sort of guitar you need in case of an upgrade, or if you want a better pickup system.
Best acoustic electric brands
Fender is an American company that manufactures guitars and other stringed instruments, as well as amplifiers. The company started out as Fender’s Radio Service back in 1938 in Fullerton, California. Its founder was Leo Fender, a passionate electronics technician that had a knack for repairing phonograph players.
Today Fender is one of the most recognized guitar manufacturers in the world, having designed and manufactured countless highly acclaimed electric guitars such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster, as well as acoustic guitars that have been used by some of the most popular and successful musicians in the industry for over 70 years.
Epiphone is an American manufacturer of guitars and other string instruments. The company was founded by Anastasios Stathopoulos in 1873 in Smyrna, the Ottoman Empire. After relocating to the United States, Epiphone started creating mandolins and banjos, launching its first guitar in 1928.
The company created some successful guitar models used by top guitarists playing jazz, pop, and other music genres across the 20th century. Epiphone continues to make guitars that are either designed by its parent company, Gibson, or its own creations that are meant to offer quality performances at affordable prices.
Ibanez is a Japanese music instruments manufacturer that has produced some of the most iconic guitars of the 20th century. Established in 1908, the company started to design the first guitars in 1957. Ibanez was one of the first companies to gain popularity in the US and Europe markets. It also was the first to mass-produce 7- and 8-string guitars.
The company has retained a huge client base in present times as well as the cooperation of world-class musicians. There are also quite a few Ibanez acoustic-electric guitars with built-in tuners that can certainly suit every pocket.
Kona Guitars is a line of guitars and other music accessories that was founded by M&M Merchandisers, Inc. in 2000 in Fort Worth, Texas. This line was created with the sole purpose of manufacturing quality instruments, amplifiers, and other accessories while keeping them affordable.
The first guitar developed was the K1 Series. Launched in 2000, this instrument had a dreadnought cutaway design and used inexpensive materials such as laminated spruce for tops, and sapele for back and sides. Kona Guitars then launched the K2 series after which it diversified, at present offering over 30 models of guitars, ukuleles, violins, and other instruments.
Jameson acoustic-electric guitars are gaining a foothold in the musical instruments market, especially due to its emphasis on high manufacturing standards and relatively low-priced products. The company, known as The R. W. Jameson Guitar Company, is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, right in one of the largest hubs of folk music.
This is perhaps the reason why most of its guitars are capable of producing loud and powerful notes which are perfectly suited to a variety of folk and grassroots music. The company offers a wide range of affordable models which target beginners and professional guitarists alike.
While relatively new compared to many established brands on the market, Seagull has managed to gain traction in the past few decades. Started in Canada in 1982, the company focuses on building high-quality acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars. These usually use solid tops rather than laminated tops, resulting in crystal-clear sounds and superior quality.
Seagull guitars are instantly recognizable due to their distinctive headstocks which feature the tuning machines at the same level as the nut, offering greater stability in terms of tuning. The brand’s Artist series is highly appreciated by experienced guitarists, while the affordable S6 series offers reliable entry-mid level variants.
Yamaha is a brand which definitely needs no introduction. Founded at the end of the 19th century, the company initially built reed organs and pianos. It switched to producing motorcycles in the middle of the 20th century only to return to making great music instruments later on. Yamaha started selling the first export guitars in 1966.
With over 50 years of experience in making high-quality guitars, the company continues to innovate and impress. It is no wonder that Yamaha has become the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments, with its models being appreciated by beginners and veteran musicians alike.