Electro Acoustic or Semi Acoustic

Electro Acoustic or Semi Acoustic

Many people get understandably confused about what is an electro acoustic and what is a semi acoustic. Here, we'll break down the models and explain the differences.

Electro acoustic or semi acoustic...of all the terms used to describe different types of guitar, these two seem to lead to more confusion than any others.

So what is the difference between a semi acoustic and an electro acoustic guitar? I hear you ask, and why does it matter?

Well, put simply, a semi acoustic is an electric guitar first and foremost, but with certain acoustic properties, whilst an electro acoustic is an acoustic guitar that can be plugged into an amplifier or mixer. 

The semi acoustic guitar generally features a hollow or semi hollow body into which standard electric guitar pickups and electrics are fitted. In the case of a Gibson ES-335, for example, the body of the guitar features two hollow ‘wings’ attached to a solid centre block into which a pair of humbucking pickups are mounted. The hollow wings add an acoustic ‘feel’ to the tone - adding warmth and fullness allowing the guitar to deliver is characteristic sound. 

This is much the case for all semi acoustics, although there is a great deal of variation in body depth, shape and size. Many, such as the Epiphone Casino, feature an all hollow body which adds even more warmth to the sound and making for a very lightweight instrument. 

Electro acoustics are basically acoustic guitars that can, by one means or another, be plugged into an amplifier, mixer or recording equipment. They usually still feature the round central soundhole and are generally very similar in looks to most fully acoustic guitars, but will include either a pickup or built in microphone of some form.

They may include a pickup fitted under the saddle, fitted across the soundhole or even be a combination of the two. Some guitar manufacturers, such as Taylor, feature a combination of under body sensors and pickups to deliver as natural an acoustic sound as possible when plugged in.

Electro acoustics will often feature a ‘cutaway’ design as with the case with the ever popular and best-selling Yamaha APX 600. This is allows for greater access to the upper frets. Why this is seemingly restricted to electros is beyond us, but it seems to be the case most of the time. 

Ultimately, being an acoustic guitar at heart, an electro acoustic will sound just as good unplugged as it does when plugged in. A semi acoustic, on the other hand, whilst delivering more volume and tone unplugged than a solidbody electric, will still need to be plugged into an amplifier to get the best out of it. 

Still confused? Don’t be. Come down to our store and see our large range of semi, and electro-acoustics for yourself, or call us on 01279 432900. 


06th August 2013



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