Acoustic, Semi-acoustic, & Electric Guitar Differences, 2021

It’s great to lose yourself in music but do not get lost between guitar functional choices. Brace yourself! We have collected information, feedback, and latest reviews revealing Acoustic, Semi-acoustic, & Electric Guitar Differences, 2021 along with a summary including the advantages (pros) and disadvantages (cons) of each of them.

The passion of owning a great functional guitar or a collection of guitars for a guitarist is just like the trends of owning a shoe collection or using a great smart-phone. One would always look for the best designs, price, and most essentially the technicality & the functionality. If you are in need of a guitar or thinking of buying your next guitar or just looking for general information, we highly recommend this as a “Must Read”.

Characteristics of acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and semi-acoustic guitars

Acoustic guitars are hollow body guitars that produce music via their vibrating steel strings just above the hollow chamber in the middle of its body. Dreadnoughts are the most famous acoustic guitars and the travel guitars are best for travelers, beginners, and those with small hands and fingers. Acoustics sound different depending on the tonewood, Rosewood will sound more soulful & darker, Mahogany is sweeter & softer, while Maple is louder, etc. And as the wood ages, the sound gets that traditional depth to it. Martin HD-28 is a great acoustic loved by musicians.

An electric guitar is a wooden body structure constructed to look like metal or plastic, and some electronics such as pickups are installed to be strung with steel strings. Typically played with an amplifier attached as without an amp the sound will be quite low. Ibanez RG550 Genesis is one of the most popular electric guitars.

Acoustic & Electric guitars follow the same principles yet they look different, technically they sound very different, and are played differently as well. 

“Semi-acoustic” is a hybrid between acoustic and electric guitars. Many people usually get confused with semi-acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars as the terms sound almost the same. Acoustic-electric guitars are actually acoustic at heart and can be amplified as an electric as well. A semi-acoustic is fundamentally an electric guitar that has got certain acoustic properties to it. Semi-acoustics have semi-hollow bodies but the sound-hole is thinner than those in acoustic-electric guitars.

Gibson ES-335 is one of the finest semi-acoustic guitars you may find around. 

Semi-acoustics are invented to extend the experience of the musicians so they could get more creative and work on improved tones and sounds.

The differences, advantages, and disadvantages basically depend on the style of the musician as well. Let’s divide our final thoughts into a few categories.

The feel:

The traditional feel of an acoustic guitar is always priceless, the beasty feeling of an electric guitar is absolute power, and a semi-acoustic has both. They are more like gentle beats due to their less complicated design and sound variations. 

Hollow body acoustics are light in weight, electric guitars could be much heavier as a result of the electronics installed or built-in. Semi-acoustic guitars are generally a bit heavier than acoustics yet lighter than electric guitars due to the semi-hollow body type. 

The sound, versatility & tone:

Acoustics sound depends on the tonewood, but generally, they sound clear, fresh, and gentle. But of course, larger acoustics as Jumbo produce deeper & darker sounds than smaller acoustics such as travel or parlor do. 

Electric guitars are typically bassier and they can be aggressive and louder as much as you like, especially when they are connected to an amp. Wood doesn’t essentially make any significant difference in the tone, but some external gadgets can be fitted to improve the tone and versatility. 

Relatively, semi-acoustics produce clean and fresh tones, usually louder than normal electric guitars, still, an amplifier can bring out the best tones. They often sound bright & punchy. One disadvantage with semi-acoustics is the “feedback”, especially when the guitar is amplified in high volume you may hear a disturbing feedback sound which could ruin the tempo of the music.

Size and shape: 

Acoustics come in many sizes and shapes such as travel, parlor, concert, auditorium, dreadnought & jumbo, and their size and body shape may determine the depth of the sound. The comfort level of the player also varies as the shape differs. 

Electric and semi-acoustic guitars most commonly come in two sizes, full-body size and ¾ th size which is best for travelers, beginners, and those with diminutive hand size. ¾ size may affect the volume of the guitar, however, nowadays you can find plenty of travel-size guitars that are made with original full-size features. 

Music: 

Acoustic- Many including folk, country, bluegrass, pop, jazz, and blues. 

Electric guitars- Many genres and commonly; pop, rock, rock n roll, heavy metal, and even music such as country, blues, and jazz. 

Semi-acoustics- This can play any music that an acoustic or electric would play. “Semi” feature of this guitar is technically a magic stick, if used correctly, you can make the best out of it. 

Bottomline

While an electric guitar can play acoustic music (although it never sounds like an acoustic), an acoustic cannot play electro music such as heavy metal. This is when the hybrid semi-acoustic steps in. For beginners, the acoustics are easier to learn and play, light to handle but the strings can be a bit too tight. An electric guitar has thinner strings that won’t hurt your fingers, yet the finger movement while playing an electric guitar is quite intense that it’s hard to achieve without proper practice. Semi-acoustic could be a little bit too complicated for beginners as it is essential for beginners to first learn proper electric and acoustic fundamentals separately before moving on to complicated and improved hybrid versions.

Further Reading

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