The Best Electric-Acoustic Guitars

acoustic electric guitars
best overall rating
  • A high-end guitar
  • Flawless craftsmanship
  • Exceptional playability and sound quality
premium choice rating
  • Solid Sitka Spruce top
  • Premium look and feel
  • Free premium gig bag
great value rating
  • Rolled fretboard edges
  • Solid Spruce top
  • High-quality and reliable electronics

Acoustic guitars are great for playing without an amp, but sometimes we just need to crank up the volume. Maybe you want to perform on stage or record a session in the studio but don’t want to fuss around with a microphone. An acoustic-electric guitar is your perfect solution.

Electronics have been incorporated into acoustic guitars in some form or shape for over a hundred years. Today, there’s a vast selection of electric-acoustic guitars on the market. The wide range of options available to you can be a headache for new buyers.

This is where we come in. Our guide will help you find the best electric-acoustic guitars for your needs and money. We cover instruments of all price ranges, from the best over $1,000, under $1,000, and $500. We highlight instruments with the finest craftsmanship, amazing sound quality, and good playability. Whatever your needs, you’ll find an instrument on our chart that meets them.

The Best 15 Acoustic-Electric Guitars

Over $1,000

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Taylor 814ce Grand Auditorium Acoustic Electric

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

A high-end Taylor with a look, feel, sound, and workmaship to match its price tag

+ Takamine Pro Series 7 NEX Cutaway (P7NC)

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Takamine hits all the right notes with this high-end acoustic-electic guitar. Prepare to get wowed!

+ Martin OMJM John Mayer Signature

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

You don’t have to be a John Mayer fan to love this Martin. Perfectly blended tones with amazing bass projection

+ Takamine Pro Series EF508KC

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

This all-Koa body Takamine looks stunning with a sweet action and rich, warm, and crystal-clear tones

+ Yamaha A5R ARE

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

An amazing guitar at an amazing price. One of the best value guitars you’ll ever own and play

Under $1,000

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Taylor 110ce Dreadnought

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

It has a rich, sweet and large sound. A premium guitar with a free premium gig bag. A flawless instrument!

+ Ovation Elite 1778 TX

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

A solid and well-crafted electro-acoustic with amazing sound plugged or unplugged. An excellent value for money

+ Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

An exceptional guitar in every way. Excellent intonation, sound clarity, and sustain.

+ Washburn Electro-Acoustic Guitar WCG66CE-O

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Another exceptional instrument on our list. Flawoless craftsmanship and loud booming tones.

+ Martin X Series 00X1AE

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

This concert-body Martin sounds incredible and looks stunning. And you won’t have to break the bank for it.

Under $500

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Fender CD-140SCE Dreadnought

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Maybe the free hard case will seal it for you if you are not already swayed by this Fender’s high-quality sound and build

+ Takamine G Series GD30CE

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

A stage-worthy acoustic guitar at a reasonable price. Takamine always delivers quality and this is no exception

+ Ibanez V70CE

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

An affordable but high-quality entry-level instrument with great sound plugged or unplugged.

+ Yamaha APX600 Black

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Another acoustic masterpiece from Yamaha. It plays ans sounds like a premium guitar. What a steal!

+ Martin LX1E Little Martin

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Outstanding craftsmanship, stunning finish, great sound, and fun to play. What more do you want?

The best High-End Acoustic Electric Guitars over $1000

The instruments in this category are mostly high-quality and handcrafted guitars made from the finest grades of tonewood. They have premium strings, preamps & pickups, bridges & saddles, tuners, and a sound quality that is out of this world. They may not be in the price range of the average guitar player, but those who can afford them will have a gem to play for a very long time.

Taylor 814ce Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric

Taylor 814ce Grand Auditorium Acoustic Electric

I have played many Martins, Taylors, Fenders, and other high-end acoustic guitars over the years, and the 814ce is up there as one of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding and playing. It was first introduced in 1994 and has seen several improvements since then.

This version has new pickups, bracing, strings, and a lighter finish when compared to previous versions. The entire package feels lighter and produces a bigger resonance.

The stunning single-cutaway grand auditorium body has a solid Sitka Spruce top with the back and sides made from a solid Indian Rosewood. The body is finished in a flawless 3.5 millimeters thick natural gloss that highlights the grains of the beautiful wood underneath. The body is completed with an African Ebony bridge and a tusk saddle.

The neck is attached to the body via a scarf joint and made from high-grade Mahogany with and 20-fret African Ebony fretboard. The satin finish on the neck is beautiful and smooth, making the neck highly playable.

The package is completed with 6 Elixir Light Gauge Strings attached to gold-plated tuners.

The thinner body and choice of tonewoods deliver a strong sound with powerful bass. The projection is fantastic and you could feel the power of the sound vibrate through the neck as you play.

The electronics feature a behind-the-saddle preamp and pickup system with a 2-band EQ. You’ll be blown away by the Expression Systems 2 pickup system when you hook this acoustic electric guitar up to an amp. This guitar sounds incredible when plugged in. You’ll struggle to find a better sounding plugged in acoustic anywhere.

The Taylor 814ce is a beautiful guitar that looks, plays, and sounds amazing with flawless construction and finish. This is the instrument for you if you want an acoustic guitar with a full, dynamic, and responsive sound. Plus, they give you a free premium hard case to boot.

Takamine Pro Series 7 NEX Cutaway (P7NC)

Takamine Pro Series 7 P7NC

This Japanese guitar brand has been making high-quality instruments since 1962 – with a great deal of that experience going into making high-end guitars. The P7NC looks as beautiful as it sounds – revealing itself to be a fine acoustic electric guitar worthy of its price tag. Takamine’s Pro Series are flawless handcrafted masterpieces that any guitarist will be proud to own.

This exquisite and well-built instrument a single-cutaway body with a top made from solid Sitka Spruce, the back and sides made from solid Indian Rosewood with X bracing. The natural high gloss finish of the body accentuates the beautiful grains of the wood underneath.

The asymmetric neck is slightly thinner at the treble side of the guitar for extra comfort when holding it in your hands. The neck is made from premium Mahogany with a 20-fret Ebony fingerboard. The neck is smooth and easy to play.

An ivory binding, gold-plated tuners, natural bone nut, and rosewood headstock complete the setup.

As an acoustic-electric, this guitar comes with Takamine’s CTP-3 Cool Tube preamp system that works well with the under-saddle Palathetic pickup to produce an incredible sound when plugged into an amp. You also get an auxiliary input jack, a three-band EQ, and a built-in tuner.

The instrument produces a balanced and strong projection when played without an amp, and the sound, when plugged in, is incredible. This instrument is well worth the money and comes with a free premium hardshell case.

Martin OMJM John Mayer Signature

Martin OMJM John Mayer Signature

Fans of John Mayer will love this instrument; however, you don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the exquisite and flawless craftsmanship of this beautiful acoustic-electric guitar from Martin. You’d, of course, expect the highest build-quality from a guitar made by Martin in this price range. It is a high-end acoustic, after all.

This high-end quality is manifested in the choice of solid Engelmann Spruce for the top and premium Indian Rosewood for the back, sides, and the headcap. The body is finished in a flawless gloss, which is protected by a nice-looking tortoise pickguard when playing.

The premium theme continues with the use of Spanish Cedar for the neck with a 20-fret African Ebony fretboard. The neck is very smooth, and the profile fits comfortably in the hands of the player. It is fast and easy-to-play.

The Fishman gold plus preamp and pickup system is a delight when you plug the instrument into an amp. The sound is amazing with a full, warm, and rich sound. The guitar also sounds great when played without an amp, producing a strong projection on all tonal ranges.

The attention to detail is visible in the flawless finish of every hardware on the guitar. This is a fine acoustic electric guitar if you can afford to get one – whether you’re a John Mayer fan or not. The free beautiful hardshell case is an added bonus

Takamine Pro Series EF508KC

Takamine Pro Series EF508KC

Takamine’s all-Koa offering looks as stunning as it sounds. The single NEX single-cutaway body is made up of a beautiful solid Koa top, back, and sides with a natural gloss finish.

The neck is also made from solid Koa with a natural gloss finish and a 20-fret Rosewood fingerboard. The neck is easy and comfortable to play with easy access to all the frets.

This guitar is handcrafted, and you’ll see and feel the excellent craftsmanship in the attention to detail. The entire package feels like a fine work of art.

The electronic is top-notch – the CT4B preamp produces a pure tone when connected to an amp. The action is comfortably low, and the tones are beautiful with an excellent projection when played without an amp.

The EF508KC is an excellent guitar for playing any gig but also ideal for strumming at home. You also get a beautiful premium case when you buy this instrument.

Yamaha A5R ARE

Yamaha A5R ARE

Yamaha is renowned for bringing the acoustic sound to the stage, and the A5R is a perfect example of their experience in this field. It perfectly bridges the gap between how an acoustic guitar sounds unplugged and how it sounds when plugged into an amp. With the A5R, you get the natural tone of the guitar when played through the amp, only much louder.

This acoustic electric is well-made with a beautiful design and a sturdy build. The frets and tuners are smooth. The single-cutaway dreadnought body has an ARE treated solid Sitka spruce top with the sides and back made from solid rosewood with scallop bracing. The body has a high-quality and flawless gloss finish that brings out the perfect “bookmatched” grains of the wood beneath. The body is completed with a mahogany binding.

The smooth and beautifully finished neck has a 20-fret Ebony fretboard that is easy and comfortable to play.

The A5R sounds amazing without an amp with warm, booming lows and crisp highs. It has great sustain and rarely needs to be re-tuned. It is perfectly balanced with excellent projection and intonation. It comes with Yamaha’s proprietary SRT2 preamp and pickup system that produces a beautiful sound when played through an amp. The electronics work flawlessly each time and you’ll have no complaints about them.

The craftsmanship of the A5R ARE is second to none, and it produces a sound quality that rivals and exceeds many high-end acoustic-electric guitars that cost three times more. The handy hard case is a bonus that makes this amazing instrument a bargain.

The Best Value Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $1,000

You may not have $3K to spend on a guitar, but that shouldn’t mean having to settle for a low-quality instrument. This is because there are many high-quality acoustic electric guitars available on the market for under $1,000. The next few reviews cover the best of the lot, and hopefully, you find one that fits your budget and your needs.

Taylor 110ce Dreadnought

Taylor 110ce Dreadnought

Taylor is undoubtedly one of the best acoustic guitar brands with a rich history. Some of the biggest names play their instruments in music, and their 100 series of instruments present an affordable option for those looking for a high-quality guitar without the high-end price tag.

The 110ce sounds as beautiful as it looks and gives you a playing pleasure that is common with $5K acoustic guitars. They are ideal for beginners but also a hit with professional musicians playing on some of the biggest stages.

The dreadnought body style with a single-cutaway has a solid Sitka spruce top with the back and sides made from Walnut. The matte 2.0 vanish finish of the body is very smooth, flawless, and feels very nice to touch. The body has an excellent sound projection and produces beautiful crisp and warm sounds.

The highly playable neck is made from Sapele with a 20-fret African Ebony fretboard. The smooth frets, cutaway body, and the smooth finish on the neck make it very easy to play.

The built-in preamp with a two-band EQ sounds amazing when plugged into an amp. You’ll love the sound, which is better than some guitars priced at over $2K.

The included gig bag protects your guitar during transport and storage. This is our favorite acoustic-electric guitar for under $1000, and you’ll have no regrets owning one too.

Ovation Elite 1778 TX

Ovation Elite 1778 TX

The 1778 TX has an unconventional soundhole but sounds just as good as anything out there in this price range. It uses multiple soundholes of varying sizes instead of a single, central soundhole.

This unconventional mid-depth body has an AA grade solid spruce top with the back and sides made from a composite material. The poplar neck has up to 22-frets with the lowest string having 17 frets and the highest string having 22.

The guitar sounds great out of the box without having to do much of a setup. The electronics deliver an awesome sound to your amps through the onboard OP-PRO preamp and pickup system. The bass packs a punch, and the high notes have amazing clarity.

The overall look and feel of the Ovation 1778 TX are solid. You can tell it is a well-built instrument with a lovely all-black finish.

The color might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the excellent sound and build quality of this instrument make it one of the best value electro-acoustic guitars on the market today.

Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa

Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa

There’s no doubting Taylor’s reputation as one of the best acoustic guitar brands in the world. The craftsmanship and high-quality sound of Taylor instruments have made their guitars some of the most desirable in the world.

This Grand Symphony style acoustic is a reduced size instrument but produces a rich and full-bodied sound that rivals any full-size acoustic. This excellent sound projection is achieved by the solid Hawaiian Koa top with layered Koa back and sides and a “Relief Route” bracing pattern. The body has an outstanding matte 2.0 vanish finish that accentuates the flawless wood underneath.

The neck profile is ideal for people with small hands , but fat-fingered players will also find it comfortable and easy to play. The neck is made from Sapele with a 20-fret African ebony fretboard.

This GS Mini-e sounds amazing without an amp, but plug it into an amp, and the electronics will blow you away. It uses the ES-B system with Taylor’s ES2 preamp and pickup system to delivers a rich and bright sound to your amp.

The guitar sounds incredible, looks amazing, and is easy-to-play, making it a top acoustic-electric guitar. The cherry on top is the free hard case you get when you buy this instrument.

Washburn Electro-Acoustic Guitar WCG66CE-O

Washburn Electro-Acoustic Guitar WCG66CE-O

The grand auditorium body of this Washburn has a solid Cedar top with salted maple sides and back, producing a wonderful sound right out of the box. It has a warm and bright tone with a well-balanced resonance and amazing projection. The highs are bright but not too bright like a spruce top guitar.

The mahogany neck has a 20-fret fingerboard. The smooth finish on the neck and tapered edges of the fretboard makes it a highly playable instrument. You get easy access to the highest notes with the single-cutaway body.

Plug this guitar into your amp, and the sound will blow you away. The Fishman preamp and pickup system work well in magnifying the true sound of the guitar without any coloring. A good acoustic guitar amp really elevates this guitar to the level of a $3K instrument. The onboard tuners work like a charm.

You should give this instrument a serious consideration if you’re looking for a good acoustic electric guitar at a reasonable price.

Martin X Series 00X1AE

Martin X Series 00X1AE

Martin guitars are synonymous with excellence, and the X Series 00X1AE is a fine example of their quality workmanship. The grand concert or OO body of this sweet looking acoustic has a solid Sitka spruce top with HPL (High-pressure laminate) mahogany back and sides. The body is finished in a beautiful satin finish. The guitar sounds good without an amp with a well-balanced tone that is bright with exceptional sustain.

The neck is made from birch laminate with a 20-fret fingerboard that is highly playable. The awesome sound is not restricted to the acoustic box only but also extends to the onboard electronics. The Fishman Sonitone electronics work well and come with a preamp and pickup system with a volume and tone control.

This beauty from Martin looks and sounds great and plays very well. You’ll love everything about it.

The Top Acoustic Electric Guitars for Under $500

Most of us do not need a $3K or even an $800 guitar – this is especially true when you’re a beginner or a hobby guitarist. You’ll find good quality electro-acoustic guitars selling for under $500 from both recognized and obscure brands. Buying an instrument in this price range can be tricky, which is why we’ve done the work for you and highlight our top 5 picks in the next few paragraphs.

Fender CD-140SCE Dreadnought

Fender CD-140SCE

Fender makes some of the best electric guitars {}, but they’re also a force to be reckoned with in the acoustic guitars market. The CD-140SCE is a beautiful and well-crafted instrument with a solid spruce top and a back and sides made from rosewood. The single-cutaway dreadnought style body is finished in a glossy finish that is protected with a tortoise pickguard. The mahogany neck features a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard with a smooth glossy finish.

The electronic components consist of a Fishman preamp and pickup system with a 3-band EQ and a built-in digital tuner.

The CD-140SCE sounds great unplugged right out of the box with a rich, deep, and mellow tone. It has excellent projection and sustain. Plug it into a decent amp and be blown away by the amazing sound. It is great for playing gigs or strumming your favorite tunes at home. This is one of the best acoustic electrics in this price range, and the free hard case makes it even more irresistible.

Takamine G Series GD30CE

Takamine G Series GD30CEAnother dreadnought and single-cutaway body make our under-$500 list. This performance-worthy instrument has a beautiful body with a solid spruce top and a back and sides made from Mahogany. The body has a gloss finish with a beautiful pickguard to protect it. The single-cutaway gives you easy access to the highest strings.

The neck is made from Mahogany with a 20-fret rosewood fretboard. The smooth neck is finished in a highly-playable gloss finish ideal for fast players.

Completing this guitar is the Takamine TP-4TD preamp and pickup system with an onboard digital tuner and a 3-band EQ system.

The GD30CE has an excellent sound when played unplugged. The rich sound has good resonance and a big projection. Hook it up to an amp, and this guitar really comes alive with a superb sound that will rival much higher priced instruments.

This is a high-quality instrument that looks good and sounds good at a price that belies its true value. You also get a free hardshell case to boot, which is a nice little bonus.

Ibanez V70CE

Ibanez V70CE

This the cheapest electro-acoustic guitar on our list, which makes it ideal for beginners and guitarists looking for a good affordable instrument. The body has a top made from select spruce and a back and sides from Mahogany. The body has a dreadnought shape with no cutaways.

The 20-fret rosewood fretboard sits on a smooth mahogany neck, which is highly playable for a guitar of this price. The hardware is decent, with the tuners maintaining a tune for several playing sessions.

The V70CE may not be a high-end instrument, but it comes with a good-quality preamp and pickup system. The pickup is located under the saddle, and the preamp system comes with a tone and volume controls. This is a simple guitar that appeals to a wide group of players looking to buy their first electro-acoustic guitar as well as those looking for a good-quality budget option.

Yamaha APX600 Black

Yamaha APX600 black

This is a slim-body acoustic with the sound of a full-body acoustic. The single-cutaway body has a spruce top with the back and necks made from 3-ply Nato wood. A glossy finish completes the soundbox.

The 25-inch scale neck is made from Mahogany with a 20-fret fretboard. The neck has a smooth matte finish and is highly playable for all types of players.

The piezo pickup and preamp system with Yamaha’s SRT technology produces an amazing sound when hooked up to an amp. The unplugged sound produces booming lows and crisp and bright highs. You’ll be blown away by the overall quality of this instrument and the amazing sound it produces either plugged in or unplugged. This instrument should be selling for much more than its current price, and you’ll be getting a steal if you pick it up today.

Martin LX1E Little Martin

Martin LX1 Little Martin

This martin deserves a prominent place on any list of electro-acoustic guitars under $500. This reduced-body with a solid Sitka spruce top and HPL mahogany back and sides has been a favorite travel acoustic for thousands of players.

The Birch laminate neck with a Richlite fretboard has 20 frets on a 23-inch scale. The smooth, hand-rubbed neck is exceptionally playable for people of all finger and hand sizes.

A Fishman preamp with a 1-band EQ completes the essential features. Don’t be fooled by the smaller size of the LX1E – it produces a big sound with excellent bass projection and bright and crisp highs. The pickup sounds amazing when plugged into a good amp.

This little acoustic guitar looks and plays amazingly, and you’ll not believe the sound it makes for an instrument of this size and price range. You’ll love it and want to play it all the time.

Who Needs an Acoustic Electric Guitar?

This is not a difficult one but also not so simple at the same time. Basically, you need an electro-acoustic guitar if you need to amplify the sound of the guitar and don’t want to use a mic.

You can play an acoustic guitar perfectly find without using an amp and still get amazing sound. However, the sound from the guitar’s soundbox may not be loud enough when performing to an audience. You can use a microphone to pick up the sound, but some people prefer hooking up the guitar to an amp and a PR system like a traditional electric guitar.

Having an electric-acoustic guitar allows you to hook up directly to an amp using the onboard preamp and pickup system. This also lets you hook the guitar up to a decent audio interface system for recording {} in the studio.

In the end, you don’t really need an electro-acoustic guitar unless you’ll be performing to an audience or recording music in the studio. However, you can get one if you still want to practice or jam through an amp at home.

Just know that acoustic-electric guitars cost more than their non-electric models. And this cost rises significantly if you have to factor in the price of a good amp, so we encourage you to get a model without the electronics if you know you don’t need to use an amp.

Can I Retrofit a Regular Acoustic with Electronics?

It is possible to retrofit your regular acoustic guitar with electronics – eliminating the need to upgrade to an electro-acoustic. However, this is not really a beginner-friendly process, so avoid it if you have very little experience with guitars.

Most preamps come with a control panel that needs to be fitted to the body of the guitar. This process requires that you cut a hole in the body of the guitar, which is not something we recommend a newbie player to do.

There are decent acoustic guitar pickups {} that do not require making a hole in your guitar’s body, but we encourage you to engage the services of a guitar shop to retrofit your instrument if you need to install an elaborate preamp and pickup system. The video below gives you a glimpse into how the process works.

Our Final Thoughts

Our selection of the finest acoustic-electric guitars should have an instrument that satisfies every budget and need. We encourage you to look through and find one that appeals to you.

Don’t be hung up on finding the perfect instrument because you may fall into a rabbit hole and get confused. Pick a couple of instruments and research them – you’ll love any of the electro-acoustic guitars we have on our list. We wish you all the best! Happy Strumming!

Read More Guitar Reviews and Guides From Tom's Guitar Lists

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments