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Can You Convert an Acoustic Guitar to an Electric

Yes, it is possible to convert an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar. Acoustic guitars can be converted to electric guitars by adding pickups and other electronic components.

This conversion allows the guitar to have a similar sound and functionality to an electric guitar, without altering its acoustic qualities. Converting an acoustic guitar to electric can be done by a professional luthier or a knowledgeable guitarist with the right tools and expertise.

It provides an opportunity to expand the tonal options and versatility of the acoustic guitar, making it suitable for different musical styles and venues that might require amplified sound. Whether for personal preference or performance requirements, converting an acoustic guitar to electric offers a way to explore new sonic possibilities.

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Can You Convert An Acoustic Guitar To An Electric?

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to convert your acoustic guitar into an electric guitar? Well, you’re not alone! Many musicians have pondered over the idea of transforming their mellower, acoustic sound into the electrifying tones of an electric guitar. But is it really feasible? Let’s explore the factors to consider before taking on this endeavor, as well as the tools and equipment you’ll need for a successful conversion process.

Factors to Consider Before Converting

Before delving into the conversion process, there are a few important factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to evaluate the condition and quality of your acoustic guitar. Converting a high-quality instrument with exceptional acoustic properties might not be the best idea, as it could potentially jeopardize the unique characteristics that drew you to it in the first place. On the other hand, if you have a lower-tiered acoustic guitar or one that’s showing signs of wear and tear, converting it might breathe new life into the instrument.

Another crucial factor to consider is your level of expertise and comfort with modifying guitars. The conversion process might require some technical skills and a solid understanding of guitar electronics. If you’re a beginner or lack experience in such modifications, it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a professional luthier to ensure a successful conversion without any damage to your guitar.

Additionally, keep in mind that converting an acoustic guitar to an electric will alter its overall sound and playability. The tonal characteristics and resonance of an acoustic guitar are quite different from those of an electric guitar. While the conversion can offer you a broader range of tonal possibilities, it’s essential to recognize that the unique acoustic sound you love may be compromised to some extent.

Tools and Equipment Needed for the Conversion Process

If you’ve thoroughly considered the factors mentioned above and have decided to proceed with the conversion, you’ll need to gather the necessary tools and equipment. The following list outlines the essentials for a successful acoustic to electric guitar conversion:

Tool/Equipment Description
Electric guitar pickups These replace the acoustic’s soundboard transducers.
Control pots, switches, and output jack These components are needed to wire the electronics.
Soldering iron and solder These are essential for connecting the wiring components.
Drill and drill bits These are necessary to create holes for mounting the pickups and controls.
Wire cutters and strippers These tools help prepare the wires for soldering.
Screwdrivers Various sizes may be needed to remove and reattach certain components.
Insulating tape and heat shrink tubing These help secure and protect the wiring connections.
Patience and attention to detail These qualities are crucial for a successful and neat conversion process.

Remember, it’s important to have all the necessary tools and equipment, as well as a clear understanding of the conversion process, to ensure a satisfactory outcome. Skipping or inadequate use of any tool or step may result in poor sound quality, damage to the guitar, or an incomplete conversion.

In conclusion, the decision to convert an acoustic guitar to an electric is not one to be taken lightly. Consider the factors mentioned above, such as the condition of your guitar and your technical skills, before embarking on this journey. If you choose to proceed, gather the required tools and equipment and follow the conversion process meticulously. With the right approach, you can transform your beloved acoustic guitar into a whole new instrument that opens up a world of sonic possibilities.

Evaluating The Acoustic Guitar For Conversion

Converting an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar can be an exciting venture for guitar players looking to experiment with new sounds and styles. However, before embarking on this journey, it is important to evaluate the acoustic guitar to assess its suitability for conversion. This process involves carefully examining the body and neck construction, as well as the electronic components. Let’s dive into these factors to determine if your acoustic guitar is the right candidate for conversion.

Assessing the Body and Neck Construction

The body and neck construction of an acoustic guitar play a crucial role in determining its potential for conversion. While acoustic guitars are generally built to amplify sound through their hollow bodies, converting them into electric instruments requires modifications to accommodate pickups and electronics. Evaluating the body and neck construction helps determine if your guitar can withstand the necessary alterations without sacrificing its structural integrity.

Here are some aspects to consider when assessing the body and neck construction:

  1. Body type: The type of acoustic guitar body, such as dreadnought, concert, or jumbo, can impact the ease of conversion. Some body types may have more room to accommodate pickups and control knobs, while others may require more extensive modifications.
  2. Wood quality: The quality of the wood used in your guitar affects both its sound and structural resilience. High-quality tonewoods, such as spruce or mahogany, are less likely to split or crack during the conversion process.
  3. Neck stability: A stable neck is essential for proper playability and string action. Check for any signs of warping, twists, or excessive bowing in the neck, as these issues can make it challenging to set up the guitar for optimal electric playability.
  4. Access to the guitar’s internals: Assessing the guitar’s internal accessibility helps determine if routing and modifications can be easily done without compromising the aesthetics or functionality of the instrument. Guitars with removable pickguards or soundhole covers may provide greater access for installing electronics.

Examining the Acoustic Guitar’s Electronics and Components

When evaluating an acoustic guitar for conversion, it is crucial to examine its existing electronics and components. While acoustic guitars typically lack built-in pickups and control knobs, they may still feature internal microphones or sensors designed to capture natural acoustic sounds. Understanding the guitar’s current electronic setup helps determine the extent of modifications needed during the conversion process.

Consider examining the following aspects of the acoustic guitar’s electronics:

  • Electronics compatibility: Determine if the guitar’s existing electronics can be integrated with electric components, or if they need to be replaced entirely. Some acoustic guitars may have preamps or sensors that can be repurposed for electric sound reinforcement.
  • Pickup installation: Assess if there is enough space to install pickups without compromising the guitar’s structure or altering its tone. Different types of pickups, such as magnetic or piezo, may require different installation techniques.
  • Control knobs and output jack: Evaluate if the guitar has a suitable location for mounting control knobs and an output jack. Accessibility and ergonomics play a significant role in ensuring comfortable performance.
  • Battery compartment: If the guitar requires battery-powered active pickups or preamps, check if there is sufficient space to install a battery compartment without causing major modifications to the instrument.

By thoroughly assessing the body and neck construction, as well as the acoustic guitar’s electronics and components, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is suitable for conversion. Remember, each guitar is unique, and professional assistance may be necessary to ensure a successful and satisfying transformation from acoustic to electric.

Removing The Acoustic Components

Removing the acoustic components is the first step in converting an acoustic guitar to an electric one. This process involves taking out key elements such as the bridge and saddle, the acoustic pickup, and the soundhole and rosette. By stripping away these components, you can transform your acoustic guitar into an electric instrument that is capable of producing amplified sound.

Removing the acoustic guitar’s bridge and saddle

To begin the conversion, you need to remove the acoustic guitar’s bridge and saddle. The bridge is the wooden or plastic piece that holds the strings in place, while the saddle sits directly underneath the bridge and helps transmit vibrations from the strings to the guitar’s body. Both of these components are crucial in the acoustic sound production, but for an electric conversion, they are no longer needed.

To remove the bridge and saddle, follow these steps:

  1. Loosen the strings by turning the tuning knobs counterclockwise.
  2. Once the strings are loose, use a string winder or your fingers to completely remove them.
  3. Take a small, flathead screwdriver and gently pry the bridge up from the guitar’s body.
  4. With the bridge removed, carefully lift out the saddle.

By removing the bridge and saddle, you have eliminated two major acoustic components from your guitar, bringing you one step closer to the electric conversion.

Taking out the acoustic pickup

In order to convert your acoustic guitar into an electric one, you need to remove the acoustic pickup. The pickup is responsible for capturing the vibrations of the strings and converting them into an electrical signal, which can then be amplified.

Here are the steps to remove the acoustic pickup:

  1. Locate the pickup underneath the soundhole of your guitar.
  2. Use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen and remove the screws holding the pickup in place.
  3. Gently lift the pickup out of the soundhole.

By removing the acoustic pickup, you have effectively eliminated another acoustic component from your guitar and made way for the electric conversion.

Deconstructing the soundhole and rosette

The final step in removing the acoustic components involves deconstructing the soundhole and rosette. The soundhole is the opening on the guitar’s body that allows the sound to resonate, while the rosette is the decorative ring surrounding the soundhole.

To deconstruct the soundhole and rosette, you can follow these steps:

  1. Use a small, flathead screwdriver or a thin pick to carefully lift the rosette away from the soundboard.
  2. Once the rosette is removed, you can gently lift out the soundhole cover.

By deconstructing the soundhole and rosette, you have successfully removed the final acoustic components from your guitar, preparing it for the electric conversion.

Once all these acoustic components have been removed, you are left with a guitar that is ready to be transformed into an electric instrument. In the next steps of the conversion process, you can start installing the necessary electric components, such as the electric pickup, preamp, and output jack, to bring your guitar to life with amplified sound.

Installing Electric Guitar Components

Converting your acoustic guitar into an electric one opens up a whole new world of musical possibilities. It allows you to explore different genres and styles with the advantage of amplified sound. One of the key steps in this conversion process is installing the electric guitar components. In this section, we will guide you through the selection and installation of the right pickup, adding volume and tone controls, as well as incorporating a jack for connecting to an amplifier.

Selecting the right pickup for your electric conversion

When it comes to selecting the right pickup for your electric guitar conversion, it’s important to consider your individual preferences and the sound you wish to achieve. There are various types of pickups available in the market, each offering a distinct tone and versatility. Here are some popular options:

Pickup Type Description
Single-coil Known for their bright and clear sound, single-coil pickups are commonly used in genres such as country and blues.
Humbucker With a thicker and warmer tone, humbucker pickups are favored by rock and metal guitarists for their ability to cancel out unwanted noise.
Piezo Piezo pickups offer a unique acoustic-like sound and are popular among fingerstyle players.

Installing the electric pickup on the acoustic guitar

Once you have selected the appropriate pickup for your conversion, it’s time to install it onto your acoustic guitar. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Remove the strings: Begin by loosening and removing the strings from your acoustic guitar to gain access to the body.
  2. Prepare the surface: Clean the area where the pickup will be installed to ensure a smooth and adhesive-ready surface.
  3. Attach the pickup: Carefully place the pickup onto the soundboard, near the bridge. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper alignment and secure it with adhesive or screws.
  4. Connect the wires: Connect the pickup’s wires to the appropriate locations on the guitar’s control cavity. Refer to the pickup’s wiring diagram for guidance.
  5. Test the pickup: Before restringing your guitar, test the pickup by plugging it into an amplifier. Make any necessary adjustments to the placement or wiring for optimal sound.

Adding volume and tone controls

To maximize the functionality of your electric conversion, adding volume and tone controls is essential. These controls allow you to adjust the output level and shape the tone of your guitar. Here’s how to incorporate these controls:

  • Locate the control cavity: Determine the best position for the control cavity on your guitar, usually near the lower bout or on the guitar’s side.
  • Create a cavity: Carefully route a cavity into the guitar body for housing the controls. Ensure the size and depth are sufficient to accommodate the components.
  • Install the controls: Place the volume and tone pots into the control cavity. Connect them to the pickup and output jack using appropriate wiring techniques.
  • Test the controls: Once the controls are installed, test them by plugging your guitar into an amplifier. Adjust the volume and tone knobs to ensure they are functioning properly.

Incorporating a jack for connecting to an amplifier

The final step in the installation of electric guitar components is incorporating a jack for connecting your guitar to an amplifier. This allows you to amplify your sound and unleash the full potential of your electric conversion. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose an appropriate location: Select a suitable spot for the output jack, such as the guitar’s side or bottom edge.
  2. Drill a hole: Carefully drill a hole with the appropriate diameter and depth at the chosen location.
  3. Install the jack: Place the output jack into the hole, ensuring a secure fit. Connect the wires from the pickup and controls to the appropriate terminals on the jack.
  4. Test the connection: Before fully securing the jack, plug your guitar into an amplifier to ensure a solid connection and optimal sound quality.

By following these steps, you can successfully install electric guitar components and transform your acoustic guitar into an electrifying instrument. The process requires precision and attention to detail, so take your time and enjoy the rewarding experience of customizing your guitar to suit your musical style.

Wiring And Circuitry

Understanding the wiring diagram for an electric guitar

When it comes to converting an acoustic guitar to an electric one, understanding the wiring diagram is essential. The wiring diagram acts as a roadmap, guiding you through the process of connecting various components and creating a functional electrical circuit. It visually represents the layout of the guitar’s electronic system, indicating the connections and components required for the guitar to produce amplified sound.

To make the most of the wiring diagram, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the symbols and terminology used. The diagram typically includes labels for pickups, switches, potentiometers (volume and tone knobs), and other essential components. Additionally, it may indicate wire connections, grounding points, and special techniques, such as coil-splitting or phase inversion.

Soldering the electric guitar components together

Once you have a clear understanding of the wiring diagram, it’s time to start soldering the electric guitar components together. Soldering is the process of fusing metal wires and connections using a soldering iron and solder. This creates a strong and reliable electrical connection, ensuring that the guitar’s circuitry functions properly.

Before soldering, it’s important to have all the necessary tools and materials within reach. These include a soldering iron, solder, helping hands or a vise to hold the components in place, and wire strippers to remove insulation from the wires.

When soldering, it’s crucial to follow proper technique. Begin by heating the connection point with the soldering iron and applying a small amount of solder to create a small puddle. Then, insert the wire into the puddle and hold it steady until the solder cools and solidifies. Repeat this process for all necessary connections, ensuring there are no loose or cold solder joints.

Testing the circuitry and troubleshooting common issues

After soldering the electric guitar components, it’s essential to test the circuitry to ensure it functions correctly. Testing helps identify any potential issues or mistakes made during the wiring and soldering process.

To test the circuitry, begin by plugging the guitar into an amplifier or audio interface. Use a multimeter to measure the resistance between different points in the circuit, ensuring that there are no short circuits or broken connections.

If any issues arise during testing, troubleshooting becomes necessary. Common problems include no sound output, scratchy or distorted sound, or intermittent connections. To troubleshoot, check for loose solder joints, damaged components, or incorrect wiring connections.

If troubleshooting does not resolve the issue, seeking assistance from an experienced technician or referring to online resources can provide further guidance.

Setting Up The Electric Conversion

Setting up the electric conversion is one of the crucial steps when transforming an acoustic guitar into an electric one. This process involves several key adjustments and modifications to ensure optimal playability and sound quality. In this section, we will explore the essential steps to properly set up the electric conversion, including adjusting the action and intonation, evaluating the nut and bridge for necessary modifications, and fine-tuning the truss rod. Let’s dive in!

Adjusting the action and intonation

When converting an acoustic guitar to an electric, it’s important to pay attention to the action and intonation. The action refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard, which greatly affects the playability and ease of fretting. To achieve the desired action, the bridge height can be adjusted using height-adjustment screws or shims.

Additionally, intonation plays a vital role in ensuring accurate pitch throughout the entire fretboard. To adjust the intonation, use an electronic tuner and make necessary alterations to the length of each string at the bridge. This involves moving the saddle forward or backward to achieve proper intonation.

Evaluating the nut and bridge for necessary modifications

In an electric conversion, the nut and bridge may require modifications to accommodate the higher tension and thinner gauge of electric guitar strings. Start by examining the nut slots to ensure they are wide enough for the new strings. If needed, the slots can be carefully filed or filled with nut material to achieve the proper width.

Next, evaluate the bridge to determine if any adjustments are necessary. Electric strings tend to have less tension than acoustic strings, so the bridge may need to be lowered or modified to allow for better string action and playability. Take the time to carefully measure and adjust the height of individual saddles to ensure even string height across the entire fretboard.

Fine-tuning the truss rod for optimal playability

The truss rod is a crucial component that helps control the neck’s curvature, affecting the guitar’s playability and overall sound quality. Before proceeding with the electric conversion, it’s essential to evaluate and adjust the truss rod if necessary.

Using an appropriate tool, carefully turn the truss rod to either increase or decrease the neck’s relief. This adjustment allows you to find the optimal balance between low action and string buzz. However, it’s important to make small adjustments and allow the neck time to settle between changes to avoid damaging the instrument.

To summarize, setting up the electric conversion requires careful attention to detail. By adjusting the action and intonation, evaluating the nut and bridge for necessary modifications, and fine-tuning the truss rod, you can achieve an electric guitar that not only looks the part but also delivers exceptional playability and tone.

Testing And Sound Adjustment

Once you have successfully converted your acoustic guitar into an electric one, the next step is to test and adjust the sound to ensure optimal performance. This crucial phase involves connecting the converted guitar to an amplifier, fine-tuning the tone and volume controls, and testing the revamped guitar’s playability and performance. By following these steps, you can achieve a customized sound that suits your taste and preferences.

Connecting the converted guitar to an amplifier

One of the first things you’ll want to do after converting your acoustic guitar into an electric one is to connect it to an amplifier. This step allows you to amplify the sound produced by your guitar and make it audible to a much larger audience. To connect the guitar to the amplifier, follow these simple steps:

  1. Identify the guitar’s output jack, typically located at the bottom or side of the instrument.
  2. Take an instrument cable and connect one end to the guitar’s output jack.
  3. Connect the other end of the cable to the input jack of the amplifier.

Once the guitar is connected to the amplifier, you’re ready to move on to the next step: fine-tuning the tone and volume controls.

Fine-tuning the tone and volume controls for desired sound

Fine-tuning the tone and volume controls of your converted electric guitar is essential to achieving the desired sound. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Locate the tone and volume knobs on your guitar. These are usually positioned near the pickups or on the control panel.
  2. Experiment with the tone knob to adjust the overall sound character. Turning it clockwise will typically make the sound brighter, while turning it counterclockwise will make it darker.
  3. Adjust the volume knob to control the output level. Increase the volume to make your guitar louder or decrease it to make it softer.
  4. Play around with different combinations of tone and volume settings to find the perfect balance that suits your style of playing.

Once you have fine-tuned the tone and volume controls, it’s time to put your revamped guitar to the test.

Testing the revamped guitar’s playability and performance

Testing your converted electric guitar is crucial to ensure its playability and performance are up to par. Here’s what you can do to assess its qualities:

  • Play various chords, scales, and melodies to check the guitar’s intonation and overall sound quality.
  • Test the guitar’s sustain by holding out individual notes and chords to see how long they ring.
  • Try different picking techniques and strumming patterns to evaluate the guitar’s responsiveness and versatility.
  • Listen for any unwanted noise or feedback when playing at higher volumes.

By thoroughly testing your revamped guitar, you can identify any potential issues and make further adjustments if needed. Once you’re satisfied with its playability and performance, you’re ready to rock and roll!

Advantages Of Converting

Converting an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar opens up a world of opportunities for guitarists looking to explore new playing styles and genres. The advantages of this conversion not only include versatility in playing styles and genres, but also cost-effectiveness compared to buying a new electric guitar, and the opportunity for personalization and customization. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.

Versatility in playing styles and genres

The versatility that comes with converting an acoustic guitar to an electric is unparalleled. With an electric guitar, you have access to a wide range of tones and effects that can completely transform your playing. Whether you want to dabble in blues, rock, jazz, or any other genre, having the ability to switch seamlessly between different playing styles is a game-changer. The versatility of an electric guitar allows you to experiment with different sounds, find your unique voice, and take your playing to new heights.

Cost-effectiveness compared to buying a new electric guitar

One of the most attractive aspects of converting an acoustic guitar to an electric is the cost-effectiveness it offers. Acoustic guitars tend to be more affordable compared to their electric counterparts, and by converting your acoustic guitar, you can save a significant amount of money. Rather than investing in a new electric guitar, which can be quite costly, the conversion process allows you to utilize your existing instrument and make the necessary modifications to transform it into an electric guitar. Not only does this save you money, but it also ensures that you can still enjoy the quality and familiarity of your acoustic guitar.

Personalization and customization opportunities

Converting an acoustic guitar to an electric presents a unique opportunity for personalization and customization. Each guitarist has their own preferences when it comes to tone, playability, and aesthetics. By converting your guitar, you have the freedom to choose the pickups, controls, and hardware that best suit your individual needs and preferences. This level of customization ensures that your converted electric guitar is tailored to your playing style and personality. Whether you want to go for a classic vintage vibe or a modern and edgy look, the possibilities are endless.

In conclusion, converting an acoustic guitar to an electric offers numerous advantages that go beyond just the ability to play with amplification. The versatility in playing styles and genres, cost-effectiveness compared to buying a new electric guitar, and personalization and customization opportunities make the conversion process a worthwhile endeavor for any guitarist. Unlock your guitar’s full potential and embark on a journey of sonic exploration by converting your acoustic guitar to an electric.

Disadvantages Of Converting

While converting an acoustic guitar to an electric may seem like an attractive option for some musicians, it’s important to consider the potential disadvantages involved. From potential damage to the original instrument to changes in tone and limited pickup options, there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Let’s explore each of these factors in detail.

Potential damage to the original acoustic guitar

One of the main concerns when converting an acoustic guitar to an electric is the risk of causing damage to the original instrument. This process typically involves drilling or routing holes into the body of the guitar to accommodate the new electronics, which can permanently alter the guitar’s structural integrity. Additionally, since acoustic guitars are not built with the intention of being converted, the modifications required might not be ideal for long-term durability.

Changes in tone and sound quality compared to dedicated electric guitars

Another disadvantage of converting an acoustic guitar is the potential impact on the instrument’s tone and sound quality. While dedicated electric guitars are specifically designed to produce the distinctive electric guitar sound, acoustic guitars inherently have a different tonal character. When converted, the tone of the instrument might not match up to that of a purpose-built electric guitar, and some musicians may find the sound lacking in comparison.

Limited selection of available pickup options for certain acoustic guitars

Additionally, converting an acoustic guitar to an electric may entail limitations in terms of pickup options. Acoustic guitars come in various shapes and sizes, and their unique construction may restrict the available pickup choices. Some acoustic guitars might not have a compatible pickup that can be easily installed, limiting options for achieving the desired electric guitar sound. This lack of flexibility can be frustrating for musicians seeking specific pickup tonal characteristics or features.

Overall, while converting an acoustic guitar to an electric can offer a way to experiment with different sounds, it is important to consider the potential disadvantages. From the risk of damaging the original instrument to changes in tone and limited pickup options, each of these factors should be thoroughly evaluated before embarking on the conversion process.

Can You Convert an Acoustic Guitar to an Electric


Frequently Asked Questions On Can You Convert An Acoustic Guitar To An Electric

Can An Acoustic Guitar Be Converted To An Electric Guitar?

Yes, it is possible to convert an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar. This usually involves installing a pickup system, which allows the sound to be amplified. However, it is recommended to consult a professional guitar technician for the conversion to ensure it is done properly.

What Are The Benefits Of Converting An Acoustic Guitar To Electric?

Converting an acoustic guitar to electric opens up a world of possibilities. It allows you to experiment with different sounds and effects, and perform in louder settings. Additionally, it gives you the flexibility to play different genres of music that require an electric guitar’s unique tone.

How Much Does It Cost To Convert An Acoustic Guitar To Electric?

The cost of converting an acoustic guitar to electric can vary depending on several factors. These include the type of pickup system you choose, the complexity of the installation, and any additional modifications required. It is best to get a quote from a professional guitar technician to get an accurate estimate.


Converting an acoustic guitar to an electric is a feasible option for musicians seeking to expand their sonic possibilities. With the right tools, knowledge, and professional assistance, the transformation can bring exciting new opportunities for experimentation and performance. By exploring the possibilities and understanding the process involved, guitarists can enhance their musical versatility and open up a world of creative expression.

Unlock the potential of your acoustic guitar and embark on an electrifying musical journey today.

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