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Can You Use Guitar Pedals With an Acoustic Guitar

Yes, you can use guitar pedals with an acoustic guitar, but it may not produce the desired effect or sound as with an electric guitar. Using guitar pedals with an acoustic guitar opens up a world of possibilities for musicians looking to enhance their sound.

While typically associated with electric guitars, guitar pedals can also be used with acoustic guitars to add effects and manipulate the sound. However, it is important to note that using pedals with an acoustic guitar may not yield the same results as with an electric guitar.

This is because electric guitars have built-in pickups that amplify the signal, allowing the pedals to shape the sound. Acoustic guitars, on the other hand, produce sound through vibration, meaning the effects may be less pronounced or potentially altered. Nonetheless, many artists have successfully incorporated pedals into their acoustic performances, creating unique and captivating sounds that push the boundaries of traditional acoustic music.

Why Acoustic Guitars Are Different

Different Sound Projection And Tone

One of the key reasons why acoustic guitars are different from electric guitars is the way they produce sound. Unlike electric guitars, which require amplification to be heard properly, acoustic guitars produce sound through the resonance of the body and strings. This results in a natural and organic tone that is distinct from the processed sound of an electric guitar. The body of an acoustic guitar acts as a resonator, amplifying the vibrations created by the strings. This is why acoustic guitars project sound differently and produce a rich, warm tone that is highly sought after by many musicians.

Lack Of Built-in Electronics

Another factor that sets acoustic guitars apart is the absence of built-in electronics. Unlike electric guitars, which have pickups and controls to adjust the sound, acoustic guitars rely solely on the natural sound produced by their body and strings. This simplicity is part of the charm of acoustic guitars, as it allows the player to focus on the pure acoustic sound without any additional effects or modifications. However, this also means that if you want to shape or enhance the sound of your acoustic guitar, you need to rely on external devices, such as guitar pedals.

Unplugged Vs Amplified Sound

When playing an acoustic guitar, you have the option to play it unplugged or amplify the sound using external devices. The unplugged sound refers to the natural acoustic sound created by the guitar, while the amplified sound refers to the sound produced when the guitar is connected to a guitar amplifier or PA system using a pickup or microphone. Whether you prefer the pure, unplugged sound of an acoustic guitar or the enhanced sound through amplification depends on personal preference and the musical context in which you are playing. Using guitar pedals with an acoustic guitar can allow you to experiment with various effects and tones, both in the unplugged and amplified settings, expanding your sonic possibilities as a musician.

To summarize, acoustic guitars have unique sound projection and tone due to the resonance of their body and strings. They lack built-in electronics, which allows for a pure and unprocessed acoustic sound. Whether you choose to play your acoustic guitar unplugged or amplified is up to you, but using guitar pedals can open up a world of possibilities in terms of manipulating and enhancing your sound.

Types Of Pedals Compatible With Acoustic Guitars

When it comes to enhancing the sound of your acoustic guitar, you might think that guitar pedals are only meant for electric guitars. However, that’s not entirely true. While certain pedals may not work as effectively with acoustic guitars, there are several types of pedals that are compatible and can really take your acoustic sound to the next level. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most popular types of pedals that can be used with acoustic guitars. Let’s dive in!

Equalizer (eq) Pedals

An Equalizer (EQ) pedal is one of the most versatile and essential pedals that can greatly enhance the sound of your acoustic guitar. EQ pedals allow you to adjust the frequency response of your guitar, enabling you to boost or cut specific frequencies. This can be incredibly useful in shaping the tone of your acoustic guitar and compensating for any limitations in its natural sound. Whether you want to add more presence to your strumming or reduce the boomy low-end, an EQ pedal can provide you with precise control over your acoustic tone.

Preamp Pedals

Preamp pedals are another popular choice for enhancing the sound of acoustic guitars. These pedals not only amplify your guitar signal but also offer tone-shaping capabilities. They typically come equipped with controls for adjusting volume, gain, and tone, allowing you to fine-tune your acoustic sound. Preamp pedals are especially useful when connected to a PA system or an acoustic amplifier, as they can help you achieve a more balanced and professional sound. They can also be used to add warmth and character to your acoustic tone, making them a great addition to any acoustic guitarist’s arsenal.

Reverb Pedals

Reverb pedals are known for their ability to create a sense of space and depth in your guitar sound. While reverb is commonly associated with electric guitars, it can also work wonders with acoustic guitars. By adding a touch of reverb, you can simulate the natural ambience of a concert hall or a studio, giving your acoustic sound a more immersive and atmospheric quality. Whether you prefer a subtle room ambiance or a lush, cathedral-like reverb, a reverb pedal can help you achieve the desired effect and make your acoustic guitar sound larger than life.

Delay Pedals

Delay pedals add a repeating echo effect to your guitar sound, which can be incredibly captivating when used creatively. While delay is popularly used in various genres of electric guitar music, it can also be a valuable tool for acoustic guitarists. Whether you want to create a rhythmic pattern, add depth to your fingerpicking, or simply experiment with new sounds, a delay pedal can open up a whole new world of sonic possibilities for your acoustic guitar. With adjustable delay time and feedback controls, you can tailor the delay effect to suit your playing style and musical preferences.

In conclusion, while it’s true that not all guitar pedals are suitable for acoustic guitars, there are several types of pedals that can enhance your acoustic sound in unique and exciting ways. Whether you’re looking to shape your tone with an EQ pedal, add warmth and volume with a preamp pedal, create ambience with a reverb pedal, or explore creative possibilities with a delay pedal, there are plenty of options to choose from. So go ahead, experiment with different pedals and discover your acoustic guitar’s true potential!

Considerations For Using Pedals With An Acoustic Guitar

Adding pedals to your acoustic guitar setup can open up a world of possibilities when it comes to expanding your sonic palette. However, using pedals with an acoustic guitar requires some special considerations to ensure the best results. In this article, we will discuss two important factors to keep in mind: feedback issues and how to mitigate them, as well as balancing the sound and effects. We will also explore using pedals with a pickup-equipped acoustic guitar.

Feedback Issues And How To Mitigate Them

Acoustic guitars are inherently prone to feedback due to the natural amplification of their sound through the soundhole and the vibrations of the body. When using pedals, especially those that generate high gain or distortion, feedback can become a significant problem. However, there are several ways to mitigate feedback and enjoy the benefits of pedals with your acoustic guitar.

To reduce feedback, consider the following:

  • Positioning: Stand further away from your amplifier or PA system to minimize the chances of feedback.
  • Volume and gain control: Experiment with lower volume and gain settings on your pedals to find the sweet spot where the feedback is minimized.
  • Feedback suppressors: Consider using a dedicated feedback suppressor pedal that can detect and eliminate unwanted feedback frequencies.
  • EQ adjustments: Use the EQ controls on your amp or pedals to cut or reduce frequencies that are prone to feedback.
  • Acoustic treatment: If feedback continues to be an issue, invest in acoustic treatment for your performance space to reduce the chances of unwanted resonance.

Balancing The Sound And Effects

When using pedals with an acoustic guitar, it’s important to strike a balance between the natural acoustic sound and the effects you are incorporating. The purpose of effects pedals, after all, is to enhance and complement your tone rather than mask it completely. Here are a few tips to help you achieve a harmonious blend:

  1. Start with a clean foundation: Begin by dialing in a clean, high-quality acoustic sound from your guitar and amplifier.
  2. Experiment with subtle effects: Begin with subtle effects like reverb or chorus and gradually introduce more pronounced effects to avoid overwhelming the natural sound of your guitar.
  3. Use EQ wisely: Adjust the EQ settings on your pedals to ensure they complement the tone of your acoustic guitar, rather than overpowering it.
  4. Consider the song context: Keep in mind the genre, style, and mood of the song you’re playing when selecting and dialing in effects. Certain effects may work better in certain musical contexts.

Using Pedals With A Pickup-equipped Acoustic Guitar

Many modern acoustic guitars come equipped with pickups, allowing you to amplify the sound and use pedals more effectively. If your acoustic guitar has a built-in pickup, you can take advantage of a wider range of effects pedals without as much concern for feedback. The pickup helps isolate the sound of the guitar from the surrounding environment, minimizing the chances of unwanted feedback. Additionally, some pedals are specifically designed for use with pickup-equipped acoustic guitars, offering enhanced tone and control.

When using pedals with a pickup-equipped acoustic guitar:

  • Experiment with different pedals: Try out various types of pedals, such as delays, reverbs, and compressors, to find the ones that work best with your guitar’s pickup system.
  • Combine pedals for unique sounds: Explore the possibilities of combining different pedals to create interesting and distinctive effects that enhance your acoustic performance.
  • Adjust pickup and pedal settings: Fine-tune your pickup and pedal settings to find the optimal balance between clarity, responsiveness, and desired effects.

By considering these factors and making adjustments accordingly, you can effectively incorporate pedals into your acoustic guitar setup and unlock new creative avenues for your music.

Pros And Cons Of Using Pedals With An Acoustic Guitar

Pros and Cons of Using Pedals with an Acoustic Guitar

Enhanced Creativity And Versatility

Using pedals with an acoustic guitar can significantly enhance your creativity and versatility as a musician. Whether you’re aiming to add rhythmic effects, create layered sounds, or experiment with different tones, pedals can expand your sonic possibilities. By incorporating pedals into your acoustic setup, you open up exciting avenues for musical exploration.

Maintaining The Natural Acoustic Sound

One of the biggest concerns for acoustic guitar players when it comes to using pedals is the fear of compromising the natural sound of the instrument. Fortunately, with advancements in technology, there are pedals specifically designed to preserve the acoustic qualities while adding various effects. These pedals ensure that the inherent warmth, resonance, and tonal characteristics of your acoustic guitar remain intact, allowing you to maintain the natural beauty of your instrument.

Additional Cost And Complexity

It’s important to consider the additional cost and complexity that come with using pedals for your acoustic guitar. Quality pedals can be quite expensive, and building a pedalboard can quickly add up. Moreover, incorporating pedals into your setup requires understanding their functionality, proper placement, and adjusting settings to achieve the desired sound. This added complexity may require a learning curve and investment of time to fully master.

Impact On Portability And Convenience

While using pedals can enhance your sound, they do have an impact on the portability and convenience of your acoustic guitar setup. Pedals and the accompanying cables can add weight and bulk to your gear, making it less portable and potentially challenging to transport. Additionally, more pedals mean more time spent setting up and connecting cables, which can be inconvenient in certain performance situations where quick setup and teardown are required.

Tips For Using Pedals With An Acoustic Guitar

Using guitar pedals with an acoustic guitar can elevate your sound and add new dimensions to your playing. While traditionally associated with electric guitars, pedals can also be used with acoustics to enhance your tone and experiment with different effects. In this article, we will provide you with some valuable tips on how to effectively use pedals with your acoustic guitar.

Experiment With Pedal Order

The order in which you connect your pedals can significantly impact the overall sound. By experimenting with pedal order, you can achieve different effects and find the perfect combination for your acoustic guitar. There are no strict rules when it comes to pedal order, but here are a few common setups:

  1. Start with a compressor pedal to even out the volume and sustain.
  2. Follow it with a modulation pedal, such as a chorus or flanger, to add depth and movement to your sound.
  3. Next, try a reverb pedal to create a spacious and ambient tone.
  4. Consider adding a delay pedal for echoes and repeats, adding texture to your guitar playing.
  5. Lastly, experiment with a boost or overdrive pedal to add some grit and distortion when needed.

Adjusting Settings For The Best Sound

Once you’ve determined the pedal order, it’s essential to adjust the settings on each pedal to achieve the best sound. The settings will vary depending on the effect you want to achieve, your playing style, and the type of songs you’re performing. Here are a few tips for adjusting pedal settings:

  • Start with the knobs at the 12 o’clock position and make small adjustments from there.
  • Use your ears to guide you – trust your instincts and tweak the settings until you achieve the desired sound.
  • Remember that less is sometimes more; subtle adjustments can make a big difference.
  • Take note of the effect’s impact on your overall tone and adjust accordingly.
  • Experiment with different combinations of settings to discover new sounds that suit your playing style.

Incorporating Pedals Into Different Playing Styles

Whether you’re a fingerstyle player, strummer, or lead guitarist, pedals can be integrated into various playing styles and genres. Here are a few examples of how different pedals can enhance different playing styles:

Playing Style Pedal Suggestions
Fingerstyle Try using a delay pedal to add depth and create intricate layers of sound.
Strumming Consider a chorus or reverb pedal to add shimmer and dimension to your chords.
Lead Guitar An overdrive or distortion pedal can give your solos a boost and add sustain.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and experimenting with different pedal combinations and settings will help you discover your unique sound and style.

Can You Use Guitar Pedals With an Acoustic Guitar


Frequently Asked Questions For Can You Use Guitar Pedals With An Acoustic Guitar

What Pedals Work With Acoustic Guitar?

Common types of pedals that work well with acoustic guitars include preamps, compressors, EQs, and reverbs. These help enhance the tone, control dynamics, shape the sound, and add spaciousness to your acoustic guitar’s sound.

Can You Use A Distortion Pedal With An Acoustic Guitar?

Yes, you can use a distortion pedal with an acoustic guitar to add an edgier sound. It can help create a distorted, rock-like tone when playing acoustic.

Can You Use Electric Guitar Pedals With An Acoustic Amp?

Yes, you can use electric guitar pedals with an acoustic amp. The pedals can enhance the sound of your acoustic guitar when plugged into the amp.

Can You Use Effects Pedals With An Acoustic Amp?

Yes, you can use effects pedals with an acoustic amp. They enhance your acoustic guitar’s sound by adding reverb, distortion, and other effects. Simply connect the pedals between your guitar and the amp using instrument cables. Enjoy experimenting with different tones and effects to elevate your acoustic performance.


Using guitar pedals with an acoustic guitar can open up a whole new world of creativity and sound possibilities. While it may require some adjustments and considerations, the right combination of pedals can enhance your acoustic performance and bring out unique tones.

Whether you’re a seasoned guitarist or just starting out, experimenting with guitar pedals can add depth and richness to your acoustic playing. So, don’t be afraid to explore and let your imagination run wild with the endless possibilities that guitar pedals can provide for your acoustic guitar.

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