Find out the cost to turn your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric, including materials, labor, and additional features. Compare options and choose the best fit for your needs.
Are you a fervent acoustic guitar strummer who has recently been seduced by the electrifying allure of amplified sound? Or perhaps a fledgling music enthusiast attentively scanning the horizons of sonic possibilities? Whichever the case may be, you might be contemplating the idea of transforming your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric one, with the ability to plug in and impress with volume and effects.
In this continuously evolving world of music and technology, taking this musical leap may appear intimidating, yet undeniably intriguing. But, how much does it cost to turn an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric? Let’s embark on a journey to unravel this enigmatic question.
The process of converting an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric involves installing a pickup and preamp system that captures the vibrations of your guitar’s strings and body, which are then translated into an electric signal. This signal can be amplified, processed, or recorded, allowing your acoustic melodies to resonate far and wide or bedazzle audiences with glowing effects.
This thrilling metamorphosis is not merely a fantasy for the deep-pocketed or equipment savvy, as a wide array of cost-effective and user-friendly amplification solutions are available today, catering to all budgets and skill levels.
In this article, we will delve into the various factors influencing the cost of turning your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric one, examining the different types of pick-up systems, popular choices, installation methods, and supplementary gear. By the end of this acoustic adventure, you will not only have a comprehensive understanding of the expenses involved but also the agency to make an informed decision that aligns with your musical aspirations and financial compass.
So, tune-up, plug in, and let the amplified conversion begin!
What is an Acoustic-Electric Guitar and Why Would You Want One?
Defining an Acoustic-Electric Guitar
An acoustic-electric guitar is a type of acoustic guitar that can be played either acoustically or electrically. This means that the guitar has the capability to have its sound amplified with the use of a preamp, amplifier, or other sound-enhancing equipment, like pedals and tuners. The guitar’s sound can be picked up through a pickup system built into the instrument.
Advantages of Acoustic-Electric Guitars
The main advantage of an acoustic-electric guitar is its versatility and ability to amplify the guitar’s sound, making it ideal for playing live or recording music with other instruments, particularly in larger venues. The pickup system built into the guitar captures the sound and sends it to a preamp and then to an amplifier, which makes it much louder and enhances the sound quality.
Disadvantages of Acoustic-Electric Guitars
One disadvantage of an acoustic-electric guitar is that it can be more expensive than a traditional acoustic guitar. Additionally, the pickup system inside the guitar can sometimes affect the sound quality of the instrument, and it can be tough to balance the acoustic and electric tones to get the desired sound.
Installing a Pickup System: What You Need to Know
Types of Pickups for Acoustic Guitars
There are two types of pickups for acoustic guitars: magnetic pickups and piezo pickups. Magnetic pickups are similar to those found on electric guitars and use magnets to capture the sound. Piezo pickups, however, use physical contact with the guitar’s soundboard to pick up the vibrations and capture the sound.
Choosing the Right Pickup System
The right pickup system for you depends on a few factors: the sound you want to get, the usage of the guitar, and the budget you have. While magnetic pickups are generally less expensive, they can compromise the guitar’s natural sound, and piezo pickups tend to be more expensive. Fortunately, there are also hybrid pickups that combine both technologies, which offer a balance between the two sound types.
Costs of Installing a Pickup System
The cost of installing a pickup system in your acoustic guitar varies depending on where you live, the type of pickup you want to install, and the brand of the pickup system. On average, acoustic guitar pickups typically cost anywhere between $50 and $300. You can opt for a DIY installation, which can save you money, but if you don’t have experience, it’s best to hire a professional to install the pickup system for you.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Turning Your Acoustic Guitar into an Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Main Differences Between Acoustic and Acoustic-Electric Guitars
The main difference between an acoustic and an acoustic-electric guitar is the built-in pickup system on the acoustic-electric. If you already have a good acoustic guitar and only need to install the pickup system, that can be a cost-effective way of getting an acoustic-electric guitar. However, if you need to buy a new guitar, the costs can rise significantly.
Quality of Guitar and Pickup System
The sound quality of your acoustic-electric guitar will depend on both the guitar’s and the pickup system’s quality. A good guitar with a high-quality pickup system can be quite expensive, but it’s important to prioritize quality over cost to get the best sound possible. Remember that a more expensive guitar does not necessarily mean a better sound; a lower-priced guitar with a high-quality pickup system may sound better than a more expensive guitar with a lower-quality pickup system.
Labor Costs and Special Requests
If you’re looking for unique customization, like sound-hole pickups, or need special requests for the pickup installation, it can add to the cost. Labor costs vary depending on where you live and how experienced the technician is. If you’re looking for the lowest price possible, it’s best to do some research to find a reputable technician at a reasonable price.
How to Balance Cost and Quality
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Guitar and Pickup System
When choosing an acoustic guitar and pickup system, consider your needs and preferences. If you need a guitar with excellent sound quality and are willing to pay a higher price, look for models from trusted, high-end brands like Fender. You can also consider a mid-range model with good reviews and a reputable brand name. Remember that the best way to know if you like a guitar’s sound and feel is to play it yourself.
Choosing a Professional vs. DIY Installation
If you have experience with guitar electronics, you can opt for a DIY installation. However, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s essential to hire a professional to avoid damaging your guitar or ending up with a poor-quality installation. Professionals typically charge anywhere from $50-$100 per hour, with the installation taking anywhere from 1-3 hours.
Additional Costs to Consider When Transforming Your Acoustic Guitar
Additional costs to consider include buying a new guitar, buying a new pickup system, labor costs, and any special requests you may have. If you’re on a tight budget, purchasing a used guitar and a mid-range pickup system is an excellent way to get an acoustic-electric guitar without breaking the bank.
Q: How much does it cost to turn an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric?
A: The cost to transform an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric typically ranges from $50 for a low-end pickup to $300 or more for a high-quality pickup system and professional installation. The overall price will depend on the specific guitar, type of pickup, and installation process.
Q: Why would someone want to turn an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric guitar?
A: Turning an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric can offer significant advantages to musicians, such as amplification during live performances, better guitar sound, and increased versatility in terms of playing styles and guitar tones.
The acoustic guitar sound is often preferred for its warmer, richer quality, and adding electronics can help retain that acoustic sound while also enabling the connection to amplifiers, effects, and recording equipment.
Q: Is it more expensive to buy an acoustic-electric guitar than to convert an acoustic guitar?
A: Acoustic-electric guitars cost slightly more than standard acoustic guitars, due to the inclusion of built-in electronics; however, buying a new acoustic-electric guitar can be more affordable than converting an existing guitar.
Entry-level acoustic-electric guitars usually cost around $200-300, while entry-level acoustic guitars can be found for less than $200. If you already own an acoustic guitar, the overall cost would depend on the type of pickup system you choose and the cost of installation.
Q: Does turning an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric change the guitar’s acoustic sound?
A: Installing a pickup system into an acoustic guitar may slightly alter the soundhole acoustics, but the overall acoustic sound should remain relatively unchanged.
A high-quality pickup system will minimize the impact on the guitar’s natural tone, offering a balanced and accurate representation of the guitar’s sound when amplified.
Q: How does the cost of converting an acoustic guitar compare to the price of a fully electric guitar?
A: Electric guitars usually cost around $150-200 for a beginner model and more for high-end models. The overall price for converting an acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric will depend on the type of pickup system and installation costs.
Converting an acoustic guitar can be less expensive than buying a full electric guitar, but prices for full electric guitars can vary widely based on brand, quality, and features.
Q: What are some popular acoustic-electric guitar options for musicians on a budget?
A: Some popular acoustic-electric guitars for budget-conscious musicians include the Yamaha APX Series, Epiphone PR Series, Ibanez AEG Series, Fender CD Series, and Alvarez Artist Series. These guitars are known for their affordability, offering players a blend of both quality and value.
Q: Is it difficult to install an acoustic-electric system into an acoustic guitar?
A: Installing a pickup system into an acoustic guitar can be a relatively simple process, but it does require some basic knowledge of guitar electronics.
In most cases, it is recommended to consult a professional for the installation, as this will ensure a proper fit and minimize the risk of damaging the guitar.
Q: Are there any significant differences in tone between high-end acoustic-electric guitars and budget models?
A: There can be considerable differences in tone between high-end acoustic-electric guitars and budget models, with higher-end guitars typically featuring more balanced, rich tones and better overall projection.
The pickups and electronics used in high-end models are also generally of higher quality, resulting in a more natural amplified sound.
Q: Can you convert a classical guitar into an acoustic-electric?
A: Yes, it is possible to convert a classical guitar into an acoustic-electric guitar by installing a pickup system. However, since classical guitars use nylon strings rather than steel strings, it is important to choose a pickup system specifically designed for use with nylon strings.
The cost and complexity of the conversion will depend on the specific pickup system, and the installation process should ideally be carried out by a professional.
Q: Is it worth converting an old acoustic guitar into an electric one?
A: If an old acoustic guitar has sentimental value or is of high quality, converting it into an electric guitar may be a worthwhile option.
However, if the old guitar is of lower quality, it might not be cost-effective to spend money on upgrading its electronics, and purchasing a new acoustic-electric guitar could be a better choice.
Q: What factors affect the price of an acoustic-electric guitar conversion?
A: Factors affecting the cost of converting an acoustic guitar to an acoustic-electric include the type of pickup system, installation process, acoustic guitar price, and whether any additional modifications or enhancements are desired.
Q: Do acoustic-electric guitars cost more than standard acoustic guitars?
A: Yes, acoustic-electric guitars generally cost more than standard acoustic guitars due to the integrated electronics and additional hardware needed for the electric sound functionality.
Q: What is the difference between an acoustic guitar and an acoustic-electric guitar in terms of sound and tone?
A: While both types of guitars maintain a natural acoustic sound, an acoustic-electric guitar has a built-in pickup system that allows the guitar to be amplified, offering more versatility for guitar players and a wider range of guitar tones.
Q: Is a fully electric guitar more expensive than an acoustic-electric guitar?
A: Though prices can vary greatly depending on the brand and model, full electric guitars tend to have a similar price range as acoustic-electric guitars.
However, high-end acoustic-electric guitars may cost more than some full electric guitar models due to the combination of electronic components and high-quality acoustic construction.
Q: What are some popular acoustic-electric guitar options for those considering a conversion?
A: Some popular acoustic-electric guitars that often serve as a benchmark for comparison include the Taylor 314ce, Martin DCPA4, and Takamine GD30CE.
Researching these models can help you determine the features and quality you desire for your own conversion.
Q: How much would it cost to install a soundhole pickup in an acoustic guitar?
A: Installing a soundhole pickup in your acoustic guitar can cost between $50 to $200 for the pickup itself and an additional $50 to $100 for installation by a professional technician.
Q: Will converting my acoustic guitar to an acoustic-electric affect the playability and feel of the instrument?
A: Converting an acoustic guitar to an acoustic-electric could potentially affect the playability and feel of the instrument, depending on the type and installation of the electronics.
However, if done correctly and professionally, the differences should be minimal, and the guitar should still feel like an acoustic to play.
Q: Can a cheap acoustic guitar be turned into a high-quality acoustic-electric?
A: While converting a cheap acoustic guitar to an acoustic-electric is possible, the resulting instrument may not produce a high-quality electric sound compared to a high-end acoustic-electric guitar.
Remember, the quality of the pickup system and initial acoustic guitar will greatly affect the electric sound.
Q: Can converting an acoustic guitar to an acoustic-electric result in better-amplified performance for live shows?
A: Converting your acoustic guitar to an acoustic-electric can provide better-amplified performance for live shows, allowing you to seamlessly plug into a sound system and giving you greater control over your guitar’s tone and volume onstage.
Final Thoughts on the Cost of Turning Your Acoustic Guitar into an Acoustic-Electric Guitar
There are many factors to consider when transforming your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric, including the cost of the guitar, the type of pickup you want to install, and the cost of labor, among others. It’s important to prioritize the guitar’s sound quality and your needs when choosing a pickup system. If you do your research, you’ll be able to find the right guitar and pickup system within your budget.