The future of music

10 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars

December 29, 2023
best acoustic electric guitars

Searching for the best acoustic electric guitars?

My guide will help you navigate the vast options available, ensuring you find the perfect instrument for your needs.

Dive in to discover top picks, expert insights, and the ideal solution to your musical desires.

Quick answer: what are the best acoustic electric guitars? In my experience, the best acoustic electric guitars include the Martin Junior Series DJR-10E, the Lag Tramontane 318 T318ACE, and the Taylor American Dream AD17E Blacktop. Each of these models offers outstanding sound quality and playability. They stand out in both craftsmanship and performance.

Top Acoustic Electric Guitars Ranked

Here is a quick list of the best acoustic electric guitars based on my hands-on analysis:

  1. Martin Junior Series DJR-10E – Overall best electro acoustic guitar 
  2. Lag Tramontane 318 T318ACE – Best under $500
  3. Taylor American Dream AD17E Blacktop – Best solid wood acoustic electric guitar
  4. Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster – Best unique-looking acoustic electric guitar
  5. Taylor Academy Series 12e – Best dreadnought acoustic electric guitar
  6. PRS SE A60E – Best materials
  7. Martin SC-13E – Best high-end guitar
  8. Taylor 110e acoustic electric guitar – Best for intermediate players
  9. Yamaha A5R ARE – Best preamp performance
  10. Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME – Best on a budget

I’ve also made a video on the top acoustic electric guitars for those who prefer watching a video:

10 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Reviews

When I test acoustic guitars, I focus on these key areas:

  1. Build Quality: I examine the guitar’s structure, checking the body, neck, machine heads, and bridge for sturdiness, ensuring it’s well-made, even for budget models.
  2. Fretwork: I inspect the frets, looking for uniformity to avoid any playability issues like buzzing or accidental cuts.
  3. Playability: Comfort is crucial, so I assess how the guitar feels when held, focusing on the neck shape and body design.
  4. Sound: I play using different techniques to test the guitar’s tone range, listening for good balance and projection in various styles.

1. Martin Junior Series DJR-10E – Overall best electro acoustic guitar 

Martin Junior Series DJR-10E - Best electro-acoustic guitar

Martin Guitar is an iconic brand known for making the very first steel-string acoustic guitar.

Martin guitars are still the first choice for many professional musicians around the world, and you simply won’t feel sorry for getting one.

If you’re looking for a reliable acoustic electric guitar that will last you for a long time, you should check out their Junior Series and the exceptional DJR-10E.

This is a dreadnought with a 000 body depth, featuring a solid Sitka spruce top and solid sapele back and sides.

And thanks to its shorter 24” scale length, it’s easily portable.

The DJR-10E is eye-catching and comfortable, and it produces a beautiful sound, which ultimately makes it one of the best acoustic electric guitars on the market.

Plus, a Martin guitar is always a good choice. 

2. Lag Tramontane 318 T318ACE – Best under $500

Lag Tramontane 318 T318ACE - Best acoustic electric guitar under $500.

If you’re looking for an affordable acoustic electric guitar that won’t let you down, you should check out the Lag Tramontane 318 T318ACE.

Although the brand isn’t as popular as Martin guitars, Lag has been manufacturing high-quality guitars for decades. 

The company produces acoustic guitars, smart guitars, and ukuleles, including electro-acoustic guitars such as Lag Tramontane 318 T318ACE.

This beauty is often referred to as one of the top acoustic electric guitars, and I agree.

It has a solid Engelmann Spruce top with Flamed Ovangkol back and sides and Fishman Ink3 preamp system.

And since it’s not expensive, it offers exceptional value for money. 

3. Taylor American Dream AD17E Blacktop – Best solid wood acoustic electric guitar 

Taylor American Dream AD17E Blacktop - Best solid wood acoustic electric guitar 

Taylor is one of the most popular guitar manufacturers in the world.

The company is widely known for making high-quality instruments, and they can be quite pricey.

But if you’re looking for a Taylor guitar that is reasonably priced, I recommend checking out Taylor American Dream AD17E.

This eye-catching guitar is suitable for players of all levels, and it provides tonal balance and wide frequency response.

It’s also well-built, featuring solid Sitka spruce, solid ovangkol back and sides, and a mahogany neck.

All in all, if you’re looking for a solid wood acoustic electric guitar that won’t break the bank, you should consider getting Taylor’s American Dream. 

4. Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster – Best unique-looking acoustic electric guitar 

Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster - Best unique-looking acoustic electric guitar 

If you’re looking for a unique acoustic electric guitar made by a reputable brand, you should check out Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster.

This beautiful hybrid of acoustic and electric guitar has plenty to offer.

It comes with a Fishman under-saddle transducer, bridge plate body sensor, and Fender Acoustasonic Shawbucker.

And it’s available in several colors, including an Ocean Turquoise finish, Natural, Tobacco Sunburst, Tungsten, and Arctic White finish.

It’s a stylish guitar for sure, but it also produces a great sound.

You can play it unplugged, and it features a wide range of acoustic as well as electric tones.

It’s not the cheapest guitar on this list, but if you’re looking for a durable, quality hybrid, Fender’s American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster will be worth the money. 

5. Taylor Academy Series 12e – Best dreadnought acoustic electric guitar 

Taylor Academy Series 12e - Best dreadnought acoustic electric guitar 

Dreadnought is the most common type of acoustic guitar.

And when it comes to the top dreadnought acoustic electric guitar, the Taylor Academy Series 12e is certainly one of the best ones.

With its solid Sitka spruce top and hard rock maple neck, it’s fair to say this guitar is long-lasting and durable.

Since it’s well-made, it produces a beautiful tone and offers excellent playability for all levels.

It also looks great – simple, classic, and elegant.

And it has somewhat smaller dimensions, so it’s suitable for players with smaller hands. 

6. PRS SE A60E – Best materials 

PRS SE A60E - Best acoustic electric guitar materials.

The SE Range launched by PRS made an impact on the electro-acoustic guitars market.

The company is primarily known for its top-notch electric guitars, but its acoustics are fantastic as well.

PRS SE A60E is made of quality materials, including a solid Sitka spruce top with ziricote back and sides and mahogany neck.

Its bird inlays are also a nice addition. 

Moreover, the SE A60E features Fishman GT1 preamp and pickup and provides excellent sound and volume.

It sounds great plugged in just as it does unplugged. 

All things considered, this is a fantastic electro-acoustic guitar for beginners as well as more experienced players. 

7. Martin SC-13E – Best high-end guitar 

Martin SC-13E - Best high-end acoustic electric guitar.

This is another Martin guitar I recommend. 

The SC-13E is one of the best acoustic electric guitars you can find.

It’s a S-13 Fret with cutaway, made of Spruce, Koa, and Ebony, and it looks just as beautiful as it sounds.

But one of the things that makes this Martin guitar stand out from the crowd is the electric-acoustic crossover design.

Electronics are quite impressive, and in terms of tone, it’s well-balanced. 

It’s a bit pricey, but if you’re looking for a well-made electro-acoustic guitar that will help you improve your guitar skills, Martin SC-13E is an excellent choice. 

8. Taylor 110e acoustic electric guitar – Best for intermediate players 

Taylor 110e acoustic electric guitar - Best for intermediate players 

If you’ve ever had a Taylor guitar, then you’re familiar with Taylor’s signature tone and feel.

And if you’ve been taking guitar lessons for some time now and you’re ready to step up your game, the 110e makes an ideal second guitar. 

This popular acoustic electric guitar has a Sitka spruce top and walnut back and sides, which makes it durable as well as eye-catching.

The sound is simply amazing – the tone is warm and clear, and it’s certainly different from the one produced by entry-level guitars.

Whether you prefer strumming or finger-picking, Taylor 110e will meet your expectations.

Either way, this is a great choice for players and students who want to bring their skills to the next level. 

9. Yamaha A5R ARE – Best preamp performance 

Yamaha A5R ARE - Best preamp performance 

Without a doubt, Yamaha is one of the most powerful and popular manufacturers in the world.

Yamaha guitars are popular for a good reason – they’re well-built and approachable, and they sound great.

If you’re looking for an acoustic guitar with electric elements, you should check out A5R ARE.

This amazing acoustic guitar sounds as good plugged in as it does unplugged.

Moreover, the A5R ARE has excellent build quality – a solid Sitka Spruce top with A.R.E. treatment, solid rosewood back and sides, an African Mahogany neck, and SRT2 preamp.

It’s a real beauty for sure, and whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, its sound won’t let you down.

In terms of price, it’s not one of the cheapest acoustic electric guitars on this list, but it’s worthy of consideration. 

10. Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME – Best on a budget

Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME - Best on a budget

Good electro-acoustic guitars tend to be very expensive, but Epiphone offered a street price of less than $600.

Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME might be less expensive than some other options, but it’s just as amazing.

It features a solid Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides and a Fishman Sonitone Pickup System.

It has a vintage look – after all, the Epiphone Masterbilt series was designed to pay tribute to the brand’s enduring legacy.

That said, if you’re looking for a modern acoustic electric guitar with a vintage feel, look no further than the Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-45ME.

What Are Acoustic Electric Guitars?

At first glance, acoustic electric guitars and acoustic guitars look the same.

So, what’s the difference? 

In essence, an acoustic electric guitar comes with a microphone or a magnetic or piezoelectric pickup, which allows you to plug the guitar into an amplifier to increase the volume and change the tone.

So, it’s a standard acoustic guitar with elements of an electric guitar.

Man holding an acoustic electric guitar

Many musicians prefer an acoustic electric guitar because it allows them to produce an acoustic sound at a greater volume.

Acoustic electric guitars are ideal for live performances.

And in many cases, they are necessary – concert venues tend to be loud and noisy, so you’ll need to play louder – and that’s possible only if you amplify the sound, especially if you’re a solo singer-songwriter.

Now, before technology made things easier, musicians would put a mic in front of their guitar during concerts; but this comes with many disadvantages.

It’s far more convenient to use an acoustic electric guitar on a stage.

First of all, you don’t have to worry about any technical issues, as electro-acoustic guitars allow you to have control over the sound. 

They take the best of both worlds, in a sense. 

So if you’re not sure if you should buy an acoustic electric guitar, think about your preferences and goals.

If you want to perform live or simply boost your volume, this might be a perfect solution for you.

Types of Electro Acoustic Guitar Pickup

When choosing an acoustic electric guitar, there are several things you should think about, and one of them is what type of pickup the guitar has. 

Guitar pickups affect the plugged-in tone of your guitar, so it would be wise to familiarize yourself with different types of pickups and decide what type suits you best.

Undersaddle piezo

Piezo pickup is one of the most common electro acoustic guitar pickups.

It’s located underneath the acoustic guitar’s bridge saddle, detecting the string vibrations and transferring them through the saddle into electric current. 

There’s no hum involved, and that’s one of the reasons you should buy it. 

The thing is, due to their active circuitry, piezo pickups tend to possess a more compressed audio quality.

And in most cases, pickup arrangements are active, which means they need onboard battery power. 

On the other hand, passive piezos don’t require this power, but they tend to be lower output.

Mic blend

If you want to avoid the brightness that occurs with piezo pickups, you can try a mic blend.

Many musicians use this trick to amplify their sound – they use a small, internal mic to capture the sound and blend it with the sound of their guitar.

However, the mic blend is not always reliable, so I don’t recommend it to beginners. 

Transducer

Some musicians use a transducer, a sensor that’s placed inside the guitar to pick up body vibrations.

Transducer pickups often work well as a secondary pickup, alongside a piezo or soundhole pickup.

Magnetic 

You can fit this pickup across your acoustic guitar’s soundhole to pick up the vibrations of the strings via a magnetic field. 

Magnetic soundhole pickups can be active or passive, or humbucker or single-coil.

They also have a rather metallic quality of sound, so it all depends on your personal preferences. 

More About Preamps 

Many popular acoustic electric guitars have onboard preamps.

And many of the best acoustic electric guitars I mentioned today come with it – but what are their features, and why are they important?

Acoustic Electric Guitars and other kinds of musical instruments

A preamp is an essential part of an acoustic electric guitar as it creates its core sound.

Preamps generally boost the original sound of the guitar, and most have a volume control with at least some EQ parameters.

Also, guitar preamps usually require battery power, but this kind of power is replaceable and it tends to be long-lasting.

Some preamps also have onboard chromatic tuners and a phase button to reverse the polarity of the signal.

How Much Should I Spend on an Acoustic Electric Guitar? 

The price of the acoustic electric guitars varies a lot, so how much you should spend on them primarily depends on your budget.

But it also depends on your level – professional guitars are more expensive than entry-level and low-mid-range guitars.

If you’re a beginner, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a new acoustic electric guitar, although they do tend to be very pricey. 

There’s a certain number of relatively affordable acoustic electric guitars for beginners worth checking out, and they often don’t cost more than $500. 

But if you want to get a more professional, high-end guitar, you’ll have to invest more money in it. 

For intermediate and advanced players, acoustic electric guitars usually cost between $500 and $1200, and professional acoustic guitars can go up to $10,000.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an entry-level acoustic electric guitar, you’ll be able to find something affordable.  

Final Thoughts 

And that’s it for my best acoustic electric guitars!

Hopefully, you feel a bit more confident and knowledgeable now – and ready to purchase a new acoustic electric guitar.

Since buying a guitar is not a small investment, you should think carefully about what type of guitar you want. 

But all of the guitars I reviewed today are popular and reliable, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with any of them. 

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Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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Acoustic guitar laying down.
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