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Acoustic-electric - any downside?

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Ope
 Ope
(@ope)
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Topic starter  

So, I'm thinking of getting a new acoustic guitar. Pretty sure I'm going to go with a Seagull S6. I like the sound and feel and fits my price range. Aside from the initial cost, is there any downside to getting an acoustic-electric?

I ask this considering I likely won't be plugged in very often. I'm learning to play for myself, and usually just play in my home. I don't see myself playing in front of anyone else any time soon, though I'd like to eventually play with other friends. I guess the other way to ask my question, is it worth the extra bit of money up front to get an acoustic-electric instead of just an acoustic guitar?

Thanks - Ope

"What kind of music do you usually have here?"
"Oh, we got both kinds. We got country AND western."


   
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DennisF6
(@dennisf6)
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The Seagull S6 is an excellent choice. I mostly play electric but after months of trying out different acoustics I bought myself an S6 just a few weeks ago.
I don't think there is any downside to having electronics in an acoustic, other than the cost.
However, if all you really need for now is acoustic, you can always add a pickup to any acoustic later on.
So, no reason to hold back - go get your Seagull S6!

I want to play guitar very badly -
and I do!


   
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Blueline
(@blueline)
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I own an acoustic electric. No downside at all. The tone is great and I love playing it. For the rare occasion that I do plug in, its great to be able to just plug in with no set up required.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


   
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XylemBassGuitar
(@xylembassguitar)
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Yep, I'd go for the S6. No downsides I can think of...

Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars


   
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TwistedLefty
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mine eats 9v batteries 8)

#4491....


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
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The S6 is a very nice guitar.

If you play mostly unplugged, save the extra money or buy a better guitar. It will be around $100. You always can add the electronics.


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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I prefer to put my money into the ageless "wood" rather than the quickly aging/obsoleted electronics. The guitar will likely outlast the electronics in two ways: what is "state of the art" in pup sound and the actual operating life of the electronics. At either point -- doesn't quite sound as good electrically as the other (even cheaper) AE guitars out there or at the point of "It's dead, Jim," you now have a desireable acoustic with a useless contol panel cut into the rim. If you are just tossing a bit of cash into a guitar for casual or short term use, then no problem. However, if you think you may be buying a guitar you will use for 10+ years, spend the money on the basic guitar and forget the electronic bells 'n' whistles. You can always add a very good (and updatable) pup later.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Chris C
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Hi,

I have a Seagull, and it's a great guitar. When I bought it, I really didn't know where my playing would go, or how exactly I'd use it. So I just bought what seemed to be the best specs I could afford at the time. For me that meant a good sound first but not too bothered about inlays and stuff, some decent electrics, and a cutaway.

I've had it over a year now, and I play it every week with a group. I hardly ever use the cutaway, and I very rarely use the electronics. You could say that I don't really 'need' them, and I could have bought a cheaper model for sure. But I don't regret what I did buy - because the features are there when I need them. Just occasionally I do want to plug the guitar straight into a recorder or tweaker of some kind, and then the electrics really pay off. I suppose they could be added later, but it's a bit of a fiddle and when I do want to be able to plug in it's NOW, not in a week or two when the guitar comes back from having a pickup fitted.

For a hobby player at my level it doesn't really matter whether the pickups are 'state of the art' or not. If it sounds good to me now, that's enough. Even with solid bodied electrics there's a market for 'vintage' pickups that sound just like the ones they used nearly 50 years ago. So if I like the sound my Seagull makes now (and I do) I'm not bothered about changing it later. If I found a pressing need for a different sound I'd probably just buy a whole different guitar, and keep my good friend the way she is right now. With solid body guitars I don't mind swapping pickups (I've done so) but the acoustic style I like to leave original. Just my preference. But we're all different.... :)

I've not found any downside. Good luck with whichever you buy.

Chris


   
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Ricochet
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There is a difference, though, between those vintage passive electromagnetic electric guitar pickups and the common battery powered, active, piezoelectric pickups found in acoustic electrics. We've all got plenty of dead little transistorized devices around, and batteries do leak and make messes. I seriously doubt anyone's going to be seeking out "vintage" acoustic electric pickups of the common sorts in future decades. I say, get it if you're going to plug in and use it. But the sound through the pickup won't sound the same, and probably not as good, as the acoustic through a mic. I despise cutting holes in guitar bodies, too.

Passive piezo pickups and active ones, for that matter, don't necessarily require carving up your guitar body. I have one acoustic that came to me with a Dean Markley passive piezo under the bridge, and a Gibson that came from the factory with an active Fishman pickup with no external controls. Some pickups have a tiny volume wheel in the edge of the soundhole.

I've also recently gotten a Fishman magnetic pickup that clamps in the soundhole to play with. Don't expect it to sound acoustic at all. It turns an acoustic into a hollowbody electric, as heard on old Elmore James recordings or Kurt Cobain's guitar in the Nirvana "Unplugged" concert, for examples.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Cat
 Cat
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Nah! No real downsides other than...who said it...chewing up 9 volt batteries!

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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Blueline
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You make a good point Ric. Although I can plug in my acoustic, I prefer micing it. Just a better sound all around. That said, I usually plug into my amp and I do not record with it plugged in anymore. Youu just don't get good tone out of it. There's no harmonics at all, no resonance to the sound.

To the main point of the post, I guess it really depends on how much you feel you'll need to plug in. If its a matter of "If I purchase an A/E, will it prevent me from playing /sound bad in any way?" then the answer is no, it wont.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


   
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gnease
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You make a good point Ric. Although I can plug in my acoustic, I prefer micing it. Just a better sound all around. That said, I usually plug into my amp and I do not record with it plugged in anymore. Youu just don't get good tone out of it. There's no harmonics at all, no resonance to the sound.

To the main point of the post, I guess it really depends on how much you feel you'll need to plug in. If its a matter of "If I purchase an A/E, will it prevent me from playing /sound bad in any way?" then the answer is no, it wont.

Maybe not plugged in. But if you value a good acoustic sound to begin with, why not take the same money you'd have spent on an A/E and spend it on a better acoustic guitar, but sans electronics?

And frankly, most low cost electronics -- esp piezos pups -- slapped onto a low to mid line acoustic really do sound like crap. The longer you play, the better your ears/listening will get, and the more likely you are to realize this.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Rahul
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If you really want the a/e sound, go for Taylor 314CE or above. They do have reputation for sounding good plugged (or unplugged).


   
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Blueline
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Greg, I agree with you. There's no doubt about it. If you have a good acoustic with no electronics, its going to sound better. I own a Taylor 414ce (good call on that Rahul!) Before I purchased I made sure I played plenty of other guitars. Both A/E and not.

Unplugged: The Taylor sounded better than all of the guitars I played. This included Martin, higher end Gibson, Breedlove, Epi and a few others.

Plugged into amp: same as above. The electronics in the Taylor were superior.

Plugged direcly into Pro Tools via MBox: I did not like the sound of any of the guitars.

Will an acoustic w/ no electronics sound better. You bet. Is there a downside to purchasing one with electronics? I've not found one.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


   
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Rahul
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And since you are interested in a Seagull guitar, you might like to check this video out.

Making of a Seagull guitar 8)


   
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