Make An Acoustic Guitar Sound Electric

How to Make An Acoustic Guitar Sound Electric

Do you have an acoustic guitar and dream of making it rock like an electric one? Guess what, you can!

To make an acoustic guitar sound electric, you can use a clip-on pickup, or install a pickup system, and connect to an electric guitar amplifier with effects like delay, reverb, and distortion. Experimenting with EQ settings and different types of strings can also help achieve an electric sound.

Learn some cool tricks to change your acoustic guitar’s sound to be more like an electric guitar. Play your favorite songs with a brand-new sound. Let’s start our musical adventure and transform your guitar into a rock star!

How to Make Acoustic Guitar Sound Electric

1. Get a Clip-on Pickup

A clip-on pickup is a simple and effective way to make your acoustic guitar sound electric. It’s a small device that you can attach to the soundhole of your guitar. The pickup captures the vibrations of the strings and converts them into an electrical signal, which can then be amplified.

This method is great because it’s easy to install and remove, doesn’t require any permanent changes to your guitar, and is relatively affordable.

With a clip-on pickup, you can quickly switch between acoustic and electric sounds, making your guitar incredibly versatile.

2. Installing a Pickup

Installing a pickup in your acoustic guitar is a more permanent solution to achieve an electric sound. This process involves fitting a pickup inside your guitar, which captures the string vibrations and sends them to an amplifier.

Before installation, consider the type of pickup that suits your style – options include magnetic, piezo, and microphone pickups, each offering different sound qualities.

It’s often recommended to get professional help for installation to ensure the best sound quality and to avoid damaging your guitar. Once installed, this setup allows for a more integrated and consistent electric sound.

3. Use a Vibration Response Preamp (Belcat Ufo – 7)

A vibration response preamp can significantly alter and enhance the sound of your acoustic guitar. It amplifies the guitar’s natural sound by picking up the vibration of the guitars top and transmitting it to your interface via a receiver (works with Belcat receivers).

The Belcat Ufo-7 comes with the possibility to adjust the tone and volume, giving you some options to tweak your sound.

So now what?

1. Plug into an Electric Guitar Amplifier

Using an electric guitar amplifier can significantly impact the sound of your acoustic guitar. When you plug an acoustic guitar into an electric amp, it amplifies the guitar’s natural sound with more focus on the midrange and treble frequencies, giving it a sharper, more electric-like quality.

This method is particularly effective if you’re looking for a raw, gritty sound that’s reminiscent of an electric guitar, especially when playing genres like rock or blues.

2. Adjust the EQ of Your Amplifier

Adjusting the EQ (equalization) on your amplifier is a crucial step in achieving an electric guitar tone from an acoustic guitar. Start by reducing the bass frequencies to avoid muddiness and increase the mids and treble for a crisper sound.

Experiment with the EQ settings to find the balance that best mimics the sound of an electric guitar. Remember, subtle adjustments can make a significant difference in shaping the overall tone.

3. Add Some Delay, Reverb, and Compression

Incorporating effects like delay, reverb, and compression can greatly enhance the electric-like sound of your acoustic guitar. Delay adds echoes to your playing, creating a sense of depth and space.

Reverb gives the sound a more atmospheric quality, while compression evens out the dynamics, making your playing sound more consistent and punchy.

These effects combined can transform the acoustic sound into something more aligned with electric guitar tones.

4. Or Use Effect Pedals

Delay, Reverb, and Compression

Using specific effect pedals for delay, reverb, and compression allows for more precise control over these sounds.

Pedals can offer a wider range of adjustable parameters compared to built-in amp effects, enabling you to fine-tune the exact sound you’re aiming for. Different pedals have their unique characteristics, so it’s worth experimenting with a few to find the ones that best suit your style.

Noise-Gate Pedals

A noise-gate pedal can be quite effective in achieving an electric sound on an acoustic guitar. It works by eliminating unwanted background noise and hum, especially when using high-gain settings or multiple effects.

They work by silencing the signal when it falls below a certain threshold, effectively eliminating hums, buzzes, and feedback. This results in a clearer tone, crucial for achieving a more polished electric guitar sound.

When using a noise gate, it’s important to adjust the threshold setting appropriately to ensure it doesn’t cut off your desired guitar tone.

5. Crunch, Distortion, and Overdrive

To create a classic electric guitar sound, using effects like crunch, distortion, and overdrive is key. These effects add grit and intensity to your sound, making it more aggressive and powerful.

Crunch provides a mild overdriven sound, while distortion and overdrive offer a more intense effect, perfect for rock and metal genres.

6. A Piece of Paper between Strings and Fretboard

Placing a piece of paper between the strings and the fretboard is an unconventional yet interesting method to alter your guitar’s sound. This technique can create a buzzing, muted effect, somewhat similar to a sitar.

The paper dampens the vibrations of the strings, producing a more percussive and less resonant tone. It’s a simple, non-permanent trick for those who want to experiment with unique sound textures without any significant modifications to their guitar.

7. Use a Sound-Hole Cover or Noise Gate

Using a sound-hole cover or a noise gate can be effective in modifying the sound of your acoustic guitar.

A sound-hole cover, typically a rubber or wooden disc, is inserted into the guitar’s sound-hole to reduce feedback and increase control over the sound, especially when amplified.

This can be particularly useful when trying to achieve a more electric-like sound. Similarly, a noise gate, either as a pedal or a built-in amplifier feature, can help by cutting out unwanted noise and feedback, allowing for a cleaner, more focused sound.

8. Change the Strings

The type of strings you use on your acoustic guitar can significantly impact its sound. For a more electric-like tone, consider using lighter gauge strings as they are easier to bend and give a brighter, sharper sound compared to heavier acoustic strings.

Coated strings or strings made from different materials like nickel or bronze can also influence the tone, offering various levels of brightness and resonance.

Experimenting with different strings can be an easy and reversible way to explore different sound qualities in your acoustic guitar.

Why Turn Your Acoustic Into An Electric?

Turning your acoustic guitar into an electric one can be driven by various reasons and benefits. For musicians who primarily own an acoustic guitar, this transformation allows for greater versatility in sound and style, enabling them to delve into genres typically associated with electric guitars like rock, blues, or metal.

It also offers practical benefits, such as the ability to play in louder environments without being drowned out, and to experiment with a wide range of sound effects that are otherwise not achievable with a standard acoustic guitar.


How Much Does It Cost to Make an Acoustic Guitar Electric?

The cost of making an acoustic guitar electric can vary based on the methods and materials used. Installing a basic pickup can start from as low as $50, but more sophisticated systems with preamps or built-in tuners can cost several hundred dollars.

Additionally, if professional installation is required, labor costs will add to the expense. The use of effect pedals and amplifiers, if not already owned, can also contribute to the overall cost.

Can You Add Electronics to an Acoustic Guitar?

Yes, you can add electronics to an acoustic guitar. This usually involves installing a pickup system, which can range from a simple, removable soundhole pickup to a more complex built-in system with preamps and EQ controls.

For a permanent and integrated solution, professional installation is recommended to ensure optimal sound quality and to maintain the integrity of the guitar.

How Do You Make an Acoustic Guitar Sound Electric with No Amp?

To make an acoustic guitar sound electric without an amp, you can use a clip-on pickup and connect it to various effect pedals like distortion, overdrive, or delay.

Additionally, using a computer with guitar interface and digital audio software can simulate an electric guitar sound.

Creative techniques such as altering string types, and playing styles, or using unconventional objects like a piece of paper under the strings can also help achieve an electric-like sound.


Transforming an acoustic guitar to sound like an electric guitar opens up a world of sonic possibilities, allowing guitarists to expand their musical range without the need for multiple instruments.

From installing pickups to using a vibration response preamp, there are various ways to achieve this transformation. This versatility not only enhances creative expression but also makes practical sense for musicians looking for a diverse range of sounds from a single instrument.

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