The Top 15 Electro-Acoustics Guitars – Worthy Candidates

The-Best-Acoustic-Electric-Guitars-600x268

Last Updated: May-10-2017
Although electro-acoustic guitars feature in various categories across GuitarFella, this page is where we highlight the best electro-acoustics on the market – which is why our chart deserved an updated. Weve removed a couple of older models such as the Dean Exotica Cocobolo and Oscar Schmidt OC11CE to make way for Epiphone’s Limited Edition 1964 Caballero, the stunning PRS SE Angelus A10E, the exotic Mitchell MX400, and the superb-value Ibanez V70CE.

Then the piezo pickup was invented, and soundmen across the globe breathed a sigh of relief. There are plenty of good acoustic guitars to choose from, but if you plan to take the stage you will need an acoustic electric. The price bump is nominal from a standard to an electro-Acoustics so it only makes sense to buy the electrified version of your favorite guitar.

Top 15 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars:

ImageAcoustic Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Martin Road Series DRS1 Martin Road Series DRS1

Total of 4.92/5   4.92 Stars

Packing a top-notch mixture of quality tonewood and electronics.

+ - Takamine GN93CE-NAT Takamine GN93CE-NAT

Total of 4.88/5   4.88 Stars

A great sounding acoustic with amazing electronics in a nice package.

+ - Epiphone Limited Edition 1964 Caballero Epiphone Limited Edition 1964 Caballero

Total of 4.82/5   4.82 Stars

Affordable vintage class from Epiphone with some modern upgrades.

+ - Yamaha FGX720SC Yamaha FGX720SC

Total of 4.88/5   4.88 Stars

A great sounding instrument whether it is plugged or unplugged.

+ - PRS SE Angelus A10E PRS SE Angelus A10E

Total of 4.75/5   4.75 Stars

A delicious all-mahogany electro-acoustic from PRS.

+ - Taylor 114E Grand Auditorium Taylor 114E Grand Auditorium

Total of 4.85/5   4.85 Stars

The ultimate country guitar that both the new and experienced will love.

+ - Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Guitar Player Package Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Guitar Player Package

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

Package that includes a guitar, an amp, and everything else you need.

+ - Fender FA135CE Fender FA135CE

Total of 4.65/5   4.65 Stars

An affordable gem that is a slick and modern choice.

+ - Fender CD-140SCE Fender CD-140SCE

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

Unplugged sound that is good with plenty of sparkle with good electronics.

+ - Epiphone Hummingbird Pro Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Total of 4.83/5   4.83 Stars

A charming choice with loads of character and excellent sound.

+ - Fender T-Bucket 300CE Fender T-Bucket 300CE

Total of 4.45/5   4.45 Stars

A beautiful looking guitar that stands out from its peers.

+ - Mitchell MX400 Mitchell MX400

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

A touch of the exotic with this good-value Mitchell electro-acoustic.

+ - Epiphone EJ-200CE Epiphone EJ-200CE

Total of 4.55/5   4.55 Stars

Jumbo body with two pickups for plenty of tonal variation.

+ - Yamaha FGX700SC Yamaha FGX700SC

Total of 4.55/5   4.55 Stars

What it lacks in tonal sound it makes up in electronic sculpting.

+ - Ibanez V70CE Ibanez V70CE

Total of 4.67/5   4.67 Stars

Superb value on offer with this stylish Ibanez electro-acoustic.

Martin Road Series DRS1

Martin Road Series DRS1

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:5 Stars

The DRS1 is an all solid wood acoustic electric from the fine people at Martin. The top, back, and sides, are all sapele, which is a highly sustainable tonewood that is similar in appearance and sound to mahogany. The Fishman Sonitone system is used for the electronics, which features controls hidden in the soundhole of the guitar. This means no hole needs to be cut into the side of the instrument for the preamp controls. Keeping with the forest friendly theme the fingerboard and bridge are both made from certified richlite. The Martin DRS1 is available in a left-hand model, and also comes with a ply hardshell case. This is a genuinely beautiful guitar with a great voice.

Takamine GN93CE-NAT

Takamine GN93CE-NAT

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

The GN93CE-NAT by Takamine features their NEX body, which is a scaled down jumbo. It sports beautiful features like abalone dot inlays, a rosewood headcap, gold die-cast tuners, and a gloss finish to show off the wood grain. It has a solid spruce top with laminate rosewood back and sides. The real star of this acoustic electric is Takamine’s own TK-400 preamp that includes a built-in tuner. There are lots of controls to shape and contour your amplified sound with a three band EQ, grain knob, mid contour switch, notch filter, and EQ bypass. This is a great sounding guitar whether you plug it in or not.

Epiphone Limited Edition 1964 Caballero

Epiphone Limited Edition 1964 Caballero

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Epiphone’s classic 1964 Caballero has been revived for today’s player; holding on to timeless design, with some modern upgrades. With a compact non-cutaway body, the Caballero – both the body and neck – is made entirely from laminated mahogany. The neck features a smooth 60s-style SlimTaper profile, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 medium frets. One of the more modern additions – and the reason it features in this chart – is that it’s fitted with Shadow electronics: an ePerformer preamp and NanoFlex bridge pickup, with a host of controls to tweak your sound. Throw in some excellent tuners and retro appointments, and Epiphone’s Limited Edition 1964 Caballero (reviewed in full here) is a very affordable model that’s well worth adding to your shortlist.

Yamaha FGX720SC

Yamaha FGX720SC

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:5 Stars

The FGX720SC is Yamaha’s acoustic electric in this range. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with nato back and sides. The thin finish is hand-sprayed, which allows the guitar resonate and not be dampened by a heavy finish. The neck is also nato. Rosewood is used for both the fingerboard and bridge. The body features a cutaway so that the higher frets are open to play. Yamaha’s own System 55 1-way is used to make this acoustic electric. The preamp has a built in tuner and also includes an adjustable midrange frequency control. This is great sounding guitar whether you are plugged in to play to the house, or just sitting on the couch strumming at your house.

PRS SE Angelus A10E

PRS SE Angelus A10E

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

With such a pedigree in electric guitars, it stands to reason that Paul Reed Smith Guitars (PRS) would make a pretty awesome electro-acoustic, which is exactly what the affordable SE Angelus A10E is. It features a dark all-mahogany Angelus body with a single cutaway, comprised of a solid X-braced top and laminated back and sides. The fast-playing neck is also mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets. The sound is naturally very warm, but remains quite even and is therefore a versatile performer – especially when plugged in via the undersaddle pickup. As we mention in our complete review of the Angelus A10E, it comes with some quality hardware including chrome tuners, a rosewood bridge, and a bone nut.

Taylor 114E Grand Auditorium

Taylor 114E Grand Auditorium

Body And Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars

The 114E by Taylor is made with the company’s own grand auditorium body shape. The top is Sitka spruce with sapele back and sides. The neck is also sapele with an ebony fingerboard. The Tylor 114E has a very clean and traditional look with a versatile sound. The electronics it uses is the ES2 pickup system that includes a volume and tone knobs on the upper bout of the guitar. There is a gig bag included with the guitar making it very portable. This is a great instrument for a beginner or as a backup for the more experienced player. This is a very sturdy instrument that can survive life on the road.

Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Guitar Player Package

Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Guitar Player Package

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:5 Stars

If you want to get everything you need to get started as a beginner guitarist this is the package for you. Included with the Epiphone PR-4E is a gig bag, pitch pipe, strap, picks, and a 15-watt amp that has a 3-band EQ and built in chorus. The guitar itself has a spruce top with mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The electronics feature cut and boost for the EQ with volume control and a phase switch. The body has a soft Venetian cutaway that allows easier access to all the frets. This is a great instrument to get started on and has all the extras to start gigging with.

Fender FA135CE

Fender FA135CE

Body And Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

As one of the somewhat hidden gems of today’s market, the Fender FA135CE model comes from the legendary Fender. It has an all laminate body with a spruce top and basswood back and sides. The neck is nato with a rosewood fingerboard. It comes in both a natural finish as well as a 3-color sunburst. The body is a concert shape with a cutaway for a very modern and slick look. The Fishman electronics are the ION-T preamp with a built in tuner. It has volume control, phase switch, and contour button. The sound does not have the depth of an expensive guitar, but it also doesn’t have a big price tag either.

Fender CD-140SCE

Fender CD-140SCE

Body And Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

The Fender CD-140SCE has a solid Sitka spruce top with laminate mahogany back and sides. The neck is nato with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also rosewood with a compensated saddle. The Fender/Fishman Classic 4T active onboard preamplifier also includes a built-in tuner. A tortoise pickguard protects the top from rough strumming attacks. The body is a dreadnaught style with a cutaway which allows easier access to the higher strings. It has a built in tuner and 3-band EQ. The unplugged sound is good with plenty of sparkle. This is a fine instrument for playing live. Give the CD-140SCE a test drive and find out why we like it so much.

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

One look at the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is all you need to fall in love with this classic looking country rock guitar. It has more charm than most guitars in this price range with its parallelogram pearloid fret markers, traditional hummingbird artwork on the pickguard, and the faded cherry burst finish. This old bird has been brought into the 21st Century with the Shadow ePerformer Preamp and Shadow Nanoflex pickup. The controls include bass, treble, master volume, phase switch, mute, and dynamics control adjust via a frequency curve. The solid spruce top and mahogany body work together to give the Hummingbird a warm voice with clarity across the treble, mids, and bass.

Fender T-Bucket 300CE

Fender T-Bucket 300CE

Body And Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars

RaRating this one below the FGX was one of the hardest things for us to do. The Fender T-Bucket is a great contender even for the number one spot. Fender got really good at producing affordable high quality electric guitars thanks to the Squire brand, and with the T-Bucket 300CE they are trying to achieve the same thing in the acoustic electric world. This is an instrument that features superb electronics and offers great potential, and if it is in the hands of a professional it sounds better than any other guitar on this list. The downside is the sound that body produces when you play unplugged is a bit weak, but that’s why you plug it in.

Mitchell MX400

Mitchell MX400

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

While Mitchell don’t have the same historic standing as some other brands on this list, their excellent exotic wood MX400 is a worthy addition to our chart. With a body comprised of either quilted ash burl, bubinga, or ovangkol, the MX400 sports a bold, eye-catching look. There’s a Grand Auditorium shape with a single cutaway and shifted, scalloped X-bracing, as well as a mahogany neck, an Indian rosewood fretboard and 20 frets. There’s big projection and plenty of tone on offer, amplified well by the CE304T preamp, with a host of controls to help tailor your sound, including 3-band EQ and an on-board tuner. Make sure to check out our full review of the Mitchell MX400 for all the details.

Epiphone EJ-200CE

Epiphone EJ-200CE

Body And Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Epiphone continues to deliver the classic looks with the Epiphone EJ-200CE. This is a jumbo body style with a cutaway that is the “King of the Flattops.” The fretboard has been coronate with pearloid crowns, while the rosewood bridge adds to the flair with a pearloid “mustache.” The pickguard has a flower motif to keep this guitar from getting lost in the crowd. The electronics are from Shadow and feature the eSonic preamp along with the NanoMag and NanoFlex pickups. The controls include a master volume individual EQ knobs for each pickup, phase switch, and built-in tuner mute switch. This is a great sounding instrument with a big booming voice.

Yamaha FGX700SC

Yamaha FGX700SC

Body And Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.1 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

The Yamaha’s FGX700SC is a reasonably price acoustic/electric that will open up the world of amps and sound systems to the acoustic player. The dreadnought sized body with cutaway has a sitka spruce top with nato back and sides. The neck is also made of nato as well with 20 frets and dot inlays on the fretboard. The bridge and fingerboard are made of rosewood. Yamaha’s own System55T 1-Way piezo/preamp provide the electronics with a built in tuner. The sound is bright with the highs being a bit brittle and the undertones of the lows being unclear. The amplified sound is cleaned up with the 3-band EQ.

Ibanez V70CE

Ibanez V70CE

Body And Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

One of the most affordable electro-acoustic guitars on this list, the Ibanez V70CE – that we’ve reviewed in full here – will appeal to beginners and players on a budget. With two color choices, it sports a full-size dreadnought shape with a laminated select spruce top, and mahogany back and sides. It sports a mahogany neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets, as well as an Ibanez-branded headstock with pretty good closed chrome die-cast tuners. The electronics on offer are also solid – the Ibanez-designed AEQ200 preamp with an undersaddle pickup, which comes with simple volume, bass and treble controls. It’s a no-frills guitar, but the looks and sound stand up to some of the others on this list. Great value.

The Difference Between Acoustic and Electro-Acoustics Guitar

The answer here is pretty obvious – electronics. An acoustic without electronics relies solely on the vibration of the body to project the sound. The inclusion of electronics gives the added capability of using an amp or soundboard to project the sound of the guitar.

This also allows builders to create instruments that don’t project as well with smaller and shallower bodies. These acoustics actually sound better when plugged in.

Many electro-acoustics are simply the standard acoustic model with the electronics added on. You still have a perfectly functional acoustic, but with the added benefit of being able to plug in. Another bonus is most good built-in preamps include a tuner. This is a nice feature when you’re sitting around the campfire without a tuning fork in sight.

The downside of going electric is that now you have to think about a soundboard, or at least an amp. And no self-respecting guitarist can live without a few pedals to tweak the sound. I mean you only need a volume pedal to control the level, a tuner might be nice, chorus is always appreciate, a nice delay pedal wouldn’t be bad, and you might need a clean boost for those solos. Then again, you might just want to plug straight into the soundboard and just enjoy that amplified acoustic sound.

Conclusion

Electro-Acoustics are great for the gigging guitarist. They are so much easier to amplify than putting a mic on a standard acoustic. This price range is really good for finding instruments that have plenty of versatility, and nice aesthetics. Finding a good deal in this price range will provide you a great guitar that will be with you for years and many gigs to come.

Please take into consideration that we’ve only reviewed guitars that cost less than five hundred bucks. If you are looking for a higher quality instrument, you can check the Alvarez FD60 that is included in the acoustic guitars under $1000 list.

If you decide that you want to go with a straight acoustic, then make sure to check our article on the best acoustic guitars. Take your time to find the right instrument that meets your needs. Take the time to look through our site to find even more reviews, and more great articles to help you become the best guitarist you can be.


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