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Acoustic Electric Guitars Buying Guide

Tags:  guitars | acoustic guitars | guitar strings | guitar picks | amplifiersWrite a guide!

Hybrid acoustic-electric guitars, first developed by Ovation for singer Glen Campbell in the 1960s, combine the rich tones of an acoustic guitar with the amplification of an electric guitar. Whether you want to be the next Campbell, or just want to strum along to your favorite tunes, you'll find the acoustic-electric guitar of your dreams on eBay, the world's largest online music store.

Look at Acoustic-Electric Guitar Electronics

Look at Acoustic-Electric Guitar Electronics

Acoustic-electric guitars pack the features of two types of guitars into one instrument. Like an acoustic guitar, an acoustic-electric guitar's tonal characteristics develop in its top.

  • Laminate-top guitars: Composed of several pieces of wood glued together, acoustic-electric guitars with a laminated top produce a basic tone.

  • Solid-top guitars: Usually built from two matched pieces of solid, high-quality wood glued together side by side; solid-top guitars offer rich sound and sturdy construction.

As with an electric guitar, you'll need to determine which type of electronics you need in an acoustic-electric guitar.

  • Active electronics: Guitars equipped with active electronics usually have a piezo transducer—a pickup that detects vibrations in a guitar’s body or bridge. A piezo transducer prevents signal loss under the saddle and often comes with a battery-powered preamp with three bands of equalization (EQ).

  • Piezo saddle transducers: Piezo saddle transducers are lightweight pickups, often used with a preamp (an amplifier that boosts weak signals so they can be used by other equipment) that’s built into the endpin jack. They allow you to connect to an amp. You will need to adjust tone and volume with your amplifier or preamp.

  • Dual source systems: Dual source systems have a piezo transducer and mike inside the body, providing lots of amplification, which is perfect for people who pluck strings rather than strum.

Guitars have no moving parts, so what you see is what you get. Examine the pictures sellers provide in item listings and verify that the neck and soundboard have no warps, cracks, or breaks. Also ask if anyone has modified the guitar. Unless you’re experienced in guitar maintenance, you'll probably want an unmodified acoustic-electric guitar you can break in yourself.

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Evaluate Acoustic-Electric Guitar Features

Evaluate Acoustic-Electric Guitar Features

When looking at acoustic-electric guitar item listings, weigh good looks with the features you need.

Match your skills

On eBay, you'll find a large selection of guitar brands perfect for beginners, intermediate guitar players, and pros, including Fender, Epiphone, Takamine, Washburn, Ovation, Taylor, and Yamaha. You'll also find popular brands such as Jay Turser, Fender, Takamine, Gibson, and Washburn offering guitars manufactured with more advanced players in mind.

Choose a body

Acoustic-electric guitars with a larger body usually produce a fuller tone. A small-body acoustic-electric guitar usually has a pickup and is intended for amplification through a speaker system. Sellers sometime describe body shapes and sizes in item listings.

  • Archtop guitars: Archtop guitars have a curved top and hollow body that creates a sound perfect for country music and jazz.

  • Flat-top guitars: Flat-top guitars have a similar shape to a classical guitar. If you play rock, folk, or blues, buy a flat-top.

Make tuning easy

Tune your instrument accurately with die-cast machine heads (also called tuning gears) with high-precision gears (14:1 or 15:1 ratio). Sealed and lubricated to prevent dust particles from entering the machine heads, these die-cast tuning gears perform well for the life of your guitar.

Decide on strings

Acoustic-electric guitars use either nylon strings or steel strings. Nylon strings, used on classical guitars, produce a mellow tone perfect for classical, flamenco, and some folk music. Rock, country, blues, and jazz musicians prefer the loud, clear sound of steel-string acoustic-electric guitars.

Most acoustic-electric guitars use six strings, but others use 12 strings. If you're just starting out, you’ll probably want to stick to six strings.

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Remember Must-Have Guitar Accessories

Remember Must-Have Guitar Accessories

Pick up some add-ons that’ll help you protect your new acoustic-electric guitar and get the sound you want.

  • Guitar amplifier: You’ve got the acoustic-electric guitar, now get the guitar amplifier to make sure you can be heard above the din.

  • Guitar carrying case: Properly store your acoustic-electronic guitar in a guitar case. Lightweight softshell cases and gig bags work well for students and people who have to tote their guitar around town a lot. Buy a hardshell case if you plan to throw your guitar in the back of your buddy’s van or perform live. Four common case abbreviations in item listings are:

  1. HSC: Hardshell case

  2. SSC: Softshell case

  3. OHSC: Original hardshell case

  4. OSSC: Original softshell case

  • Guitar strings: New guitar strings sound best and last longer than used strings, so be sure to buy a couple of extra sets. Although various kinds of guitar strings are available, there are three major types: soft, medium, and hard. The main difference among them is tension. If you’re just starting out, go with soft or low-tensioned strings.

  • Guitar picks: Guitarists lose guitar picks all the time. It’s a good idea to keep a lot of them handy, in the studio, at home, and in your carrying case.

  • Electric guitar tuners: Some sellers will tune a guitar for you, but eventually you’ll need to tune it yourself. You can achieve just the right notes with an electronic guitar tuner, which really helps beginners who don’t yet know how to tune by ear.

  • Guitar strap: Unless you plan to stay seated while playing, buy a guitar strap so that you can support the weight of your guitar with your neck, shoulders, and back when you stand.

  • Guitar stand: Don’t throw your guitar in the corner at home or when you set it aside on stage. Buy a guitar stand and display it in style.

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Find Acoustic-Electric Guitars on eBay

Find Acoustic-Electric Guitars on eBay

Once you know what type of acoustic-electric guitar you need, go to the Musical Instruments portal, click the Acoustic Electric link under Guitar, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Search for important keywords by entering the term you want to find into eBay's Search box. For example, if you want an acoustic-electric guitar amplifier, type "acoustic electric amplifier" (without quotation marks). Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

  • If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Acoustic-Electric Guitars With Confidence

Buy Acoustic-Electric Guitars With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that you don't receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection will cover your purchase price plus original shipping. Learn more.

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