Today's guitar player does not want for options. Be they on the pedalboard or via the modeling tech on your guitar amp, there's seemingly no end to the ways in which we can transform our tone in an instant.
But what if we want an acoustic voicing from our electric guitar? Well, again, there are options, and they don't all conform to one design. Here we've put together seven guitars that are ostensibly electric but via inventive builds each is packing an unplugged option right alongside its magnetic electric voice.
No two are alike, and there are range of technologies deployed for the secondary acoustic voices. But can we even call them secondary voicings? Not when it comes to Fender's Acoustasonic designs, which retools the Telecaster and Strat archetypes with a future-forward acoustic build that blurs the lines between the electric and acoustic guitar.
Now, if this represents too-much future, the following guitars show that there's no one size fits all when it comes to chasing tones that bridge the electric-acoustic divide.
1. PRS Hollowbody II
With the exception of the rarely seen Hollowbody I 12-string, the long-running Hollowbody II and the non-piezo McCarty 594 Hollowbody II are the only remaining USA-made guitars from the numerous models we’ve seen since the late 90s.
It’s made from all solid woods (not laminates) and includes Phase III locking tuners, TCI-tuned 58/15 LT humbuckers and, of course, its piezo system on which the SE version is based.
2. Taylor T5Z Classic
Effectively a downsized version of the original T5, the T5z is more solidbody-sized but still a thinline acoustic here with braced mahogany top, a 305mm (12-inch) ’board radius, and jumbo frets.
There’s only one visible pickup, the thin bridge humbucker, but there’s also an acoustic body sensor and a concealed neck humbucker. The five-way switch offers combinations of this trio plus we have top-mounted master volume, and treble and bass EQ.
3. Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty
One of the most advanced guitars money can buy, this John Petrucci signature has a piezo-loaded bridge for acoustic-like textures.
The neck-through-body design has alder body wings and a sumptuous figured maple top, with new digital pickup switching capabilities to “eliminate the delay between pickup selection”, says Music Man.
There’s a 20dB boost onboard, Dimarzio Dreamcatcher and Rainmaker magnetic humbuckers, and a seven-string option.
4. Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster
Of all the electric-acoustic hybrid options here, Fender’s Acoustasonic is the most radical. It cuts a familiar sillhouette, but its Stratocaster body is semi-hollow, the guitar is string with acoustic strings with a “donut” soundhole projecting an acoustic voice that might lack volume but not detail or musicality.
Build-wise, the spec reads as a typical acoustic, with solid Sitka spruce on top, mahogany on the back and sides. It is strung with acoustic strings, so the 3rd is wound, and yet the feel is electric. It’s uncanny.
The Acoustasonic’s single N4 magnetic pickup is complemented with a Fishman under-saddle transducer and bridge plate body sensor, and a five-way voice selector lets you cycle through a range classic acoustic tones while the position 1 is fully electric. The Mod control offers two sounds for each voice, making the Acoustasonic format one of the most versatile options for acoustic-electric, or electric-acoustic tones.
5. Godin Summit Classic Havana Brown A/E
With more two-voice (magnetic, piezo) and three-voice electrics (magnetic, piezo, synth access) than any other brand, Godin has long seen the benefits of piezo-loaded hybrids.
This model is a traditional single-cut design with a chambered mahogany body and swamp ash top, LR Baggs T-Bridge (and Control-X preamp) for its ‘acoustic’ voice, and Seymour Duncan Custom Custom at the bridge and Jazz at neck for its magnetic electric sounds.
6. Relish Jane
Another company pushing the frontiers of design, Relish has quite the futuristic vision.
Jane’s piezo acoustic sound is just one feature: there’s also the aluminium frame body construction with flip-off back ‘lid’, instant pickup swapping, bolt-on maple neck with a 254mm (10-inch) woven bamboo ’board, and 17-way touch sensitive blend control switching system. The lowest-cost Swiss-made Relish is also piezo loaded: the Mary One at €4,827.
7. Duesenberg Starplayer TV+
Not all piezo-loaded electrics come with a futuristic stance. Duesenberg’s deliciously retro range includes this piezo-loaded single-cut semi that blends all-laminate, centre-block construction (spruce top, maple back and sides) with a Duesenberg DP90 Domino single coil at the neck and a Grand Vintage humbucker at the bridge. It’s iced with a Duesenberg Diamond Deluxe vibrato, and the price includes a hard case.