Acoustic electric guitars bring together the best of two worlds. The wonderful resonance and portability of acoustic guitars benefit from the amplification, effects and recording gear available for electric instruments. No need for clunky mic set-ups for your acoustic guitar – just plug and play your tunes with this hybrid instrument, created for versatility yet never compromising quality. Are you a serious player looking for the ultimate all-in-one solution to elevate your playing to the next level? Let’s get you started with these comprehensive reviews of the Top 10 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars of 2017.
Choosing the right acoustic electric guitar is intimidating. There is no one-size-fits-all guitar, so looks, budget, construction and accessories are all important when finding your ideal music-making companion. To make it easier for you to make an informed decision, the reviews below include the features, highlights and weaknesses of each great model.
10. Ovation AB24-4-KIT-1 Applause Balladeer
Ovation has been making great guitars for decades, and this one is no exception. Featuring a mid-depth bowl body with scalloped “X” bracing topped by a natural spruce wood top with glossy finish, this instrument looks as good as it sounds. The OP-4BT preamp with internal pickup includes EQ and a tuner for quick adjustments. The 10” fretboard features 20 frets on a rosewood fingerboard with pearloid dots, which lets you play smoothly and dynamically. Its uniquely-shaped headstock, shiny chrome hardware, and a chevron rosette pattern around the soundhole add further beauty to quality.
- Excellent “bang for the buck”
- Sweet tone thanks to quality electronics
- Includes strings, strap, cable and picks
- Smaller body means quieter sound
- Loud feedback on some amps
- Above-average price
9. Glen Burton GA204BCO-BK
A guitar that is both easy to play and a pleasure to look at, this Glen Burton creation combines the full-bodied resonance of basswood with a sexy flamed maple top. The Catalpa wood neck features a fast rosewood neck with dot markers. Active preamp with included battery offers a 4-band EQ for further sound customization. This model comes in a generous bundle that includes a 10-watt amp, gig bag, clip-on tuner, strap and strings. This killer combo is sure to seduce the most demanding players up to intermediate levels.
- Beautiful flamed top finish
- 10 W amp, gig bag and more perks included
- Quality electronics and sealed tuners
- High preamp battery consumption
- String action is a bit high
8. INDIANA Madison MAD-QTGR
The striking quilted green finish of this Indiana Madison is meant to catch your attention, but it is its sound and playability that will keep you hooked. A large-sized resonator body made entirely of linden wood provides attitude and volume. Its rosewood fingerboard with rhomboid inlays is easy on your fingers. Volume, 3-way EQ with additional Presence control, and active electronics seal the deal for guitarists on the lookout for a curvaceous, affordable and versatile tool.
- Unique sunburst guitar finish
- Bright and pleasant tone
- Solid electronic construction
- The green flamed top is darker than advertised
- Needs to be tuned often
7. Yamaha APXT2
Beyond its family name, the APXT2 acoustic electric guitar has a lot to flaunt on its own. Made in a smaller ¾ size, this is a great option for the young musician or the traveling busker. A fancy looking spruce top is supported by the distinctive sound of a meranti wood body, all with elegant cream edges and details. The sleek face of the volume and tone controls features a bright LCD for the built-in chromatic tuner; behind this, the ART pickup and System68 electronics work flawlessly at quality transduction while keeping vibrations out of the signal. A mahogany neck supports a rosewood fingerboard with minimalist markers that lets you play accurately, at any speed and with zero buzz.
- Great-sounding System68 signature electronics
- Time-honored reputation and warranty
- Included gig bag
- Lower volume during acoustic playing
- Only has one tone knob
6. R.W. Jameson Left-Handed Guitar
Left-handed brethren, rejoice! For this guitar is proof that there are quality, affordable guitars out there for you. This R.W. Jameson model features a slim Thinline spruce body with glossy black finish, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. Its passive pickups do not need batteries yet provide a fuller tone than most guitars in its price range, while still featuring a complete volume and tone control plate. All around, a great guitar that will accompany many wonderful moments.
- Great option for lefties at an unbeatable price
- Lightweight 3” body is easy on your shoulders
- Has the rich tone of a full-sized guitar
- Includes gig bag and other goodies
- Single strap button
- A bit hard to play up the fretboard
5. Epiphone EJ-200SCE
If you are willing to pay more for quality, quench your thirst for tone with this Epiphone masterpiece. Spruce top, maple back, and flawless workmanship come together to create heavenly tone. Ride these soundwaves on your amp through the stereo Nanoflex and NanoMag pickups and an eSonic2 active preamp with pickup switch, spot-on EQ and even phase control. On top of all this, a dazzling pickguard and Grover tuners make this guitar one of the most solid choices on this list.
- Powerful electronic controls
- Distinctive ornamentation
- Lots of features for advanced players
- Initial action set-up required
4. Epiphone DOVE PRO
With a pickguard and neck joint shape inspired on its namesake bird, this Epiphone creation is a superb instrument worthy of intermediate and advanced players. Its maple body with spruce top flows into a SlimTaper D-profile 25.5” neck with 20 medium frets. A Fishman Sonitone preamp powers a Sonicore pickup’s signal for impressive sonic definition. Grover tuners and parallelogram fretboard inlays, among other details, add to the luxurious experience of playing the DOVE PRO.
- Stunning looks and finish
- Clear, warm sound
- Not cheap
- Volume is low for a large bodied guitar
3. Epiphone PR-4E
Part of a great combo deal for seasoned players, this guitar is a truly well-rounded instrument that fits most musical styles. It has a mahogany body with spruce top in a Florentine shape, powered by a eSonic preamp, piezo pickup and Grover tuners for outstanding performance. Rosewood fingerboard and elegant design complete the picture, a total catch if you are looking to fall in love with an acoustic guitar upgrade.
- Warm, versatile tone
- Easy-to-play cutaway body
- 15-Watt vintage amp included
- Low-strength passive electronics
2. Fender CD-60CE
If you do not want to compromise looks for quality, this is a great guitar for you. Fender hits it out of the ballpark again with dreadnought model, featuring a dark mahogany neck and scalloped X-bracing body with a black pickguard. The choice of a Fishman Isys III system includes a powerful preamp, tuner and controls for the most demanding guitarist. Great playability and low action along its 20 frets make it a no-brainer for evolving players.
- Gorgeous pearled rosette and inlays
- Mellow, superb tone
- Outstanding construction
- Hard case included
- Body shape not for everyone
- Not cheap
1. R.W. Jameson Acoustic Electric Guitar
Closing this list we have another R.W. Jameson guitar with an unbelievable cost-to-benefit ratio. Unforgettable blue finish on this 41″ guitar is sure to draw all eyes to your performance. With a 25.5″ scale, ending at a 1.685″ nut width on the rosewood fingerboard, it features an all-in design for playability and precision. The unique tonal properties of nato wood and spruce top combination give it a distinctive sound that is sure to match your style.
- Everyone loves blue sunburst
- Lightweight 3” body is easy on your shoulders
- Includes gig bag and goodies
- Limited electronic controls
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, you cannot go wrong with these great acoustic electric guitars. Keep in mind the style of music you intend to play and the comfort features you cannot live without, to make it easier for you to connect with your new axe. And as always, keep practicing!