I'd like to get electric and acoustic sounds from one guitar.
The Fender Acoustasonic is too expensive...$2k.
Does one get better results turning an acoustic into an electric or vice versa?
Do the options change if it's a 12 string?
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Second question first: your options shrink when you go 12-string. They always shrink options. They can be cool, but they are specialized gear.
I asked my rep at Sweetwater about adding a piezo bridge to a Fender Player Tele, and the quote put an $800 guitar to a $2000 guitar, with the custom wiring, the routing, etc. If I did it myself, the labor costs go away and it gets cheaper, but then it becomes my wiring, my routing, and I'm not a pro at those skills.
There is the Fender Power Telecaster, which has a Fishman piezo "Power Bridge". Fender made them in the late 90s and early 2000s. You can find 'em on Reverb for $700 or so. How good are they? Fender doesn't make them, and you can buy them on Reverb for $700.
Looking new, I'm seeing piezo bridges on Danelectros for cheap and on Schecters for half the cost of Acoustasonics. These prices will change because that's what prices do.
The question is, what do you expect to do with this? An acoustic guitar in a rock band has a very specific role: give the singer something to do with his hands if he's not going to dance. Beyond that, it's kinda tuned percussion. The Acoustasonic strategy seems to be to allow the singer/rhythm guitar to add a bit of grinding electric guitar to the one song in the set where you need it. It is not to allow you to switch easily from being Jimmy Page to being Doc Watson.
If that later idea is closer to the idea you want, using the same signal chain for your magnetic and piezo pickups will not give you satisfactory results, for at least two reasons:
If you're going the Acoustasonic route, you're likely going into some reverb or something, then into a DI box, and having the guitar pretend to be electric can stay there. But if you're electric-first, then you have a Y-cable, separate effects, and another amp or DI. This is going to be an expensive decision.
Right now, if you're thinking "I want these sounds and only want to bring one guitar to the gig", the Acoustasonic is the easy solution, and if you fit in that niche, it's good.
Going the other way, you can get magnetic soundhole pickups for acoustics. I had one. It was okay, but it did not sound like a solid-body guitar. Acoustic guitars work by getting the strings to impart vibration to the top, and heavy strings do this. Magnetic pickups don't behave the same way, so things liked Slinkys were invented.
Acoustic guitars and electric guitars are separate instruments with separate roles that just kinda play similarly. I'm personally interested in what you can do with piezo pickups, which is why I can go on like this with minimal research. But "electric and acoustic sounds from one guitar” is a big ask, because that covers a wide range of sounds and styles, and no solution has ever drawn a huge audience.
I've made my acoustic steel string sound like a solid-body electric for years by using a soundhole electric pickup and carefully-tuned effects, especially EQ, sustain, overdrive and cabinet simulator. I like the Markley Pro-Mag magnetic pickups a lot for this. I run the pickup through a multi-effects pedalboard which works as well as individual pedals. The problem you will see with brass-wound strings is a drop off in volume but you can overcome this with nickel-wound strings. One problem you will see is that the acoustic guitar will get more feedback under high sound levels on stage. Some people view this as a feature (cf. Jimi Hendrix) but if it's a problem then you may have to go with a different magnetic pickup and a soundhole cover.
As for folks that claim that an acoustic guitar with a magnetic pickup will sound like a hollow-body guitar, all I can say is that first, audience members can't seem to tell the difference and second there's been quite a few hard rock careers built on hollow-bodies.
I also have a K&K piezo pickup installed on the guitar but I have to completely mute the piezo if I'm playing with much overdrive or it will squeal like crazy. My preference is to mic the acoustic and mute the mic when I'm playing heavy. But personally I hate the sound of transducers, I really hate that crispy crunch.
But the Pro-Mag and K&K combo shouldn't run you more than a couple of hundred bucks.
As for 12-strings, I've had a 12-string and I decided that using good chorus and poly-octave pedals meant I didn't have to haul that big old piece of furniture to gigs.
Thanks for the all the awesome response's. Mine is one of a newbie, and I'm not a music professional at all
You know because of bills and food being so important for my survival
GUITAR - Ovation Acoustic-Electric built-in tuner and gain, bass, & treble
AUDIO INTERFACE - Presonus Audiobox 2x2 in/out powered USB/AC Adapter
OPTIONAL POWER/DAW - Old faithful II Windows 8 now a Windows 10 I7 Laptop
OUTPUT/SPEAKERS -Baby Fender & Marshall amps W/ overdrive and standard knobs
Input: - Guitar 🎸 by cable to Audiobox - out to
I say all that to say this; I will eventually have dedicated guitars for each instance but it is nice to have a one and done option.
I was able to produce heavy distortion by increasing the bass and treble(mostly bass) on guitar and amps. Hitting the overdrive option on the amp. Surprisingly great quality. I like to play along to music and was able to output it all together also the option to separate guitar to the amps only. I'm planning to incorporate it all in a DAW. Hope that helps