I recently got back my electric guitar from a friend and a fancy little amp to jam on, but I find I've become quite dependent upon the little percussive effects you get from an acoustic guitar. And I really miss that from the electric (90s Mexican Fender Tele w/ strat neck and mid pups, and hot humbucker in the bridge).

I find I can emphasize the percussiveness to a degree with reverb, little slapback delay, compressor or mild od, hi-pass envelope filter, wah open. But when I drive it up this way, the tones and notes are less clear. I'm having difficulty dialing-in a balance. Maybe splitting the signal and tailoring two amps to different characteristics would approach what I'm after.

But is there a different type of electric guitar that I should look for? I'm dreaming of laying out for a nice regal archtop with a discreet floating humbucker ... of course they're pretty, but is an archtop or other hollowbody likely to give me more tapping on the top without tweaking the signal?

3 Answers 3


Keep in mind that the tapping sound from an acoustic is due to either actually hearing the tap (because you're playing live & unplugged), or because the acoustic is using a piezoelectric pickup, which generates an electrical signal based on physical contact. (I'm conveniently ignoring any microphones, because that falls under a similar umbrella as hearing the natural sound)

Electrics use a different kind of circuit of wrapped wires around a magnetic core, which then acts as basically an electromagnet that produces signal from variations in the EMF field. In this case, tapping the guitar body only indirectly moves the strings, leading to a much weaker signal. You can get a tiny bit more mileage from slapping the bridge, but it's not a clean sound or very distinct.

Based on what you're looking for, I would recommend an actual acoustic-electric. Depending on what you have, and the placement of stage monitors, amps, etc. feedback can be a real issue (or not).

It is possible to get an AE in classical style (not a recommendation, just an illustration): http://www.guitarcenter.com/Cordoba/C5-CE-Classical-Cutaway-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar.gc

  • Good thoughts. Welcome to the site! Nov 23, 2016 at 3:52

Depends somewhat on your reasons for wanting electric. If it's to use other effects, through the amp, then a cheap and cheerful idea is to purchase a piezzo stick-on pup from the internet (or even a couple!) and try placing them in different positions on the original acoustic. It'll be fun experimenting with different placings. A friend did this on an acoustic guitar onto which he's grafted a mandolin neck, and it works well with the mandolin side of the instrument. The guitar already was electrified (if that's the right term).

If it's because you prefer the probably easier-to-play electric (not always so) then it needs to be an electro-acoustic, with an array of pup options, at least one of which will suit your percussive needs. An archtop, or something like a Gibson 335 probably won't do the job, because, although it's electric, the pups are designed and appropriately placed to pick up string vibrations, which obviously you need, but they won't pick up much from the body.

You could even try those piezzos on the solid body - they'll pick up some vibrations - go on, get half a dozen!

  • That is a really neat idea. This tele really shakes, can almost play it acoustic and sing along (almost). Putting piezos on could tap some cool sounds from it. ... and yes loving the effects: little od, slapback, and never turn off the wah. Nov 25, 2016 at 3:18
  • Found a video where this was done to a strat. youtube.com/watch?v=T8N3C6tfdq4 May 30, 2019 at 0:10

Taylor makes an acoustic electric hybrid guitar that may just be perfect for what you want. Check out this link. It can play both electric and acoustic sounds and has design features to keep feedback to a minimum,

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