Buy an electro classical, or buy acoustic and fit a pickup?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by johnh, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. johnh

    johnh Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Belfast, Northern Ireland
    I'd like to buy a cheap, but good sounding nylon string guitar. There are several cheaper ones available at around the £200 mark with a pickup, but these all sound quite naff. On the other hand, purely acoustic guitars at £250 tend to have solid tops and sound great.

    Would you spend £500 and buy a nice sounding electro, or spend £250 and fit a £100 pickup?
  2. Wolfboy1

    Wolfboy1 Grandpa but...Not Yet Old! Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I'd get the best sounding/playing one I could afford. Chances are you will be playing it a lot without plugging in, get something that feels good and the chords sound good on. If it's electric already fine, if not add a pick-up. I bought a cheap Ibanez electric classical for around $300.00 instead of putting a pick-up in my MUCH more valuable classical. I ended up selling it as it just didn't play very nice and now I mic my good classical if I need to record.
  3. english_bob

    english_bob Member

    Jan 31, 2011
    What sort of venues is the guitar going to be played in? Is it for sit-down classical recitals or some other style of music? If it's going to be used for solo classical stuff with minimal ambient noise, or for recording, I'd say that you'd be much better off with the best sounding pure acoustic guitar you can afford with a good mic in front of it. There's nothing you can fit to a guitar that sounds as good as a quality mic in front of it.

    If it's for something else- jazz, latin etc, it'll be more practical to have the pickup onboard. Soundboard transducers can sound more natural and are easier to fit but are more prone to feedback in a loud setting, piezo undersaddle pickups are your other option.

    I'd tend to agree with Wolfboy- try as many as you can and buy the one that grabs you. I don't know much about nylon strung guitars, but if they're anything like steel string instruments you're going to need to spend most of your £500 to get an all-solid one, which won't leave you with much coin for your electrics. Below that, you'll get solid tops and/or backs depending on what you spend which should equate to a better sound than laminates, but other factors affect that too, so don't overlook the cheapies just because they're cheap.

    Getting a soundboard transducer fitted later on needn't be particularly expensive or difficult (onboard mics and undersaddle pickups will be more complicated to fit), but I'd balance your spend against the relative amounts of time you'll spend playing acoustic and electric- if you're going to be plugged in most of the time, an expensive pickup system makes more sense than if you're only going to use it occasionally.

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