The Importance of the Acoustic Properties in an Electric Guitar

How important are the acoustic properties of an electric guitar

  • Very important - they drive all the compensating choices down the chain

    Votes: 87 54.0%
  • Can have impact - tough to say, I guess dead spots and Wolfe notes kinda suck

    Votes: 52 32.3%
  • Zip - in the end it's just a bunch of electrons being excited by the strings and pickup interaction

    Votes: 22 13.7%

  • Total voters
    161

Bertiman

Member
Messages
2,038
Happy Monday folks!!!

Quick poll to see what the consensus here is as to the value of testing the acoustic properties of an electric guitar. Does the acoustics of the electric guitar really tell you anything about how the electric guitar will perform once a signal chain and speaker producing the sound?

For many years, I had one opinion on that, but a few years ago, my opinion flipped.
 

Mtt02263

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
422
Years ago, I would have said that it probably doesn't matter. However, all of the best guitars I've ever owned have been very alive acoustically with a ton of resonance and liveliness. I just played probably 10 Historic Les Paul's and the most lively one acoustically was the clear standout, so I'm guessing there is something to it.
 

Bertiman

Member
Messages
2,038
Definitely not meant to be a troll thread.

I had said that my position had flipped a few years ago. When hunting for Strats, I connected two things that seem to track true across my observations.

1) Guitars that acoustically have dull/muted/less defined bass responses will perform the same way when plugged into a rig.

2) Guitars that acoustically have a sharp/brashy top end will tend to exhibit that quality when plugged in.

Prior to those observations, I never gave care to an electric guitars acoustic properties. Now, I do...
 
Messages
1,258
Definitely not meant to be a troll thread.

I had said that my position had flipped a few years ago. When hunting for Strats, I connected two things that seem to track true across my observations.

1) Guitars that acoustically have dull/muted/less defined bass responses will perform the same way when plugged into a rig.

2) Guitars that acoustically have a sharp/brashy top end will tend to exhibit that quality when plugged in.

Prior to those observations, I never gave care to an electric guitars acoustic properties. Now, I do...
Well stated. Would be interested to see what other luthier's who build electrics think.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,700
I believe most of it is somewhat imaginary but also 'possible' depending on the context. For me things like weight relief and chambering I mainly prefer the weight savings. Sonically speaking though from my experience most differences if any could be a matter of adjusting the amp EQ setting. That to me has done way more than some holes in the guitar.
 

kunos

Member
Messages
373
impossible to vote for me.. missing the obvious option "it's important, it's a system".
It's not "very" important and it's not "meh it can be a factor if it ****s it up".
 

noisebloom

Member
Messages
1,022
I'm still in the 'it's very important' camp, although I have to admit I've had guitars that:

--sounded dead acoustically, but plugged in was a monster
--sounded dead acoustically, and was dead when plugged in
--sounded acoustically average, and could be either way plugged in

but I haven't yet encountered a guitar that was dynamic acoustically but didn't sound alive when plugged in. I'd be curious to find out if anyone had that experience.
 

muzishun

Member
Messages
6,363
When the guitar itself resonates/ vibrates I “feel” the music coming off my hands and back into my body. For me it kind of completes the circle.
Inspiring if nothing else.
Good answer, inspiring.... I will accept that.


I think it can possibly tip a guy off if it's rattling, etc. But past that caveat, no, no preconceptions can be intelligently formed.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,414
Electric guitar pickups don't care about anything but that which disturbs the magnetic field and creates millivolts of inductance. What your guitar sounds like unplugged makes no difference to the amp and pickups, regardless of how pleasant your ears may find that sound. Your ears hear sound waves, pickups sense vibration that passes through the magnetic field.
 

Porschefender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
313
I'm still in the 'it's very important' camp, although I have to admit I've had guitars that:

--sounded dead acoustically, but plugged in was a monster
--sounded dead acoustically, and was dead when plugged in
--sounded acoustically average, and could be either way plugged in

but I haven't yet encountered a guitar that was dynamic acoustically but didn't sound alive when plugged in. I'd be curious to find out if anyone had that experience.
Even with mediocre electronics a vibrant guitar works for me.

It drives me nuts when a note just dies in the guitar and I have to have the pickups bail it out.
 

Urobouros

Double Platinum Member
Messages
951
I rounded up to very but it's possible to have a resonant guitar plugged in & sound great. For me, my solid bodies all resonate unplugged but I've never avoided a guitar simply because of it's acoustic properties. If it sounds dead in the amp, it prolly sounds dead unplugged but I wouldn't want it if it sounded dead at any point :D
 

rawkguitarist

Member
Messages
10,999
Electric guitar pickups don't care about anything but that which disturbs the magnetic field and creates millivolts of inductance. What your guitar sounds like unplugged makes no difference to the amp and pickups, regardless of how pleasant your ears may find that sound. Your ears hear sound waves, pickups sense vibration that passes through the magnetic field.
Sorry... this stance is often repeated and focuses on one physical/electrical aspect and *ignores* the multiple other physical variables with an electric guitar. If it was only strings disturbing a magnetic field guitars would practically sound the same. And no its not the pickups accounting for these very real sonic differences. How much it matters and is heard by the individual player is another topic.

Case in point. I have a PRS McCarty Rosewood with Lollar Low Wind Imperials. I have a Koll full hollow archtop with the same pickups. They sound so drastically different *through an amp* its ridiculous. There is absolutely no way there is that much variability between two pickups from the same winder. He'd be out of business. I often play rock music so my archtop mainly gets played as an acoustic guitar or for only jazz and lower gain stuff because I don't really like its sound for most of my music.
 

Tootone

Member
Messages
5,722
Its 2020 and we're still having this conversation.

The natural (acoustic) resonance of any instrument (not just guitars) is paramount.

This is well established.

The second category should be "As long is it makes a sound, I can work with it"

The third category should be "I will keep telling myself this because it hurts to accept the truth that my guitar sounds like s**t.".

EDIT: There should be 4th Category "Its not a problem, I will just buy new pickups/bridge/neck/locking tuners/nut/capacitors/pots/picks/strings/bridge/springs/trem-block/50's wiring-harness/treble-bleed/pickguard/switch-tips/SS frets. And if that doesn't work I can sell it for 6 times what I paid for it"

:rotflmao
 
Last edited:

Rockfish66

Member
Messages
23
Electric guitar pickups don't care about anything but that which disturbs the magnetic field and creates millivolts of inductance. What your guitar sounds like unplugged makes no difference to the amp and pickups, regardless of how pleasant your ears may find that sound. Your ears hear sound waves, pickups sense vibration that passes through the magnetic field.
If this were the case then putting the pickup from my strat on my acoustic would make it sound exactly like a strat.
 




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