Instruments | Electro-Acoustic & Semi-Acoustic Guitars | Electric & Electronic

Broadly speaking, guitars can be divided into two categories – acoustic and electric. The term ‘electric guitar’ tends to be reserved for solid-body instruments. Acoustic guitars use the resonating properties of a hollow body and sound holes to produce and project their sound.

Electro-Acoustic Guitars

The development of amplified music, played in increasingly larger venues, presented a challenge to the acoustic-guitar player. Though it is possible to amplify an acoustic guitar simply by playing in front of a microphone, the system can be prone to feedback and limits the player to a static position, a fixed distance from the microphone.

Guitar manufacturers produced solutions in the form of instruments that had either built-in microphones, electromagnetic or piezo-electric pickups. Such instruments can be plugged directly into amplification systems or sent via processors that can enhance the sound with effects such as delay, chorus or reverb. Modern instruments, such as Ovation’s range of distinctive round-back guitars, can include sophisticated electronics, tone controls and even built-in tuners.

Semi-Acoustic Guitars

While electro-acoustic guitars tend to be used primarily for their natural, acoustic properties (even if amplified), semi-acoustic guitars are instruments that, even though they do have hollow, resonating bodies, are used primarily for the electric tonal qualities of the sound produced by internal pick-ups. Semi-acoustic guitars, such as the classic Gibson ES-335 of 1958 and the ES-175, have a long association with rock’n’roll and jazz.

Introduction | Electric & Electronic Instruments
Instruments | Electric Guitar | Electric & Electronic

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins


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