Can electric guitar amps be used with an acoustic guitar?

Can electric guitar amps be used with acoustic guitars? Short answer, no. That could even be a HELL NO! Read the blog to find out more...

Can electric guitar amps be used with an acoustic guitar?

If you want to get the absolute best sound out of your acoustic guitar, you should use an acoustic guitar amplifier. So you spent the money on a great sounding acoustic with a nice pickup and preamp system why wouldn’t you want it to sound as good as possible?

Technical differences

Fender and Blackstar Amplifier

Electric guitar amps: An electric guitar amplifier is designed to take the guitar’s signal and make it audible by boosting it enough to drive a speaker cone. This actually makes the electric guitar amp part of the instrument. Electric Guitar amps are designed to colour the tone of the guitar. Tone colour is the psychoacoustic term meaning the perceived sound quality of a note or series of notes (AKA timbre). Colouring the tone introduces an equalization to the signal that is pleasing to the ear. Electric guitar amps can distort the signal and this is often a desirable trait of an amp. Electric guitars have pickups that are relatively low impedance and the signal level is significantly lower than their acoustic counterparts.

Acoustic guitar amps: An acoustic amplifier has a wider and more even frequency response and a low distortion noise level prior to the onset of clipping. Acoustic guitar amplifiers often have a powerful amplifier stage to reduce signal to noise ratio and are generally good for a variety of applications such as amplifying keyboards and vocal microphones. They often include some form of feedback suppression as the body of an acoustic guitar can cause a feedback loop between the amp and the guitar. If an acoustic guitar is used with an electric guitar amp, the feedback will be unpleasant to say the least!

Conculsion

An acoustic amp should be used with an acoustic guitar because of the transparency in tone and lack of tone colouration, the low noise/high headroom of the amp and the feedback suppression. There are no rules in music (if it sounds good to you, keep doing it) but if you can, you should use the appropriate amp.


References

(2018). Mitpressjournals.org. Retrieved 15 March 2018, from https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/comj.2009.33.2.85

Acoustic Amp Vs. Electric Guitar Amp??? - The Acoustic Guitar Forum. (2018). Acousticguitarforum.com. Retrieved 15 March 2018, from http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=157519

Garden, H., & Instruments, M. (2018). How Electric Guitars Work. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 15 March 2018, from https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/electric-guitar2.htm

The Electric Guitar. (2018). Google Books. Retrieved 15 March 2018, from https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zUlt7Q71_ssC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=how+and+electric+guitar+amplifier+works&ots=4IDX4TV64m&sig=3iGuJEWXliGG_aGehKXCUCX4xbE#v=onepage&q=how%20and%20electric%20guitar%20amplifier%20works&f=false

What is Guitar Tone? Understanding & Dialing In Your Sound | Ledger Note. (2018). Ledger Note. Retrieved 15 March 2018, from https://ledgernote.com/columns/guitar-guru/guitar-tone/