Are Acoustic And Electric Guitar Amps The Same?

If you have either an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar, you may already be familiar with the concept of amplifiers. However, if you play both, you may be wondering if you need an amp for each, or if you can use the same amp for both guitars. This is a common question that many beginner guitarists begin to wonder, so let’s try and find out what the answer is!

Acoustic amps and electric guitar amps are indeed two different devices that you cannot use interchangeably. This is because they perform different functions that depend on the instrument you use. The two may be used interchangeably, but you will end up with low quality results. In some cases, however, you can find hybrids that cover both amplifiers. 

To address all of your concerns regarding the amps used for electric guitars and acoustic guitars, we’ll talk in-depth about what the differences are between the two. Additionally, you can keep reading this article to learn how they work, and which one you should choose depending on your situation. 

What Is An Electric Guitar Amp?

An amplifier is exactly what it sounds like – having an amplifier helps you enhance the sound of your electric guitar. They are what make the guitar loud enough to hear, along with a number of other functions. Some amps will help you with cleaner sound, while others can give you a crisper quality. There are also plenty of shapes and sizes out there to try. 

Electric guitar amps are an integral part of what makes playing electric guitar so great. If we’re being honest, electric guitars look cool, but they wouldn’t be nearly as attractive without the power of an electric guitar amp to back them up.

What Is An Acoustic Guitar Amp?

Unlike the electric guitar, an acoustic guitar doesn’t necessarily need to be paired with an amp. In fact, you can play without one and it will sound adequate on its own. However, in professional settings, an acoustic guitar amp can be a worthy investment. It helps to improve the volume of the sound, and gives you access to a lot more control. 

Related: 7 Differences Between a Headphone Amp and a DAC

The Differences Between Acoustic And Electric Guitar Amps

In terms of the general way that amps work and how they are built, you may find that there are a lot of similarities between amps for both guitars. After all, the idea is to take signals from the guitar and enhance them further. However, you will find that there are differences between the two that make it clear what instrument they are intended for. 

Sound Settings And Quality

The amplifiers for an electric guitar work on different signals than those for acoustic guitars. For example, electric guitar amps usually work with electromagnetic signals. On the other hand, an acoustic guitar amp will work with a piezo pickup. As a result, the sound you get from each amp will be markedly different.

This is because electromagnetic signals are proportional to the level at which you play, whereas piezo signals are picked up at an exponential rate instead. This helps to create sound that is more in line with the instrument you are using. 

There is also a clear difference in the intent behind using an amp for each instrument. Amps for an acoustic guitar aim to replicate the true feeling of the sound of that instrument. Therefore, they will enhance the sound as naturally as possible. Electric guitar amps on the other hand will be more likely to change and distort and edit the sound of the guitar. 

Design And Construction

In most cases, the design and construction of these amps is similar. However, the differences come in when you consider how the design lends itself to the instrument you use. For example, amps for the electric guitar can come in many different forms, such as tube amps, solid-state amps, and even hybrid amps.

However, when you look at acoustic guitar amps, you will find that there are two types, solid-state, and power amps. The reasoning behind this is that the other types of amps aim to introduce distortion to the sound. While this is useful for an electric guitar, it will be disastrous for the acoustic guitar. With the acoustic guitar amps, you can improve volume and not have to worry about there being any distortion introduced to your sound. 

Options For Inputs

In terms of the inputs and controls, there are often similar options across both kinds of amps. For example, you will see both amps include options to control the volume and tone. You will also have access to an equalizer on both kinds of amps. However, the major difference between these two is that acoustic guitar amps come with feedback control as well

This option is present in these amps because acoustic guitars are likely to get stuck in a feedback loop, which is unlikely to happen with your electric guitar. Acoustic amps also have XLR inputs to give you a clean and balanced signal at the end of the recording. 

Application And Use

With both an acoustic or electric guitar amp, you can find a versatile range of options depending on how you plan to use it. For example, some people may need amps for public gigs, whereas others may need them for recording sessions at a studio. You are likely to find options for both depending on your skill, availability of resources, and overall budget. 

Related: Do Headphone Amps Improve Sound Quality? 7 Ways

Overall Costs 

An acoustic guitar amp can cost you anywhere between 100-150 dollars if you are a beginner. The same range is available for electric guitar amps. However, even the most advanced acoustic guitar amps will not cost you any more than 2,000-3,000 dollars, whereas electric guitar amps can cost far more than that. 

What Amp Should You Choose?

Clearly, the best choice is to get an amp that is best suited for your instrument of choice. However, if you need to use both on one amp, you can either choose an electric guitar amp, or you can go for a hybrid. This will allow you to get the best of both devices. Remember, it is not at all feasible for you to play an electric guitar through an acoustic amp.


Choosing the right amp can make a huge difference to the way that you play and record music. We hope this article helped clarify what the actual use of these amps are, and how they differ from each other. 

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