Can Acoustic Guitars Be Plugged Into Amps?

Written by: Matt Freeman

You cannot plug an acoustic guitar into any kind of amp because it lacks the electronics. An acoustic/electric guitar, however, is the same as an acoustic guitar but with electronics and a battery component so you can amplify it. If you’re using a simple acoustic guitar, a pickup or additional mic is needed.

All in all, the short answer to your question is yes, you can plug your acoustic/electric guitar into an amp. In fact, you can even plug it into electric guitar amps. But, as you may have guessed, the sound won’t be the same.


Why Do You Need an Acoustic Amp?

an amplifier and an acoustic guitar on the floor

Simply put, if you require that extra oomph from your acoustic/electric guitar, then an amp is the perfect way to do so. You could just use an electric amp and call it a day. In fact, folks and popular musicians do it all the time. On the other hand, if you want pure and clean notes from your amp, then only an acoustic amp will do.

Tonewoods provides your guitar with an accurate tone which you need to amplify. The end goal here is to ensure the cleanest sound possible with little to no distortion. You need only make the tone louder. You don’t want to change the sound of the guitar.

Many acoustic amps resemble the stereo or PA systems as they feature woofers and tweeters. As a result, you can play extremely low and high frequencies. On the other hand, these amps also include an additional input for microphones and various built-in effects that you won't find on any speaker system.

Overall, an acoustic guitar amp can help you reproduce the lowest of the low frequencies and the highest of the high frequencies.

Can You Use an Electric Amp with an Acoustic Guitar?

As we already stated, you can use an electric amp for your acoustic/electric guitar. You can easily plug in the acoustic/electric guitar into the electric amp, as they both feature the same input. There are various musicians who use the electric guitar amp with an acoustic guitar.

There may be a number of reasons why you would use an electric amp instead of an acoustic one. The number one reason may be that you have an electric amp lying around and you simply do not want to invest in an acoustic one. Or perhaps you cannot afford one.

Another major reason can be that you’re looking for a specific distorted sound from the acoustic/electric guitar. There’s no harm involved either. You won’t damage your guitar or your amp.

Now that you know you can use an electric amp, the more important question is, should you? While you may think that an electric amp can distort the natural tone of your acoustic/electric guitar, that’s not always the case. Adjusting the EQ may grant you a clean channel and a better sound.

Nevertheless, if you prefer the sort of distorted sound it produces, then, by all means, go for it. Most musicians really do not want their acoustic/electric guitars to sound like that. They prefer the authentic sound with a simply amplified volume.

Choosing the Right Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

Choosing the right amp is absolutely crucial as it can determine the sound of your guitar. You can end up with stunning sounds or really dull ones, depending on your pick. Most common features on an acoustic guitar amp that you need to consider are:


One of the most crucial factors to consider is the number of channels. Most acoustic amps feature more than one channel. This makes it easier to plug in more than just one instrument. For instance, you may need to plug in your microphone along with your guitar.

In addition, you should consider the Watts rating of your amp as well. Most amps are rated per channel, while others are rated by their total Watts.


Another important feature is the size and type of inputs. Acoustic guitar amps have varying sizes and types of inputs. These include the XLR connectors for microphones and ¼ inches connectors for other instruments. Also, you’ll find that some amps can easily accept all types of inputs while others may include stereo inputs to connect to your stereo system (including a compatible boombox stereo).

Thus, it is critical that you check the type of inputs the amp offers and make sure that they line up with what you need.

Built-in Effects

Most acoustic amps also offer a wide variety of acoustic effects. This can include reverb, chorus, echo etc. These may differ from amp to amp. Some might have reverb effects which you can tweak to your heart’s content while others may limit the tweakability.

Feedback Control

If you need to turn up your amp more than halfway up, then you might need efficient feedback control on your side. We recommend that you consider the ease and the impact of the control on the tone of your guitar.

Some amps might provide you with tons of different control options such as notch filters where others may offer a simple button to control the feedback. Depending on your level of experience, choose the one that matches more with what you’re trying to do with the amp.

Can You Use an Acoustic Amp with an Electric Guitar?

Yes, you can definitely use an acoustic amp with an electric guitar. The overall tonal quality from the acoustic amp depends on that amp however, it is certainly doable.

Parting Notes

Using an acoustic amp can help amplify the sound and tone of your acoustic/electric guitar. It can add to the richness and still keep the tone quite natural. If you’re tight on budget, you can try using your existing electric amp with the acoustic/electric guitar and see if you like the results. You can also find a great sound and budget-friendly price with some of the top acoustic guitars for under $300 available on the market.

Written By:
Matt is a professional guitar player in a rock band and a private instructor on the side. He actively writes for MSpot sharing his insightful knowledge of the guitar industry.

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