Can you play acoustic songs on electric guitar and rock them?

We all want the highest potential return on our investment. If we purchased a high-end electric guitar, we need to use all its abilities. Limiting ourselves to the styles which are conventionally performed with electric guitars seems unfair. How about beautiful acoustic songs? Can you play acoustic songs on electric guitar? Yes, you can.

Traditionally, heavy metal or rock, jazz, blues, and pop music were electric guitar styles, and folk, country, bluegrass, and soul — an acoustic guitar area.

But times are changing, and now you can hit electric guitar chords on both acoustic and electric guitars without an issue. An electric or acoustic guitar can be tailored for a fantastic performance of electric and acoustic music.

play acoustic songs on electric guitar

You can play acoustic guitar songs on a classical guitar, too. Although, with some songs, it can be disappointing. The acoustic sound is brighter than the mellow tone of a classic guitar. However, when talented artists play classical music using a classical guitar, it’s a divine experience.

Playing acoustic songs with an electric guitar is possible. Talent and hard work can do wonders, but we shouldn’t forget that these instruments are different, and you can’t just switch from one to another.

Let us show you the differences between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar and then walk you through the adjustments to be made.

Two worlds. Are they too far away from each other?

How does an electric guitar differ from an acoustic guitar? First and foremost, in the source of the sound production. An acoustic guitar sound is the result of string vibrations. And electrical power feeds an electric guitar, thus initiating sound generation. But that is not all, of course.

The effort a guitar player makes pressing the strings is different, too. It’s more substantial with an acoustic instrument. You won’t avoid calluses on the fingertips with both instruments, but learning to play electric guitar can be a little less painful.

Acoustic guitars don’t have an amplifier for hitting very high notes, that’s why it’s more problematic with acoustic guitars. It can cause a problem if you play electric guitar songs on the acoustic guitar. There will be an electric guitar sound that can’t be played.

The fact that it’s physically easier to play an electric guitar sound also backfires. Every tiny mistake will be heard with an amplifier.

Note how harsh electric guitar sounds are compared to the sounds you hear in acoustic songs.

It is partly because of the picks used to play electric guitar songs.

The majority of electric guitar players use picks, which is the reason for a narrower neck in an electric guitar. And whereas it’s very convenient for a pick, it’s not so much for fingers. For the same reason, hitting power chords is easier on an electric guitar.

Now you see that there are significant differences between electric guitars and acoustic guitars. But the good news is — they are surmountable.

Changes to make

The ideal situation is having both an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar (and how about a classical guitar?). But it’s not always possible for various reasons. So you adore your electric guitar and want to break stereotypes and play acoustic songs and guitar solos on it.

Here, we are coming to the rescue with our guide to play acoustic songs on electric guitar. You are welcome.

A warmer acoustic sound is achievable on your electric guitar, just follow our guidelines, and you’ll enjoy acoustic music as long as you like.

Clean it

The clean sound setup on an amp imitates the sound of acoustic guitar because there are no special effects on that instrument.

Acoustic guitar songs played on electric guitar require a clean channel setting. This way, when you play acoustic-style chords, the sound that comes out will be pure and clean without any effects.

Distortion — down

It’s not enough to switch the channel to ‘clean’. You have to turn down the distortion.

Electric chords are supposed to sound distorted no matter the channel.

To play acoustic songs on electric guitar, you need to adjust the volume knobs. Turn down the volume and adjust the knobs to the acoustic sound as much as you can.

Another way is to start completely clean and add a little crunch of distorted sound slowly.

Use the palm to mute

An acoustic tone is less continuous than the electric one. When you play power chords, the sound will go on ‘forever’ unless you stop it. That’s why mute the strings with your palm. This way, acoustic guitar songs will have authentic vibes.

Soften the strum

Strumming is considered the best playing style for beginner players. It’s not too complicated to develop the skill. At the same time, strumming is used by musicians, regardless of their skill level. But keep in mind that strumming on an electric and acoustic guitar is different.

Acoustic guitars encourage powerful strumming.

If you watch an artist playing acoustic songs, you’ll notice that force.

Meanwhile, electric guitars don’t require as much effort to strum. So softening the strum during an acoustic song on an electric guitar will add warmth to the tone.

Adapt the style

If you have a steel string guitar, whether it’s a pure steel string acoustic or electric guitar, consider getting a pick. Those strings are hard. Acoustic guitar strings can be brass, bronze, or made of other materials.

Fingerstyle is an amazing technique that requires a lot of practice and commitment. It’s widely used with acoustic instruments. And of course, classical guitars are perfect for this style too.

If you play an acoustic song on electric guitar and pluck the strings, you’ll get a warm mellow sound.

Fingerstyle will make an acoustic song sound genuine.

It’s better to use the thumb skin than the nails. Electric guitars don’t appreciate long nails.

Change the strings

If you play acoustic guitar, you know that its strings are thicker than the ones on the electric guitar. When you play acoustic guitar songs on electric guitar, you can try using thicker strings.

Choose a proper pickup

Electric guitars rely heavily on pickups.

Pickups deliver the signal to the amplifier.

A bridge pickupgives a harder, more intense sound better suitable for an electric guitar, whereas the neck pickup is ‘responsible’ for the warmth of the sound. In other words, the signal from it is higher on the bass and lower on the treble. That’s why it should be your choice.

Use the magic pedal

Another smart way to get a warm and rich sound is a special pedal.

In case you are sure that you don’t need an acoustic guitar but are eager to play acoustic songs, such a device can be a good pick.

Frequently asked questions

Can you play acoustic sounds on an electric guitar?

Acoustic songs will require some tailoring from your electric instrument: set it to the clean channel, reduce distortion, choose a neck pickup, and use the strumming technique and palm muting. Or you can purchase a special pedal to imitate the sound. It’s also an option.

Can u play any song on an electric guitar?

Yes, you can. But the song written for a classical guitar won’t sound the same on the electric instrument unless you tailor your guitar to meet the requirements of the song to the sound.

Is electric guitar easy if you play acoustic?

If you are familiar with an acoustic guitar, learning the electric instrument shouldn’t be an issue, as they are not as complex to master.

Is playing acoustic and electric guitar the same?

Electric guitar playing is different. Its strings require less force because they are lighter and softer. The instruments themselves are much smaller.

Conclusion: break the stereotypes

When you listen to acoustic songs like iconic “Hotel California” or enjoy electric guitar songs, for example, immortal rock classics by Nirvana, you don’t think about the type of guitar playing. You are living in that blissful moment, catching every note and every word.

Although the guitars have their specializations: classical music for classical guitar, rock — for electric guitar, country — for acoustic, that’s not set in stone.

Rock the power chords on classical guitar or Five Bagatelles on an acoustic guitar, and it can still sound great.

Just a little tweak here and there and you’ll break the stereotypes. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

An electric acoustic guitar will ensure amazing guitar solos, great for both worlds.

Electric guitars are more expensive, but generally easier to play. As for the acoustic guitars, they are more intimate, and quieter, with a softer sound. Choose the one you’d enjoy the most.

Although, on the final note, we should say that if you are a professional musician, it’s still better to stick to conventional rules and use appropriate instruments.

Also Read About Acoustic Music

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James/ author of the article

If you got to my page, it means that you are fond of music and are trying to record songs on your own. In my blog, you will find out exactly which options for sound equipment will be appropriate, depending on the specific case.

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