Hybrid guitars are really cool – they let you get the best of both worlds! If you’re looking for a single guitar that can sound like Fender Stratocaster, but also like an acoustic guitar, then a hybrid guitar might well be a fantastic choice for you. They’ll let you sound like you’re playing both an electric and an acoustic guitar, changing between the two different sounds at will – as, in many cases with hybrid guitars, that’s exactly what you’re doing!
There are quite a few types of hybrid guitar out there, and it can be confusing deciding which type to go for! Well, this guide should help you out when it comes to learning a little about the different types of hybrid guitar, and how they work! Hopefully we’ll help you make the right choice!
Acoustic guitars that have electronics aren’t themselves new (although, to be fair, neither is the idea of a hybrid guitar itself!) – and just because you can plug your acoustic guitar in, doesn’t mean that it would necessarily be right to call it a hybrid guitar. However, there are some guitars out there that actually have pickups in them! These use steel strings, of course, and are built otherwise much the same as traditional hollow bodied guitars.
However, the addition of a real pickup, as would be found on any electric guitar, means that these are true hybrids – they can be played acoustically as with any acoustic guitar, but can also make use of the pickup to make real sounds like an electric guitar – as, when using the pickup, that’s exactly what they are!
Some great examples of acoustic guitars that also feature electric guitar style pickups are the Taylor T5 series, and the Fender Acoustasonic series.
Semi-acoustic guitars have been around for a long, long time – and they’ve often been bought by players who’ve tried to get the best of both worlds! They’re so popular and versatile, and some guitarists will play semi-acoustic guitars exclusively! They can be played both acoustically and electrically – but unlike guitars like the Fender Acoustasonic series, they’re mostly used electric guitars first and foremost, and often feature two humbuckers, as opposed to just one pickup, which is more common on acoustic guitars that feature electric guitar pickups.
These are particularly favored by jazz and blues musicians, as they allow for smooth, fluid electric playing, but also have extra tonal characteristics coming from the internal chambers. And, of course, these guitars can be played without amplification – but with the scale length and longer fretboard of an electric guitar.
Of course, one thing to be aware of when it comes to both acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars – louder amplification means a higher chance of feedback! It’s important to be careful when using these guitars at high volume, even more than when using an electric guitar – keep them pointed away from any speakers!
PIezo pickups are certainly not a new technology, but they can be a great addition to a guitar for someone looking to get acoustic like tones from their electric guitar. Some guitars come with these pickups built in already – the Parker Fly was an early pioneer in this regard, although sadly they’re not exactly cheap to come by nowadays! Often, these pickups can be added to your guitar without the need to make any cuts or permanent changes to your guitar, which is of course great news!
Even better though, it’s still possible to buy electric guitars that have piezo pickups built in – although they are definitely more rare than guitars without this feature. However, be on the lookout for tem and you’ll be sure to find one. And, of course, you can alway sadd an aftermarket piezo pickup with relative ease.
For years now, manufacturers have tried to model and recreate the sound of the acoustic guitar for electric guitar players. These modelers are rarely perfect in their attempts to recreate these sounds exactly – but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be good, and that they can’t make great sounds of their own! Line 6 are a company that’s known for their various modeling products, and their Variax range of guitars take advantage of this modeling expertise to produce great and unique guitar sounds. On a Variax, for example, each string has its own piezoelectric pickup at the bridge. The vibration of the string is converted using this pickup into a digital signal, which can then be processed using modeling technology in order to create a sound.
If you found hybrid guitars and the many possibilities confusing, then hopefully this article has helped to clear away some of that confusion – and also helped you make a more informed choice!