How to Make a Semi-Acoustic Guitar Sound Good

Written by robert russell
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How to Make a Semi-Acoustic Guitar Sound Good
(Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

The semi-acoustic guitar is an electric guitar with a hollow or semi-hollow body. It is possible to sit at home and play it without an amplifier, but an amp is necessary for performance. Semi-acoustic guitars tend to produce a thicker and fuller sound than most solid body guitars. They range in price from £97 to £1,300 or more. Keep in mind that you need to include a decent amp in your budget as well for a good sound.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Guitar amplifier
  • Guitar strings
  • Guitar effects pedals

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  1. 1

    Buy a good amplifier; it's essential to the overall sound an electric guitar. Plugging a high quality guitar into a cheap or weak amplifier results in frustration. Fender and Vox amps work great with semi-acoustic guitars but base the final decision about the amp on the style of music you play. Take into consideration the type of venues that you are playing in. Smaller venues obviously require a less powerful and smaller amplifier.

  2. 2

    Try out different types of guitar strings. Electric guitar strings are made of stainless steel or nickel-plated steel and available in various surface wrappings such as round wound or flat wound. Round wound strings provide volume and tone but they are not great for lead work. Round wound strings have a smoother surface, making it possible to play faster and with less finger noise. The gauge of the string is also important. Rock and country guitarists tend to prefer light gauge strings, .009 to .042, because they make it easier to bend strings. Jazz guitarists prefer heavier strings such as .013 to .053.

  3. 3

    Find the right pickup combination and tone on your guitar. Semi-acoustic guitars usually come with two humbucker pickups. The pickup switch on the guitar allows you to use both pickups simultaneously or to use either the neck pickup or bridge pickup by itself. The volume and tone controls allow you to control the lows and highs for each pickup. Use the neck pickup for a smooth jazz tone. Turn the tone knob down a little to get a more mellow sound. Switch to the bridge pickup for a rock or rockabilly sound.

  4. 4

    Adjust the tone settings on the amplifier. The tone controls on the amplifier play an essential role in tweaking the sound as well. Start with all of the treble, bass, and middle knobs set at 12 o'clock. Play your guitar and experiment with the knobs to find the right tone. Reverb also helps provide a nice warm tone. When you are playing live gigs, alter the tone settings on your amp to find the right sound. The size and layout of a room or venue affect the sound of a guitar.

  5. 5

    Experiment with effects pedals. Effects pedals provide a wide range of sound and tonal options for the guitar. The choice of pedals depends on your style of music. Visit a guitar store and try out various pedals. The most popular pedals for the guitar include overdrive and distortion pedals, compressor and sustain pedals, delay pedals, and chorus pedals.

  6. 6

    Rely on your fingers. Ultimately, the secret for guitar tone is in your fingers. Developing different guitar techniques will allow you to achieve a variety of sounds simply by the way you play the guitar.

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