by Gwendoline Gould
An acoustic electric guitar belongs to the acoustic family rather than electric guitar family. Electric acoustic guitars are steel string guitars which are fitted with pickups rather than using a separate microphone like an acoustic model.
The pickups are piezoelectric pickups, Piezoelectric pickups are best known as the under saddle pickups used to amplify acoustic guitars. Sometimes seen referred to as "Electrets" and the first company to design crystal pickups was Brush Development Company in the 1910's although they never actually made them themselves commercially but rather licensed the concept. Piezoelectric pickups are pickups that create a signal through its actual vibration.
They are regarded as acoustic guitars rather than electric guitars because the pickups do not produce a signal directly from the vibration of the strings, but rather from the vibration of the guitar top or body. Guitarists have long been troubled by electric acoustic amplification, which tends to suffer from excessive feedback and poor sound quality. Many traditional piezo electric acoustics produce a poor ribbon transducer sound that does not necessarily replicate a true acoustic sound. An electric acoustic guitar is made of wood and has six strings and features a round sound hole that amplifies the sound of the vibrations that the strings cause. If the guitar had no sound hole, it would be almost impossible to hear anything. To change the sound that is heard, you need to alter the length of the string, which is altering the tension. To do this, you need to press down on the string over any fret and play it. Doing this will change the vibration frequency, which is turn changes the sound that is heard.
With an acoustic electric model, you have the option of plugging it in or not, the sound made by an acoustic electric guitar when it is not plugged in is the same sound as you can get by playing an acoustic guitar.
When it is plugged in, it sounds like an electric guitar. If you want both types of guitar or can not decide between the two, it may be an idea to invest in an acoustic electric guitar so you can choose which type you want to play at which time, depending on your mood or your music.