Can Electric Guitar Be Played as Acoustic?


Some songs sound best when played with acoustic guitars. So consider a situation where you only have an electric guitar for that case. What would you do? Can electric guitar be played as acoustic?

Yes, you can play an electric guitar as an acoustic. Some songs only sound better if you use acoustic. So, if you have an electric guitar, it is possible to play the tone as acoustic. You could do so by strumming the same chords, playing the same songs, or even fingerpicking the same arpeggios. However, the electric guitars won’t sound better when you unplug.

So, maybe you’re a beginner, and you do not have an idea of how this work. To effortless grasp the knowledge of how to make an electric guitar sound acoustic, you must have the knowledge to make the adjustments on the electric guitar. To play electric guitar as acoustic you can start by playing a clean sound, setting the pickups correctly, while turning down the distortion and many more steps which are discussed in this article.

Reading this article could make you professional in adjusting and playing the electric guitar as an acoustic:

How Can You Play Acoustic Songs Using Electric Guitar?

It’s possible to play acoustic songs on an electric guitar. Below are tested, trusted, and reviewed tips you could effortlessly utilize:


Play Clean Sound

Playing a clean sound on an amplifier could resemble the sound of an acoustic guitar. So, whenever you want to play any acoustic song, keep it clean.

Properly Set up the Pickups.

Pickups are crucial elements and help receive audio signals from the guitar to an amplifier. You’ll find the two types of pickups for every electric guitar you come across: the neck and bridge pickup. But these types of pickups are different from each other.

For neck pickups, they help in sending louder sound signals on bass and lower sound signals on a treble. At the same time, the bridge is doing the opposite of the neck pickups. So, whenever you want to make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic, start by setting up the neck pickup.

Turn Down the Distortion.

When you experience sound distortion, you could rectify the issue by setting up the volume knobs. But every electric guitar could produce a more distorted sound even if you set up a clean sound. The signal could be loud and distorted.

So, to make your electric guitar sound acoustic, you should turn down the knobs and volume. But, if you want a produce a rock sound, do not turn the knobs and volume down.

Use More Palm Muting.

Sound from the amplifier in an electric guitar is more sustained. At the same time, those of an acoustic is less sustained. Here comes the reason as to why you must use more of the palm muting whenever you’re playing your electric guitar.

When you do not mute the strings, they could ring louder. To make your electric guitar sound acoustic, you should not let the strings ring out too much.

Change the Strumming

Strumming is when a guitarist loosely plays specific basic chords of guitars under the same down strokes and rhythmic setup. Most players strum acoustic songs. Also, you can do the strumming on an electric guitar.

Due to the amp in an electric guitar, the strength of strumming should not be the same as in an acoustic guitar. But, for the sake of acoustic guitar, you can strongly strum. You can do so if you want the tone produced to resonate around your room.

This should not be the case in an electric guitar, do not strum because the sound produced may not be desirable. This is because the strings of an acoustic guitar are lighter and softer. So when strumming, try to weaken your fingers slightly.

Strong strumming on an electric guitar will produce a louder and more distorted sound. So, when playing an acoustic song on an electric guitar, pay maximum attention when strumming.

Electric Guitar Fingerstyle

It’s recommended to play acoustic songs on an acoustic guitar using fingers. However, it is possible to fingerstyle using an electric guitar. But, your fingerstyle on an electric guitar is quite different from that on acoustic guitar.

As you know, friction when playing with fingers could reach a point you feel pain. So, playing with longer nails could be helpful. But, for the electric guitar, it won’t be well when you play with long nails. This could be because the strings of an electric guitar are softer and thinner. When plucked with nails, the sound produced from the amplifier could be loud and unbearable.

If you want to produce a reasonable sound like an acoustic, play an electric guitar without longer nails.

Change Electric Guitar String Gauge.

Different string gauges produce a different sounds. As mentioned earlier, the strings of an electric guitar are thinner and softer. This could be the reason for the difference in sound produced as in acoustic. If you want to produce acoustic sound, use a thicker string gauge on your electric guitar.

Advantages of heavy string gauge over small strings gauge:

Heavy gaugeSmall gauge
They have turning stabilityHave low turning stability
They have lager outputOutput is low unless it’s electric guitar
They possess more tension and faster attackHave low tension

The Acoustic Simulator Pedal

If you need your electric guitar to sound exactly like an acoustic guitar, look at the pedal. The acoustic simulator pedal can help your electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar if properly connected.

How Can You Convert Your Electric Guitar to Sound Acoustic?

The acoustic simulation cables are there in an electric guitar to help you change the tone to sound exactly like an acoustic. So, if you need the sound of an electric guitar sound acoustic, use the simulation cables. You can achieve the tone by connecting the pedals on the guitar and amplifier.


Can I Play Electric Guitar on the Acoustic Amp?

You can play electric guitar on the acoustic amplifier. You can do so without causing any damage to your guitar or the amp. Most guitarists use an acoustic amp on electric guitars where it is the only option. But if you want the best acoustic sound, using an acoustic amplifier is not the best option.

Is Electric Guitar Easy to Play Acoustic?

The process of transiting electric guitar to produce an acoustic tone is easier. To create greater sound in acoustic requires greater strumming of the strings. This could make your fingers harder. But, for the sake of an electric guitar, it requires less effort in strumming the strings if you want to play acoustic sound. Hence it is smooth and easier.


It is possible to play electric guitar as an acoustic. You can produce the acoustic sound by fingerpicking the same arpeggios, playing the same songs, and even strumming the same chords. But when you unplug the electric guitar, it won’t sound better.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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