Acoustic guitars resonate louder than electric guitars, but there may be times when you want to hook your acoustic up to a set of speakers. A guitar amplifier will reliably transmit a guitar’s sound through a cable if you plug it in, but can you plug an acoustic guitar into a regular speaker?
An acoustic guitar can be connected to speakers if the guitar has either a pickup or microphone. You’ll also need an adapter that connects to both the guitar and the speaker. With the right set of cables, you can easily amplify acoustic playing with most sets of speakers.
Though you will likely need to take a few extra steps than if you tried to connect an electric guitar to these speakers, it’s easy to do if you are willing to purchase one or two extra items. This article will help you figure out how to plug your acoustic guitar into speakers.
Figure Out How To Plug In Your Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic guitars are lovely because they resonate on their own without any amplification at all. Because of this, many acoustics have no way to connect to a speaker or an amp.
Determine if You Have an Acoustic-Electric Guitar
First, you need to determine if you have an acoustic-electric guitar, which you can easily plug in.
Check to see if your guitar has a cable jack at the bridge pin, located at the bottom of the guitar’s body‒if you have a guitar strap, one end of the strap should be tied around the bridge pin. If there is, you can plug your acoustic straight into a cable and go on to figure out how to connect the cable to the speaker.
If you find yourself needing to plug an acoustic in often, it may be worth it to invest in an acoustic-electric, such as this Fender Squier Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar. It is available in black and sunburst styles.
If it’s out of your price range, that’s okay; luckily, there are plenty of ways to modify your non-electrified acoustic so that speakers can pick up their sounds.
If you don’t have an acoustic-electric, you’ll have to set up your acoustic with either a pickup or a microphone.
If you decide to install a pickup, you’ll have to decide what kind of pickups you’d like. The AMUMU SP30 Magnetic Soundhole Pickup is an excellent choice if you prefer magnetic pickups, with a wood finish and a snug fit in the soundhole. If you prefer piezo pickups, the Randon Acoustic Guitar Piezo Pickup works via a stick patch transducer and won’t damage your instrument’s finish.
Magnetic and piezo pickups offer different advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to research what kind of pickup you would like. Piezos tend to sound more natural, while magnetics are more powerful.
Different guitarists prefer different pickups. This video helps explain what kinds of pickups acoustics can have:
Use a Microphone
If your guitar doesn’t have any pickups, or if you would simply prefer to use a microphone, you have a few options.
Internal condenser microphones can be attached to your acoustic guitar’s soundhole, and there are a wide variety of shapes and sizes of internal condenser mics. The HEIMU Clip-On Condenser Microphone can be clipped onto the soundhole easily. It also comes standard with an adapter and may connect to your speakers, preventing you from buying one extra cord.
If it’s too cumbersome or uncomfortable to play with an internal mic, you can also set one up in front of your guitar and use a regular condenser mic. The UHURU XLR Condenser Microphone Kit comes with a boom arm, shock mount, and windscreen for easy setup. It has over five hundred five-star ratings on Amazon.
In either case, make sure you purchase a condenser microphone and not a dynamic mic, which isn’t conducive to the high frequencies of acoustic guitars!
Find the Right Adapter for the Speakers
Speakers are usually not equipped with the necessary outlet for a guitar cable. If you want to play your acoustic through your speakers, you’ll need to take the extra step of finding an adaptor.
Note that you will not be able to connect an acoustic guitar to a set of Bluetooth speakers using this method. If you’re unable to find an audio jack on your speakers, you won’t be able to connect them to your guitar.
Find a Phone or Audio Source
First, find where you can connect a phone or other audio source to the speakers.
Figure out what kind of audio jack your speaker has. In most cases, you should find a standard 3.5-mm (0.12-in) jack, which will connect most audio sources. If your speaker works differently, you may need to find a specialty adapter for your brand of speakers.
Look for an Adapter That Will Work With a Standard Audio Jack
These MillSO Male to Male TRS Stereo Audio Cable & Headphone Adapter can be eight or ten feet long, allowing for a wide range of motion, and comes with a 12-month warranty. One end is a standard 6.35-mm (0.25-in) guitar cable, while the other end will fit in a 3.5-mm (0.12-in) audio jack.
If you prefer an adapter with a braided cable, the TRS Stereo Audio Cable Hftywy Headphone Adapter 1/8 to 1/4 Adapter comes in an even wider range of cord lengths.
Plug-In and Play
Now you can plug your guitar in and play! You may need to adjust the volume depending on your speaker’s quality and what method you’re using to capture your sound, so make sure you have enough time to test out the sound before strumming in front of others.
Note that you will need to plug into a guitar pedal before plugging into the speaker when using an electric guitar. That’s not necessary when playing an acoustic, as there is much less of a risk of blowing out the speakers. However, you can choose to play with a pedal or preamplifier if you want to clarify your sound or add effects.
Consider Purchasing an Acoustic Amplifier
There are plenty of reasons you may want to plug your guitar into a speaker. You may find yourself having to play out of unpredictable sound systems semi-frequently, so it is good to be prepared with several ways to plug your acoustic into speakers.
If you’d like to downsize the number of cables you carry around, you may want to consider purchasing an amplifier for acoustic guitars. These can be as cheap as $100 and can help your amplified acoustic sound much more natural than speakers or an electric guitar amp (here’s how to have a quiet acoustic guitar with a more natural sound). The Coolmusic AC20 20Watt Bluetooth Guitar Amplifier is only 16 pounds (7 kilograms) and can connect to various sound systems.
It’s always best to be prepared, though, so even if you own an acoustic guitar amp, you may want to go ahead and purchase an adapter anyway.
If you want to amplify your acoustic guitar’s sound out of a regular set of speakers, you can do so as long as you can plug your acoustic in and have the right adapter. If your acoustic doesn’t have a pickup, you don’t have a microphone, or you don’t have an adapter, you should make sure to get these things before trying to connect the guitar.
With these tips, you should be able to connect your acoustic guitar to most sets of speakers.