How To Make Any Acoustic Guitar Louder (10 Ways)


make any acoustic guitar louder

Playing the acoustic guitar is incredibly engaging, but you probably want your audience to hear the same tones that you do. If you don’t know how to increase the guitar’s volume, you might not be able to put your talent on display. Fortunately, there are several methods to make your favorite instrument sound much louder.

To make any acoustic guitar sound louder, use an amplifier or attract a clip-on microphone. You can also increase the action, change the nut, bridge, and saddle, or install a pickup. Larger strings and picks will produce louder sounds, too.

Throughout this article, you’ll find out multiple ways to make your acoustic guitar sound louder, what modifications you can try, and why the space you play in matters so much.

make any acoustic guitar louder

Use an Amplifier

Amplifiers are the best way for you to increase your acoustic guitar’s sound. If your guitar has an audio port, you can connect it to most amplifiers. Always check the desired amplifier to know if it includes the necessary cables and fits your guitar. Not all amplifiers are made the same, so it’s important to know what’s right for your instrument.

Here’s a list of three things you should know before choosing an amplifier:

  1. Larger amplifiers tend to be louder. If you want to produce more noise, check the speaker size and dB output. If you want to slightly increase the sound, you don’t need a huge amp. The good news is that almost every amplifier has volume controls to help you find the right output.
  2. Some amplifiers have many more settings than others. Many amps only have volume controls, while others include bass, treble, gain, and so on. Make sure you find the right amp based on your personal preference. You can also find amps that connect to MIDI devices and computers.
  3. You can get a solo amplifier or one with multiple inputs. If you only want to play by yourself, you don’t need more than a solo amp. However, it’s worth getting a two-port amp if you want to sing with your acoustic guitar. The amp picks up microphones, too. Why not play your whole show through one amp?

The Fender Acoustasonic 15 Amplifier (available on Amazon.com) is a classic amp made by one of the most reputable brands in the industry. It comes with a five-year warranty, two input ports, and multiple settings to adjust the treble, bass, volume, and more. You can take this lightweight 13-pound amp with you wherever you go without a problem.

Improve the Guitar’s Action

Your acoustic guitar’s action directly impacts the tone, volume, buzzing, and more. My New Microphone explains you can make minor truss rod adjustments to increase the action, thus improving the volume. You only need a little bit of an adjustment to make a massive difference in the volume.

Try this method:

  1. Use an allen key to turn the adjustment nut under the base of the fretboard in the sound hole. It’s easier to adjust the action without the strings on the guitar. However, you can slide the key between or around the strings if you don’t want to remove them. A small ¼-inch turn is often enough to improve the action.
  2. Place a ruler on the low E string, then turn the adjustment nut until the string is around 2.8mm. The high E string should be about 2.0mm, but it can be slightly higher. If the neck looks bowed or the strings buzz, you’ll have to reduce the action by turning the allen key the opposite way.
  3. Strum your guitar and make sure there aren’t any buzzes or hums. These are often signs of bad strings, high action, low action, and other problems. It could also mean the action adjustments shifted the nut, bridge, or saddle. Reducing the action by 0.1mm could be enough to reverse these issues.

Plug the Guitar into a Computer With Speakers

If your guitar has an audio jack (much like the amplifier example), you can plug it into most computers. Consider using an adapter or an audio interface. Using an AI with a DAW (digital audio workstation) is an excellent way to make your acoustic guitar louder. You can use DAWs like Garage Band or Audacity.

plug the guitar into a computer with speakers

Here’s how it works:

  1. Plug your guitar into an audio interface. An audio interface is a middleman between your instrument and a computer. Make sure the AI has to correct input ports for your guitar. It should also have MIDI, USB, or USB-C outputs that connect to the desired device for optimal quality.
  2. Connect the audio interface to your laptop or desktop computer. You might need to open a digital audio workstation, though it’s not necessary with every computer. If you do, try Audacity or Garage Band since they’re both free and beginner-friendly. Don’t plug in headphones because they’ll reduce the sound output.
  3. Turn up the volume on your computer or plug in speakers for more volume. You can determine your guitar’s volume with a PC, laptop, or speakers. If your guitar has volume controls on board, you can use them to alter the output sound. Some acoustic guitars have treble and bass controls, too.
  4. Play your acoustic guitar. Pick a couple of strings and adjust the volume as necessary. Use your digital audio workstation to change the way it sounds. Make sure you have the playback feature activated to let sound come out of the internal or external speakers; otherwise, you’ll record everything without knowing what it sounds like.

Attach a Clip-On Mic

Clip-on microphones are great because they’re out of the way, portable, and easy to amplifier your acoustic guitar. Six String Acoustic highly recommends using a clip-on mic if you want an affordable solution for your quiet acoustic guitar. Clip the mic near the sound hole, strum the instrument, and adjust the volume as needed.

The Audio-Technica Clip-On Mic (available on Amazon.com) is a top-notch choice for your acoustic guitar. Clip it near the sound hole, strum the guitar, and amplify the sound for optimal clarity. It has some of the best audio quality in the industry, making it the best clip-on microphone you’ll come across from such a trustworthy, well-known brand.

If you go with a clip-on mic, consider these quick tips:

  • Test the mic’s distance to your guitar’s sound hole. If it’s too close, it’ll ruin the audio quality.
  • Make sure the clip is tight enough to prevent it from sliding around. If it slides, it’ll alter the volume and amplify the sliding sound.
  • Steer clear of most lapel microphones. They’re designed for recording vocals, not instruments.
  • Decide which kind of clip-on microphone you want. Some of them are unidirectional, while others record in every direction.

If a clip-on mic doesn’t sound like it’s enough to amplify your acoustic guitar’s sound, consider upgrading to the next selection.

Play into a Microphone Speaker

Some microphones have built-in speakers. On the other hand, you can connect many microphones to external speakers, amplifiers, and computers. Place the microphone next to your guitar, turn it on, and play to your heart’s desire. This is a surefire way to get a crisp, clear sound without unwanted digital white noise.

play into a microphone speaker

Keep these tips in mind when using a mic with a speaker:

  • Keep the microphone about 12 to 24 inches away from the acoustic guitar’s sound hole. If the guitar is too close to the microphone, you’ll have trouble distinguishing the individual notes. On the other hand, if the microphone is too far away, the acoustic guitar will sound quiet and unrecognizable.
  • Put a pop filter in front of the microphone. Pop filters are designed to prevent unwanted P and S sounds when recording your voice. However, they also minimize the unwanted twang sound that comes from high-pitched sounds on your guitar. You’ll have a much clearer, crisper sound coming from the speaker.
  • Consider soundproofing the room to prevent unwanted white noise. If you’re recording or amplifying your guitar through external speakers and microphones, soundproofing works wonders. The last thing you want is an echo from the reflected sound waves, so place foam pads throughout the walls and ceiling in the room.

Modify Your Guitar’s Components

According to Guitar Top Review, you can change the plastic components of your acoustic guitar to bone, aluminum, and a few other materials. These materials provide more vibrations, which means louder sounds. Acoustic guitars need steady vibrations that come out through the sound hole. These materials drastically improve the quality and volume.

Below, we’ll break down the three main substitutes:

  • Bone: Bone offers excellent vibrations if it’s dense enough. It’s almost always an upgrade from plastic, even if the plastic is high-grade. You can get bone nuts and saddles for your acoustic guitar. The bridge can be wood, plastic, or one of the materials below. There are also numerous variations of these materials.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum produces loud, echoing vibrations on all three of these components. The structural integrity of the nut, bridge, and saddle is crucial with aluminum. If the material is cheap, it could rust. The last thing you need is a rusty guitar because it’ll buzz the strings.
  • Brass: Brass has a similar density to the bone example, but it has a nice metallic vibration like aluminum. It’s the perfect middle-ground, though it can be a bit pricey. Nevertheless, you can get brass nuts, bridges, and saddles on almost any acoustic guitar. These mods are quite rare, though. They don’t come stock for most guitars.

Install a Pickup

While many modern guitars come with built-in pickups, you can install one on almost any acoustic setup. All you need to do is cut a hole the size of the desired pickup, mount it inside of the guitar, you’ll be good to go. However, we suggest hiring a professional to install the pickup if you’ve never done it before.

soundhole pickups 1

Pickups come in two variations:

  1. Internal pickup
  2. External pickup

An internal pickup goes inside of the acoustic guitar. You have to cut a hole in the side of the instrument, which can be a bit daunting. However, they’re often believed to be the best choice because they provide the best clarity. The vibrations transfer to a digital format to amplify the sound through speakers, computers, and more.

An external pickup simply amplifies the sound of the acoustic guitar from the outside. It’s like a mini amplifier mixed with a clip-on mic. While they’re not as good as internal pickups, they can produce professional sound quality if you get the right setup. The proper placement is key. Make sure it’s close enough to the sound hole for optimal results.

Pickups are great but read on if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly solution that you can apply today.

Choose Heavier Strings

Heavier strings are slightly harder to strum and pick. They’re often recommended for advanced players because they make a lot of noise and require a bit more pressure. However, they can be quite effective when it comes to playing bass-packed chords. You can also use heavier strings for louder acoustic guitar sounds.

So, why do heavier strings make your acoustic guitar louder?

  • More vibrations mean more sound. The sound produced by any acoustic guitar is mostly driven by vibrations and the size of the sound hole. Thin strings are often easier to distinguish from one another because they’re not as bass-packed, and they don’t carry the tone as long as thick strings.
  • Heavier strings require more effort, thus putting out more volume. The harder you pick a string, the louder the sound that comes out of it. When you strum heavy strings enough to vibrate them, you’ll undoubtedly make quite a bit more noise. There are several string sizes, so you could slowly increase the gauge until you find the right set.
  • Most heavy guitar strings put a bit more tension on the tuning pegs, making bending sounds more pronounced. Bending the strings requires pushing the strings up or down on the fretboard. The bassy tone of thick strings carries the vibration much more, which means every playstyle is a bit louder.

Opt for Larger Picks

Much like the previous example, larger picks produce more sound from your acoustic guitar. The bright side is that they’re typically around the same price as thin guitar picks. People often choose thin picks for clarity and to prevent mistakes. That being said, thicker picks are better for bass-filled notes and full-bodied vibrations.

These are the primary reasons larger picks are better for more volume:

  • Thicker picks don’t bend as much as thinner picks. These picks are quite stiff, which means all of the pressure goes to the strings. Less flexibility can cause cracks if you strum or pick too hard. Make sure you choose high-quality picks if you want the best sound coming from your acoustic guitar.
  • Thick picks produce more vibrations, which improves the sound. Thick strings and picks are the way to go if you’re looking for the cheapest solutions. Simply put, they make your guitar sound louder because they vibrate deeper and longer. However, don’t choose picks meant for ukuleles and other instruments because they can harm the strings.
  • You make more contact with the string when you use a thick pick. Thin picks make it difficult to hit every string with complete precision. While they’re better for quick picking and strumming, they’re not the best at ensuring you hit every string every time. You’ll easily produce a louder sound with a thicker pick than the one you’re used to.

Declutter the Space

Smaller rooms are better for playing acoustic guitar loudly. However, having too many objects in the room messes with the sound waves. The fewer obstacles there are in the space, the better. Remove posters from walls, couches, tables, and anything else that might redirect the sound waves. Once the space is clear, you should get a nice, clean, loud noise from the instrument.

declutter the space

Keep in mind that if you use an amplifier or a microphone in an empty room, there’s a high chance of it echoing. These echoes can play through the speakers twice, which alters your acoustic guitar’s performance. As mentioned before, you can use soundproof foam to deaden the sound bouncing off the walls in an empty room.

If you can’t declutter the room or get everything out of it, push as many items as close to the wall as possible. This will ensure there’s enough open space around your acoustic guitar. It’ll muffle the echo, but you’ll definitely get more sound out of the instrument.

The last thing you can do to play louder is strumming your guitar harder. Whether you’re in a decluttered space or an outdoor area, strum and fingerpick with more pressure for better projection.

In Conclusion

Making your acoustic guitar louder doesn’t have to be a struggle. Choose one or more of the many suggestions found above to decide which is best for your instrument. Clip-on mics and amplifiers are pricier and more effective, but switching the strings and picks can produce significant results.

David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others. Check out my recommended guitar gear!

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