Can Acoustic Guitar be Connected to Speakers? How To Do It!

Published Categorized as Acoustic Amplification

Are you looking to practice your guitar quietly at home? Are you playing a concert without an amp? Can acoustic guitar be connected to speakers? If so, how?

Let’s find out and explore the ins and outs of connecting acoustic guitars to speakers.

The Short Answer

Yes, you can connect an acoustic guitar with a speaker through a microphone or pick-up and there are two methods by which to do it. For the first, you will need to have a jack-to-jack cable, a DI box, and a microphone cable. Connecting all of them together, you will be able to connect your acoustic guitar to the speaker.

For pickups, though, connectivity depends on magnetic and piezo pickup types, but it can still certainly be done without a doubt.

Why Would You Need Your Guitar to be Connected to Speakers?

Why on earth might we at some point need to connect an acoustic guitar to a speaker? For some of you, an amp might be preferable, though some might not even like to connect an acoustic guitar to an amp at all.

Well, we might not always have our own amp available – something that is necessary to reach a large audience – but we inherently need help from speakers. In such instances, we might simply have to make do with what we have at our present disposal.

When you are on stage, for example, an acoustic guitar attached to a speaker or an acoustic guitar amp actually works rather well as a rhythm guitar. Thus, in instances where we might need to cover for someone at short notice or where we don’t have our desired equipment at our disposal, plugging into speakers might be entirely necessary.

Types of Guitars You Can Connect to Speakers

You can actually connect any guitar to speakers, or you can at least connect any guitar with electric capabilities.

Most acoustic guitars do not have electric capabilities. If your acoustic guitar has no jack and you still want to connect it to the speaker, then you will need a mic, a mic-to-speaker connecting cable, a DI box, and a speaker. Place the mic in a mic stand and set the stand in front of your acoustic guitar holder.

Make sure that the mic is in an optimum spot that is not too close to the guitar that you might accidentally touch it while losing yourself in playing, not too close to the speaker that it causes feedback, but not too far away from the guitar that it can’t hear it properly.

Let’s now look at a few guitars with electric capabilities!

Semi-Acoustic Guitar

Semi-acoustic guitars are a more or less perfect fusion of electric and acoustic guitars. Where electro-acoustic guitars are simply conceived as a way of amplifying an acoustic guitar, this is more of a cross-pollination of the electric guitar and the acoustic guitar, hence the name ES-335, the E standing for Electric and the S for Spanish (classical guitar). How do you make an electric sound more acoustic? Just buy one that does both!

ES-335 Vintage Sunburst Guitar Replica - 1:4 Scale Model Mini Guitar

Known for their great resonance, these electric guitars sound great when amplified, whether through electric or acoustic guitar amps. All you’ll need to connect semi-acoustic guitar is a guitar cable and/or an acoustic guitar amplifier.

Electro-Acoustic Guitar

As previously discussed, this type of guitar is less of a fusion of guitars and more of a way to simply amplify the sound of an acoustic guitar, but what’s the difference?

You can either buy these ready-made (see below where the preamp is installed into the body) or you can modify an acoustic. The process can be as non-committal or involved as you like – you can install a soundhole pickup yourself at home, or you can get a guitar tech to install a set of piezo pickups alongside a preamp system.

Takamine 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Right Handed, Black (GD30CE-BLK)

Electric Guitar

Sometimes, though, no other type of guitar will cut it. Sometimes, it is just necessary to use an electric guitar and be done with it. Such guitars are made to be amplified – they were born to be plugged in (the clue’s in the name).

Thus, no matter how you intend to do it, an electric guitar will sound great amplified, even if a little dry through an unadulterated set of hi-fi speakers. The sound quality will be crisp – some might even say a little too crisp.

Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster - Dark Night with Rosewood Fingerboard

Best Types of Speakers to Connect Your Guitar With

Though you can just connect your guitar to any speakers, there are always going to be some that are better equipped to do the job than others.

Sure, there’s no hard and fast rule for using any speakers for amplifying your acoustic guitars. Ideally, you wouldn’t have to use speakers in this way – you would have an amp or some other such solution. If you have a proper setup, though, you can use any speaker to connect to your acoustic guitar.

As long as you ensure that all of the wires are properly connected and the instruments are fit for use before proceeding, you can be sure that your setup will work just fine. This will also ensure that there will be as little distortion in your signal as possible, though if this is desirable to you, proceed to interrupt the signal accordingly.

Hi-Fi Speakers

Perhaps your need to connect an acoustic guitar through a set of speakers is merely one that doesn’t need to leave the house, in which case, you can simply connect your instrument to a set of hi-fi speakers.

You will still likely need an audio interface of some sort (Focusrite and Tascam are great for this), though you might also be lucky enough to own a hi-fi system old enough that it still features a microphone input.

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers - 2.0 Active Near Field Monitors - Studio Monitor Speaker - Wooden Enclosure - 42 Watts RMS

PA Speakers

If you are going to be using your acoustic guitar with speakers to perform for a larger audience than your living room, then you are likely going to want to do so through a set of PA speakers.

The ones pictured below are among the cheapest money can buy that will still get the job done, though if you are performing at a venue, then you will likely be using something a bit more hi-tech.

Pyle Powered PA Speaker System Active & Passive Bluetooth Loudspeakers Kit with 8 Inch Speakers, Wired Microphone, MP3/USB/SD/AUX Readers, Speaker Stands,Remote Control - Pyle PPHP849KT Black

Amp Speaker

Even if you aren’t going to use an amplifier itself, there’s nothing to say that you can’t just use the speaker(s) in an amplifier to achieve your aim of amplifying the sound. This seems more convoluted than simply plugging your guitar into an amplifier, but if you really want to bypass the amplifier for the speaker, then go ahead.

This is not a particularly groundbreaking idea, either. Amplifiers color sound in a way that some people would simply rather avoid, and that’s okay. You can still use an acoustic guitar through an electric guitar amp.

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How To: Connect Your Acoustic Guitar to Speakers

So, now that we have established which speakers (all of them) and which guitars (any that are electric) can be compatible and connect with one another in such a chain, then we can proceed to discuss just how it’s done.

Step 1: Finding the Input/Output Jack on the Guitar

First up, find the output jack on the guitar and inspect it a bit. If the nuts around it are a little loose, then take the opportunity to tighten them – you’ll thank yourself later and it will also help you to achieve the crispest possible sound fidelity that you can.

Often when the output isn’t perfect – i.e. when there’s crackling or distortion of some kind – it has to do with the quality of the jack. Thus, an easy fix is simply to check out the jack before proceeding to avoid disappointment. So, before you go ahead and connect yourself to anything, ensure that the jack is fit and ready for use.

Step 2: Plugging in the Jack Cable

Now, you can begin the process of connecting, though before you proceed any further, make sure that the jack has no dust on it (another easy way to incur distortion on your path to connection).

Plug in the jack firmly and ensure that the connection is in no way loose, otherwise, the signal won’t be as strong as it could be.

Fender Professional Instrument Cable 18.6ft Straight-Angle Blue Tweed - 1 Pack

Step 3: Plugging the Other End into the DI Box

Now, you can plug the other end of the jack cable into the audio interface (or DI box). Pictured below is one of the finest examples by Tascam on the cheaper end of the spectrum, though Focusrite’s offerings are more capable of getting the job done.

Tascam US-2x2HR 2 Mic 2IN/2OUT High Resolution Versatile USB Audio Interface for Recording, Streaming, Podcasting, Songwriting

Step 4: Connecting the Mic Cable to the DI Box

Then, you can connect the DI box to the stereo system via another cable, though this one (as you will see below) is a little different, connecting to the DI box via an XLR connection and then converting that to a jack at the other end.

EBXYA 1/4" TRS to XLR Male Balanced Mic Microphone Cable 10ft, XLR to 6.35 Jack, 1 Pack

Step 5: Connecting the Other End of the Cable to the Speaker

Now, you can connect the other end of that mic cable to the awaiting speaker system, regardless of whether it’s a hi-fi system, a PA system, or any other type of speaker setup.

Finally, give your guitar a tune (if that’s your thing), and proceed to do your business amplified.

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Troubleshooting When Connecting Guitar to Speakers

Of course, things aren’t always peachy. Sometimes, they just don’t work out how they’re supposed to, so let’s discuss a few instances where that might be the case when you are connecting your acoustic to a set of speakers.

Connecting to a Bluetooth Speaker

Something that most young guitarists ask is whether or not they can connect their instrument to a Bluetooth Speaker. No matter how much we might want it to happen, it just isn’t currently possible. There is currently not a single guitar that you can connect to a Bluetooth speaker.

To connect something to a Bluetooth speaker, both of the devices must be Bluetooth devices. Sure, the speaker might well operate with Bluetooth, but the guitar inherently does not have any Bluetooth capabilities.

In the near future, it is not outside the realms of possibility for there to be Bluetooth-supporting guitars – especially with the rate of progress toward wireless connection today, it might well be possible very soon.

Bluetooth signals are, however, rather imperfect compared to a wired connection, hence why the latter is so often favored.

Speakers are Amps

You can use a normal speaker like a guitar amp. You will, however, never have the same feel, especially since an amp provides so much color to the sound of a guitar.

An amp not only amplifies and produces the sound but also purifies it and offers you a wholly new sound, colored by all of the different transformers and (in some instances) valves – a speaker merely catches and forwards the sound, but that also requires some kind of amplification, to begin with, whether or not the amp is itself built into the speaker.

So, if you’re going to use a speaker as an amp, do not forget to get a DI box to provide a better platform for the signal and offer more options for improving it. A DI box helps to resolve any kind of unbalanced signal into something altogether more balanced.

Final Tones

So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are feeling ready and able to connect your acoustic guitar to speakers.

FAQs Can Acoustic Guitar be Connected to Speakers

Can you connect an acoustic guitar to speakers?

In general, yes you can play an acoustic guitar through any speaker. However, the speaker needs to be able to handle the power that the guitar is outputting – if the speaker is not able to handle the power, then it will distort the sound of the guitar, though this might be desirable to you. You can use a guitar amplifier to create a speaker or add a microphone to it to play music. The frequency range of an amplifier for guitar music is surprisingly very limited, which means that it cannot produce the same level of sound as a good speaker system, though this is, again, ultimately desirable to some.

Can I plug my guitar into a speaker?

Mechanical vibrations in guitars are converted into electric current by pickups due to the process of electromagnetism (the signals are so weak that they need to be amplified). Despite the fact that powered computer speakers do not boost the signal as much as they could, they still receive it. You will need a genuine guitar amplifier to produce the desired results or a preamp. The latter is certainly better than using a cheap guitar amp and is, in fact, a more cost-effective alternative that, with good speakers, can achieve a decent enough sound.

How do I connect my acoustic guitar to my sound system?

There are a few different ways that you can play guitar through your sound system. The most common way is to use an amplifier. You can also use a DI box or a guitar preamp. If you have an acoustic guitar, you can use an acoustic amplifier.

How do I connect my acoustic guitar to speakers without an amp?

One way to connect a guitar to speakers without an amp is to use a DI box (audio interface). A DI box converts the high-impedance signal from a guitar to a low-impedance signal that can then be sent to the speakers. This can be done by either using a passive direct box or an active direct box.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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