We sometimes have the tendency to forget that amps are not the prerogative of electric guitar lovers. Acoustic instruments have lots of advantages, but it's hard to play music for large audiences in big music halls with them. What can you do? Use an acoustic-electric guitar with its corresponding amp, duh! However, as usual, it's not easy to pick the right gear. Should you go with the iconic electric guitar amp brands or with a specialist?
With this in mind we asked our French readers to tell us which they consider the best acoustic-electric amps. And these are the results:
The conclusion is obvious, the poll was clearly dominated by a single brand: AER. Another acoustic-electric specialist with lots of years on its back landed the second spot: Schertler. Among the legendary brands who rule the electric guitar world, only Fender managed to make it into the podium, even if only in third place. Finally, the fourth spot went to Italian brand Acus.
1 – AER
Established in 1992, this manufacturer takes its philosophy from a very particular region in Germany: the Ruhr. Historically one of the most important industrial regions in Europe it has managed to keep surprisingly strong in the competitive globalized world. This is in part due to the outstanding capacity of the companies based in the region to adapt and innovate, and AER is no exception.
While the brand offers several electric guitar and bass amps, it’s obvious that it’s focus is on achieving the most faithful acoustic sound. To achieve that it relies on carefully selected components and speakers custom-made for the brand. AER’s catalog currently include about ten acoustic-electric combos with different power ratings and features, including the Monte Montgomery and Tommy Emmanuel signature series.
2 – Schertler
Like AER, Schertler is a specialist in terms of acoustic-electric amps. Established in the early '80s by bassists Stephan Schertler, the Swiss brand manufactures amps, preamps and DIs, as well as pickups. Right from its earliest days, Schertler has striven to develop technologies to replace the very limited piezo systems. Among the brands greatest successes are the STAT and DYN pickups, and more recently the UNICO and JAM combos.
Today, Schertler has a worldwide reputation and forms part of a well-diversified group offering mixers, guitar hardware and even double bass strings.
3 – Fender
Well-known for its electric guitar amps, Fender rarely ventures into the electric-acoustic world. It’s actually the only non-specialized manufacturer included in the top 4.
It offers three different lines currently: Acoustic Pro, Acoustasonic and Acoustic 100 & 200. All these combos carry the same ADN as their electric counterparts, featuring some of the same operation principles (especially the effects) and looks that the fans of the brand love so much. For several years now, Fender has been pushing its SFX stereo technology, which supposedly produces an exceptionally wide sound.
4 – Acus
The Italians from Acus are the Tom Thumb in the list. The catalog of the brand is very limited and is basically made up of the One combos — which clearly evoke Schertler products — and the Stage products for the stage (monitors, amps, preamps, etc.).
Regardless of the model, they are all manufactured in Italy and the speakers, cabinets and components are all tailored-made.