Why Does My Electric Guitar Sound Acoustic?

Electric guitars are wonderful instruments. They are versatile, interesting, and they can be made to sound completely unique. The joy of these instruments is their ability to use different sounds and tones, unlike the limited sonic spheres of acoustic guitars, but what if your electric guitar sounds like an acoustic one? How do you get your electric guitar to sound more like it should and less like an acoustic?

An electric guitar may sound like an acoustic guitar or sound too clean if there are no high-gain effects added to it. Acoustic sounds can come from acoustic emulation, so be sure to turn this effect off. Increase the gain and overdrive of your sound to create a better electric guitar tone.

Learning how to get a good tone from an electric guitar is challenging simply because there are so many ways to do so and so many different tones to achieve. However, the electric guitar should sound like an electric guitar, not like an acoustic one. Let’s explore the reasons why an electric guitar may sound acoustic and how to change it.

Why Does My Electric Guitar Sound Acoustic?

Electric guitars are incredible instruments. They can be used to generate and explore a wide range of tones and sounds, and they are more versatile than any other type of guitar.

However, when this type of guitar does not sound like it should, it can feel very frustrating. Some electric guitarists who are still not used to finding the right tones may struggle with an electric guitar that sounds more like an acoustic guitar. What could cause this problem, and what can you do about it?

An electric guitar may sound like an acoustic guitar if the settings on the amplifier are not dialed in correctly if there is an effect applied to the instrument by the amplifier or digital effect system, or if there may be an acoustic emulator applied to the sound of the guitar by mistake.

If you are playing your electric guitar through an amplifier and the guitar sounds like an acoustic, first check if there is an emulation, effect, or setting applied to the amplifier tone to create an acoustic guitar sound.

This feature is standard modern solid-state amplifiers, and to remove it from the sound of your electric guitar, all that it requires is to change the setting or remove the effect from the signal chain on the amp.

If the amp still sounds acoustic after changing settings, simply conduct a factory reset of the amplifier by following the manufacturer’s instructions, which should return all of the sounds back to normal.

If you are playing your electric guitar through a profiler or through a digital system on your computer, check that you have removed any acoustic guitar emulators from the signal chain that may have been accidentally applied.

If an emulator is present, turning it off or removing it will solve the issue.

Otherwise, if the issue persists, the problem may not be that the electric guitar sounds like an acoustic. The instrument may sound very clean and bright, in which case the problem is solved by dialing in the tone of the instrument and applying some different sounds to it.

Why Does My Electric Guitar Sound So Clean?

If you have found that your electric guitar does not sound like an acoustic guitar but rather sounds very clean and full of reverb, you may be wondering why this is the case and what you can do to change it.

Any electric guitar that does not have crunchy, fuzzy, distorted, or high-effects applied to it will sound very clean. This clean tone can be very useful for some musical styles, and every guitar player should learn to play their instrument with this tone.

However, an electric guitar may sound too clean if all of the gain control for the guitar is turned off, if the pickups are set to the bridge position and if there are no other effects applied to the guitar.

To change this tone, turn the gain up to about halfway or three-quarters on your audio source, switch to the center or neck pickup position, add some overdrive, and turn up the bass dial on your amp or digital interface.

This will change the tone of the instrument completely and generate a more crunchy, deeper, richer, fuller, more overdriven tone that will make the guitar feel more like an electric guitar and less like an acoustic guitar.

Changing these settings until you find a tone that you like is a great way to explore and experiment with the tones that your electric guitar rig is capable of.

How To Make An Electric Guitar Sound Right

Many electric guitarists who are still learning how to dial in their tone may find it frustrating when they cannot get their instrument to sound the way they want it to. Let’s explore the basics of electric guitar tone and how to get your electric guitar to sound right.

The electric guitar is a very mid-range heavy instrument. This means that the frequencies that it produces are neither particularly high nor particularly low.

For this reason, it is important to lean into this characteristic of the instrument and try to highlight this aspect of it.

To do this, try turning the mid-control up on your amplifier or digital rig. Turn the treble and bass controls down and dial them back in until you find the sweet tone that you are looking for.

Turn the gain control up until you hear it make a difference in the tone, add a very short delay with a very quick decay, and turn up some overdrive until you can hear the signal begin to break up a little.

At this point, your electric guitar should sound warm, thick, rich, crunchy, clear, and versatile. This is a good starting point from which to dial in other tones like distortion or heavy overdrive, or even fuzz and rock tones.

How To Make An Electric Guitar Sound Distorted

Electric guitars are so called because they can be affected by digital or electrical signals to change the way the instrument sounds from its output source.

This means that electric guitars are able to produce sounds and tones that no other instrument can, but some guitar players can have trouble finding these tones and getting them to sound good.

To make your guitar sound distorted, the simplest process is to increase the overdrive of the guitar on your amplifier or digital rig and switch the guitar to an overdrive or distortion channel.

If your amplifier does not have a heavier-sounding channel, then simply add a distortion, overdrive, or crunch pedal into your single chain.

The only way to make a guitar sound distorted without risking damage to your rig is to apply a distortion or overdrive effect. These effects increase the gain of the signal, oversaturating it, causing it to clip, and creating a distorted, heavy tone.

This tone is highly effective for rock, metal, and even blues guitar tones, but it must be achieved and balanced well to avoid being too overpowering.

How To Dial In Electric Guitar Tone

Dialing in electric guitar tone is a fine balance of function, practicality, sonic art, and unique sounds. Every guitarist has their own tones and preferred sounds, which means that there is no universal method for dialing in guitar tones.

With that said, there are some basic fundamentals that can be applied to all guitar tones to get more from them.

The best way to dial in a guitar tone using an amplifier is to find a setting on the amp that you like and want to improve. From this point, you can make some changes to draw the best tone possible.

Once you find the sound that you want to dial in, turn all of the dials on the amp completely off except the volume and gain controls.

Strum a chord and allow it to ring out, and slowly turn up each dial one at a time until you hear a difference in the tone.

Once each dial has been turned up to where you can hear it, you have the baseline frequency response of your amp and guitar combination.

At this point, keep playing your chord and increase or decrease the frequency ranges that you like or do not like. Take your tie to listen to the way your guitar sounds, turn up the thing that you like and turn down the things that you do not like.

This process will teach you how to dial in the perfect tones for your guitar regardless of which settings you use in your rig and will help you to refine your own voice on the instrument.


If your electric guitar sounds too clean or like an acoustic guitar, the simple solution is to change the sounds and effects that you are using with the instrument. Electric guitars can be changed to sound like almost anything, and there are always more options for you to explore.

Turn off acoustic emulations, turn up the mids, crank the gain and the overdrive, and you will find rocking electric guitar tones with ease!