Often times, there is always that small section in your band’s performance where you feel like an acoustic guitar would be perfect for just those few seconds. However, carrying and setting up an acoustic guitar every time for each performance just because you need to strum out a few tunes from it that barely last a couple of seconds, can be a time-consuming and costly investment for something that seems rather trivial.
Often times you or the guitarist will try to play through the acoustic part with a clean and modified electric guitar performance, but electrics cannot properly recreate the tonal brightness and response of a true acoustic guitar. Even electric-acoustic guitars are not good enough for the deed. So, what you should do is get an acoustic guitar simulator pedal.
These pedals are about as big as any drum pedal and are quite inexpensive compared to an actual acoustic guitar, even the cheapest ones. You can just plug these simulator pedals into the amplifier or mixer and turn a few knobs to recreate the desired acoustic guitar sound. No need to carry 20 lbs of delicate and costly luggage and set it up in front of a mic every time, when you have a simulator pedal.
Choosing a good acoustic guitar simulator pedal
Now, the next question is which pedal do you buy? We are going to help you answer that question by stating the points that you need to consider when searching for a simulator pedal in the market:
1. The simulator type: There are primarily three types of simulators out there- standard, jumbo, and piezoelectric. The standard models emulate the sound of a typical acoustic guitar, albeit with a rather average and underwhelming tonal response that is best kept limited to a couple of music sections or tones. The jumbo mode is designed to specifically stimulate a Super Jumbo or Jumbo acoustic guitar model, similar to the good old Gibson SJ-200 model. The jumbos have deeper bass, and broader sound, thanks to their larger bodies. These are best used for rhythm players. Next, the piezoelectric pedals are the most expensive of the lot and are designed to be attached onto your electric guitar. They have piezoelectric transducers embedded into the body that picks up the vibrations from your guitar string and converts it into an electric signal. These are designed to pick up direct contact pressure only, not air vibrations or magnetic fields, so you need not worry about noise and interference.
2. The tonal variation: Depending on what kind of acoustic sound you are looking for, the tonal variation abilities of a pedal can make a big difference. Look for a model with multiple EQ options that allow a lot of fine tuning, unless you plan on modifying the EQ with an amp or mixer. If you are looking for reverb control, try getting a model with a designated pedal that lets you modify the reverb so that you get a more natural and bright sound.
Now that you have a clear idea of what to look for, take a glance at some of the best acoustic guitar simulator pedals. Some of these are quite popular among studio professionals, live performers, and hobbyists.
Tomsline AAS-3 AC Acoustic Guitar Simulator PedalPro: Multiple operating options, along with standard and jumbo
Con: Lets of a noise when used with a compressor
One of the most affordable multi-mode simulators, the AAS-3 AC features three operating modes- piezoelectric, jumbo, and standard. Even the standard mode sounds acceptable when you couple it with the built-in true bypass and tweak the body/top controls. It will be powered by any DC 9 V adapter, although the pedal itself does not ship with an adapter. The sound quality is acceptable, although you cannot really expect much more at this price. It will do fine for home practice and even small stage performances at local venues. It is a great addition to the pedalboard of any hobbyist or learner who doesn’t want to spend on an acoustic but still wishes to get that distinctive sound.
Joyo JF-323 Wooden Sound Acoustic Guitar Simulator PedalPro: Sounds deep, has good bass
Con: No space for internal battery
The Joyo JF-323 packs a ton of cute little knobs on its compact 73 x 53 mm body, and with some twisting and turning, you can actually manage to make this super affordable box sound like a really expensive acoustic guitar. The device runs off a 9 V DC supply, although no adapter is included in the package. It does produce a neat, wooden guitar like sound as long as you tune that bass and keep the frequency response at optimal. There are controls for both highs as well as lows, so you can add super bright and sharp tones, as well as deep, moody tones to your performance.
Mooer MAC1 Akoustikar Guitar Simulator PedalPro: Multiple modes-piezoelectric, standard, and jumbo
Con: Small drop in volume, right when the pedal is engaged
Piezoelectric, standard, or jumbo- the Mooer MAC1 lets you choose from three operating modes. And it also includes a body size control knob so you can adjust the body size of your imaginary acoustic guitar to deepen the bass and adjust its tonal response. However the sound that you will get on your amp does not sound imaginary at all. In fact, it is as close as you can get to authentic acoustic guitar sound by spending less than 100 bucks. The device packs true bypass and is encased in a solid metal shell, so you can be sure of its ability to withstand falls and shocks.
Behringer AM400 Ultra Acoustic Modeler PedalPro: Extremely realistic and highly customizable sound
Con: May generate a slight noise when connected with certain pedals
Behringer does not play around with its sound quality, and the AM400 Ultra is no exception to that rule. It can make almost any electric guitar sound like a wooden acoustic, and the great variety that this pedal offers in terms of bass, frequency, and volume control, is simply unmatched. Its Real Sound Modeling engine uses the latest in digital signal manipulation technology, to perfectly emulate acoustic guitar sound in a variety of environments. Unlike most standard simulator pedals that only offer 3 operating modes, this pedal comes with 4 different operating modes- piezoelectric, standard, jumbo, and a unique bright mode.
Hotone TPSWOOD Wood Guitar Effects PedalPro: Realistic wooden acoustic sound
Con: No space for internal batteries
This is an authentic wooden pedal and its entire casing is made from thick, heavy metal sheets that guarantee shockproof protection to the delicate circuits inside. It is not wooden because it uses wooden parts, rather the circuits inside are tuned to reproduce the sound of a classical wooden guitar. That makes the TPSWOOD great for playing in churches, processions, or other places where soft, bright tones are needed- something only a wooden guitar can provide. The best part is that there is no noticeable noise or hum when you connect it to an amplifier, or use it in conjunction with other pedals. The only qualm we had with it, is the fact that there is no space for internal batteries.
Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator PedalPro: Can roll a variety of realistic acoustic guitar sounds
Con: Gain may result in a slight noise
The acoustic simulator from Boss has been the industry standard for quite some time now, thanks to its reliable and noise-free performance. With advanced algorithms and highly efficient digital circuitry, the AC-3 generates a smooth, yet deep and warm tone that is reminiscent of the Gibson guitars from the 30’s. It can be used for just about any situation, ranging from the church choir to a rock concert. One concern that some users may have with this pedal is the low hiss that it generates when you tune it up really loud on the amplifier. Otherwise, it works perfectly fine.