Looking to get an acoustic sound from your electric guitar? Great, then what you need is an acoustic simulator pedal.
Check out the following guide.
At a Glance: Our Pick Of The 5 Best Acoustic Simulator Pedals
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Buyer's Tips: What makes a good acoustic simulator pedal?
If you have never come across one of these pedals before, there are a few things you should look for when investing money into one.
- No matter what the manufacturer says, the simulator is just that: it simulates. The pedal will never sound quite the same as an acoustic guitar, therefore don’t have too high expectations. You’re looking for a pedal that gives a good sound, not too tinny and will sound almost as good as an acoustic.
- The simulator is a nifty method to save you carrying around an extra guitar. Therefore you do not want a heavy or large pedal causing you any annoyances. A simulator should be compact and quite light so throwing it in your backpack will not be an issue.
- Has the features you want. Simulators have various options to change the sound your guitar makes when played. Spending $100 on a pedal, only to find it doesn’t have a feature you want, could be extremely frustrating.
What features do these pedals have?
If you are a seasoned guitar player, you will be aware of what most pedals can do. By fiddling around with the EQ and other various knobs, you can create a multitude of effects. With an acoustic simulator pedal, they generally have a few modes such as:
Standard: This mode is the simplest (therefore the one I use most), as all it does is emulates an acoustic sound. Do remember, it will not sound exactly the same as an acoustic.
Piezo: The piezo mode creates a cleaner and brighter sound that would usually be found with a different pickup on the acoustic guitar.
Jumbo: For those that like a deeper, bass sound to their acoustics, this is the mode for you.
Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...
The 5 Best Acoustic Simulator Pedals
1. Mooer MAC1 Akoustikar (Editor's Choice and Budget Choice)
This little gem utilizes the three modes I have already mentioned in its compact body. Housed in a full metal shell, you can understand why the Mooer brand is considered so reliable. It’s compact size and weight makes this one of the more portable acoustic simulator pedals, perfect for any guitar player on the go.
- Excellent price, the Mooer product won’t break your bank account (always useful).
- Ease of use makes this one of the greater pedals out there, it has simple controls which means any beginner player can utilise its features.
- Considering it’s small size, it really does sound excellent.
- The switch can be a little noisy when turning the different modes on or off.
- It is a little quiet, turning up the volume does produce a tinny sound that can be annoying.
- There are better acoustic simulators for greater prices. Depends on how much money you have to spend.
2. Hotone TPSWOOD
This simulator isn’t powered by batteries, so consider that before purchasing. The zinc alloy plated cover makes the Hotone look pretty special in its design. Very simple looks and some big dials make this one of the easier machines to use.
- Has a very pure wooden, acoustic sound when played.
- Very quiet, have to turn up the volume.
- Light and easy to transport.
- Not powered on batteries, can’t exactly take this on a camping trip.
- A little more expensive than the Mooer. Factoring in that it doesn't come with a power supply unit makes this an expensive purchase.
- Pro/con: Absolutely tiny, I have lost mine a few times!
3. Boss AC-3
The Boss brand is extremely popular and one of the pedals you will most likely read about in any review of acoustic simulators. The AC-3 model has a range of tonal controls that will make any guitar player happy when wanting to adjust their sound. This model has all three modes as mentioned earlier, but also includes an enhanced choice.
- Durable design, the metal casing means you can drop it a few times and it will still work fine.
- Multiple outs allow for quick switching of effects.
- Gives a clean acoustic sound which is rather pleasant.
- Heavier than other models, this isn’t a replacement for your gym routine but it is heavier than other makes.
- Has a slight hissing sound no matter what mode you use. Got on my nerves after awhile.
- Expensive! This is probably one of the most expensive simulator pedals you can purchase.
4. AROMA AAS-3
I find this small piece of technology rather retro looking. Looking like it came straight from a 70s gig, the Aroma is one of the better priced simulators around. It has the standard modes as expected from an acoustic simulator, all encased within a full metal shell.
- Has 3 controlling knobs and 1 switch that are all accurate and highly sensitive.
- Great price, the Aroma is the simulator for those wanting the acoustic sound without spending too much.
- Has a pretty decent sound, no simulator can truly emulate an acoustic but the Aroma does it best.
- This is one of the heavier models, like the Boss it won’t affect you too much, but be aware of its weight.
- Powered by 9V power supply which is not included in price.
- Doesn’t have the best sound, spending a little more does get a much better simulated acoustic sound.
5. Joyo JF-323
With four dials, this pretty little number allows for complete control to dial in the exact tone you want. The brown interface is quite retro looking, the flip open box style is pretty funky looking. The Joyo is quite compact, making this one of the better models to grab instead of taking your acoustic.
- Has quite a wooden sound, not too much treble meaning there is little hiss or interference.
- Great design, I love the retro style and flip open box.
- Compact, great for throwing in the backpack.
- A little more expensive than other models of the same ranking.
- Pro/con: other people may hate the brown, retro design.
- Slim build quality, I dropped mine and it was never the same.
Phew, how lucky are you to now know what the best acoustic simulator pedals are out there? All five mentioned here hit some marks for making a great pedal. If I had to pick my overall winner, I would say it was the Mooer. For a reasonable price, it does give some of the best simulated acoustic sounds.
What pedal you buy really does depend on you. If you don’t want too spend much, I’d recommend the Aroma to get a taste of a simulator pedal. For someone who likes to throw their pedals in the boot of the car and need something a little tougher, the Boss is a durable beast that might be best for you.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this post and have learnt what the best acoustic simulator pedals are. Which one would you buy? Let me know below!
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.