Can't hear my acoustic Guitar at Jam session

I attended a jam session on the weekend and found I couldn’t hear my own guitar over the other instrument and people singing.

I’m using an acoustic guitar without amplification as no one else is using an amp.

The other instruments were an accordion, 2x ukuleles and a mandolin. I don’t think it was the other instruments drowning out my guitar but more the singing.

My strings are Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 10 and I’m using 20mm and 75mm picks.

Has anyone got any tips on how I can change my setup to increase my volume without using an amp?

What guitar?

It could be about volume but it could be about fitting in to the acoustic spectrum

Thanks Rob - It is a Ibanez V205SECE

Simon, I think 10s is quite a light gauge on an acoustic and would have some influence on volume. You ciukd try 12s.

If you do keep in mind that you may well need to re setup the guitar, including truss rod adjustment to counter the increased tension on the neck and and maintain neck relief. If not familiar and experienced in working on an acoustic then you should get it done by a pro.

Also you will find more pressure required to fret notes, which may be especially noticeable playing barre chords.

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Whilst you can change your strings it’s not going to make that much difference to your guitar volume in an acoustic environment.

Probably a better thing to look at is where you are sitting I.e if your in front or close to the louder sound source then you’ll struggle to hear your guitar so move around so you are physically behind or further to the side of them.

Thicker strings, louder dreadnought, amp (probably).

Also, .20mm picks? That’s really thin. .75mm seems normal.

Congrats on attending a jam session with a diverse set of instruments and singing. I hope you had fun first of all.

If you couldn’t hear your guitar imagine what the ukes and mandolin experienced? Remember - the sound from your acoustic travels out and forwards so it is likely everyone in the room heard it better than you.

@DavidP suggests that gauge 10 on a dreadnought could be worth upping - yes, they are very light and will impact the overall volume.
@Rossco01 mentions room positioning and that is worth considering.
Room acoustics may also play a part but are beyond your control.
And, as @jkahn mentions, strumming with 20mm isn’t going to be very loud.

Another aspect could be finding your ‘sonic space’ in the mix. If your sound is not cutting through then think about using a capo to raise your overall pitch as it may be that your sound is sitting in the mid range which other sounds (the voices / accordion) are filling so is getting lost in the mix. Write the chord charts out to suit a guitar with capo anywhere between frets 4-7 perhaps. See this topic to help with that.

Are you absolutely certain. !


Those strings are for Electric Guitars not Accoustic Guitars. !



Yeah, they are the right strings. I had a teacher a while back who said he used these strings on both his electric and acoustic. So, I started doing the same.

Doesnt mean he was right.


I agree with @RobDickinson

These are for electric guitars and electric and acoustic guitars produce sound in very different ways.

Electric guitar strings are designed to interact with the magnetic field of the pickup coils to generate an electric signal.

Arguably, electric guitar strings should NOT have a strong acoustic sound as that will remove energy from the strings which would otherwise be going towards generating the electric signal.

For the same reason, the strings should not be transferring much energy to the guitar body. Electric guitar bodies (at least solid body guitars) are rigid to reduce sympathetic resonance, and to keep as much energy in the strings and coupled to the pickups as possible because that’s where approximately 100% of the the sound of an amplified electric guitar comes from.

Acoustic guitar strings are designed to resonate acoustically and to transfer that vibration to the guitar soundboard.

Additionally, electric guitar strings will usually have a lower gauge than acoustic strings, which will affect the setup of the guitar, and will have a much lower tension, which will have a big impact on both the setup and the ability of the strings to acoustically transfer sound to your guitar soundboard.

Do yourself a favour and get a proper set of acoustic guitar strings. That should go some way to solving your volume issues.




I can’t imagine why he would do that.
There are available to buy thin acoustic guitar strings but to put on electric strings is a strange choice.

100% this.


I guess they would have the advantage of an unwound G string (less squeaking), but outside of that I can’t think of any other upside but plenty of downsides. The smaller string gauge could cut grooves in the guitar’s nut.

If you are playing with other instruments the louder imstruments are always going to drowned out your accoustic. You are going to need to amp/mic your accoustic to stay in the mix. The vocalist will sing so the voice is heard above the instruments. You want to be loud enough to be heard but not so loud to drowned out the vocal. You can add a pcikup to your accoustic.