Acoustic or Electric Guitar?

Acoustic or Electric Guitar

Acoustic or electric guitar? I’ve heard this question a lot from beginning players – or the parents of beginning players! It’s an important question, and it relates to both goals and road blocks.

Let’s start with goals. Ultimately, do you want to play electric guitar? Then there’s no reason to begin with acoustic. In fact, progress is often slower on an acoustic guitar. Acoustics are more difficult to play. Sure, they’ll give you quite a workout if you’re an electric player! But it’s not essential to learn acoustic first.

While we’re on goals…is your goal to play acoustic? Then you may think you need to start with an acoustic. That makes sense. But I want to encourage you to reconsider. Starting on an electric will not keep you from being able to switch in the future. In fact, you may develop skills even faster on the electric guitar! This means that you can transfer the skills to acoustic after you’ve got better momentum.

So, let’s talk about road blocks. Acoustic guitars are wonderful instruments. They look and sound fantastic! But the string gauges are higher. That means that the strings are literally thicker. That also means that the strings are under more tension. And that means you get more resistance from them. And when you’re starting out on the guitar, it can really feel like they’re fighting you!

Acoustic guitars are also more expensive in terms of price-point to quality. If I buy a used electric guitar for $99 and a used acoustic guitar for $99, that electric guitar will be a better quality guitar. That usually applies all the way up the scale.

So, here’s some thoughts:

  • Electric guitars are easier to play
  • Electric guitars are usually better quality at a lower cost
  • Learning on an electric will not prevent you from playing acoustic

So, all in all. I’d highly recommend learning on an electric guitar – even if you plan on playing acoustic in the future. And for the worried parents and wide-eyed youngsters out there…no amplifiers are required! In fact, that’s my one caveat: don’t get into amps and pedals at first! Even if you want to play electric in the future, those items are down the road.

BTW, if you’re looking for tips to pick out your first guitar, check these out!

Or, if you’re certain that you want to buy an acoustic guitar, check out my review on the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy Acoustic (no affiliate sales here). It’s a real value!

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