So you’ve decided to learn how to play the guitar, but like most beginners, you can’t get started because you are not sure if your first instrument should be an acoustic or an electric guitar. Most beginners are faced with this conundrum, but all you need is the right information to help you make the choice.
There are several ways to figure out which guitar to choose. It all depends on factors such as price, the genre of music, the playability of the instrument, or your reason to learn how to play the guitar. Here’s some information on acoustic and electric guitars to help you narrow down your decision.
Things to Consider Before Choosing an Acoustic Guitar
Going by the price, low-end acoustic guitars are a cheaper investment for beginners. The sound on an acoustic guitar is naturally amplified due to its hollow body. This makes it an ideal instrument to play on spontaneous occasions or during trips, parties, or outdoors. But, as you gain expertise, you may need an instrument that matches your skills, and a good high-end acoustic guitar can be expensive. 1
Since the appeal of an acoustic guitar lies in its natural sound, you will only have to focus on learning and improving the playing technique. Beyond your technique, the sound produced on an acoustic guitar mostly depends on the adjustments, materials, and make of its various parts.
If you are serious about learning how to play the guitar, some experts recommend investing in a mid-range acoustic guitar and having it set up to make it easier to play. Most beginner acoustic guitars cost less, but are known to be difficult to play. This can lead to beginners getting demotivated and quitting in the early stages of learning.
In any case, playability is a bit of a challenge on the acoustic guitar due to its size and design. Acoustic guitars have bigger bodies and wider necks, so it may take a while to get comfortable holding the guitar and getting your fingers to reach and press down on the strings. Acoustic guitars also have thicker strings which can cause some stress on your fingers at first, but it reduces with regular practice.
The music genres that can be played on an acoustic guitar are country, bluegrass, folk, swing, ragtime, blues, jazz, rock, worship music, and R&B, to name a few, and many of these genres are also compatible with an electric guitar.
Things to Consider Before Choosing an Electric Guitar
Electric guitars are usually more expensive than acoustic guitars.2 Essential accessories that go with the guitar, like amplifiers and cables, add to the cost. However, the ease of playing the instrument, combined with the wide range of sound effects you get to experiment with on it, trumps the cost setbacks.
There are many accessories that can be used to manipulate the sound of an electric guitar. The possibilities are endless, as each accessory can produce lots of different effects and change the sound quality in all sorts of ways. This makes the instrument hard to master but a lot of fun to learn. You can even plug the guitar into your tablet, phone, or computer to digitally enhance the sound with music production apps or software.
The instrument is also easier to handle. It has a smaller body, a narrower neck, and thinner strings. The strings on an electric guitar are thinner because the amplifier connected to the guitar picks up even the slightest vibration. Thinner strings are also easier on the fingers.
There are very few genres that are not compatible with the electric guitar. The instrument is good for most styles of music, such as electric blues, rock and roll, rock music, heavy metal music, pop, folk, country music, blues, and jazz, to name a few.
Final Words of Advice
If you are still doubtful about which guitar to pick, here are a few more things that may help you decide.
- Analyze your reasons for learning how to play the guitar. For example, what style of music do you like, what inspires you, is it just a hobby or a career, etc.4
- Acoustic guitars have a unique sound quality that cannot be found on other guitars1
- You can play almost all genres of music on electric guitars3
- Acoustic guitars may be harder to play initially, but it gets easier to play with practice6
- Electric guitars may be easy to play, but it doesn’t stop with the instrument. You might also have to spend time and effort learning how to use different accessories to create the sound effects you need.7
Regardless of which guitar you choose, it is common for learners to naturally transition to trying their hands at not only playing other types of guitars but also other genres of music. The only reason you should put careful consideration into the choice is to make sure you don’t end up quitting too early, as the wrong guitar can lead to beginners quitting too early. To avoid this, ask yourself why you made the choice to learn how to play the guitar in the first place, and it might help you make the right decision.
BYJU’S FutureSchool’s music curriculum was developed to empower the next generation of guitar players. It introduces children to the wondrous world of music and instills them with a passion that will last a lifetime. Through research-based teaching methods that range from live sessions to one-to-one challenges and interactive projects, kids learn to unleash their musical creativity in a fun and nurturing environment.
- JustinGuitar. (2018, April 1). What’s The Best Beginner Guitar? Electric, Acoustic or Classical? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m4H8aIsTBQ&t=612s
- Harper, D. (2022, April 1). Are Electric Guitars More Expensive Than Acoustic Guitars? Happy New Guitar Day. Retrieved April 13, 2022, from https://www.happynewguitarday.com/are-electric-guitars-cheaper-than-acoustic-guitars/
- Schiebel, C. D. (2022, February 14). 9 Types of Electric Guitars Explained (Most Common Styles). Guitar Lobby. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.guitarlobby.com/types-of-electric-guitars/
- Matthies, A. (2020, May 28). Acoustic vs Electric Guitars: Advice for Beginners. Guitar Gear Finder. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://guitargearfinder.com/faq/acoustic-vs-electric-guitars/
- Sandy, D. (2021, April 9). Can An Electric Guitar Sound Like An Acoustic? Sandy Music Lab. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://sandymusiclab.com/can-an-electric-guitar-sound-like-an-acoustic-guitar/
- Taylor, J. (2020, January 17). Acoustic vs Electric Guitar: 10 Tips You Must Know. National Guitar Academy. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://nationalguitaracademy.com/acoustic-vs-electric-guitar/
- Horsley, J. (2021, November 21). Acoustic vs electric guitar: which is better for beginner guitarists? Guitarworld. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.guitarworld.com/features/acoustic-vs-electric-guitar-for-beginner-guitarists