Acoustic Versus Electric Guitar

Before you make this important decision keep in mind that you can have both guitars ... eventually.

Close your eyes for a second and imagine yourself playing a guitar really well ... What type of guitar were you playing? The guitar that you pictured yourself playing may be your best choice!


Playing guitar is about having fun ... it's more fun learning on the type of guitar, and playing the style of music you love.

More to Consider Before You Choose Between
Acoustic Versus Electric Guitar

What kind of music do you want to play?

Music is written and played differently on acoustic guitars and electrics. Although it's possible to play any style of music with either guitar, each one has it's specialties.

Rock music primarily uses "barre" chords, which are played with your first finger pressing across all the strings and forming the chord "shapes" with your three other fingers. Electric guitar strings are lighter guage (thinner) than an acoustic's, which makes them easier to hold down. This makes barre chords easier to learn and play on an electric guitar versus an acoustic guitar. If you aim to learn rock or metal choose an electric guitar.

Acoustic guitar music commonly uses open chords which use some open strings and are played at the top of the fretboard. Most guitar lessons teach open chords before barre chords. Acoustic guitar is best for singing with. If you dream of accompanying yourself while singing, choose an acoustic guitar.

Acoustic Versus Electric Guitar ... Which is Easier to Play?

A common myth is that it's easier to learn on an electric guitar. The truth is that when you learn to play guitar it takes just as long using either one. Yes, it takes less finger strength to play electrics, however, there's more to learning guitar than how much string pressure you need to use.

A friend of mine learned to play on a high quality electric guitar, using the lightest strings he could find. He's a wicked shredder, but he can't play acoustic guitar at all, because he didn't develop the finger strength or toughness needed to play acoustic.

If it's too hard for you to play a steel string acoustic, and the guitar's action is good, you may want to try an extra light string gauge. Bring your guitar to a guitar shop to have them check which gauge you have on it.

You could try a nylon string acoustic such as a classical or flamenco guitar. It takes less strength to play them than steel strings which also makes them easier for kids to play. Nylon strung guitars have a softer, less metallic tone than steel strung.

!Don't put nylon strings on a steel string guitar, because they won't fit in the nut slots, the guitar will be much quieter, and the guitar's intonation will be off ... it'll sound out of tune when you play chords!!

What About the Cost?

A good beginner acoustic guitar and a good beginner electric guitar cost about the same, but, with the electric guitar you'll also need an Amplifier, and a guitar patch cord to connect them. A good electric guitar won't sound very good with a bad amplifier and vice versa.

If you want to use effects with an electric guitar this will add more cost.

Where are You Going to Play?

Do you want to travel with your guitar to the beach, the park, camping, play on your balcony or in your yard? Then an acoustic is simpler ... they're more portable, and louder than an unplugged electric guitar ... unless you also have a battery powered amplifier or a very, very long extension cord.

Acoustic or Electric Guitar for Children.

If you buy a guitar for a young child, you can get smaller size children guitars. Be careful though, some small kid's guitars need to be tuned at a different pitch than a full size guitar, and your children might develop pitch recognition problems when they're ready for a full size guitar.

Some good quality small guitars are tuned the same as adult guitars.

Get your youngster the type of guitar they want. You may like acoustic guitar better, but, if they keep bugging for an electric guitar, their fun factor might be missing and they could give up.

If your child wants an electric guitar you could provide an incentive. You could buy them an electric guitar and promise that if they keep playing for a specified length of time you'll buy them an amplifier; or, buy them a cheap amplifier and promise them a better one after they learn to play.

Hopefully I've helped you choose acoustic and electric guitars.

If you chose an acoustic guitar as the winner, check out:

  • How to Choose an Acoustic Guitar ... Basics. On this page you'll discover the different types of acoustic guitars and their preferred uses, quality basics, sizes, options that are perfect for you, how to decode guitar advertising and descriptions ... (you might think you're getting solid wood when it's actually plywood), suggestions and more...

Decided to Plug In? You'll find the following page informative.

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