Starting to Play the Guitar? Should You Go Electric or Acoustic?

Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

One question that I get asked frequently as a guitarist from a beginner, is whether they should start with an acoustic or an electric guitar. Most of the time when you ask this question you will hear one of two answers:

“You should start with an acoustic guitar because it is harder and it will help you in the long run by strengthening your fingers”

“You should start with an electric guitar due to its ease of play”

Essentially those opinions are true, but it leaves most beginners confused, so I would say it is a personal choice, and I will provide some reasons to base your decision.

Matter of taste

This is the first reason because if you don’t enjoy playing one or the other you most likely won’t progress or will quit playing altogether. It depends on your taste of music, influences, and purposes. For example, if you get inspired by Frusciante or Jimi Hendrix and want to learn their style of playing, playing on an acoustic guitar is not well-advised for you. However, if you want to play ballads around the campfire with your friends, an acoustic guitar might be better for you. There are all kinds of acoustic guitars, and most of them don’t cost too much. I recommend you check out guitar buying guides on websites such as GuitarSquid when it comes to anything guitar related.

Playability on acoustic vs electric

This is also an important factor that you should take seriously while choosing.

Acoustic guitars, like I mentioned earlier, are a little harder to play in the beginning, because first and foremost it is physically straining on your hands because fretting all day long requires some strength, however, you will learn the basics correctly and will notice your mistakes because there is not amplifier or some electrical wizardry to apply touch-ups to your sound.

Electric guitars, on the other hand, are easier to learn on firstly due to their lighter strings and their closeness to the neck, which in turn makes you progress faster, but there’s a catch. Because of their electric natures, pickup styles, and amplifiers, it is hard for a beginner to identify their mistakes. Another advantage of electric guitars is that you can plug your headphones to your amp and practice in silence, which cannot be achieved in an acoustic guitar and can be a problem for people who live in apartments, dorm rooms, or even just living with your family due to it getting loud.

Affordability and mobility

Last but not least is the issue of cost and portability that comes in to play while you are making a choice. For example, you can get a pretty good acoustic guitar in a budget and start playing immediately. But the cost of entrance for electric guitars is a little higher, even if there are a lot of decent guitars in the budget price, you should factor in the amplifier cost, which raises the entrance bar.

Acoustic guitars are also better if you plan on taking your guitar places, say to a house party or a vacation, just a gig bag is enough because they are durable. Electrics don’t work in the same manner though, because you have to transport your amplifier as well, and need to take better care of your guitar and be more careful overall. To conclude, I would like to say that you can’t go wrong with either, it just depends on your taste and budget, and either way, you will have to practice a lot, but the satisfaction, in the end, will be worth everything.

WE SAID THIS: Baby steps!

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