Once you’ve decided that you want to learn how to play the guitar, it’s time to make another important decision: acoustic or electric? Though they may seem quite similar, there’s actually a few differences that could help you make your choice.
You might have heard that beginners should start with an acoustic guitar because it’s harder to play than an electric so it will strengthen your fingers and hands faster, but this isn’t necessarily the best thing for everyone. In reality, playing a guitar well isn’t about strength as much as it is about control, and how well you can control your instrument. The best guitar to start with is the one that you are truly interested in learning.
Differences between Acoustic and Electric Guitars
- They require less of an investment. To play an acoustic guitar all you need is the guitar itself and a few standard accessories like picks and strings making them a cheaper initial investment.
- You can focus on the instrument. With an acoustic guitar there are no pedals, no distortion and no volume knobs to distract you from learning how to play the instrument itself.
- They are easy to pick up and play. When you store your guitar in a case or a stand, it is easy to pick up and just start playing. With an electric guitar you have to set up a bunch of equipment before you start playing.
- It is easy to carry with you. Whether you want to travel around the world with your guitar or just take it to the lake for some fireside tunes, an acoustic guitar is easy to pop into the case and take it wherever you need to go.
- They are easy to play. The strings on an electric guitar are thinner and closer to the fretboard than an acoustic guitars’, making it easier to learn the proper finger shapes and play the proper notes. They also have a smaller body and thinner neck so are easier to hold. The strings are also a lower weight so are easier to play than the thicker strings on an acoustic.
- The volume is controllable. Since the guitar has to be plugged into an amp to make noise, the volume can be adjusted both up and down unlike an acoustic guitar that only has one volume level. It’s also possible to practice while wearing headphones!
- They’re more versatile. There are so many cool effects and sounds available to you with the electric guitar, so there really is no limit to the kinds of music you can create.
Things to Consider When Choosing Which Guitar
You should be excited about your instrument
If you aren’t excited about the instrument you choose it will feel like work every time you think about picking it up to practice. In the same way, an instrument you are excited about will be easier to learn than one that doesn’t spark those same feelings. When your guitar is one you put thought into choosing and its one you really want to play, practice time won’t feel like such a drag and you’ll be more motivated to learn how to play.
Consider your budget
Though your guitar choice should come down to interest level first, realistically you may have to consider your budget, too. Choosing an electric guitar is likely to be more expensive than an acoustic one, since more tools and accessories are needed to get started. However, if your heart really is set on an electric guitar, it might be worth saving a little longer so you have an instrument you truly love to play.
Your first guitar is just that… your first
Regardless of which guitar you decide to start with, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll end up wanting to grow your collection and skills by getting another guitar (or 2!). So, choose well for your first one, and you’ll no doubt be facing a similar decision process with more experience the next time around.
After deciding your guitar type, it’s time for lessons!
Once you’ve decided which guitar is the right one for you to start learning how to play it’s time to get signed up for lessons. With a great teacher, you’ll be well on your way to strumming campfire tunes and starting a rock band in no time!