Music is therapeutic to the soul. If you love music and decided to learn to play an instrument, then congrats, you have made an excellent decision.
So, if you have decided to learn all about playing the guitar, then the next question on your mind is whether you want to play on the acoustic or electric guitar.
It is purely a personal decision, and it doesn’t help that there is a lot of wrong information on the internet. And asking your friends who have just started on some musical instrument does not help.
Acoustic or Electric Guitar? It is an age-old debate, and interestingly, there is no one correct answer. It would be best to answer the following questions before deciding.
- What type of music do you enjoy listening to? What kind of musical instruments do you want to learn to play even more importantly?
- In the early phase of your career, which one do you think you will enjoy playing on?
- Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar? Which guitar appeals to you the most? And which do you think will suit you perfectly, and you imagine yourself playing it on it for hours on end?
If you are undecided about whether you should buy an electric or acoustic guitar, worry not. In this guide, we will try to answer all your fundamental questions.
Indeed, no matter your choice, the first musical instrument you ever pick up is always unique. You are going to be spending hours on it. If you want these to be hours of bliss, then you should pick up a guitar that strikes a chord with you.
And of course, just like anything else, it comes down to practice. Practice makes perfect, after all. The more you practice it, the better you will get.
One of the worst things you can do is ask for advice from people over the internet. Each person will have their own opinion, the confusion you even further.
Some users opine that you should start with classical acoustic guitar as the strings are super easy on the fingers, while others say that you should be starting with steel-string guitar. Their reasoning?
It will toughen up your fingers, making it easy to keep playing all you want.
But this is not good advice, and you shouldn’t follow it. So what to do, you ask? It would be best to make an informed decision based on the information you have at hand.
The type of guitar you will pick up depends entirely on the kind of music you want to play on it. Are you a punk lover? Do you want to play rock music on it? Do you like the blues music genre?
Or are you someone who goes all crazy over metal music? If you are a good old country boy (or gal) who wants to play country folk songs on it?
Then the right guitar will play a crucial role in how good you play. After all, good, well-played music is a treat for the ears. A poorly played one is an ear sore!
If rock music is your thing, you will hate learning on a classical guitar. It will not only feel weird, but the music will be downright horrible to listen to.
Bold tones characterize rock music, and that is something you cannot get out of a classical guitar. Country folk music is great to listen to because it is soft and melodic and has a soothing quality.
For country songs, folk songs, bluegrass, or soft finger-picked ballads, only an acoustic guitar will do.
If you try playing these on an electric guitar, it will sound and feel horrible, and you may give it up as quickly as you pick it up.
Let’s delve deeper into what an acoustic guitar and electric guitar are, the similarities between the two, and how they differ.
What Is An Acoustic Guitar?
Acoustic guitars are super-friendly on the pocket. Not only are they easy to buy, but all you need is also a few accessories, and you can get started.
Acoustic guitars in the market come with accessories like Acoustic guitar and case, spare strings, a tuner, and guitar picks.
What Is An Electric Guitar?
An electric guitar is a type of guitar that allows you to play the music you can typically play on an electric guitar. You will need an amp, Guitar lead, Tuner, and Picks for using an electric guitar.
Both Acoustic and Electric share similar layouts, so let us see the fundamental differences between them.
Both Acoustic and Electric Guitar have six strings each. Also, the notes are the same. The scales and chords you learn on one can be applied to the other with minor changes in how you play.
The notes and chords are both purely because the fretboards on both acoustic and electric guitars are the same.
If you use a different tuning to your guitar, then the guitar chords will automatically change.
Let us look at what those differences are to achieve your best.
Acoustic guitars are more budget-friendly.
They cost anywhere from 100 Euros to 150 Euros. Some of the leading brands offering Acoustic Guitars include Fender, Yamaha, and Epiphone.
Electric guitars are way more costly than acoustic guitars. Since an electric guitar requires extra essentials like an amp, guitar lead, tuner, and picks, the cost will shoot up. If you get a starter pack, you can keep the cost down even further.
The way Acoustic and Electric guitars feel under your fingers is one of the significant differences between them. Acoustic guitars are big and bulky. And the strings can feel a little tight.
On the other hand, electric guitars are smaller and easier to hold. The strings, too, can feel soft under your fingers.
When it comes to the instrument feel, there are some very noticeable differences between the acoustic and electric guitar. The electric guitar strings are thinner, which is another reason they feel easier to play.
On the acoustic guitars, the sound is generated due to string vibrations. These vibrations will be amplified throughout the guitar’s body. For playability, the string gauge is a crucial factor.
When the strings are thick, the tension is more. It is particularly true when you bring the guitar up to pitch. It is this which makes it harder to bend a string.
If you are new to all this, you will find it very annoying. But don’t be put off just yet – the discomfort you experience will be temporary and will pass with time.
Did you know a variant of acoustic guitars- nylon-string acoustic guitars? Otherwise referred to as classical guitars, these strings feel soft under your fingers.
When it comes to acoustic guitars, the string tension is lower, which means to register a note, you don’t have to press down as hard. Electric guitars use relatively low string tension when compared to steel-string acoustic guitars.
Acoustics guitars have plenty of tones to enjoy from. They all sound pretty amazing when you hit the open G chord. They also sound great as your fingers hit the softest of melodies.
There is no requirement for any external amp either. So, the acoustic guitar is perfect if you want to play all your favorite tunes at your friend’s party or a close family member’s birthday bash.
The drawback? Acoustic guitars are limited to one sound; you cannot add effects.
Acoustic guitars are big and bulky. They are very different from electric guitars, which are slim and shapely. Since electric guitars are small, they sit on your lap comfortably.
It is not a huge worry if you are the one learning to play the guitar, but if it’s your kid who is learning it, then if he is learning to play on the Acoustic guitar, it may be a huge problem.
If you have a full-sized acoustic guitar at home, then he may struggle to reach the fretboard. If you are a short person, you may encounter the same problem.
In which case, you would do well to go with an electric guitar rather than an acoustic guitar.
Electric guitars look complicated because of the electronic switches present. The core features, though, remain the same.
Moreover, you can plug the guitar into the amplifier and play music on it while feeling like a complete rockstar!
Steel-string acoustic guitars are very hard to play in comparison to electric guitars. The nylon-string acoustic guitars are more accessible to operate than steel-string acoustic guitars.
It is because steel-string acoustic guitars have a higher string tension.
Which guitar is easy or difficult to play with should not be your concern. You should be thinking about which guitar is right for you and which guitar you will love playing.
While we admit that the electric guitar is easy to play on, especially if you are a beginner, it does not mean it is easy to learn. The ease of playing and the ease of learning are entirely different.
You can take to an acoustic guitar very soon after your purchase. It is highly improbable that this can be possible with an electric guitar. For acoustic guitars, you need a guitar and a pick.
The more time you spend on it, the fingerstyle guitar will be the ideal choice for you. Fingerstyle guitars are portable and perform well.
The acoustic guitars are a fuss-free option as it is just you and your instrument. You can do away with amplifier types, effects, pedals, high volume, etc.
Acoustic guitars are thought of as hard to learn because of the heavy strings. Also, the height of the strings being higher than standard electric guitars.
It is only in the initial stages, and then your fingers adjust to it. Replace the heavy strings with lighter ones if giving you any trouble.
Another advantage with acoustic guitars is that the space between the strings is wide.
So, you can learn some magnificent open chords with it. You can learn guitar playing techniques efficiently and double-quick time with an acoustic guitar.
If you have a musician in the making at home and want to start teaching him how to play the guitar, you should look for ones with short-scale distance.
A guitar’s scale is nothing but the distance between the nut and the bridge; if the space is short, young kids will find it all the more manageable. String tension comes down as well.
The small-bodied acoustics like parlor and orchestra-sized guitars will have a very superficial depth, so there is very little of the guitar to wrap your arm around.
Which One Is Best For Me?
If you are new to playing the guitar, you will feel some degree of pain or discomfort at the beginning. Don’t buy a guitar based on someone else’s recommendation.
Whether acoustic or electric, initially, your fingers may hurt a little. But with time, they will toughen up. And the more your play every day, the more your fingers will get used to the motion of playing the guitar.
Before you choose a guitar, don’t just think of the initial discomfort. Buy one that you can’t wait to play with for years down the line.
You can play any style of music on any guitar. But some guitars are suited explicitly for some types of music. Before you buy either of the guitars, keep this in mind.
Make a list of the music styles you want to play on your guitar. What music do you listen to? And what music inspires you and brings the best out of you?
You can look up live versions of all your favorite songs to see what guitars they typically use. Predominantly, if the music you listen to is played on electric guitars, then go with it.
Or if steel-string acoustic guitars are the guitar used by the musicians in the music you always listen to, then go with it.
Despite the much advice you may get about starting with 6-string electric guitars, if all of the music you love listening to is played on 7-string electric guitars, don’t make the mistake of starting with a 6-string electric guitar.
Although challenging at the start, it is the right choice for you. Try it before you buy.
See if it’s the right size for you, if it feels comfortable, whether the guitar stays firm when you play, how the neck feels under your hands, how high the strings are etc.
More importantly, it should be the right choice for you. The perfect fit so that you can enjoy playing on it for years and years!
After all, it makes no sense to learn on a guitar that is suited for beginners, then getting annoyed that it is wrong for you. Start on the guitar that is perfect for the music you want to learn.
Rest assured, you will never tire of it! With time, as your musical skills keep getting better, you may upgrade to a better guitar whenever you want.
Whatever your choice, we hope this guide will serve its purpose in picking the guitar you have always longed for!
Good luck with your musical journey!