Should I Learn Guitar On An Electric Or Acoustic?

From elementary through high school you’ll normally get a choice of joining band, orchestra, or chorus. Each of these musical groups has a wide range of sounds to choose from, but not all instruments are represented in any of these.

For a student who wants to learn guitar or even an adult who always wanted to learn but never got the chance when they were younger, it may feel like the odds are against you.

Don’t despair!

It’s never too late to learn guitar, or any other instrument, for that matter.

But there are some things to keep in mind before heading to the local music store.

Is It Better to Learn Guitar on an Electric or Acoustic Model?

There are a lot of factors that go into picking the right guitar.

The first hurdle is deciding which type of guitar will be best for you to learn on [1].

An easy way of figuring out which option will be best for you to learn guitar on is to establish which style of music resonates with you most.

Do you find yourself listening to classic rock or heavy metal? If so, an electric guitar is probably what you envision yourself playing.

If you prefer more of a country twang or overall simpler sound, acoustic would likely be the best choice.

No matter what instrument you want to learn, the most important determination is what interests you most.

If the guitar you’re playing doesn’t excite you and create the sound you’re going for, it won’t matter how much you practice or how good you are. Choose the guitar that will give you the sound you want.

Learning on an Acoustic Guitar

Most people typically start with an acoustic guitar because the price makes it seem more “entry level.”

In reality, acoustic guitars are actually more difficult to master for a couple of reasons [2].

An acoustic guitar has a wide neck and large scale, which can be difficult to get your fingers around (especially for younger students).

The strings are also much thicker, which means players must press down on them harder to get the right notes.

In addition to this being difficult to do, it can also be painful if your fingers aren’t used to that type of pressure.

That’s not to say that beginners can’t or shouldn’t start with an acoustic guitar – on the contrary, it may be better in the long run.

If you want to eventually be able to play both electric and acoustic guitars, buying an acoustic guitar first will make it much easier when you switch to electric.

Learning on an Electric Guitar

For many people, the desire to learn guitar stems from watching their favorite musicians perform on stage.

Many of these popular groups and soloists play the electric guitar.

So it’s understandable that many kids grow up wanting to learn the electric guitar. And no matter how good they get at acoustic, the sounds just don’t compare to being plugged into an amplifier.

For parents and other housemates, the idea of a loud electric guitar practice session may be unappealing. But unlike an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar can be plugged into earphones, making practice relatively silent for those nearby [3]. Any parent of childhood drummers or violinists will understand how amazing that is.

But beyond the sound quality, electric guitars differ in that they’re very user-friendly for children. The neck and strings are thinner, which are easier for small fingers to work with and require less pressure.

They are also smaller and often lighter than their acoustic counterparts, which, again, is a benefit for smaller kids.

The main drawbacks of learning electric guitar are the higher initial costs and the need for supporting equipment like amplifiers.

Whereas an acoustic guitar requires little else to perform on stage, an electric guitar does require some setup and continued investment to get the right sound.

How to Choose a Beginner Guitar

Once you factor in your budget, the style of music you’d like to create, and level of difficulty you’re willing to cope with, you should be able to choose which option will be best for you to learn guitar with.

But the choices don’t stop there!

There are a lot of different types of acoustic guitars and electric guitars. What should you look for in a beginner guitar?

Maybe this video can help you how to choose:

Different Guitar Materials

Most guitars are made of wood, but different types of wood are often used. Some are lighter than others, while some are more durable.

Think about what will fit your needs best – something that’s light and easy to carry, or something that can handle being bumped around.

Different woods also have different sound qualities, so make sure to take that into account when making your selection.

The Overall Appearance

We’re all drawn to a certain “look.” Even if you’re just starting out learning guitar, it’s important to find something that appeals to you, and that you’ll be proud to show off.

The greater your pride of ownership, the more motivation you’ll have to excel as you learn guitar. Pick something that you want people to see you playing.

Guitar Accessories

Certain guitar accessories will make learning easier whether you have an acoustic or electric model. Things like guitar straps, finger picks, and carrying cases are important for every guitar owner to have on hand.

If you do opt for an electric guitar, you’ll also have the necessary electronic components such as pickups, amplifiers, and pedals. Make sure you take all of this into account when budgeting for your purchase. Having an electric guitar won’t mean much if you don’t have the electronics to go with it.

Your Guitar Budget

Realistically, this will probably be your first consideration. Once you decide that you want to learn guitar, the first challenge will be obtaining a guitar. All instruments can be pretty pricey, and guitars are no exception.

Think about how much money you can comfortably spend, and think about which guitar models and accessories will fit into that budget. Remember that you can’t just consider the price of the guitar by itself, there are a number of other costs to factor in.

If you really want to play electric, but can only afford an acoustic guitar – get the acoustic guitar and start practicing now.

It’ll take a while to master anyway, and by that time, you’ll hopefully be able to save enough for an upgrade.

The Best Beginner Options to Learn Guitar

Still interested in learning guitar and eager to take the next step? See which guitars are best for beginners, including detailed information about the pros and cons of each.

Once you’re comfortable using your beginner guitar, you can start researching the best intermediate guitars!

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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