Learning Chronicles: Electric vs. Acoustic Guitar

Studying guitar and learning to play this beautiful instrument can be richly rewarding. Whether your preferences lean toward the sound of an acoustic guitar or electric guitar, there are some distinct characteristics of each. Let’s take a deep dive into the similarities and differences between guitar styles before deciding which avenue to venture down as you begin this musical journey.

Which Guitar Is Right For You?

If you’re making a decision about which is right for you, a few points should be considered first, such as your preferred sound or what genre of music is going to be the focus of study. Making these decisions will guide your direction for further exploration. Further, choosing the type of guitar that best fits the learning goals will be a motivating force that should inspire a desire to practice, which will be a critical component for student success.

Consider this, if you are looking to be the next rock guitar hero or play face-melting guitar solos, an electric guitar may be the best choice. But, if the sound of campfire folk songs or classical Flamenco music is preferred, the acoustic guitar is going to be the best fit. Let’s take a few moments to break down some of the key characteristics comparing these two types of guitars.

Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars are widely regarded as a good starting point for learning guitar, although this thinking is becoming somewhat dated. Factors that may give rise to this idea include the cost effectiveness, portability, and low maintenance attributes. While the learning content and technical aspects to play both acoustic and electric guitar remain somewhat similar, these peripheral considerations can influence a buyer when making an investment into learning to play guitar.

man playing an acoustic guitar

Regarding cost-effectiveness, acoustic guitars tend to be far less expensive than their electric counterparts. From more basic construction to fewer parts and pieces, the acoustic guitar has greater affordability to fit into anyone’s budget. Additionally, acoustic guitars do not require the additional accessories that electric guitars do, such as cables and amplifiers. The lack of accessories alone will save a considerable amount.

Maintaining an acoustic guitar is generally as simple as replacing the strings when they wear out and wiping it down from time to time. Without electronic components, acoustics are a pretty simple instrument to keep in good shape. Because weather can have significant effects on wood construction, it’s possible that some light maintenance may be required in the form of neck adjustments during particularly extreme seasonal weather conditions.

Portability is a very attractive component of acoustic guitars. Traveling with them can be very easy, and most fit nicely in the overhead compartment of an airplane. Additionally, the lack of pedals, amplifiers, and other electronics, make traveling with an acoustic guitar far easier than an electric.

Electric Guitar

For rock and rollers at heart, the electric guitar may be the perfect instrument to start with. Electric guitars tend to have thinner strings, a thinner neck, and smaller bodies, making them easier for beginners to work with. Since pressing strings down can be painful for some at first, this is a very attractive advantage over an acoustic guitar.

Electric Guitar

The ability to amplify and manipulate an electric guitar’s sounds can make for a more engaging and satisfying playing experience. Those who play electric guitars can also experiment with various pedals and sound effects which can enhance interest and encourage practicing.

Some additional perks to an electric guitar include the ability to practice unplugged or with headphones. Practicing or playing an electric guitar unplugged can be a great way to play the instrument without being too loud. Similarly, headphones can mitigate an issue with playing in a quiet space.

So much of the contemporary music we listen to uses phrasing and articulations that are unique to the electric guitar. While many can be achieved with an acoustic, the mechanics of the instrument provides a smoother and easier playing experience when looking to recreate many modern sounds.

The Winner: You!

No matter which style of guitar is right for you, possibilities are endless with this versatile instrument, and the team of amazing instructors at Forbes Music can help. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can provide guidance in finding the right guitar and the right fit to get you on the musical road to guitar success.