There is plenty of conflicting advice out there when it comes to learning to play the electric or acoustic guitar. Ultimately, the preferred musical instrument is going to come down to your playing style and favorite tunes. If you prefer to play the classical or country music, the acoustic is the right option. But for those guitarists interested in playing rock or metal, the obvious choice is the electric.
To help clarify, let’s take a look at the electric guitar vs acoustic guitar differences:
The electric guitar is built to be played with the sound coming from an amplifier. This means the guitar is typically too quiet to play as a standalone instrument. It works with the assistance of magnetic pickups. They are basically magnets with wire coils around them and located below the strings. When the strings are played, they will vibrate, which leads to disturbance in the area of the magnetic field around the pickup. The wire coils picks this up and transforms it into an electrical signal. This is passed to an amplifier which is attached to the guitar via a cable and turns the signal into the appropriate sound.
When it comes to the acoustic vs electric guitar for beginner, the thought of playing the electric guitar is the most appealing for many musicians. If your musical taste is metal or rock, the electric model is certain to be the only type that is able to make the desired sound.
They are typically built with the slimmer neck, lower gauge strings and lower playing action. This is certain to mean a lot less stress is put on the fingers. However, the placement of the strings is closer spaced compared to the acoustics, so the playing technique may be more difficult for the players that prefer the finger-style technique.
However, with the attractive prices of the low-end amplifiers it is possible to invest in a relatively inexpensive setup that still has the ability to generate a wide range of tunes.
While some people will say it is more practical to start out on the acoustic guitar because it has the ability the strengthen finger muscles and toughen the fingertips. But, a major thing to consider is the ability to stay motivated, so for many musicians this means going with the electric guitar from the start.
The electric vs acoustic guitar price difference isn’t too great – although it is likely to be possible to find a basic acoustic guitar at the most competitive price.
For the first one or two months of the learning process it can be quite difficult. The initial practice will likely hurt your fingers and you won’t be in a position to play any real tunes. If you are trying to play a musical instrument that doesn’t draw you in or give any type of buzz to start a practice session, then the obstacles can take over and lead to a loss of interest.
In order to maintain the buzz and excitement, many first time guitarists will look to start with the electric model. Motivation is everything to stay interested for the long-term.
- The ability to hold down the chords on the electric guitar is a lot easier
The electric guitar and amp combo has the ability to deliver a broader palette of sounds
- The neck width is liable to be short on this type of guitar
- The actual strings are a lot softer on the electric compared to the acoustics which means there is a lot less discomfort for the fingertips
- The light nature of the strings means it is easier to play barre chords
- The electric guitar doesn’t need to disturb others by simply plugging headphones into the amp
- Also, the electric guitar is a very cool instrument which enough of a motivator to keep practicing
- If you don’t buy a full package set up it will be necessary to invest in a decent quality amplifier as well
- Setting up the right tone isn’t the easiest for the complete beginner
- The ability to play a tune on the electric guitar doesn’t mean you will be able to do the exact same on the acoustic models
- Not a practical choice for folk music or other acoustic styles
Our top choice for beginners:
Epiphone Les Paul Special 2
A great introduction to the electric guitar scene is the Epiphone Les Paul Special 2 with its great tone and affordability. This stylish guitar is perfect for the complete beginner and includes a smooth 22-fret rosewood fingerboard, bolt-on mahogany neck, and mahogany body. The pick up combo – humbuckers 700T (bridge) and 650R (neck) help to deliver the very telling snarl and sizzle that you expect to get from the best electric guitars.
Even though the Les Paul Special 2 Electric Guitar is built with the beginners in mind it is still able to put out the high-quality and pleasing tones. It feels very comfortable to handle and has no problem in delivering a wide range of sounds. Plus, there is the option to go with different colors to match the specific taste.
This is a great starter guitar that will leave others amazed by the looks and sound quality that is produced by this little monster.
The acoustic guitar is played without a need to connect to an amplifier. Most of the acoustic guitars are built with an entirely hollow body and include strings with a circular sound-hole beneath.
The guitar is played by plucking the strings which vibrate and this leads to the soundboard vibrating. The soundboard is an important part of the instrument and is the flat top section of the guitar that has the circular sound-hole in it. This sound resonates in the body of the guitar to create a quite woody, full tone. Most of the sound produced by the guitar will exit through this hole.
This type of guitar is relatively simple with the option to pick-up-and-play with no need with extra equipment or hardware. Plus, there is the option to buy them at prices that are more attractive than the electric guitars – mainly because there is no need to invest in an amplifier.
However, there are a few factors to consider. The acoustic models compared to the electric guitars are likely to feature the higher playing actions (space between the strings/fretboard), higher gauge (thicker) strings, and thicker necks. A consequence of this is more challenging to play guitar. Also, the fingertips are put under more pressure and will need to toughen up to avoid discomfort after regular playing action.
Here are the pros and cons of acoustic electric guitar-
- If you are able to successfully learn how to play a tune on a steel stringed acoustic guitar, you will also have the ability to play the same on the electric model – this can’t always be said the other way round.
- The acoustic guitar can deliver the calmer and naturally soothing tone that is a lot less distorted with the amplified electric model.
- Acoustic guitars are ready to play with no need to invest in an amplifier, cables, or other hardware before you start to play. They only need the basics like a tune, a few picks, and perhaps a bag/case to get going.
- A perfect instrument for playing classical/folk music (although this depends on the actual guitar), while also a reliable option for most types of popular music.
- Playing the acoustic guitar is certain to be tougher on your fingers compared to the light strings of an electric. The first time players will likely last 20-25 minutes before needing to stop and rest the fingers. Absolute beginners will soon notice pain in the fingertips after the repeated process of fretting the strings. A good few weeks is needed for the fingers to toughen up with the development of calluses.
- The hard strings of the acoustic mean the process of playing barre chords or similar will be quite difficult
- The guitar has a wider fretboard which can be difficult for beginners to handle at first
- The build of the guitar is liable to be more brittle than the electric alternatives.
Overall, when it comes to the question of electric vs acoustic guitar for beginner, the acoustic guitar can make a practical choice if you aren’t entirely sure you will stick with it and want to spend the minimal amount possible to give it a go.
Is electric guitar easier to play than acoustic?
Learning to play the electric guitar is certain to be that much easier for the complete beginner. While it will be quite challenging at the start, the electric model is physically easier to play and learn with. Plus, it makes the most exciting musical instrument for many young and old guitarists, and is certain to help with keeping the motivation high while working through the many different stages to learn how to play the guitar.
It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to learn just the basis, so it is essential to invest in a high-quality electric guitar, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special 2, that will hold your interest and make it possible to overcome the different challenges as they arrive.