Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar

Is it Better to Learn on Acoustic or Electric Guitar?

Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars

When shopping for their first guitars, new musicians often confront the predicament of whether to get an electric or an acoustic model.  They frequently ask me which is a better kind on which to learn.  The truth is it’s a matter of preference.  If you prefer strumming or fingerpicking mellow folk tunes, acoustic is the go-to.  However, if you like slamming out rockers and face-melting solos, electric guitar is a must.  Still, it’s a good idea to know what you are getting into no matter which you choose.



Acoustic guitars are great for strumming and accompanying the voice, which is where a lot of beginners start.  When you do get better, the wider gap between strings makes fingerpicking more accessible.  Acoustic guitars, obviously, require no amplification to play, so they can be taken and played anywhere.


The acoustic guitar uses thicker gauge strings, which can be difficult for untrained fingers to press down firmly.  This also makes more complex lead lines difficult to play.   Moreover, the neck is thicker and wider, which can deb harder to wrap small hands around.  The larger body can also be trying for smaller players to get their arms over.



The thinner strings and thinner neck are easier on neophyte hands and also make lead lines easier to play.  The lighter string gauge likewise lends itself to easier bends, vibrato and barre chords.  There is a lot to play with on the electric guitar, too.  Pick-ups can be changed to get a different sound and effects can be before the signal goes through the amplifier.


Amplification is required to hear the electric guitar.  This can get very loud and possibly obnoxious to family members.  You may also have occasional problems with the electronics.  Strumming open chords don’t sound quite as good and unless you have a microphone, your voice won’t be detectable over an amplifier.