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Guitar Buying Guide: Acoustic vs Electric Guitar

Ah, the age old question. “I’m a beginner and I don’t know which Guitar to get – acoustic or electric?

Well did you know that electric guitar and acoustic guitars are tuned the same way, and everything is translated to each instrument exactly the same? The sound and style is much different, but they are the same more than anything! Ok, now we’ve got that handled!

So you’ve got a good question there. However, here’s a better one: “When I get through some lessons on the guitar and some experience – what style of music do I want to focus on?

So that probably leads you down a train of thought, doesn’t it?

I’m about to tell you something that may blow your mind:

YOU CAN BUY AN ELECTRIC GUITAR AS YOUR FIRST GUITAR!

I know, it’s crazy! What I find even more crazy is our society. Keeping this as guitar related as possible of course, we as a society believe that guitarists should start on an acoustic rather than electric.

This could lead me down a long train of thoughts such as: “Maybe you shouldn’t take advice from someone who isn’t a knowledgeable guitarist?” It’s interesting how we develop belief systems, even as a society!

But yes, the truth is you can start on electric if your heart desires such. Furthermore, there are positives to both starting on acoustic AND electric. Let’s take a look, but before that:

OVERVIEW OF THIS ARTICLE: For those of you who can’t focus long enough to read this whole thing:

I would recommend a classical acoustic guitar for mostly everyone, but especially kids and teens. These have NYLON strings, not steel strings so they are a lot softer on the fingers. Play on one of these for a couple of months, decide if you want to stay acoustic or go electric and take the plunge. Maybe while playing the classical guitar you’ll find a new love for flamenco guitar! who knows…

ADVANTAGES OF STARTING ON ACOUSTIC (STEEL STRING)

– Probably the biggest one is it’s hassle free. No amps, or cables or electronics to hold you back from focusing on the most important thing – playing the damn thing!

Easier to move around. It’s nice to be able to head over to a friends house, down to a park or beach with just a guitar and a bag.

You’re gonna buy one sooner or later! If you are as committed to guitar as you say you are, you’re going to end up with an acoustic guitar in your collection sooner or later. We all do! (I have 4!). Those acoustic guitar ballads you use to swoon your girlfriend just aren’t as romantic on an electric. But seriously, acoustic guitar just sounds so good.

It gives you man-hands. Now ladies, don’t be scared. For you, just make sure you trim those long nails back! What I mean here is acoustic is a bit tougher to play than electric. Acoustics are setup with thicker strings that are a bit rougher and tougher on the tips of your fingers. Are you asking: “So what’s good about this?!” Well, you can ask any of my students online or in person, I always say: “We gotta take our fingers to the gym!”. Guitar isn’t for the faint of heart. Especially any music that get’s a harder edge. Playing acoustic just makes your a bit tougher!

ADVANTAGES OF STARTING ON ELECTRIC

Wanna nail that classic rock riff or play some more modern heavy stuff? or maybe you wanna rock the FUNK out on some james brown or chili peppers or get some chicago blues going on. There are many styles that suit electric guitar so much better! I would recommend electric if rock (and every influence before and after) is what is inspiring you to play guitar, then get an electric and an amp and thank me later. Why would you get an acoustic guitar if you wanted to rock out? I’ll tell you why – it’s because that’s what we as a society have all come to believe regarding the purchase of our first guitar!

Electrics are easier to play Electrics are generally set up with strings that are up to 2 full sizes SMALLER than acoustic! What this means is they are smoother, more bendy and easier to press down and thus a little less taxing on the fingers. That sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it?

Versatility. If I were on a desert island and only had 1 guitar…I’d pick electric….WITH an amp that could have clean and dirty sounds. This way I could have my clean jangle jangle and then with a push of a switch I could rock out!

ACOUSTIC VS ELECTRIC RUNDOWN:

At the end of the day, it’s your choice and as you can see each route has some positives. It just depends on where your love of music lies. As long as you land yourself a good teacher to start up with, further on up the road, you’ll probably find that you’ll end up with several of each guitars, because that’s just what us guitarists do!

HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND? – Honestly? You want the real answer? As much as you can afford. Preferably something made in Japan, Canada, or the U.S. Yes you can get guitars for $100 and if that’s what you can afford then that’s what you gotta do! (just make sure to watch my video on having a suitable guitar)

Brand name guitars (especially ones that are 10 years old and older) hold their value as well. If you can invest $1500 in a 10 year old Gibson, decide you hate guitar and never want to look at a guitar and never read stupid articles like this ever again in your entire life – chances are you can sell it without taking too much of a hit on it.

Expensive guitars are easier to play (first and foremost) and sound better. I should note again here that whatever guitar you have – I would highly recommend watching my video on “playing a suitable guitar”

So there you have it folks! I hope I provided some helpful tips that will help you make up your own mind and not have me, or random opinions influencing you in one direction or the other.

Get out there, and keep on rippin it up!

-Will Ripley