Should Your Learn Acoustic Guitar Or Electric First?

Published: 12th February 2010
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So, you've decided you like to learn to play the guitar. One of the most common questions people have is "Should I learn to play acoustic guitar first, or electric?". There really isn't a solid answer to that. There are pluses for either. Let's take a look at some basics about each so you make your own best decision.



An acoustic guitar is the instrument people usually think of when they think of the guitar. An acoustic guitar is hollow with a "sound hole" on face of the guitar. Acoustic guitars usually has six, sometimes twelve, metal strings. When you strike the strings of an acoustic guitar, the instrument produces a rather loud sound. These strings are hard on the fingers! This discomfort discourages many beginners. Acoustic guitars are used in just about all kinds of music including folk, country, blues, pop, and rock.



Electric guitars look different straight away. They are flatter and aren't hollow. There are knobs and buttons, and so it's a little more complicated. When you strike a chord, the sound is very quiet and that's why a guitar amplifier is needed.



Electric guitars are actually considered easier to play than acoustic guitars. The strings are easier to press down and easier on your fingers. The sore fingers experienced when learning how to play acoustic guitar generally aren't a problem.



The most important consideration is what type of music do you like to play?



You may have heard that you should start with acoustic guitar lessons as a guitar playing foundation. But if you're a rock fan and find acoustic music dull, you really don't need to learn acoustic guitar first. If you pick the wrong type of guitar, you'll be bored and unmotivated, and doomed to fail before you've started.



Acoustic guitars cost a little less. Electric guitars require an amplifier and cable and cost a little more. Whichever you decide on, don't go spend a lot of money at this point. Borrow a guitar, if you can. Or buy a used guitar. Check eBay, Craigslist, or Google "used guitars". You can trade up once you become more experienced.



Learning acoustic guitar has a slightly steeper learning curve than electric. You can learn to play something that "sounds like something" faster on an electric guitar. So if you are generally impatient, you might want to try electric. On the other hand, if you are daunted by knobs, cables, amplifiers, etc. you might lean towards acoustic. An acoustic guitar is more portable. With electric you have to drag around the amplifier, too.



Once you've decided on the type of guitar you want to learn and get a guitar, you can find a suitable form of electric or acoustic guitar instruction and be on your way to learning to play the guitar!



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