LA School of Guitar

First Guitar: Acoustic vs. Electric

Acoustic vs. Electric
A question I’m often asked by beginning students is whether it is better to learn on an acoustic or an electric guitar. My answer is that it always depends on the guitar player. My advice is that you should choose a guitar you are excited to play. It should feel comfortable in your hands and make a sound you’d want to listen to. The bottom line is that the more inspired you are to play your guitar – the faster you’ll progress.  The type of guitar is not going to make you play better, remedy it’s the amount of time you spend with your instrument that will make you better.

What style of music do you love?
I often ask students who their favorite guitar players are and who they’d like to emulate. If your list includes names like Slash and Jimi Hendrix, cheap then I’d recommend starting with electric. If you’re trying to play rock and roll riffs and solos on acoustic, stuff it just won’t feel the same. On the other hand, if you’ve fallen in love with folk guitar and like to listen to Iron and Wine and other singer songwriters, then I’d recommend starting with an acoustic. Now go write down a list of your favorite 5 guitar players!

Personal Experience
As a child I started learning on my parent’s old acoustic.  It was such a bear!  The body was too big for me and the strings were so hard to push down that it made my fingers hurt.  I was still able to learn a few basic open chords on that guitar, but it wasn’t until I got my first electric that I really started to see my playing progress.  When I was 14 Metallica was my entire musical world, so I spent countless hours learning almost every one of their songs.  I was so happy to finally able to play with a “rock sound” that I probably practiced ten times as much as I did on the acoustic.

Additional Considerations
Keep in mind that with an electric guitar you’ll also need an amplifier to generate the sound or else you won’t hear much of anything when you play. I can’t stress enough how important it is not to skimp on the purchase of your amp. The type of amp you use has a huge impact on your tone. You’ll definitely want an amp that has a dedicated gain channel if playing rock music is your thing. Adding effects pedals or “stomp boxes” to your rig are also a fun way to change the color of your guitar sound. There are so many toys and related products to spend money on when it comes to guitar, but sometimes a new toy is just the thing to re-inspire your guitar playing. Really anything that makes you excited to pick up your guitar is a good thing!  


This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012, and is filed under Articles. The tags: , , , You can follow any responses through the RSS feed.
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