Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars – Guitar Studio
Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars

Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars

Acoustic vs. Electric GuitarsSo you want to play the guitar, but you don’t know if you should play Acoustic or Electric…
If you are a total beginner, and you don’t know if you should go with an acoustic or an electric, I’m going to recommend that you get an electric guitar.  Overall, I think that they are easier to play and you get a ton more sounds out of an electric than you do an acoustic, which keeps it interesting (for me anyways).  Also, its easier to hear if you are doing things correctly or incorrectly because the mistakes will be amplified.  This is not a bad thing.  If you’re learning, then you want to make sure you are rehearsing your chords and riffs properly, or muscle memory will set on the incorrect playing, and that’s a bad thing…
Now, If you’ve already decided that you want an Acoustic Guitar, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  Always do what makes you happy!!  I love my acoustic guitar, but I’m recommending this purely from the point of view of the undecided beginner.
So, lets go over the pros and cons of each and I’ll try to give you my opinion on why…
Acoustic Guitars:
  • Pros:
    • Easy to transport – 1 guitar and 1 case.  The tuner, strap, and pics should fit in the case.
    • You don’t need an amplifier – One less thing to buy and maintain.
    • The clean sound is very dynamic and expressive – You only have to pick harder or softer to change the volume.
  • Cons:
    • Really only 1 volume level – On a scale of: Quiet, Normal, Loud, and OMG Loud, the Acoustic is Normal.  You can play very very lightly if you need to be really quiet, but you can still play quieter on an Electric Guitar.
    • Harder to play – The String Gauge is typically thicker so it will be harder to Fret the strings when you play Chords.  It will also be harder to Solo because there are typically 4 “wound” strings instead of 3. (see String Gauge below.)  This will make it harder to Bend the strings.
    • Bulkier – Compared to an Electric guitar, an Acoustic guitar is bulky.
    • Harder to tune with a tuner – There is no cable to plug into the tuner so you need to use the microphone on the tuner itself. (Or get a hand-held microphone and plug it into the tuner.)  Either way the room noises can interfere with the tuner and the tuner may not be able to “hear” the guitar.
    • Only one sound. – Compared to the Electric Guitar, there is really only 1 sound…  Clean.
Electric Guitars:
  • Pros:
    • Easier to play – You can put very light Gauge strings on your guitar so it’s easier for you to learn. (9s, 8s, or even 7s!)
    • Less bulky than an Acoustic – Relatively speaking, an Electric Guitar Body is smaller than an Acoustic Guitar Body.
    • You can get just about any shape you want – Electric Guitars come in all shapes and styles and they just plain look cool!
    • Many different volume levels – If you play your Electric Guitar unplugged (without the amplifier) then it can actually be quieter than the Acoustic Guitar.  And depending on how big your Amplifier is, you can go from Normal, to Loud, to OMG Loud, to OMGWTF LOUD!!
    • Many different sounds – Distortion Pedals!  Overdrive Pedals!  Wah Pedals!  Phaser Pedals!  Flanger Pedals!  Chorus Pedals!  The list goes on…  You can customize your sound however you want…
    • Easier to tune with a Tuner – Just plug your guitar into the tuner with a cable.
    • Whammy Bars! – Whammy bars are fun!  However, they can also be a con.  They make it very difficult to put new strings on a guitar.
  • Cons:
    • Harder to transport – 1 guitar, 1 case, 1 amplifier, and 1 cable.  Tuner, Strap, Pics don’t all fit in my case.  If you have a small amplifier, it’s not so much of a big deal.  But if you have a Halfstack like me.  It’s a workout.
    • Can be played VERY LOUD – Depending on the size of the Amplifier.  (This is listed as a con, because it’s all fun and games ’till the cops get called lol.)
    • Amplifier needed – Is this a pro or a con?  I love my Amplifer!  I don’t like dragging it around with me though, because it’s big and bulky and heavy.  But when I have it setup, it’s completely awesome!  However, playing without an amplifier means that nobody can really hear you…  Sometimes you can’t hear yourself…
    • Electricity Needed – Either plugged in to the wall or battery powered…

More Topics On How To Buy A Guitar For Beginners:

  • Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars – What should you get if you don’t really know what you want?
  • Guitar Body Size and Shape -There are many sizes out there.  Make sure you get a guitar that’s comfortable for you.
  • String Scale – This is the length of the Fretboard.  It determines how far apart the Frets are.
  • Nut Width – or (Width of the Fretboard) – This determines how wide the Neck will be.  Wider Necks are typically better for larger hands.
  • Fretboard Action – or (String Height) – This is how high the Strings are off of the Frets.  The higher the String the harder to play.
  • String Gauge – or (String Tension) – Thicker Strings will be harder to play than thinner strings.
  • Fret Buzzing – (When the strings make a “buzzing” noise) – And what causes this:
    • Action Too Low
    • Truss Rod Tension
    • Worn Frets
  • Also Worth a mention – (But not in detail) – These are advanced subjects for a beginner, so I will not dive in with too much detail.  I’ll just give an overview so you are aware of them.
    • String Intonation. – You tuned up your guitar with the tuner but your Chords still sound out of tune?
    • Fretboard Radius – The slight curve on top of your Fretboard, and why it’s curved.
    • Neck Profile – or (Neck Shape) – The back of the neck (where your thumb goes) also comes in different shapes.
    • Fret Size – The “metal strips” on the fretboard also come in different sizes.

One Response to Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars

  1. Brian Baker says:

    I really love this post man. So informative and down to earth. I especially dig the amplifier listed as a con. Everyone thinks BIG when they imagine playing guitar. Almost nobody thinks, ” wait, now I need a truck to haul this full stack!” right on man! Makes me think maybe a hi gain, low watt tube amp might be a better choice IF im going with an electric. Take care Gil!

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