Should I Learn Acoustic or Electric Guitar First?

The common question of which type of guitar should be played first can have many different answers, so here's our overall take on the conundrum:

When first starting out playing the guitar, the question comes to mind as to which style of guitar you should shred first. There are a few factors as to which one would be best to learn first. They are Body Size, String Size, Cost, and Inspiration. Let's take a deeper look into each one of these factors and what effect they have on your decision.

Body size is going to be our first element of the decision. Acoustics are generally larger than electrics, so it may be harder for a child or a smaller person to play comfortably. There are smaller acoustic guitars specially made for smaller guitarists on the market, but sometimes the quality just isn't as good as a full-sized guitar. Since electrics are slimmer, it makes it much easier to wrap your arm around the body and pluck the strings. Several brands manufacture smaller electric guitars as well as smaller acoustics.

Generally speaking, acoustic guitars should have a thicker gauge string to accommodate for the lack of pickups. Thicker strings are louder and have a warmer tone, helping bring out the rich acoustic sounds of an acoustic. These thicker strings require more pressure to be applied in order to make a sound. This can be annoying and sometimes painful when first starting out because your fingers have not developed the hardened skin called calluses yet. While it may be frustrating at first, eventually, the calluses will be developed and will make playing guitar painless, easier, and a lot more fun. Electric guitars usually have thinner gauge strings, which in turn are easier to play. The problem with this is that you will not develop the essential calluses as fast. This may seem more appealing to a beginner but in the long run, building those calluses is an investment in a way. By learning on an acoustic first, you are setting yourself up for success by pushing through the discomfort in the beginning. Plus, you'd be learning on thicker strings that require more pressure. If you learn a song on an acoustic to the point where you're efficient at transitioning notes and chords, the transition to electric will be as easy as can be!

Now let's talk about the cost. Acoustic guitars are usually quite a lot cheaper than electric guitars depending on the quality. While a nice electric might put you out $800+, an acoustic of the same quality would average at about $600. There are fewer materials involved in the manufacturing of acoustic guitars, therefore the cost of production is lower.

Inspiration is a key factor when getting into guitar playing. Influential artists like Kurt Cobain, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Rivers Cuomo, and countless others have inspired thousands to pick up the guitar and start shredding. The choice between electric or acoustic depends a lot on your favorite style of music and who inspires you. Music is such a powerful tool in the expression of feelings and emotion, and the guitar quite literally amplifies it. It is only right for these expressions to reach out and inspire those who are willing to pass them on.

So what's the verdict? Well, we would recommend that you first decide what type of music you want to play. Go with your gut and decide for yourself which instrument would make you happy. Next, go to your local guitar store and try out as many guitars as you want. Make sure to try both acoustics and electrics. It doesn't matter if you can't play quite yet, getting a feel for each one by plucking around and moving your fingers along the fretboard will influence your decision. Then, maybe take a peek at your bank account. There are cheaper alternatives to both instruments, but if you're going with electric, be ready to spend a couple more bucks. If you're still on the fence, start out with acoustic. They're cheaper, easier to maintain, and they help prepare you for electrics by teaching you the "hard" way. If that didn't convince you, maybe you should consider doing both. By switching between electric and acoustic guitars, you get a unique feel for both and have the freedom to explore virtually as many genres as you want.

We really hope that this article helped with your important decision. Check out more of our content to help you more and more throughout your guitar-shredding journey!


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