What’s the Best Option for Beginner Guitarists – An Acoustic or Electric Guitar?

What’s the difference between learning acoustic vs electric guitar for beginners? Learn how to choose based on pricing, playability, & preference.

Beginner Guitarist - Acoustic vs Electric

The interest in guitars has risen since last year, as people started to look for joy and tranquility through music. In fact, LA-based guitar instructor Jensen Trani observed a surge in traffic watching his educational videos on YouTube and received an increasing number of students who signed up for private lessons. Trani believes that learning how to strum a guitar has become an exciting and therapeutic experience for his students.

Similarly, you can experience a lot of calm and joy from learning the ins and outs of playing the instrument. But before you get to the basics of learning the different parts of the guitar, you need to go through your very first lesson: choosing the right guitar specific for your needs. And often, that comes down to a choice between an acoustic and an electric guitar.

With all that in mind, here is a guide that will help you figure out which one is ideal for you through these important factors to consider:

Affordability and Ease of Learning

Acoustic guitars can be a more practical option for beginners. Besides, they are relatively affordable and simpler to use compared to their electric counterparts. And the sound is naturally amplified throughout the guitar’s body so there is no need for extra tools to get your instrument working.

On the other hand, electric guitars need more tweaking before you can get to work. How Stuff Works’ feature on electric guitars notes that you can only produce sound once the instrument has sent electronic signals to a connected amplifier and speaker. This means that the amp will be an additional investment and another subject to learn, on top of your electric guitar. Moreover, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with the effect pedals, pickups, and other peripherals so that you can create your preferred sound.

Playability and Comfort

Acoustic guitars may be much simpler to play, but they can be uncomfortable for beginners who aren’t used to their large build. Acoustic guitar necks are also much thicker, so it can be harder to grasp for beginners or for those with smaller hands. Although these are all things you can get accustomed to eventually, Guitar Station’s guide to guitar sizes suggests that it may be worth investing in guitars like the Earth 50 OP, which was built to have a smaller scale and body. The Yamaha JR1 FG is also a popular small-size guitar because it has a scale that’s 21.25” long.

Electric guitars produce sound through an external amplifier; so they have a less bulky build. Moreover, the necks on electric guitars are usually much thinner so beginners can easily wrap their hand around it and navigate through the frets with much ease. This electric instrument can be considerably heavier than the acoustic versions, but Adorama’s range of electric guitars shows that there are options with slim and lightweight bodies too, like the Squier Affinity Telecaster. The Ibanez S670QM also has a lightweight design, while still able to be more musically responsive than guitars twice its weight, so it can really come down to your model or brand of choice.

Music Preference

Of course, the type of music you want to play is an important factor in choosing the right guitar. Acoustic guitars will sound great for genres such as bluegrass, blues, country, and classical music. On the other hand, a solid body electric guitar will sound great for rock, pop, and also country songs. If you’re more into jazz, a hollow body electric guitar is the best option for you.

Choosing the right guitar is important because it can affect your learning experience. Keep your comfort and preferences in mind before investing in the instrument that will help you as you start your journey. And once you have your trusty instrument, head on over to Musicnotes’ guitar tab sheet music downloads to start learning!

Written by: Jess Brandon

For: Musicnotes