There are many people out there who decide they would like to play the guitar but feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. One of the big decisions to be made is whether they should start with an acoustic or an eclectic guitar. When it comes to guitar lessons there is some good news here- either one is a great choice and you can definitely switch between the two because they are fundamentally the same! Everyone has their own personal preferences and learning styles so there are some differences that should be considered before you choose between the two in the beginning. Let’s look at some of the key points to consider upfront.
For many of us we will want to consider the money that will go into the learning process as well as the amount of space we can dedicate to it. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a lot more you need when you are committed to learning on an electric guitar. A guitar amp is one of those necessities specific to electric guitars- with acoustics this item is not necessary. Also the cord to plug your guitar into the amp is a must as well. This means you will have to have a little more space to dedicate to your instrument as well as a little bit more of a monetary investment.
Other than that you can consider most needs to be the same- some guitar picks, a strap, a gig bag. For the acoustic guitar many beginners consider using a capo- a small clamp that allows you to play your guitar closer to the body while altering the key you are playing in- but this is optional.
This seems like a silly consideration- but it’s actually helpful! Playing something you see your role models playing can inspire you to practice more. It also causes the music you’re playing to sounds similar to what you’re used to. If metal and rock ’n’ roll are your scene then an eclectic guitar will definitely steer you in the right direction! Acoustics are great for folk and country music. Use this to help you decide what feels right for you.
Similarities and differences
There are a few key differences and similarities that might affect how comfortable you are with your guitar that we will address here, as well as some aesthetics of the guitar you might be wondering whether to take into consideration:
- Shape- the good news is for the most part the shape is purely aesthetic! You may see some differences in tone with a more slender vs. larger bodied acoustic. More than anything you should consider sitting with the guitar and see what feels comfortable when you’re strumming and playing chords. The electric guitar might be more comfortable due to it being less bulky- but it is the heavier instrument of the two. Remember you can always switch to something a little fancier once you know you are going to continue playing!
- Strings- The strings on an electric guitar are thinner and more lightweight. This makes them a little less harsh on your hands when first starting.
- Neck and frets- The neck of the electric guitar is much thinner and definitely has an advantage if you have smaller hands.
- Convenience- This is a department where the acoustic takes the cake! You can just pick up your guitar and start playing (or tuning if necessary!) where as the electric guitar comes with plugging in, dealing with volume adjustments, feedback, effects and pedals, etc.
- Tuning- most 6 string electric and acoustic guitars are generally tuned to be in standard tuning- EADGBE. This is sometimes changed by the musician based on the music genre they are playing and personal preferences.
Deciding between an electric and an acoustic can be challenging, but take comfort in knowing it is totally your decision so you can eventually play the guitar of your dreams! Though it seems like some of these things make one option easier than the other, with practice you will be able to push through any of the speedbumps you might initially face and playing what you’re more fond of upfront will encourage you to put the time and energy into becoming a great guitar player.