Electric vs Acoustic Guitar Beginner Guide
Music has the power to change anyone’s mood instantly. It has the strength to help one overcome their sorrow, and it can also make someone fall in love. It can make you want to dance and can help you relax.
Just not listening to music, but playing it also can create a positive impact. And of course, it can even make you popular. This is why most people, particularly youngsters, nowadays want to build a career in music.
Though of course there are many instruments that you can choose, a guitar is the most stylish and attractive instruments ever. If you know how to play it the right way, you are sure to impress anyone and everyone.
But, as a beginner, a question running in your mind must be – should I play an acoustic guitar or an electric one? You obviously would want to know which among these makes a better choice.
Well, both electric guitars and acoustic guitars have their own share of pros and cons. Both are equally popular and loved and used by many. But we shall draw an electric vs acoustic guitar comparison, following which it will become easier for you to decide which will be the right one.
Before that, let us get to learn a bit about both electric and acoustic guitars.
Table of Contents
What Is An Electric Guitar?
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An electric guitar is a musical equipment that creates sound when strings vibrate over a pickup, and the vibrations are converted into electrical signals. These signals are then fed into an amp, and it projects the performance of the musical instrument at a wider range of volumes.
Pickups usually function with the help of electromagnetic induction. However, non-magnetic pickups also exist on some electric guitars.
Advantages of Starting With an Electric Guitar
Let us now get to learn why so many people love using an electric guitar.
Can Be Easier To Work With At the Beginning
Considering their general makeup, it can be easier to start playing electric guitars. Such guitars have lower playing action and slimmer necks. So, it will be easier for your fingers to adjust faster and play in a way a guitarist should.
Looks Very Cool
No, this does not mean playing an acoustic guitar does not make you look attractive. The guitar itself is super attractive, no matter which type you opt for.
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that many beginners dream of standing in a stage, in front of a huge audience, with an electric guitar in their hand.
Creates A Wide Range Of Sounds
When you just begin learning to play the guitar, the wide range of sounds might not create a big impact on you.
But, when you start gaining expertise, the great variety of sounds that an electric guitar offers may become the most important reason why you will be glad you opted for this equipment.
Disadvantages of Starting With an Electric Guitar
There are a few reasons why an electric guitar may not prove to be an ideal choice for you, including –
The Equipment Itself
Whether you plan to play an electric guitar in a group or solo, you need the right equipment. Now, this may not sound like a problem at all. But, if the idea of moving around with heavy musical equipment does not seem attractive to you, then you will also not likely enjoy playing it as much.
Electric guitars are heavier compared to the hollow acoustic guitars. So, you need to keep this in mind while making a choice.
Can Rule Out A Few Music Genres
Now, electric guitars can help you play some types of music amazingly well. And, if only such music is what you plan to play always, then there should be no problems at all.
However, if you like experimenting, and want to be a pro in all types of music, then there can be a problem. An electric guitar does not suit all music genres.
What Is An Acoustic Guitar?
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An acoustic guitar is basically a fretted musical instrument with a hollow chamber. Strings vibrate above this hollow chamber and sound is produced. The vibrations are carried through the air, and no electrical amplification is needed.
Advantages of Starting With an Acoustic Guitar
Before we head to the electric vs acoustic guitar comparison, let us get to learn what makes the acoustic guitar such a popular choice.
The Simplicity of Use
Acoustic guitars are very easy to use. They do not need any additional equipment and thus are convenient to pick up and play. This will prove to be very advantageous, particularly if you are a beginner.
Also, if you are among those who want to learn playing the instrument but the complexity of the setup comes in the way, then the acoustic guitar will make a perfect choice.
Even if you manage to steal a few minutes now and then, you will want to spend it playing your guitar.
If you are a beginner, and just want to learn playing the guitar, then the acoustic version will prove to be quite budget-friendly. Not that expensive models are not available, but low-priced ones too can fulfill the requirements of any beginner to perfection.
Though acoustic guitars are mostly used to play folk, classical, and traditional music, it can help you play other types as well. This makes it a highly versatile instrument, fit for all types of players.
Disadvantages of Starting With an Acoustic Guitar
Can Be A Little Hard Initially
Acoustic guitars have thicker necks and are wider. The playing action, in this case, is higher. So, if you are a beginner, then it can take a while for you to get the hang of it.
You can get those marks on your fingers, which are something that you will not experience as much when using an electric guitar.
Might Not Seem Attractive To Your Inner ‘Rockstar’
An acoustic guitar surely is easier to handle owing to lack of any extra equipment. Also, it is quite budget-friendly. However, that ‘Rockstar’ within you may not be satisfied with the image of it.
You may not like the idea of playing this instrument in a rock concert to create your rock god image.
Electric vs Acoustic Guitar – Differences and Similarities
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Now that we have a basic understanding of both the electric and acoustic guitars let us move ahead and learn about their differences.
If you use an acoustic guitar, you will not need any amps to be heard. When you travel with your guitar, you will only require to carry the equipment with you.
And, you will also need a case to keep the guitar safe and carry essentials like a tuner, picks, and so on.
Conversely, if you plan to play an electric guitar, then it requires an amp to be heard. So, you will be purchasing an amp, and also the cables needed to plug it in.
The amp perhaps may even have an in-built tuner and some controls to balance and change the sounds and effects. All this will make your guitar heavy.
As you keep progressing, pedals also may be introduced, and soon you will have a whole lot of accessories for your equipment. The collection will only keep growing as your interest develop. And, this eventually can prove to be quite expensive.
Compared to the acoustic guitars, the electric ones are much slimmer and also smaller in size. The size and shape of electric guitars do not have any effect on their sound, and so they can have a traditional or even a quirky look.
They may have flash finish and funky cutout options as well.
On the other hand, acoustic guitars come with a hollow body, and they are larger, wider, and thicker. Even their necks are wider and thicker than that of electric guitars. But, you can get them in many different shapes and sizes.
You can choose from parlors, and minis, to concerts, grand jumbos, and dreadnoughts.
When you play an acoustic guitar, you will enjoy an authentic acoustic sound and intonation. The hardware, strings, and tonewoods used can have an impact on intonation and resonance.
Whether you are strumming or picking, your guitar will always create that amazing effect.
As far as electric guitars are concerned, the sound that they create is versatile. As amp and other types of accessories are used, you can enhance the sound and add any effects.
The scopes you have concerning sound modification and expansion is almost limitless with an electric guitar.
Earlier, it was believed that acoustics are suitable only for country and to play with vocals. And, electrics were suitable for metal and rock.
But, with the advancement in music, there are no such strict rules any more.
Keeping in mind the kind of acoustic guitar you use it can have either steel or nylon strings. Steel strings for acoustic guitars generally consist of phosphor bronze, bronze, and brass.
Electric guitars, conversely, use magnetic pickups and need strings that have high-iron content. Various alloys can be used, yet the most common ones include stainless steel, nickel-plated, and nickel.
Can Electric Guitar Strings Be Used On An Acoustic?
It is completely true that beginner acoustic guitars are economical compared to the electric ones.
If you have a strict budget, then you can opt for a low-priced acoustic guitar and get started.
This does not mean you cannot find low-cost electric guitars at all. But they still can prove to be a little expensive compared to the acoustic ones.
Though the normal acoustic models are less expensive than the electric ones, the high-end acoustics can prove to be far more expensive than similar standard electric models.
Now that we are aware of the differences between electric and acoustic guitars, as a part of this electric vs acoustic guitar comparison, we also need to learn about their similarities. Some of the core features that are similar between these two include –
- The body
- The six strings
- The nut
- The headstock and tuners
- The bridge
- The inlays, frets, and neck
It is true that each of these elements may vary. But generally, when you keep an acoustic and an electric guitar side by side, you certainly will be able to observe many similarities.
When seen from a practical point of view, these similarities suggest that as a beginner you can use either an acoustic or an electric guitar to learn about the features of the equipment and how you can use it to make music.
Also, it suggests that it is true there will be new things to learn when you switch from either of these equipment to the other. But you will not feel like you are switching from one instrument to an entirely different one.
For instance, it will not give you the feel of switching from a piano to a flute.
So, the purpose of this electric vs acoustic guitar comparison is to help you decide which one will be more suitable for you. Well, to say one is a better choice than the other will be wrong.
But to decide the right one for yourself, you can weigh their differences, and understand the pros and cons of each.
You need to understand what the purpose behind you playing the guitar is. Do you just want to learn playing it because it seems attractive and is in fashion? Or, you want to pick it up as a hobby?
Or, you wish to build a career?
If you just want to pick it up as a hobby, then perhaps the ease of use and the ease of learning can be some of the factors to consider. However, if you want to build a career, then you need to be careful.
You need to think about whether you want to play rock and pop or traditional and classical. And, if you will play in the stage and rock the crowd or of if you want to play some nice soothing music in a cafe.
These factors will easily help you decide which one will make a better choice – electric or an acoustic guitar.
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