Acoustic or Electric Guitar? What Should I Start With?


Should I start with an electric or an acoustic? is a question I get all the time.  You or your son or daughter are about to take the leap into the world of guitar playing.  It’s certainly an exciting time.  You want to get off on the right foot.  What type of instrument should you purchase?  Lets start with the pros and cons of both:

Acoustic – Pros:

  • What you see is what you need.  Tune it up and off you go.  An acoustic is ready to go right out of the case.
  • It’ll make you work a little harder.  Acoustic guitar doesn’t have any buttons or knobs to get your “sound”.  The sound comes from your hands.  No mountain of distortion and or reverb can hide those mistakes only practice and good technique.

Acoustic – Cons:

  • It hurts. No worries, It doesn’t hurt that much and it does go away after a few weeks, but to a young student who struggles to get up the motivation to practice, why put another excuse between them and the practice room.
  • It’ll make you work a little harder.  (See above)

Electric – Pros:

  • It’s cool.  Lets face it, cowboys, super heroes, pro athletes, and a rock star with an electric guitar epitomize “cool” for a lot of young students.  This may be enough inspiration alone to keep a kid in their room for a few extra minutes of practice a day.
  • Easy on the fingers.  The string tension on an electric guitar is much less than an acoustic.
  • You’ll end up with an acoustic eventually.  Any serious guitar player even if they start out on electric always make their way to an acoustic.  Trust me.  I did, and know a number of players that did the same.

Electric – Cons:

  • You need more than the guitar.  An electric guitar isn’t much good without an amplifier and a cable. It also can lead to a stable of other toys and gadgets that can distract a beginner from the fundamentals.
  • It can be loud.  While this may not concern the student it may be something that others that reside in the same residence would care about.

While in my opinion if the student has no preference go acoustic (I value the simplicity most of all).  However if there is a preference the most important thing to ask is what inspires them?  If they’re a wanna be punk rocker,  metal head,  or any other maker of music that is best played on electric, than electric is the way to go.  On the other hand if the student has no preference or is dying to write a folk song,  play at your next campfire, play in a bluegrass band, or perform any other type of acoustic based music, acoustic is the best choice.  The bottom line is inspiration.  It is priceless.

Whatever you do choose, good luck.  You’re about to embark on a journey that has the potential to dramatically alter your life.  It did mine and I’m the better for it.

I hope to someday hear the wonderful sounds you make on your instrument.  Loud or soft,  unplugged or electrified, may it be your sound and may it be inspired!!


Any questions?  Feel free to call or email me.


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