Electric Vs Acoustic
Which Should I Buy?
by Richard Freeman
Over the years of teaching guitar, I’m constantly asked the question: What type of guitar should I learn on? At face value, the answer would seem like an easy “Whatever you choose”, but that answer is detrimental to you development and chances of success on the guitar. This is an age old battle between instructors and salesmen at big box music stores. You might have even been victim to one of these scenarios.
Scenario 1: You go to the music store and tell the salesman, “I want to learn guitar, can you show me a good guitar to learn on? I really only want to spend between $150-$250”. The salesman with a smile says “I have the perfect guitar for you”. as he walks you over to the acoustic section and hands you a classical guitar (you know, the ones with the nylon strings). “This is right in your budget and it’s got soft nylon strings so it won’t hurt your fingers when you’re learning”.
Fast forward 2 months. How’s the progress? Did you see a teacher, are you still struggling? Do you see other people who have learned much faster than you? Do you have any calluses yet? What the heck is going on?
The above scenario has happened to my students so many times in the past that it became policy for me to stop letting absolute beginners start with an acoustic guitar. (More on this later)
Scenario 2: Johnny Axe goes and buys a new acoustic guitar (the one with the steel strings). He spends $600 on his acoustic and gets it set up properly. Johnny Axe takes guitar lessons for 2 years with Mike Average guitar instructor. Mike Average never realizes what Johnny Axe’s problems are and continues teaching Johnny at a rate so slow even a turtle could learn faster. After 2 years of playing, Johnny Axe leaves Mike Average and finds a new (And better) guitar instructor who convinces him to switch to the electric guitar. After just a few months on the electric, Johnny Axe can play things better than before, is learning new material faster and has tackled techniques he couldn’t learn on the acoustic.
End of Story
The above scenario actually happened to one of my students. She went to a guitar instructor for 2 YEARS with her acoustic guitar, and struggled THE ENTIRE TIME! Once she started guitar lessons in my studio, I convinced her to try the electric guitar. She was reluctant at first, but after she got an electric guitar and started playing it, she fell in love immediately and to this day hasn’t stopped telling me how much better she has gotten since switching over. In my years of teaching and networking with other highly successful guitar instructors, we have confirmed that beginner guitar players should be learning on an electric guitar. That’s right, even if you ONLY desire to play the acoustic guitar, learn on the electric first and then transfer over to the acoustic at a later date. The problem with listening to the salesmen at the guitar store is just that – They are SALESMEN, not guitar teachers.
The benefits of learning on the electric guitar first:
1. You will quickly overcome all of the hurdles you will experience faster.
2. You will feel more comfortable holding the electric guitar because of it’s slim body and narrow neck. The acoustic guitar is much wider and thicker than the acoustic, often leaving your arm hanging over the top in an uncomfortable position.
3. You will be able to press down the strings easier because of the lower string tension.
4. Your hands won’t need to stretch as much because of the narrow neck.
5. You will be able to apply effects that will give you different sounds! This is really cool!
6. You will be able to practice in almost complete silence. You can use headphones with an electric guitar, not with an acoustic.
7. Learning the dreaded bar chords will be faster and easier to learn on the electric guitar.
8. EVERYTHING you learn on the electric guitar can be transferred over to the acoustic guitar as well.
About the author: Richard Freeman is enthusiastic about teaching students how to play the guitar. Tuned In Guitar Lessons, Inc. is located in Kendall Florida (Miami) and has helped hundreds of students effectively learn how to play the guitar. If someone you know is excited to take guitar lessons in Miami, FL 33183, contact Richard Freeman today and make your dream a reality!