Should I Learn Electric or Acoustic Guitar First?

An electric guitar wailing through a stack of amplifiers as you channel your inner Jimi Hendrix makes for quite a compelling fantasy. But those soaring riffs might seem a long way off when just learning your first basic chords.

So should a beginner guitarist begin their musical journey with an electric or acoustic guitar?

Acoustic Guitar Serves As a Solid Foundation

For generations, the acoustic guitar has been the natural starting point for beginners. The acoustic guitar requires no cables, pickups, or gadgets.

Building Dexterity and Strength on Steel Strings

Standard acoustic guitars feature steel strings with heavier gauge and higher string tension than electric models. Greater finger pressure is required when pressing down, slowly developing “guitar calluses” on the fingertips. Some soreness and tenderness are normal at first. Acoustic instruments also benefit from thicker necks, encouraging better form by keeping fingers firmly on the backside of the neck.

This added resistance pays dividends for long-term growth. Playing acoustic guitar develops strength aiding fretting complicated chords

Transitioning from Acoustic to Electric Feels Effortless Later

Guitarists who graduate to electrics often remark how comfortable and easy playing feels by comparison. So starting acoustic makes adjusting to electric later on much easier.

Acoustic guitar player

Master Fundamentals Without Effects as a Crutch

The purity of acoustic guitar provides clarity in the learning process. Without colorful effects like distortion or reverb to mask mistakes, every finger squeak, buzzed note and muted string rings out plainly. This allows self-correcting in real-time. Knowledge of proper fingering for clean fretting sinks in more quickly.

This intimate connection with the true sound of strings and body helps to develop the ear as well. Honing it early allows for easily identifying tones and technique issues.

Electric Guitar Offers Inspiring Flexibility for Beginners

The main appeal electrics hold for beginner players lies in instant gratification. The versatile tonal palette available transforms simple chord shapes into radically different sounds. This freedom keeps motivation high, essential for sustaining practice in those early challenging months.

Comfortable Setup Lowers Physical Barrier

High string tension on acoustic guitars causes many beginners to press down too forcefully, tiring hands out faster. But electric guitars only require light fretting pressure to play notes cleanly. This makes longer practice sessions easier on undeveloped hands so building fundamentals feels less arduous.

electric guitar player student

Explore Sounds Styles With Diverse Amp Tones

One benefit electrics provide is inspiring sonic flexibility. Something as simple as a minor pentatonic lick sounds radically different across various amp voices.

This diversity keeps beginners interested by matching guitar voices to their favorite tunes they want to learn. Just be cautious effects don’t become pure distraction rather than learning enrichment.

Try Both But Favor Acoustics Initially

Many experts still advise starting out on acoustic guitar. Committing those early months to an unamplified instrument helps develop proper physical habits and ear training more effectively.

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FAQ: Common Electric vs Acoustic Questions

How Long Does it Take to Learn Guitar as a Beginner?

Depending on the consistency of daily practice, expect to get comfortable with basic open chords, scales, strumming, and songs within about 3 months on either electric or acoustic. Learning to play proficiently enough to jam with others or play gigs takes 1-2 years for most.

What Are the Best Beginner Acoustic Guitars?

We’ve compiled a list of the best acoustic guitars here.

What Are the Best Beginner Electric Guitars?

We’ve compiled a list of the best electric guitars here.

Should I Take Lessons or Teach Myself as a Beginner?

Self-directed learning from websites such as Breakthrough Guitar, YouTube channels, and method books is more accessible than ever. However, private lessons provide feedback to help prevent bad habits from forming.

What Are Common Beginner Mistakes on Guitar?

Beginners often press strings too hard leading to fatigue, ignore music theory/ear training fundamentals, overlook proper hand positioning, skip learning scales for songs instead, and attack advanced techniques prematurely.

Record practice sessions to self-audit issues. Staying mindful avoids reinforcing bad habits.

The choice between kickstarting guitar lessons on acoustic or electric comes with pros and cons for both. Keep exploring until you strike the right motivational spark. With consistent, thoughtful practice either instrument paves the path towards impressive skills.

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