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The most basic decision you have to make when you buy a guitar. Reasons for buying one or the other. Most people are happier with an electric, unless you specifically like acoustic music. Cost relative to quality is often about the same.

 The most basic decision you have when you're buying a guitar is whether to get an electric or acoustic.

There’s a belief out there, a myth in my opinion that you will be a better player if you learn on an acoustic guitar before you play an electric.

Popular recordings in the 1950’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s used a lot more acoustic guitar than more modern recordings. Early hard rock bands always had a few acoustic numbers. Also, electric guitars were more expensive. Electric guitars were more rare.

You can get a good-playing cheap guitar in 2017 for about $250. A cheap electric guitar in 1970 was  about $200 dollars. With inflation, that really means the price has dropped. And the ‘70’s vintage cheap guitar wasn't nearly as nice as what you can get today for about the same money, not adjusted for inflation.

Unless you are interested in acoustic music, I would recommend that you get an electric guitar. Dollar for dollar, they are probably a better value for beginners than acoustics. Electrics are not as delicate as acoustics.

You can also do more of your own maintenance on an electric guitar. It’s easier to make routine adjustments to electric guitars since most everything is either bolted, screwed or soldered in place.

Chances are, most of the music you like is played on electric rather than acoustic. I can't read your mind, it’s just the law of averages. Most of my music store contacts tell me that, for beginners, electric guitars outsell acoustic guitars hands-down. Especially at Christmas.

Guitar Amps

If you have an electric guitar, you will need an  amplifier.

For beginners, their are a lot of guitar and amplifier packages from all of the major guitar manufacturers. Most music stores will make you a deal if you buy a guitar and amp together. They will usually discount one or the other.

If you are trying to strike a deal with a music store, keep in mind that they don't make much money from their beginners guitar and amp packages. They're often loss leaders. In real life, sales people don’t have a lot of room to move in making deals.

Electric Guitar Effects

Younger players get bored with acoustic guitars because they can't imitate the sounds they hear in songs on the radio, or their iPhone, or whatever they’re listening to music through these days. Younger players really like effects like distortion and reverb, because it makes their guitar sound like the one in the song. This helps keep their interest going during the critical early-learning period.

Electric guitars techniques like string-bending are easier on electric guitars. Electric guitars are usually sold with much lighter strings than the strings they sell with new acoustic guitars. It is possible to set up you acoustic guitar so that you can use many electric guitar techinques.

See also:

Make Your Guitar Easier to Play.

How To Find The Right Guitar For You.


Electric or Acoustic Guitar

Copyright 2001 by Greg Varhaug. All Rights Reserved.

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