If you’re up to learn to play a guitar, this is the question you have probably asked yourself. Electric guitar or an acoustic guitar? What to choose? Which one is easier to learn for a beginner? Or which one is BETTER to learn first?
Is acoustic guitar harder than electric?
Yes, it is. Acoustic guitar is both harder to learn and to play than electric (at the beginner level).
There are a few crucial reasons why acoustic guitar is harder for beginners than electric guitar.
Acoustic guitar strings are usually harder than electric. Acoustic guitar neck is wider. Also, the action height on the acoustic guitar is much harder to change.
Why Is Acoustic Harder Than Electric?
As it’s been said, it’s due to many reasons. Let’s go through each, one by one.
First of all, the strings. The strings on an electric guitar are both thinner and softer than the ones on an acoustic guitar. It is much easier to press on softer and thinner strings.
When you start to play an acoustic guitar, you’ll almost certainly develop finger calluses. Sore fingers are inevitable when it comes to learning a guitar. Electric guitar strings won’t cause your fingers to sore that much.
Barre chords are also much easier to hold on an electric guitar. I remember myself, learning to hold a barre chord on an acoustic guitar. Those were the days of struggle! Barre chords are something you just have to know if you want to call yourself a guitar player.
Electric guitars won’t give you that much of a hard time at first. The neck of the average acoustic guitar is wider than electric one.
Bending strings is easier to do on an electric guitar. That’s due to ligher gauges electric strings have. You’ll have to use more force to bend a string by the whole tone on an acoustic guitar.
Electric guitars are usually played plugged in. When you turn on the volume knob on a distortion, it will simply cover the mistakes you make. Playing on a distortion is much easier. Loud distortion masks your (eventually) bad playing.
Especially when you add various effects, such as wah, override and so on.
When I got my first electric guitar, I was still beginner. I remember myself showing off with loud distorted guitar. But if I was to turn off the amp and continue to play, that would become a disaster!
Electric guitar rings more when you play it. Beginner players struggle to pick the string properly.
When you’re unexperienced, the string is often muted, or not properly picked. Acoustic guitar simply doesn’t forget any mistake you make!
Should I Learn Acoustic Before Electric?
Yes, it’s better to learn acoustic guitar first. Before you learn to walk, you need to crawl first. To put it that way.
Playing clean notes the right way is necessary before playing them distorted. Or with any additional effect.
It is better to start harder than to start easier. Holding barre chords, picking the string properly, learning how to press the string – you name it. All of it is harder on acoustic. But the harder it is in the beginning, the more progress you’ll make in the future.
The same is with everything. If you want to loose weight, you’ll start to exercise. It doesn’t make sense to do exercises wrong. At first, it will be harder and it won’t be fun. That’s for sure. But that’s the only right way to do it.
That’s why it’s better to start with an acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitars don’t have any fancy accessories around. There’s no amplifier. There’s no whammy bar. You don’t get to play any of those fancy sounds.
That’s actually good. Why? Because without any of these, you’ll focus on your playing more. Focusing on playing right is crucial for learning a guitar. Not only guitar, but any other instrument as well.
Why To Choose An Acoustic Guitar First
There are other reasons also on why should you learn acoustic guitar first.
When it comes to price, you’ll get a higher quality acoustic guitar for the same price.
Also, there’s a difference in type of playing when you compare electric and acoustic. You’ll play power chords most of the time on an electric guitar.
On the other hand, you’ll have to learn to play open chords on an acoustic guitar. That’s better, because you get to learn more on an acoustic guitar. Open chords doesn’t sound that good when they’re played on a distortion.
If you take electric guitar first, you may not have the motivation to learn open chords.
The same goes with finger picking technique. When you play an acoustic guitar, you’ll naturally learn how to finger pick. Most of electric guitar players use only picks when they play. There are some exceptions, though, like Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.
Finger picking is really powerful guitar technique, and it would be shame if you’d not learn it.
Also, since the strings are bit harder on an acoustic guitar, you’ll get to train your fingers faster. Finger strength is something everyone needs to develop in order to play a guitar.
All of this does not mean that an electric guitar is easier to play in general. It’s definitely not the case. However, if you’re beginner, then it’s easier to play electric guitar, at fundamental level.
Electric guitars are as equally hard to play when it comes to pro level. Sweeping techniques, tapping, shredding, soloing – all of that is not easy to play!
Both electric guitar and acoustic guitar professional players put big dedication to go pro.
How Long Does It Take To Learn An Acoustic Guitar?
It really depends on you. It also depends on what your goal is. How good do you want to play?
Let’s say you want to be comfortable when playing a guitar. That means no troubles in chords switching. Smooth strumming. Also, you’d want to play a few rhythms without any problems.
To achieve that, you’ll need at least few months of regular practice. You do not want to practice from time to time. 4 to 5 times a week for an hour or two should be enough to reach that level of playing. Dedication and effort will always pay out in the future.
Is It Too Late To Learn Guitar?
No, it’s never too late. If you have enough motivation, you’ll always get to learn anything in your life.
However, most of the guitar players learned guitar when they were young. When you’re young, it’s easier to learn, in general. There are many reasons for that.
When you’re young, you are motivated more, in general. You want to prove yourself to others around. Also, you have much more free time to do anything.
When you’re older, it’s harder to learn anything. Less free time and less motivation are main reasons for that.
Still, that shouldn’t move you away from learning a guitar. Guitar is a beautiful instrument. You shouldn’t give up just because it’s “too late“. And it is definitely possible to learn a guitar later on in life.
Acoustic guitar is harder to play and harder to learn at first. When you’re a beginner, it’s better to choose acoustic over electric guitar. There are many reasons for that. Those are described up in the text.
I hope this article gave you the answer you were looking for. If you liked what you’ve just read, check out other posts also. Anyway, good luck in playing a guitar, and rock on!
Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles I wrote on this site!
Cheers, and rock on!