There’s nothing quite like the feeling of buying your first guitar — buying that perfect ax that you can finally call yours.
But buying that first guitar is no small decision. Several factors come into play when you buy an instrument that will guide you through the early learning stages of your guitar journey.
One of the most common questions that are asked is “should I buy an acoustic vs electric guitar?”
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the differences between the two types of guitars so that you can choose the one that’s perfect for you.
Similarities and Differences of an Acoustic vs Electric Guitar
Acoustic and electric guitars have important similarities and differences that will factor into your buying decision. Let’s take a look at a few of both.
Both acoustic and electric guitars are…guitars! No matter which one you choose, you’ll be able to learn to play the same songs on the guitar. Both styles have:
- Six strings
- Tuning pegs to change the pitch of the strings
- A fretboard
- Frets (the small strips that change sound intervals across the fretboard)
One big similarity (that some people might not want to hear) is that both guitars will take a lot of practice and dedication to learn. No matter which one you choose, you’ll need to practice chords, scales, and techniques to play on either one.
Now that we’ve covered the obvious similarities, let’s cover the key difference between acoustic vs electric.
Hollow body vs. solid body:Acoustic guitars are instantly recognizable by the large sound hole directly beneath the strings. This creates volume, resonance, and vibration to create a rich and beautiful sound without the need for any amplification.
On the other hand, electric guitars are typically fully solid and contain electrical mechanics to produce their sound. Instead of a sound hole, they contain pickups, which are metal components that “pick up” the vibrations of the guitar strings and play them through the amplifier.
Body size: Acoustic guitars are usually a bit thicker and bulkier in size. Electric guitars are flatter, but weigh more compared to acoustics because of their internal components.
Neck size and string width:An electric guitar has a thinner neck with less space between the strings and the fretboard. The strings are also located closer together. On the other hand, acoustic guitars have a thicker neck and further space between the strings and fretboard. Some people say acoustics are a bit harder to play for this reason.
Portability: Because of the natural sound amplification of an acoustic guitar, all you need is the guitar to bring around. However, an electric guitar will also need an amplifier, cables, and pedals to play.
Genres for Acoustic and Electric Guitars
Just about everyone can tell the significant differences in sound between an acoustic and an electric guitar. Both of them lend themselves to certain genres of music better than others.
If you have a favorite genre of music, that might be a good place to start when choosing between the two guitars.
Acoustic guitars are typically used for:
- Classical guitar
Electric guitars are usually found on:
- Hard rock
- Indie rock
Of course, this is not a set-in-stone list for what each guitar can play, but it’s a good place to start.
Pros of Acoustic Guitars
Both acoustics and electrics have pros and cons. Let’s first take a look at the advantages of acoustic guitars.
You Don’t Need An Amp
As mentioned earlier, all you need is the guitar to play beautiful music when it comes to acoustics. Just get your strap on and start strumming with your friends.
Easier to Fingerpick
If you’re a fan of bluegrass, classical, or flamenco-style fingerpicking, it’s much easier to do on acoustic guitars because of the space between the strings. Electric guitars make this technique a bit more difficult.
Easier to Practice On
This is more of a case-by-case basis, but from an equipment-based standpoint, acoustic guitars are easier to practice on because you need less to use them. This can help you develop your ear and practice what a note is supposed to sound like quickly and easily.
This can be a key factor in buying guitars for beginners.
Pros of Electric Guitars
Electric guitars are favored by many for several reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of electric guitars.
Control Over Volume and tone
Because of its electrical components and amplifier, plugging in your electric guitar will allow you to have great control over the volume and tone. You can change the treble and bass frequencies to find the perfect sound that you’re looking for. You can even plug in a headset if you want to have a quiet practice.
While most acoustic guitars share similar wooden finishes, electric guitars come in a huge variety of shapes and colors. You can find a design and color scheme that perfectly matches your style, which can be a key factor in choosing the guitar that’s perfect for you.
Many Types of Guitars
Not only do guitars come in several different shapes and colors, but different types create different types of sounds and feel. You can even find semi-hollow body guitars that give you a bit of the acoustic-guitar feel as well.
Which Guitar Is Best For Me?
When choosing between an acoustic vs electric guitar, there’s no right or wrong choice. It’s a personal decision that only you can make based on your playing style and preferences.
Choose the guitar that you want the most and that sounds the best to you. If you’re ready to pick your guitar, come check out our products today!