Friday, March 8, 2013

Acoustic vs Electric: The Great Guitar Debate

Ah, the age old question. Should I start with an acoustic or electric guitar? Opinions on this vary greatly and there’s really no clear winner in the debate. Each type has its own unique advantages and every guitar player will likely play both eventually. 
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Start by asking yourself: what style of music do I want to learn to play? If you’re 15 years old and you want to learn to play some Linkin Park, well then, your best bet would be to start with an electric guitar. If you’re into Mumford and Sons, go the acoustic route. Acoustic guitars are best for folk, country and bluegrass while electric guitars lend themselves to rock and metal. Adults seem to migrate to the acoustic in the beginning, but before long they’re hooked and go out and buy an electric as well. If you pick a guitar that’s in line with the type of music you’re interested in, you’ll likely practice more often and thus progress quickly.


There are a few more points to consider. If you buy an electric, you're going to need an amplifier. So, you're adding expenses onto your initial investment. If you buy an acoustic, all you have to do is start playing. You can easily bring your acoustic guitar along on a road trip or camping weekend - there’s no need to worry about electricity or an amplifier. An electric is a bit easier on the fingers in the beginning. An acoustic guitar will be a bit harder on your fingers in the beginning, but your hand strength will develop more quickly.


Whether its an acoustic or electric guitar you’re buying, it is important to find a quality instrument.  That does not mean you have to go and spend hundreds of dol
lars on a guitar.  You can find plenty of new guitars and all in one guitar sets for under $200. They have everything you need in one box.  Craigslist is full of used instruments too. (Hint:  always check Craigslist towards the end of the month, that’s when you’ll find more guitars go on sale.) Check out a used guitar before you buy it--take an experienced guitarist with you if you're a beginner or unsure about the instrument.


There is no right or wrong answer to the acoustic vs. electric debate; it really just depends on what you want to play and personal preference. Go to a music store and try both to see which one you like. The chords and notes that you start off with will be exactly the same. Remember, guitar is the easiest instrument  to learn. So, go get yourself a guitar, find a teacher, and start playing.

Matt Brechbiel has been teaching students of all ages and levels to play the guitar for over 20 years. Book an online guitar lesson with him or visit him at mattbmusic.com

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