There are many debates in the music world, but few arguments are as passionate as the electric versus acoustic guitar debate, particularly among beginners. So, what’s the difference between them? And which one is right for you? Check out this guide to learn if electric guitars are better than acoustic guitars as we explore the pros and cons for each.
Electric guitars are not better than their acoustic counterparts. Unlike the latter, electric guitars are harder to tune. They are also more expensive and difficult to carry and travel with due to all the cables, amps, and pedal boards. These factors make them a secondary option for beginner musicians.
When you’re starting your musical journey, it’s important to find the right instrument to help you learn and grow. There are many reasons why acoustic guitars are better than electric guitars for beginners. Tone, weight, price, and ease of play are just a few of the reasons. Let’s take a closer look at each one!
Reasons Why Electric Guitars Are Not Better than Acoustic
While electric guitars are definitely cool and have their place in the world of music, acoustic guitars are still king when it comes to beginner instruments. Here are seven reasons why acoustic guitars are better for beginners than electric guitars:
Acoustic guitars are typically outfitted with fewer accessories than electric guitars because they rely on their natural sound, while electric guitars often rely on amplifiers and other forms of equipment to create their desired tone.
Difficult to Port
Acoustic guitars are lighter and easier to carry than electric guitars, making them a great choice for road trips and impromptu jam sessions.
The table below helps to understand the differences between the weights of the two types of guitars:
|Weight Category||Acoustic Guitar||Electric Guitar|
|Average Weight||2.5 to 5 pounds (1.1 to 2.2 kg)||6 to 12 pounds (3 to 5 kg)|
|Light Guitars||2 pounds (0.9 kg)||= or < 8 pounds (3.6 kg)|
|Heavy Guitars||6 to 10 pounds (2.7 kg to 4.45 kg)||= or > 9 pounds (4.1 kg)|
Acoustic guitars are generally more affordable than electric guitars, especially if you’re just starting out. They require less gear overall, and the parts that they do need (strings, picks, etc.) are relatively inexpensive.
Tuning is Tougher
Acoustic guitars are more precise than electric guitars when it comes to intonation (the ability to play in tune). Electric guitars can be more difficult to keep in tune, since you’ll be playing with a lot of distortion or other effects.
Does Not Train You for Other Guitars
Since acoustic guitars require you to use your fingers more to create sound, they can help you develop better technique and hand strength to play the electric guitar in the future. This can also make you a better overall guitar player.
Learning the Rhythm is Tougher
Rhythm is an important part of music, and any musician needs to be able to keep a steady beat. The acoustic guitar is the perfect instrument for this because it is very easy to create a consistent sound.
Though both guitar types require protection from weather conditions and wear and tear, the amplifier on an electric guitar needs additional maintenance.
What Are the Benefits of an Electric Guitar?
Electric guitars are a popular choice for many guitarists. They offer specific advantages over acoustic guitars, making them an appealing option for beginner and experienced players alike. Here are the main pros of choosing an electric guitar:
Volume and Tone Control
Electric guitars give users the ability to control their sound by adjusting the volume and tone knobs. This allows players to create a wide range of sounds, from soft and mellow tones to loud and metal ones.
Easier to Play
Electric guitars have shorter necks than acoustic guitars, making them less challenging to fret and strum. The strings on an electric guitar are lighter gauge than those on an acoustic guitar, which can make them easier on your fingers.
Whether you want a sleek and simple design or something more flashy and attention-grabbing, there’s an electric guitar out there that’s perfect for you.
How to Choose between Electric and Acoustic Guitars?
Apart from the benefits of the respective guitars discussed above, the table below lists some of the key factors to consider to make the best decision for your needs:
|Selection Factor||Electric Guitar||Acoustic Guitar|
|Sounds||More versatile in tones||Limited tones|
|Sound Effects||Can add sound effects pedals, but needs an amplifier.||Cannot add sound effects.|
|Genres||Hard rock, Blues, Punk, R&B, Indie rock, Funk, and Blues||Country, Folk, Singer-songwriters, Blues, Bluegrass, Classical, and Flamenco|
|Playability||Less pressure needed||More pressure needed|
|Playing Style||Hybrid picking, sweep picking, etc.||Fingerpicking|
|Body Type||Solid and heavy||Hollow and light|
|Main Shape Types||Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul||Dreadnought, Parlor, Jumbo|
Which Type of Guitar Is More Popular?
Though electric guitars have been around since the 1920s, it wasn’t until the 1950s that they became widely used in popular music. Thanks to innovators like Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix, the electric guitar quickly became the instrument of choice for rock and roll.
However, in recent years, the acoustic guitar has been making a comeback. Today, more people are playing acoustic guitar than ever before. The chart below is based on Statista studies and shows the increasing popularity of acoustic guitars over their electric counterparts in the U.S. from 2005 – 2021, with the approximate guitar sales in thousands:
Useful Tips for Buying a Guitar
When you’re in the market for a new guitar, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to get the best possible instrument. Here are a few tips:
- Check the body and neck of the guitar for any dents, scratches, or other imperfections.
- Inspect the tuning pegs and strings to ensure they are all in good condition and properly tightened.
- Play a few notes on the guitar to test the sound quality.
- Get a feel for the weight and size of the guitar to see if it is comfortable for you to hold and play.
Q. What Is the Sound Chamber in a Guitar?
- The sound chamber in a guitar is the enclosed space that amplifies the sound of the strings. The chamber typically consists of a hollowed-out body with a sound hole, which is usually covered by a pickguard. The size, shape, and materials used to construct the sound chamber all play a role in determining the timbre of the guitar.
Q. What Is an Acoustic-Electric Guitar?
- An acoustic-electric guitar is a type of guitar that can be played both acoustically and amplified. Acoustic-electric guitars are equipped with a pickup system that converts the vibration of the strings into an electrical signal, which can then be sent to an amplifier. This allows the acoustic-electric guitar to be played at a higher volume without sacrificing sound quality.
While electric guitars may have some advantages over acoustic guitars, they are generally not recommended for beginners. If you’re looking for a new instrument to learn, or want to upgrade your skill set, acoustic is the way to go. Once mastered, you will find it easier to move on to an electric guitar.