Is electric guitar better than acoustic?

Is electric guitar better than acoustic? Or easier, perhaps?

I’ve come across this several times in my years of learning and teaching the instrument. Much confusion seems to have stemmed from the fact that most players start out with an acoustic and later learn the electric guitar.

It’s actually so common that some guitar teachers consider it a rite of passage to first learn the acoustic then move on to an electric guitar.

In this short article, I talk about exactly that and discuss if electric guitar is actually better (or easier) than an acoustic. Let’s get started!

Is Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic?

When I was first learning to play my first chords on an acoustic, I used to wonder if an electric guitar is better than an electric guitar. It has been more than 5 years since I first started playing, and so, I believe that I can shine some light on the topic.

playing an acoustic guitar
Player holding an acoustic guitar

If you are too lazy to read the full article, I will sum it up for you: Nope, neither of these two is superior, and both are amazing in their own domains. That said, if you want to play metal, it’s a logical choice to go with an electric.

The confusion seems to be because when a player actually moves on to an electric guitar, he already has the coordination and muscle memory needed to play arpeggios and chords and scales and songs (which is pretty much the same on both acoustic and electric guitars except for the fact that you need to be muting the strings on electric while you don’t need to worry about that on an acoustic.)

playing an electric guitar
Playing an electric guitar

Personally, I find it easier to glide across the frets on an electric but that’s most certainly because I’ve spent more hours practicing the electric guitar.

When it comes to a musical instrument, I think what’s more important is to spend many many hours mastering the craft. Progress is slow, and if you keep at it, whether the instrument is a kazoo or the dreaded violin, it will be super easy thanks to countless hours of repetition.

My Process Of Learning Guitar?

I have been self-taught for most of the process but if there is one thing that I am super happy about, it’s that I had an experienced teacher right off the bat.

That helped me develop good habits like practicing to a metronome and scheduling effectively.

What makes an electric guitar different from an acoustic guitar?

To tackle the question of whether electric is better than an acoustic, we need to first take a look at what makes the two different.

As you might already know, an acoustic guitar is usually made out of wooden pieces and has a resonating chamber fixed to a neck. The notes a player plays on the neck are then amplified by the hollow chamber. In a way, this chamber does most of the amplification when you are playing unplugged.

hollow body acoustic guitar
hollow body acoustic guitar

An electric guitar is a different beast altogether and is made out of wood too, but the characteristics of wood matter much less, if at all.

The quality of sound on an electric guitar depends on the hardware and electronics and not on the wood. Regardless, there are countless debates on which tonewood sounds warmer. If you are just starting out, I would suggest that you ignore all of that, and just focus on improving your playing.

Apart from the two generic types- electric and acoustic guitars, there is also a category of acoustic guitars that can be plugged into an amplifier to increase loudness for bigger venues. These ‘semi-acoustic’ guitars are a bit more expensive than acoustic guitars.

You are actually better off getting a fully acoustic guitar instead of a budget semi-acoustic one, simply because the electronics on these aren’t really up to par. What they use for amplification is mostly piezoelectric material, so it’s good for picking up strumming nuances as well as percussive elements. As such, many percussive fingerstyle guitarists prefer semi-acoustics or acoustic guitars (that they fit the piezo onto) for their style of playing.

Since these instruments produce sound in their own unique ways, their tone quality obviously differs. You cannot get the sound of an acoustic from an electric guitar (unless you are plugged into a thousand-dollar amp!) and vice-versa.

electric guitar sounds
electric guitar sounds

Even within the realm of acoustic guitars, there are many flavors- and a smaller scale guitar sounds different when compared to a full scale.

Final Thoughts

It all boils down to personal preference, really. If you think that you would enjoy learning on an electric, feel free to learn on an electric guitar.

If you would like to do what most players do (not that this is the way you should follow), you can learn on an acoustic guitar first and then move on to an electric.

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