For a beginning guitarist, the difference between and acoustic and an electric guitar may not appear to be so obvious. I mean, they both have six strings and frets right, so why should you have to choose?
Well, the main difference between the two instruments is that making your decision will set the course for whatever style of music and career you may engage in from then on. Here are some detailed differences between acoustic and electric guitars.
1. There’s a difference in playing precision needed.
With electric guitars, due to the distortion and effects available, the amount of precision to make a guitar riff sound good is less. When playing on an acoustic guitar, the tones are very pure and mistakes can be heard much easier. Acoustic guitars are good to start with since they allow the player to know what skills and talents need to be improved upon.
2. Obviously, they’re made of different materials.
With acoustic guitars, the instrument is usually made up of mostly wood. There might be a plastic back depending on the model, but the amount of electronics used is minimal or non-existent.
For electric guitars, the materials used can be wood, metal, and quite a few electronic pieces installed throughout. Either way, you should keep some consistent maintenance on the instrument you choose.
3. The craftsmanship of the instrument varies.
Personally, I believe that in order to make an instrument that requires a very delicate and powerful natural reverberation like an acoustic guitar, a certain amount of audio physics and engineering is required. For that reason, I believe the acoustic needs a better craftsman to produce, whereas electric guitars can be poorly made but output decent tones due to the accompanying equipment and accessories.
4. One is slightly more difficult to play chords over the other.
Certain electric guitars are made to be played very easy and fast. The frets are lower and the strings are placed very close to the guitar neck.
However, acoustic guitars are known to really “whip your fingers into shape” with how much effort needs to be used for pressing down chords. I’m not saying it’s unbearable, but there’s definitely a difference between the two guitars.
5. Playing by yourself for a crowd can either be enjoyable or somewhat of a nuisance.
If you’ve gone to an open mic night and heard someone playing an acoustic guitar, you may have thought of it as decent or quite enjoyable. Oppositely, if you heard someone in the same place playing an electric guitar by him or herself, you may have thought it to be very annoying.
Acoustic guitars are more desirable to hear for solo musicians over electric guitars any day.
6. There’s a difference in the amount of equipment you’ll need to perform.
Sure, electric guitars can really rock, but you also need an amp, some cables, and any pedals that you desire to alter your guitar tone. With acoustic guitars, you need the guitar, a pick, and maybe a tuner and you’ll be set.
7. Each guitar is best for different genres.
Of course you can play any genre you want on either instrument, but the truth of the matter is that one will be better than the other. Metal or hardcore is best played on the electric guitar, while folk and classical can be heard differently on the acoustic.
I’m sure that there are tons of other differences to these two instruments that I haven’t attempted to cover, but these should probably give a beginner some sort of direction on where to go. Whichever guitar you decide to begin with, promise yourself that you’ll try the opposition eventually to understand the full circle of music that you can be experiencing.
For more information on guitar differences and other fast guitar tips, visit How To Guitar Tune.