Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar: A Beginner’s Guide | Hub Guitar

Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar: A Beginner’s Guide

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Note: this advice is geared for beginners.

Beginning guitar players often ask, “should I start with acoustic or electric?” and the advice they get varies. It seems to be that most guitar players are de facto beginning with acoustic. Even though acoustic guitars can be a little bit more difficult to play, they are simpler and easier to understand. They require no electronics, wires, dials or knobs. They have a tone that sounds good in almost any style of music, and a timeless appeal.

Acoustic Guitar


  • no equipment needed
  • ready to play right away
  • bring it anywhere
  • no need to fuss with electronics
  • fewer playing techniques


  • thicker strings (harder to play)*
  • higher string 'action' (harder to play)

*It is recommended that beginning acoustic guitar players use light gauge strings. This will help you avoid discomfort. As you advance, you may find that you prefer bigger strings. In addition, strings can be detuned a full step to make them even easier to play.

Here are some specific acoustic guitar recommendations.

Electric Guitar


  • wider range of techniques
  • wider range of genres
  • louder
  • strings lighter (easier)
  • action lower (easier)
  • can play “unplugged” or with headphones


  • more complicated to set up
  • more difficult to control
  • mistakes sound louder
  • easy to irritate family, roommates and neighbors unless you play unplugged or with headphones
  • not as portable

When in doubt, you should follow your passion: choose whichever guitar you’re more interested in. If you remain indifferent after reading this it is probably best to start with an acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars are by far the most common instrument for beginning guitar players to use.


If you have a strong interest in learning electric guitar, or you find playing acoustic guitar notes to be too difficult, consider getting an electric guitar instead. If you’re new to the guitar and you’re not sure, get an acoustic.

With luck, eventually you’ll have both anyways.

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