Acoustic vs Electric – What Guitar is Best for a Beginner

(NOTE: Want unbiased comparisons of the top guitar brands and models? Get JamPlay’s 2017 Guitar Buyer’s Guide here for free!)

To capture the hearts of the masses with a guitar like Taylor Swift, or to leave a legacy like Jimi Hendrix it helps to make sure you’re starting off the right way—which includes making the best choice on what type of guitar you should use as a beginner.

So what guitar is right for the beginner: acoustic or electric? The truth is there is no clear cut answer for what is best for a rising star. There are, however, things to consider that might make the learning curve easier.

The Ease of Electric Guitar

Finger and hand strength become an obstacle for any newbie. Youngsters and beginners can really benefit from starting to learn with an electric guitar because it requires less effort and saves your hands from hurting.

Electric guitars allow you to move your hand around more easily and with less fatigue. They are often considered easier to play because the strings are thinner and not as tough to push down. Acoustic guitars have thicker strings that will require more pressure for picking to get a full sound.

The fact that the amplifier for an electric guitar generates the sound for you helps create a more constructed sound with less effort. It might not sound like a huge deal to have an amp to help create sounds, but it is. Simply put, you just don’t get that extra help with an acoustic.

(NOTE: Want unbiased comparisons of the top guitar brands and models? Get JamPlay’s 2017 Guitar Buyer’s Guide here for free!)

A natural scale acoustic guitar can also be too big for some people. An electric guitar has a thinner neck so you can get a good grip and wrap your hands tighter for better finger positioning. Of course, you can start with a modified acoustic guitar, but it’s always nice to kick off with an original sized guitar so you don’t have to readjust your skills when you graduate to the next level.

Advantages of an Acoustic Guitar

Depending on your personal guitar goals, you might consider starting with an acoustic. Some argue that by starting with a more difficult guitar, you can go back and forth from any guitar because you’ve already mastered the more difficult of the two styles of  instrument. Acoustic guitars also offer the freedom and convenience of just picking it up to play verses needing power to jam.

Generally speaking, if you want to learn the basics to become a songwriter, strumming is more conducive with an acoustic. But, if you want to jump into the band scene, have solos and learn lines, an electric guitar should become your new best friend.

Another thing to consider is price. While you can get some fairly cheap electric guitars, acoustic guitars are generally a bit more affordable. There are exceptions to this but overall, you will find that acoustic guitar has a lower barrier to entry. You just need the guitar, strings, a guitar tuner, a strap and perhaps a pick. With an electric, you need all of those things but also an amplifier and a cable.


In summary, the following may help you to make your decision:

  • Due to thinner strings, smaller necks, and am amplified sound, electric guitars are generally a bit easier to play
  • Acoustic guitars can be played anywhere; no amp or power required
  • Getting started with an acoustic guitar generally doesn’t cost as much

Unless the above mentions are game changers, you should go with your desires and what will be the most fun for you. You should decide based on what suits your tastes better because that’s the ultimate test. If you gravitate toward songs like “Dust in the Wind,” an acoustic could be your go-to. If you’d like to rock out like Jimmy Page, you’re in the market for an electric guitar. Either way, you won’t be making the wrong decision.

The bottom line is you need to purchase a good guitar that you will want to spend serious time with. If you can’t decide and have a few extra bucks, then try out both!

(NOTE: Want unbiased comparisons of the top guitar brands and models? Get JamPlay’s 2017 Guitar Buyer’s Guide here for free!)

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53 Replies to “Acoustic vs Electric – What Guitar is Best for a Beginner”

    1. I am inclined to introduce my readers to choose an acoustic guitar because the beginner should have a deep sense of sound and gentle exercise, easy to play wherever and save more: )
      It’s a few thoughts I hope will help.

      P / s: if mature later then buy Electric to perform professional ^^

  1. I am strongly in favor of an acoustic as a first guitar. They are more portable since you don’t need to plug them in, develop hand strength more quickly, and quieter because let’s face it, when you first start to play your neighbors don’t want to hear you 😉 . You can even get an acoustic that can plug in, so if your buddies play electric and you want to jam, you can keep up with their volume.

  2. electric or accoustic …all you need is a guitar…i totally recomnd elltric guitar as a beeginers guitar…the fact that start with a accoustc guitar oftern too rated ..u can be great guitarist with elctric guitar too..duh..i knw people.. 😀 since its easier to play ..u ill neve get frustrated n stp playyng.. 😀 then again ..u can studi tecchnique faster..if u study..u can change to any guitar any time… 😀 its like learning cycling skill in bike.. 😛

    1. Are you retarded? You should have your guitar taken away so that you can go back to school and learn how to read and write.

    2. I started acoustic and quit over and over because I found it tough and not rewarding. LATER in life I tried electric and because of the ease of learning I stuck with it and learned. The stuff of starting harder is nonsense as it is like saying learn to run before you walk because walking will be easier after…. duhh is right! People learn better, especially kids, when they are having fun and making headway. It’s why things like Rocksmith and Yousician work so well and so many people can learn without costly lessons. If you really want to end up playing acoustic go that way, otherwise electric guitar packages are so cheap from major companies and include an amp and all for under a $150.00 which is amazing. They may not be long term keepers but if you look at the quality of major brands, it is great for a starter. Actually because of its ease you can focus on learning fingering and chords instead of struggling and pain. Also, for kids electric is much easier to hold and handle than an accoustic. Remember, learning to play fun and easy is the point, not making it as hard as possible. Otherwise standing on your head while balancing on one foot and slamming your fingers in a car door while playing a 12 string acoustic would make you learn better…… yeah..duh!!! ….. go electric!!!!!

  3. When I get asked I always recommend the starter to go for the type that he likes. If you tell someone to buy an acoustic when all he wants and dreams about is an electric guitar will just crush his ambition.

  4. When I learnt how to drive, it was with a manual gear transmission and that enables me to drive bith the automatic and manual today. I believe newbie guitar players should start with an acoustic guitar. It empowers them when they learn the hard way.

  5. I started with an Acoustic guitar when I was 12 years old. A lot of people these days complain of their fingers hurting but I don’t recall ever habing that problem, perhaps my desire to play drove the paim away or there never was any pain to begin with.

    I would suggest taking a beginner to a music shop where you are allowed to test out the instruments (Guitar Center or Sam Ash) and have them try out many guitars and then pick the one that sounds and feels best to them, within their proce range of course.

    I am considering starting my daughter off on an 89 USA Squire Stratocaster (yes they were indeed made in the US in between their change over from Korea to Mexico), that I acquired years ago by a mere happenstance and a 15 watt Crate GT15 practice amp I’ve had sitting around for years.

  6. Hey,
    After i learned how you can generate, it had been having a guide equipment tranny which allows me personally they are driving bith the actual automated as well as guide these days. In my opinion beginner guitarists ought to begin with a good electric guitar. This enables all of them once they discover the actual difficult method.

  7. Hello,
    When i discovered ways to produce, it absolutely was using a manual gear transmitting that allows myself to operate a vehicle bith the particular automatic in addition to manual nowadays. For me newbie guitar players should to start with a great guitar. This permits them all after they find the real hard technique.
    Many thanks.

  8. In my mind, the decision between electric and acoustic should be the preference of what the student wants to play. The main consideration is cost – so the best advice I would give would be to look into a used instrument for the first one. Your instrument dollar will go further. Plus, why waste money on a brand new instrument you may not end up enjoying once you get it.

    Learn on a decent used instrument, then invest in what you really want once you know that playing the guitar is really your thing.

  9. I suppose it would depend on what kind of music you want to play but for me, if you have to plug it in, leave it at home, period.

  10. That was a really nice blog buddy, very informative.i recently purchased a Yamaha FS650MS Acoustic Guitar,from online music instruments store, . The quality of the product was awesome and service was good too.i would recommend all Guitar lovers to buy from 🙂

  11. Thank you for sharing such useful and knowledgeable post. When I started learning guitar, I was very confused of which suitable type for the beginners. It somehow depends on your preference but I am quite convenient with the acoustic guitar then.

  12. If you’re a beginner, it can be hard to know where to start. Buying a first guitar can be confusing, frustrating, and difficult. Here are a few tips that should help.

    Understand the field: For any given kind of guitar, there are going to be a handful of basic options. It isn’t the case that there are hundreds of individual guitars you have to know about; usually it is enough to understand what types of instruments there are on the market. Knowing whether the guitar you’re considering is this kind of thing or that kind of thing will help you understand what’s going on.
    Know what kind of thing you want to do: You don’t have to know right at the beginning exactly how you’re going to be playing two years from now, but you should have some idea, in general, of how you want to play. Knowing what sorts of things you’re interested in playing, and how you would like to sound, can help narrow the field down tremendously.
    Don’t rush the decision: Take some time to peruse this site. See what’s out there, what different manufacturers have to offer. Learn about the kind of guitar that you think you want, and learn about the specific models you are interested in.

  13. I was a guitar instructor with 15 years of experience, I recommended that my students should start with an acoustic guitar, because it is easy to learn and play, and save more than an electric guitar.

  14. Would have to agree electric guitars are much easier to play for beginners… had have many recognizable artists mention this on All Axess as well!

  15. I love this little guitar. it’s perfect for my smaller hands to move around on the fretboard. I’ve been taking guitar lessons for a year and own a full size acoustic and a electric but I love that this one is both. For the price I wish it came with a stand and cable for an amp though but it’s a great starter Best Beginner Guitar or a person with smaller hands. I would recommend it. it’s acoustic and electric. You will need to buy an amp with a cable to use it as an electric but no cable is needed for acoustic. It even has a built in tuner, they supply the batteries.

  16. I bought this 3/4 Yamaha because it was a mini of my APX500 which I recently found too large to play comfortably after taking up ukeleles – I really love the size and action on this guitar – but as others have pointed out the tuning keys don’t keep it in tune well so plan to change them as suggested by another reviewer who put Grover tuners on his – otherwise this guitar AA would get 5 stars – the gig bag is not worth anything either – so spending money on a new one with more padding – will update the bag I ordered since I haven’t received it yet – so in all having to spend on new tuners, new gig bag and a luther to make this guitar the best it can be – (an additional $100) – but since the size is perfect for me – I feel it’s worth the extra money to upgrade this guitar – I already have a Washburn Rover and after getting this little Yamaha I probably won’t be playing the washburn much

  17. I get this blog very useful for a newbie and also for a guitar enthusiastic. I prefer acoustic guitar is the best beginner guitar for a newbie through it’s hard to play and learn. But, It also have some great positive features such as portability and light weight. And it gives you the real sound so that you can rate your self how far you progressed as e guitar learner.

  18. A lot of people begin with a nylon string acoustic, often called a classical guitar. They’re reasonably priced at beginners level (don’t go too cheap), the design has a wide fret board to accommodate your inexperienced fingers and the nylon strings are easier on your aching fingertips. You have to agree, they can sound kind of dull unless that dream of yours is of becoming a famous, classical guitarist like John Williams — certainly not a bad thing. So nylon string acoustics are great to learn with, but there’s a risk you’ll want something more pretty quickly.

  19. I learnt on an electric and found it easier to hold down the strings, then when I had built up some finger strength I got a steel string acoustic. I’m not very good but that’s how I learnt!

  20. Always start with the one “you” want to play. Over time, your ambition to learn another instrument will come naturally. Don’t kill your ambition in the beggining by starting with something you dont like because some “know it all” said it was better.

  21. If you’re trying to learn to play and your finger ache and you can’t hold down the strings due to the action and its difficult to finger chords, then how long do you think you’ll want to play the guitar? I’m thinking (thinking mind you), that an electric guitar for just a little more money, avoids all those potential downfalls that will drive away potentially very good guitar players.

  22. For what its worth, I learned acoustic first, and was glad I did as I didn’t feel like going back to square one when I moved to electric. If you start with electric I can see it being frustrating to learn to barre etc on acoustic.

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