This is a question I am often asked and it is a difficult question to answer because not everybody is the same, in the same way that not all music is the same. First you must ask yourself what type of guitarist you want to be. Obviously, acoustic guitars produce a very different sound from electric guitars. Before we jump in to the pros and cons of learning on an acoustic and electric guitar, you must first ask yourself, what type of guitarist do you want to be? Generally acoustic guitars and electric guitars serve different musical purposes. Acoustic guitars are usually reserved for the rhythm aspects of songs, whereas electric guitars take more of a lead role.
I have put together a list of reasons why electric guitars are easier to play than acoustics.
- Electric guitars are easier to hold than acoustic guitars
- Electric strings are lighter and cause less blisters and callouses than their acoustic brothers
- Plugging into an amp and ramping up the sound is cool, that you CANNOT deny
- If you want to keep the sound down you can plug headphones in to your electric guitar, you cannot do this with an acoustic guitar. Just a thought for the neighbours.
Now we have had a look at the reasons for learning on an electric guitar lets look at learning on an acoustic guitar. There are many advantages to starting out playing an acoustic guitar. My first guitar was an electric guitar, however at my very first guitar lesson my guitar tutor told me that learning to play an acoustic first would be more beneficial so I took the plunge and grabbed an acoustic, resisting the urge to play the electric as much as I could. Looking back it was a great decision because I was able to nail the real fundamentals of playing the guitar. Chord changes, strokes, strumming and rhythm are all absolutely vital skills that need to be perfected, and it is easiest to do this on an acoustic guitar. Learning solos and other parts of guitar music that lend themselves more to an electric guitar can come later, that is fluff in comparison. Get the basics nailed down first.
In my opinion I think that learning on an acoustic guitar is the most beneficial route to go when learning the guitar. An acoustic guitar is the guitar in its most naked form. Learning the fundamentals of the instrument and music in general such as rhythm, tones and notes will put the budding guitarist in good stead when it is time to move on to the electric guitar. Why not opt for an electro acoustic, it could be the best of both worlds.