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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Guitar

4.    Electric or Acoustic?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you HAVE to start on acoustic

There seems to be an idea floating around (likely propagated by old-school teachers) that you should start on an acoustic guitar and then when you’re good enough you can switch to electric guitar. We would like to politely disagree with this idea. 

So which is the best type of guitar to start out with? Whichever one you would like! If you have your heart set on playing like Angus Young, Slash or Stevie Ray Vaughan there’s no point in starting on an acoustic, go get yourself an electric guitar and an amp! 

Of course, there are pros and cons to either approach. The electric guitar tends to be much easier to play, physically, than an acoustic guitar. This is because electric guitars generally come strung with lighter gauge strings and set up with the strings closer to the fretboard (this is called low action). Of course you can always put lighter strings on your acoustic guitar, or have a tech lower the action (how high the strings are off of the fretboard), but it will never feel as slinky and easy to play as an electric. 

It's entirely up to you whether you want to start on acoustic or electric guitar.

As we mentioned in chapter 1 though, it is usually more expensive to start on electric guitar as you will also have to buy an amplifier in addition to the guitar. The good news is that there are lots of great-sounding and inexpensive amplifiers available on the market, as well as products that can turn your smartphone or tablet into a full-featured amplifier!

If you are more interested in simply learning some chords and strumming along or accompanying yourself or others, you will likely choose to stick with an acoustic guitar. This leads us to another question…

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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Guitar