Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar | Is Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic?

Well, this might be a little tricky for you to figure out, especially when if you’re just starting out in the guitar world.

The very first time I decided to pick up my first guitar to learn and play, these are literally the very first questions that hit me.

Should I go for an electric or an acoustic guitar? Which one will be the easiest guitar to learn and which one will be easier to hold or to carry? Is it really a myth that a newcomer should always go with an acoustic?

Does this sound like you too?

If yes, then you’re undoubtedly in the right place!

The answer is, Electric guitars are simpler to play since the strings are softer and therefore gentler on your fingers. Because of the smoothness of the strings, learning to play barre chords is also simpler on electric guitar.

However, I must state that the simplest guitar to learn is the one you are interested in since this will have a significant influence on your development.

Not to mention, these two guitars are different in terms of shape, size, and sounds.

But there’s a lot more to add to this comparison list.

So, let’s take a few minutes to find out which guitar will be the easiest choice for you, electric or acoustic?

Electric Guitars are Easier to Play

Electric guitars feature smaller bodies, thinner necks, and lighter gauge strings, making them simple to play. All of the efforts of projecting the sound are done by the pickups and an amplifier. A lighter touch, along with lighter strings, makes playing electric guitar simpler.

The wood top of an acoustic guitar must vibrate in order to produce sound. As a result, thicker gauge strings are required, as well as slightly harder plucking and fingering.

An acoustic guitar has a bigger body than an electric guitar. It also has a thicker neck to withstand the heavier string tension.

The Dimension Between Electric & Acoustic

The most obvious difference between an electric and acoustic guitar is the size of the bodies. The size of the bodies is the most noticeable contrast while comparing an acoustic vs electric guitar.

An electric guitar often has a solid body, but an acoustic guitar’s sound is produced by the holding body.

This means that an acoustic body may have a 3-inch depth, but an electric guitar cannot. A hollow body is not required for an electric guitar, such as a Les Paul or Telecaster, because the sound is created by the pick-ups.

As previously said, electric guitars are built around the performer, whereas acoustic guitars are rather conventional in shape. The form of an acoustic guitar is large and unwieldy, with no shape designed specifically for the player.

About The Neck & Circumference

The Neck size, as well as the circumference, varies from electric to acoustic guitars.

The reason for the neck size variation is related to the tone of the guitar. The dimensions, size, and wood all contribute to the tone and volume produced by an acoustic guitar.

The neck also contributes to the entire strike of the guitar. There is no truss rod like there is with an electric guitar. When you apply strain on a thinner neck, it begins to distort.

An acoustic guitar’s neck is significantly longer than that of an electric guitar. There are only a few millimeters of change, but it’s pretty noticeable.

String Action

Action is the distance between the string and the neck. In other words, how much you have to press the string down before it touches the fret.

Some top guitarists prefer super high action on their electric guitars but cheap acoustic guitars, this wasn’t intentional it goes back to the poor build quality.

If you lift up your steel-string acoustic guitar up and look at the action where the neck meets the body and then look at the action on frets 1 2 and 3. Notice a considerable difference?

Thought so. Because the neck is glued into the body of the guitar and the bridge height cannot be raised or lowered, the action cannot be altered.

As you’re advancing in your learning you might find that things that get harder after fret 5. This is because the action is changing. You’ll start to hear more buzzing and flat notes the further you get down the neck.

Related-Read:  How Many Types of Ukulele are There? [Complete List]

Although the action can vary on a cheap electric guitar just like an acoustic, the variation is not as dramatic. You can also adjust the action on an electric guitar.

Don’t do this yourself though, get your guitar set up and tell the luthier (guitar tech/builder) your requirements. Don’t expect wonders if your guitar is cheap due to the cheap hardware but you will notice a difference.

Playing Barre Chords – Electric or Acoustic

If we’re talking about barre chords, I’d argue and the electric guitar feels easier, and acoustic barre chords are more difficult, due to heavier strings.

As electric guitar requires heavier gauge strings and of course, thicker strings, that are more difficult to press down for beginner guitarists. Barre chords need a high level of finger strength. As a result, it becomes a little more difficult for an acoustic guitarist.

On the other hand, electric guitar necks are more comfortable to play barre chords on.

If barre chords on acoustic guitar aren’t getting you anywhere, you can always consider switching to an electric guitar.

But in the long run, once you become a pro at playing guitar, it won’t really matter if it’s an electric or an acoustic.

Strings Comparison

In terms of string gauges, there is a significant difference between an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar.

The thickness of a guitar string is referred to as “Gauge.” The majority of electric guitars come with 9-gauge strings. In time players go up to 10’s. Guitarists rarely go up to 11’s. But Stevie Ray Vaughan played with 14’s. The high e string, in particular, is a 9-string gauge. The thickness of the other threads is then gradually increased, leaning more towards the softer strings side.

While comparing an acoustic vs electric guitar, an acoustic guitar generally comes with 12-gauge strings with heavier gauge strings. They’re usually made of a slightly different material too.

The thicker the other strings, the more difficult it is to play to the increased stress.

Hence, in comparison to steel-string, acoustic guitar’s string gauges matter, this is why the electric guitar is easier to play.

This is an important consideration because you might have sore fingertips and hands from acoustic guitar strings, when you first start playing guitar and this may cause serious discomfort, especially for young fingers. Let’s take a quick look at the main differences between these two types of guitars, shall we?

  Electric Guitar Acoustic Guitar
Body Solid-body which requires electric amplification to produce sound. Hollow body. The vibration from the strings vibrates the entire guitar. The resonation is passed into the air inside the body, where it resonates, and is naturally amplified to become sound, which exits through the soundhole.
Size & Weight Generally smaller, but much heavier than acoustic guitars. Larger than electric guitars, because the body has to be relatively larger for the sound waves to get amplified. However, they are usually lighter, since they are hollow.
Neck Usually slightly thinner, strings seem closer together. Usually, a bit thicker, strings are further apart. Classical guitars have even wider necks.
Strings Thinner, lighter steel strings, easy on the fingers. Strings on electric guitars don’t need to be heavy, because the sound is amplified. The thin strings make lead guitar techniques, like vibratos, and bend easily. Heavy steel strings need to vibrate stronger, therefore they are harder to hold down. Lead guitar techniques are difficult to carry out. Lighter nylon strings are also used on acoustic guitars, which are easier to play but have a more subdued tone.
String Action Since the strings are thinner than on the acoustic guitar, they don’t need that much space to resonate. Because of this, the string action can be set lower, meaning the strings are closer to the neck. This makes them easier to fret. The thicker strings on acoustic guitars need more room to vibrate, so they are a bit further from the neck. This makes them harder to hold down.
Tone Thanks to the multiple pickups, the tone and volume knobs on the guitar, plus the effects you can apply with an amp, the tonal possibilities of electric guitars are endless. Acoustic guitars without amplification have a single tone. There are tonal differences between the different acoustic guitars as well, which depends on the materials the acoustic guitar is manufactured with and the size of the guitar.
Music Since electric guitars are amplified and effects are added to create a final tone, you can basically play any type of music with them (other than classical and folk). The lack of amplification limits the use of acoustic guitars to music where the clean acoustic tone sounds good. These include country, classical, blues, pop, folk.

Pros & Cons of Learning an Electric Guitar

Pros

  • Acoustic guitars are physically more difficult to play than electric guitars.  This is owing to the fact that they have smaller bodies, thinner necks, and lighter gauges than acoustic guitars.
  • The amplifier and pickups project all of the sounds, giving it a touch and lighter strings that make it easier to master.
  • Electric guitar strings are softer than acoustic guitar strings, making it easier to hold barre chords and perform other techniques.
  • Most electric guitar amps have a headphone jack, allowing you to practice in near quiet.
Related-Read:  Do All Electric Guitars Sound The Same?

Cons

  • An amplifier is a must-have, which may be expensive for most novices.
  • Finding a decent tone can be challenging, especially for novices who are unfamiliar with amps and guitars. If you use the incorrect tone, they may be discouraged from continuing.
  • Learning to play an electric guitar does not imply that you can also play an acoustic guitar.

Pros & Cons of Learning an Acoustic Guitar

Pros

  • Learning to play an acoustic guitar eliminates the need to purchase an amplifier or cords. It is one of the biggest acoustic guitar advantages.
  • Because of the greater amount of skill necessary, if you can play a piece on an acoustic guitar, as an acoustic player, you will most likely be able to perform it on an electric guitar as well. The electric guitar, on the other hand, does not fall within this category.
  • When compared to the distorted tone of an electric guitar, the tone of an acoustic guitar is inherently calming and tranquil. This will even generate a positive environment for people in the vicinity of your practice space.

Cons

  • Acoustic guitars are built with thick gauge strings. This may provide trouble in fingering for a beginner and will necessitate strong selection. This may create pain on the fingertips and, as a result, discomfort, discouraging newcomers.
  • Acoustic guitars are thought to be more delicate than electric guitars.
  • They often have fretboards that are broader than those found on electric guitars, which is not ideal for beginners.
  • Due to their larger gauge, acoustic guitar strings have a greater tendency to generate a buzzing sound.
  • When compared to standard electric guitar strings, higher gauge strings make it more difficult to hold barre chords.

Acoustic Vs Electric Guitar – Choose Your Genre

If you have to choose between electric or acoustic, you should choose according to your genre and how the guitar sound.  If you enjoy punk, metal, blues, or rock music, you should certainly pick up an electric guitar.

However, whether you are into folk, acoustic music, bluegrass, singer-songwriters, or country music, the acoustic guitar is the way to go.

Sound of an Electric Guitar

When the strings of an electric guitar vibrate while playing guitar, the sound is not extremely loud. Acoustic guitars have sound chambers, but solid-body guitars have not. Electric guitars employ pickups to get around this.

Pickups are made consisting of a coil of wire that is wound around a magnet. This wrapping of wire around the magnet produces a magnetic field in the vicinity of your guitar strings.

When you pluck an electric guitar’s strings. When the magnetic field is disrupted, a signal is transmitted from the pickup to your amplifier.

This is why electric guitars, unlike acoustic guitars, do not require large bodies. Most amps have a clean channel and a distortion channel, so instantly you have more tone options than an acoustic.

However, this does not imply that the construction and woods used in electric guitars have no influence or are unimportant. The vibration of the strings is influenced by elements such as the size, weight, and wood used to connect the neck to the body of the guitar.

Sound of an Acoustic Guitar

When you pluck the strings of an acoustic guitar, the sound is amplified by the guitar’s structure. The sound may be produced without the need for an amplifier. This is why the bodies of acoustic guitars are big and hollow.

The sound chamber is crucial in terms of amplification and lighter touch in case of tone. This also indicates that the size and form of an acoustic guitar body have an effect on the volume and sound of the instrument.

The wood used in the manufacturing of an acoustic guitar also has an effect on the instrument’s sound. The most important tonewoods are used for the top, back, and sides of the guitar, as well as the fingerboard, neck, and bridge.

If you’re still confused about which one to pick and learn, all

you need to keep in mind –

Choose the Type You’re Genuinely Excited to Play

As a beginner, your first instrument experience is critical to your long-term success. Acoustic vs electric guitar, choosing the right guitar entails determining which sort of guitar excites you and motivates you to play it.

Most guitarists and guitar teachers I’ve heard speak about this specifically now acknowledge that you should learn on the instrument you are most interested in, whether it be acoustic or electric.

What sort of music do you want to perform? What type of guitar catches your eye? Which one do you see yourself playing? Which one you’re going to stick to after started playing guitar?

Related-Read:  Can You Learn Guitar on YouTube?

That is the one you will most like practicing and start playing. If you merely want to learn to play the guitar but aren’t sure what type to purchase, set a budget and stick to it.

Choose Within the Limitations of Your Budget

Ideally, your decision between acoustic vs electric guitar should be driven purely by a preference for one over the other. However, your options may be constrained by your budget.

Because of the necessity for an amplifier, distortion channel, effects pedals, and other equipment, starting with an electric guitar is typically more expensive than starting with short-scale acoustic guitars.

If an electric guitar is what you truly want but it is out of your price range, a little extra time and money saved will be well worth the wait as starter packs and to start your first guitar journey.

The Sort of Guitar You are Most Interested in Learning is the Simplest to Play

People frequently ask what type of guitar is easier to play, which one to pick when I start learning guitar, acoustic vs electric guitar?

There are several physical distinctions between an electric and electric to consider. However, we feel that the type of guitar you “want” to play is the simplest to learn on since you will be more likely to develop excellent practice habits early on.

Your Urge to Play a Different Sort of Guitar Will Naturally Develop Over Time

Don’t be concerned that by selecting one over the other, you’ll be stuck with that sort of guitar for the rest of your life. Many players who begin with one type of guitar will eventually gravitate to the other, based on our experience.

Motivation for playing an instrument evolves over time, and it will happen organically as your abilities improve and your desire to play and learn gets internalized.

You will most likely learn to play both electric and acoustic guitars and have a lifetime of fun studying and performing a range of musical styles.

Choose a Guitar That has been Thoroughly Inspected and Tuned for Smooth Playability

Always get the facts straight.

Inquire as to what steps have been taken to make the instrument simpler to play. Many critical concerns are dependent on the quality and playability of your instrument.

There is no greater impediment to growth, good technique development, and the fun of learning to play than a badly made or incorrectly set up instrument.

Both the electric and acoustic guitars may be played with reasonable ease if correctly tuned and the size is appropriate for the user.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does It Take Too Long to Learn Guitar?

In general, it might take 4–6 months to learn the chords and a few fundamental patterns, be it acoustic and electric guitars, when you start playing, it might take up to two years to get from intermediate to master level. And this timeframe is only valid if you practice on a daily basis after learning guitar.

Is It Possible to Play the Same Chords on Electric and Acoustic Guitars?

Yes, the chords on an electric and acoustic guitar are the same if they are both tuned the same way. A ‘C’ chord on an acoustic guitar is identical to a ‘C’ chord on an electric guitar.

You will find a lot of beginner guitar lessons on YouTube on this topic!

Is Electric Guitar More Expensive Than Acoustic?

Starting out with an electric guitar is generally more expensive than an acoustic guitar because of the need for an amplifier and other accessories.

If the electric guitar is what you really want but is outside your budget, then a little more time and savings will be well worth the wait.

Can Acoustic Guitar Strings Be Used on An Electric Guitar?

No, they can’t. Electric guitar strings are often three wounds and three unwound and are of the lighter gauge than acoustic strings. Bronze and phosphor bronze strings do not work well on electric guitars as pickups are magnetic and need strings with plenty of iron in them.

Final Words

Whether you begin with an acoustic or electric guitar, the most essential thing to remember is that no one is born a rock star. Years of devotion and hours upon hours of practice are required before you can perfect your skill.

Don’t forget the trick, even if you’ve mastered the art of shredding like a pro, there’s always room for improvement and polish your guitar journey more.

Good luck!

Leave a Comment