Electric or Acoustic Guitar?
This is the question I hear from a lot of parents considering guitar lessons: “Should we start with an acoustic or electric guitar?” In my opinion, it depends on the student. Let’s take a look at each.
Let’s start with the pros. If you enjoy singing and playing, acoustic guitar might be the way to go. One can easily bust the guitar out and sing. Also, acoustic guitars are portable. You don’t have to lug an amp around. There is the old adage that if a student starts guitar lessons on acoustic guitar, then they will have stronger hands, making it better for the student. On the other hand, it’s harder to play…which is a good segue to the cons. Acoustic guitars can be very arduous for beginners to play as it is harder to fret notes. This can be very discouraging to beginner guitar students. Bends are harder, holding chords can be harder, etc. I recommend using nylon strings for young guitar students taking lessons on an acoustic. Nylon strings are much easier to play. Let’s take a look at electric guitar.
I personally started on electric guitar because I loved rock music. That itself is a pro. It’s much harder to rock out on an acoustic. Electric guitars are generally easier to play than acoustic guitars. Also, you can use various amps and effects to create endless possibilities of sound and tone; however, this leads to having more stuff to tote around. Haha! It is true that it is a little harder to transition to acoustic once you are accustom to technique on electric guitar, but that doesn’t mean that one HAS to start on acoustic. I think either is fine, which brings me to my bottom line.
Style of Music
One of the first things I ask my guitar students is “what kind of music do you like?” No one wants to take lessons and study if they aren’t striving towards what they like. That doesn’t mean a music teacher can’t or shouldn’t stretch their students, challenge them, or introduce them to new styles. It just means students are more likely to get into music when they like the music they are learning. Also, students should consider the music they listen to when deciding whether to buy an acoustic or electric guitar. If you listen to rock music, buy an electric guitar. If you like acoustic-driven music or singer songwriter music, then the acoustic guitar is the way to go. There are different shoes for various athletic sports for a reason. You wouldn’t suit up a football player with basketball sneakers. In the same way, you shouldn’t equip a kid that wants to play Avenged Sevenfold with an acoustic guitar!
So, considering what music the student is moved by or passionate about is the first step. If there is no particular style that is important, then use the other determining factors like tone, portability, technique, price, etc. Now you are better equipped to buy. Happy Hunting!