Why is it better to learn acoustic guitar before you play electric?

A friend told me that if you are going to learn to play guitar, it is better to learn acoustic before you play electric. I’m wondeirng a couple things. First, is this true? If so, why? And second, if it is true, why can’t it be done the other way around?

Thanks in advance!

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15 Responses to “Why is it better to learn acoustic guitar before you play electric?”

  1. Sadie G. said:

    Acoustic can be easier to handle. Plus, you won’t make people angry by playing a loud instrument badly. If you play acoustic first, then you won’t suck at playing electric.

  2. Peggy Sue said:

    I’m not a musician myself, so this is just sort of a common sense answer:

    So that while learning, when you’re still NOT GOOD, at least you won’t be playing BADLY so LOUD.

  3. lakeguy2302 said:

    It’s better to learn acoustic because acoustic guitar requires that you learn the techniques properly for it to sound right, whereas with electric you can “cheat” to get the sounds in many cases.
    Acoustic guitars also have higher string action and require you to learn and develop better accuracy with your fingers.

  4. fmxkrazyone said:

    Acoustic lets you hear the “true” notes. It helps you learn the music faster and able to play be ear quicker. Electric guitars are fun to play after you’ve learned, but the notes sound different with the electric. On the acoustic you hear bare bones notes so when you go to play an electric, the notes make more sense and are more recognizable. You probably could learn the other way around, but I think it would take longer.

  5. elkejane said:

    I agree with lakeguy but also, it’s a little harder to play acoustic guitar. You have to press down the strings a lot harder, they are more thickly wound strings, so you really develop more strength in your fingers. The frets are bigger, so you have to learn to move faster and more cleanly to get to the other frets when you play. This way, the electric will just be a breeze for you when you pick it up. Just the same, it’s better to learn acoustic piano before electric. The keys are harder to press, thereby you gain stronger fingers. Also, you will build your callouses on your fingers faster on an acoustic. Your fingers will bleed and get thick much faster on the acoustic. To learn to finger pick on an acoustic is much harder than playing most electric guitar leads. Of course, if you’re Johnny Winter, this wouldn’t be true! If you really want to learn well, gain strength and really get thick finger callouses, then it is important to learn acoustic first. But I know plenty who just start with electric because they want to learn quick licks to play with a band.

  6. music lad said:

    Answer number 3 sounds like the best so far. As a musician, I would agree that the acoustic is the better one to start on. Although I am not a guitarist, I have played it a few times, electric and acoustic, and I know that the acoustic guitars can feel slightly “harder” to play – the strings are slightly further away from the neck and they are thicker. This, I suppose, would force you to learn how to play using the correct technique because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t get a good sound. I’d also guess that acoustic guitars can come cheaper than the electric ones. This would be a good point because many people start learning to play an insstrument then give up or lose interest when they realise it takes a bit of work, so you wouldn’t want to waste your cash on an electric guitar only to pick it up twice and then throw it in the bag and never use it again. Other than that, there isn’t too much of a difference. They are still played in the same way.

  7. Half Full, Half Empty said:

    all the above answers are certainly valid, but from a performance standpoint, the actual distance between acoustic guitar strings to the acoustic guitar fingerboard is greater than the distance between electric guitar strings and the electric guitar fingerboard. meaning, you have to press your fingers down further with an acoustic as opposed to an electric. this reinforces good guitar technique, since you have to work harder on an acoustic guitar than an electric.

  8. urigeller_02 said:

    I’ve heard this said before but i don’t agree with it. If your aspiring to play acoustic guitar long term then fair enough, but most beginners pay no more than £100/ $200 for their 1st guitar. Acoustic guitars of this standard are notoriously bad for slipping out of tune and notoriously bad for action on the fretboard. Many beginners become disheartened pretty quickly because of this. I’d advise anyone who wanted to play an electric guitar to buy perhaps a second hand low end ibanez or jackson. They’re pretty well built, hold their tuning well, and generally have great neck action. Good luck

  9. Canhotinho said:

    Actually it´s not mandatory. You can learn play the guitar directly in eletric guitar, but your “history” will be different than everyone. Because everybody whom plays the eletric guitar began learning in acoustic guitar first.

    The shape of neck is the same in both , but acustic guitar is easier to use because you don´t depend on amplifier,cables, adjusts, controls, picks, you can take it to everywhere, keep it anyplace.

    Another advantage is: If you learn in acoustic first, you will get play the eletric easier later. Because the neck of eletrict guitar is more comfortable to play.

  10. ngadutrafik_2007 said:

    acoustic has good basic guitar and right way to play guitar, reading partitur/partita, handle an acoustic guitar, and much more you can get right if you learn acoustic first.
    They can be done together because acoustic is more like “school” and electric is look like “street style” or more expretionist.

  11. GuitarMan said:

    It is in fact harder to strat with an acoustic, so your hands grow much stronger and faster. No one pointed out that strings are generally thicker on the acoustic, in addition to the higher action and generally a much thicker neck. The other way arund is much slower, because after electric you still need more strength for an acoustic, and you don’t develop a number of techniques for obtaining certain sounds that you discover right on the acoustic.

    As for the guy above who disagrees, he’s wrong, of course, but he’s right in the sense that no one should start on a bad instrument – but that applies to both electric and acoustic. Starting on a good acoustic is the way to go.

  12. wasteofletters said:

    thats how i learned. for me there were a few atvantages:
    1. acoustic guitar requires a lesser investment
    2. the heavier strings on acoustic will provide more of a challenge for a beginner, building strength and dexterity in both hands
    3. you cant “cheat” with sloppy technique masked by distortion
    4. an electric will be an incentive to work at practicing
    5. you may even learn some acoustic-style fingerpicking that you otherwise wouldnt have learned on electric
    6. you wont bother neighbors

    some disatvantages include:
    1. some music intended for electric guitar may not sound as cool when played acoustically
    2. specific strumming and fingerstyle techniques wont easily transfer to electric guitar
    3. it will take a while to transfer to the “feel” of electric.
    4.its not as easy to learn how to “solo” on acoustic as it is on electric
    5.acoustic isnt as loud!!!

    i would reccomend you start on acoustic. i didnt own an electric until my second year of playing. its cool though, either one is fine, as long as you keep playing! good luck!

  13. buddy said:

    your friend is an idiot.
    there is no better way to learn guitar. playing acoustic or electric doesn’t matter. as long as the thing has 6 strings. hell you don’t even need to learn on 6 strings. keith richards plays a lot with the low e taken off his tele’s.
    in the future, tell him any of his guitar advise is crap. who does he think he is? he’s probably just some teenager kid, who has been playing for a year or 2 years tops. he has no frickin clue.
    you can develop you own style, play how you want to play, do what you want to do. there is no wrong way to play or learn.
    there is no difference between acoustic and electric outside the obvoius differences of mechanics.
    yea, man, this bugs me. this guy is a moron.

    oh, ask him this then? is an acoustic/electric easier to learn on than the other two? whatever he says, he’ll be full of crap.

  14. kitz said:

    No.The action is atrocious on most acoustic guitars.I almost gave up on it over 30 years ago.Got an electric with super slinky Ernie Ball strings and the rest ,as they say,is history.

  15. sameer said:

    hey fellas,i jst bought an acoustic guitar..and tho im finding it tuff im enjoying it and will do anythng 2 master it..bt as many of us hav dis feeling 2 learn d electric asap and join a band.so which electric guitar wud u recommend after i learn playing an acoustic.my budget is rs 10,000




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