If you are an aspiring guitarist, you are going to have to pick between playing electric or acoustic guitar, especially if you’re looking to master the skill.
Both are guitars, but there are significant differences between the two, especially regarding their sound and capabilities.
To help you figure out the electric vs acoustic guitar conundrum , this article clarifies each type of guitar, what makes it unique, and how it differs from other models, like the best acoustic-electric guitar.
The typical acoustic guitar has a hollow body with a soundhole underneath its strings.
An acoustic guitar has a soundboard that’s made from spruce or red cedar. The soundboard is the guitar’s wooden front, which transmits vibrations from strumming the guitar’s strings to within the instrument’s hollow body. The hollow inside the guitar amplifies the vibrations to create the sound .
The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of acoustic guitars are ideal for people who are new to the art. It’s also a great choice if you intend to play mostly bluegrass, country, folk, or similar music.
Note: Interested in getting the best acoustic guitar? See our top picks!
Why Choose an Acoustic Guitar?
Acoustic guitars typically cost less than electric guitars because unlike electric guitars, acoustic guitars require fewer accessories. For example, an electric guitar requires amplifiers and other additions that add to the investment.
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Unlike electric guitars that have knobs, pedals, and other controls that can be distracting, the simplicity of an acoustic guitar lets you focus on playing the instrument. The simplicity is why acoustic guitars are highly recommended for beginners.
Acoustic guitars are typically made of solid wood or laminate wood, which means they are lighter and more portable. It has fewer accessories, so you can easily travel with it and play it unplugged. The electric guitar needs an amp and power source to bring out its capabilities.
Compared to acoustic guitars, electric guitars may have a narrower body but are still sturdier. The typical electric guitar doesn’t have a sound hole or hollow body. Instead, it has transducers that create electric signals out of string vibrations .
These string vibrations are what is sent to the speakers to deliver and amplify the sound of strumming the guitar.
Why Choose an Electric Guitar?
Ease of Playing
Electric guitars may have more components, but playing it can be easier than playing an acoustic guitar . An electric guitar’s strings are lighter than that of an acoustic guitar—a lighter touch is enough to create amazing music.
An electric guitar also has a smaller body and a thinner neck, which is easier for a beginner to handle. With a properly adjusted electric guitar, a newbie will have an easier time working the strings.
Acoustic guitars have only one volume setting, but with electric guitars, you have full control over the volume via a dial on the guitar. You can even plug in headphones if you want to keep your sessions private.
The best electric guitar will come with sound effect options, too. It lets you choose the style and sound of music that best represents you, like rock-n-roll, techno, or something else, which isn’t something an acoustic guitar can offer.
What About Acoustic-Electric Guitars?
Acoustic-electric guitars are hybrids. It’s mostly an acoustic guitar, but unlike your typical acoustic guitar, it has electronic components that amplify the sound output.
The best acoustic-electric guitar is playable, whether it’s plugged in or unplugged. You can still enjoy the portability and freedom of owning an acoustic guitar with the benefits of electrical technology if you want it.
Even when it’s plugged in, don’t expect your acoustic-electric guitar to sound like an electric guitar, though. It might have some electric guitar features, but it’s still an acoustic instrument. Learn more about the top electro-acoustic models.
Which Should I Choose?
How do you choose between an electric and acoustic guitar? It will depend on your budget and musical goals.
If you don’t have a lot to spend, you’ll have an easier time finding a top-quality acoustic guitar within your price range. If you’re on the lookout for something affordable, here are some of the best cheap acoustic guitars.
While your budget is important, your musical goals are more of a priority. The wrong guitar will mean that you won’t be able to make the type of music you want. If your goal is to become a rock star, an electric guitar is a far better option, for example.
If you intend to play mostly bluegrass, country, or folk music to small crowds, then an acoustic guitar will suit you better. If you want to make the same type of music, but with louder output, then you are better off with a hybrid acoustic-electric guitar.