Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

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john p
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Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by john p » February 6th, 2014, 9:27 am

I assumed that I would attempt to learn to play guitar on an acoustic, and I ordered such (Yamaha FG700S); however, a very low end electric guitar was just today received. The seller will take it back.

In the meantime I've been told that it will be easier to learn on such an electric guitar than on an acoustic. My goal is just to enjoy playing a guitar...I'll never be in a band...at 70 years of age I have no ambition at all to do so.

I would really appreciate your thoughts.....to learn and enjoy just playing the guitar which would be your choice and recommendation? Any specific models in mind for a package (guitar, amp, etc.) costing less than around $400?

Thanks for your help.

John

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dogbite
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by dogbite » February 7th, 2014, 1:55 pm

choose the guitar that pleases you most when you strum a chord. I feel, if one wants to learn to play, it does not matter which is better. the ease and difficulty with learning is closely the same. Personally, if I had to choose to have only one guitar and only one for the remainder of my life, I would choose an acoustic. ( no need for a cord)

john p
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by john p » February 7th, 2014, 2:34 pm

Thanks a lot for your suggestion. The acoustic route is the way I'll go.

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notes_norton
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by notes_norton » February 8th, 2014, 12:06 pm

Another option to confuse the issue.

If electric is easier for your hands, you can get a pedal that will emulate a decent acoustic sound. My Digitech RP355 has a couple of acoustic emulations that sound perhaps 90-95% like an acoustic, but since the guitar I use is an electric, I can still get electric tones out of it too. I get the best of both worlds out of one guitar that way.

Most importantly, find a teacher who thinks playing is fun and spreads that joy to you. They don't call it playing music for nothing.

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Nuno
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by Nuno » February 13th, 2014, 4:20 am

They are different instruments. What kind of music do you want to play? How do you feel about them?

Currently I also tend to use very simple equipment, with acoustics you don't need anything, just your fingers. Electrics come with amps, pedal effects, cables...

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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by hbriem » February 14th, 2014, 2:57 am

If I may offer a dissenting opinion, I started with an acoustic, oh more than 30 years ago and had a very hard time with it. Actually pretty nearly an impossible and very frustrating time.

A little later I got a chance to play with an electric (unplugged for 90% of the time) and yowza! suddenly I could play! The (much) softer strings, narrower neck and lower action made everything so much easier and in a few short weeks I was playing 300% better.

Later I found the transition from electric to acoustic much easier.

Granted, perhaps I started with the wrong acoustic, a neck that was too thick, strings of too high a gauge and an action that was too high. But when I first started those were serious obstacles and I didn't know any better. At the time, they were very nearly insurmountable obstacles to learning.

And yes, if the acoustic is set up properly for a beginner it may be a lot easier (softer strings, lower action, thinner neck) but I didn't know any better when I started.

Just something I want to throw out there. That first acoustic I started with was a beast! High gauge stiff strings, high action, thick neck. I could hardly fret a clean note for months. The little electric was a dream in comparison. And I hardly ever used an amp with it to practice. Still don't.
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john p
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by john p » March 2nd, 2014, 4:30 pm

Thanks to each of you for sharing your thoughts. Being totally new at this, all of your input is meaningful and appreciated.

I have just taken my second lesson using a new Yamaha FS720S, hoping that choice will be okay.

John p

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notes_norton
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by notes_norton » March 6th, 2014, 6:31 am

You should be fine as long as you are having fun. Remember, they call what we do playing music. Sure there are skills you have to learn, but you have to learn skills to play baseball too. The fundamentals you are learning now will lead to instant gratification later on when they get under your fingers.

You are embarking on a journey that should give you joy for the rest of your life. Like life itself, it's journey, not a destination. You can be the greatest living guitarist of your day, and you will still not be done learning, improving, and making delightful new discoveries. Since it is a journey, enjoy every step of the way.

That's the best advice I can give.

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christopherius
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by christopherius » July 13th, 2014, 11:16 pm

The nice thing about an acoustic guitar you can take it anywhere without needing power

Jagolsch
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by Jagolsch » July 30th, 2014, 10:58 am

Electric guitars are much easier to play in general, for all the reasons hbriem pointed out. Also, some of the easiest music in the world is electric rock and punk that you hear on the radio--knock a guitar into drop D and you'll be playing some of those songs in a matter of days. It's what I teach on my website. I don't know if that appeals to you at all, though.

If you really like the sound of an acoustic, I'd recommend trying a classical guitar with a low action and nylon strings first. The easier it is on your hands, the less likely you are to get frustrated.
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von_duke
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by von_duke » August 2nd, 2014, 6:44 pm

I think everyone else has added some great advice. I would just like to say, way to get on the guitar at 70!

MatthiasYoung
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by MatthiasYoung » August 18th, 2014, 10:55 am

Here's an article that addresses basic questions about what guitar to begin with: http://matthiasyoung.com/blog/whats-the ... -beginner/

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ShawnC
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by ShawnC » August 24th, 2014, 6:47 am

Both choices have their pros and cons when you are just starting out, but the most important thing for a beginner is to stay motivated and not give up. One guitar might be better for a beginner, but if its not what you want to play, you'll be less motivated to play it. So, play what you want!

vespasband
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Re: Acoustic or electric guitar for a beginner?

Post by vespasband » September 22nd, 2014, 2:28 am

Depends. Do you want to get better to do it as a hobby, or do you just want to learn a few chords, and sound cool? If you want to treat it like golf, and, though you're not looking to make a career out of it, practice enough to do little open mice at your local bar every now, and then, get an acoustic first. The reasoning behind this is yes, acoustics are harder to learn on, but if your ok at an acoustic, you'll be better on an electric. Although side note- if you're just looking to learn a few chords, go with an acoustic, and stay with an acoustic. Electrics are weird about chords. Since the action is typically lower on an electric, you have to learn how to not push to hard on the strings causing the note to go sharp, and sound bad. That takes practice, and a good ear. But if you want to eventually be able to play some scales, or some power chords, and rock out in your basement while listening to Led Zeppelin, definitely go with an electric. Acoustics are extremely hard to solo on, and take years of practice to be able to do it well. Electrics are fun in that if you get a few pedals, you can be like Tom Morrelo, and just play gibberish, and make it sound cool. So, to answer your question, it depends on how serious you are about playing, and getting better. Just because you want to get to be as good as Jimmy Page doesn't mean you want to go on the road 300+ days a year. It's like golf. I'm sure some nobody could get on the pro tour, and win the masters- they just don't want to. Same goes for guitar. Hope that answers your question.

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