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Acoustic Guitar

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Coolnama
(@coolnama)
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Topic starter  

OK, just out of curiosity

Why do people in places ( for example a place my friend wants to start taking classes in ) like to start out with an acoustic guitar ( its actually a rule, he must take 6 months of acoustic before he can move on to electric guitar) ok, so why ?

You can pretty much do the same in both guitars, the difference may be the strings, but you are going to have to adapt to metal strings anyway if you are going to play electric. Another difference might be the neck cause every acoustic guitar I pick up has a wider neck than my electric. But there are acoustic guitars that have a neck like the electric ones ( they vary guitar to guitar anyway ). But if you want to play electric later you are going to have to adapt to it anyway.

It might be that Electric + Amp is more money than just an acoustic ( most of the times for begginers) but why have it as a rule ?

And another question completely off topic, whats the difference between a classical guitar and an acoustic guitar ?

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lue42
(@lue42)
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That may be a rule of that instructor, but I don't think it is a steadfast rule that everybody follows. A lot of people believe it is better to learn on an acoustic, but that opinion varies quite a bit.

An acoustic may have a wider neck and require more pressure to play, therefore making it an easier transition to electric... but, if an electric is what you want to play, then don't bother with the acoustic. If that instructor won't take you on, then find another one.

Personally... I was able to own an electric and acoustic at once when first learning... so I went back and forth often. I do find myself practicing almost exclusively on the acoustic these days, as I am focusing on fingerpicking and "strumming". But, your interests will vary quite a bit and you should learn on whatever you want.

As far as I am concerned... electric, acoustic and classical guitars are each their own instrument. They are used for different purposes and styles of music. Learn on the one that fits for you.

A general difference between acoustic vs classical would be that an acoustic would have steel strings, and a classical would have nylon strings. Classical guitars also have much wider necks, and are almost always played only with the fingers, rather than a pick. There are size differences in the body and neck length as well, but that varies a lot.

And... a starter electric/amp and a starter acoustic would generally not be too different in price.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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Chris C
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And another question completely off topic, whats the difference between a classical guitar and an acoustic guitar ?

Classical guitars are acoustic guitars, they're just a sub-set of the wider class.

With guitars the term 'acoustic' generally refers to ones that are designed to be heard without needing electronic assistance. That means they'll have some kind of sound chamber that produces the richness and volume of the sound. They may have built in pickups etc too, but those are an option not a necessity. They may have either nylon or steel strings. 'Semi-acoustics' will mostly have a smaller chamber and therefore a relatively thinner sound when played unplugged.

'Classical' guitars are typically more of a figure 8 shape than some of their cousins, have wider necks, use gut/nylon style strings and are often played in a more precise posture. The construction is also often different because guitars using steel strings need to handle a lot more tension. The steel strung ones tend to have an adjustable metal 'truss rod' through the neck.

But there's a lot of cross-over, so if you start being too precise about 'rules' then somebody can usually quote an exception... :wink: For instance, one of my guitars has nylon strings and the same kind of headstock that you'd find on a 'Classical' but you wouldn't call it a Classical guitar (and it does have a truss rod). And, anyway, you can play Country music on a so called Classical guitar, or Bach on a an electric, so it's really up to us how we want to use them. :)

That's how I see it anyway.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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Minotaur
(@minotaur)
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OK, just some brainfarts here...

When I took classes the first two times I started with an acoustic guitar. An old beat up one. No one even recognizes the name anymore: Arita. But I digress...

During the first set of lessons 20 years ago, no mention was made of what was better, acoustic or electric. At the beginning of my last go 'round with lessons in 2008, I started with the same old beat up Arita. However, it was soon mentioned to me to consider an electric because that's what "everyone" is using. :roll: So I bought one. Don't get me wrong, I love it. I now also have a new Seagull acoustic which I love also, in addition to the 12 string (and hopefully soon-to-have Ibanez acoustic-electric bass... oh the GAS pains are terrible! :lol: ). But again I digress...

I have found a bit of a difference in playing electric v. acoustic for a couple of reasons, and it's sometimes a little hard for me to switch back and forth to play a particular song or chord progression.

1. The electric, while having a thinner and narrower neck, has the strings closer together. Yes, I measured them. Sometimes that makes playing some things a little more difficult than on the acoustic.

2. On the acoustic you can only go so far up the neck, if you are so inclined to play that high. But I feel it has more room between the strings (it does... I measured them too).

3. The strings on an acoustic take more pressure. So, if you can master that, playing an electric is a bit easier.

4. I am starting lessons again next week; I will probably use the electric, since it's easier to carry around and that's probably what my teacher will use.

5. Take this all with a grain of salt because I am such a newbie. :wink:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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axissupersport
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Opinions on starting on an acoustic vs an electric could be quite a discussion among guitarsts. Here's my take on it. When I first started taking lessons at 9 years old back in the 50's I started on an acoustic simply because my parents couldn't afford an electric. Having done that, I found out that the acoustic guitar builds thicker callouses and gave me better finger strength in the long run. I'm 60 years old now and still play regularly. I mostly play my electrics but if I spend some extra time playing my acoustics my callouses thicken up. After all that rambling, I say that there's no written rule that says you have to play an acoustic first but it worked out better for me. I hope that helps you.


   
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lue42
(@lue42)
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Just some observations about what you said... it is not meant to prove you wrong, just to show that everything varies on different types of guitars. Your experience is different, as Seagull's and 12 strings do have wider and different necks.

1. The electric, while having a thinner and narrower neck, has the strings closer together. Yes, I measured them. Sometimes that makes playing some things a little more difficult than on the acoustic.
My electric (Schecter S-1) and acoustic (Ovation CS257) have the exact same nut (neck) width. Generally, the neck feels the same as well. My Fender acoustic has a very slightly wider neck, but not too different.

2. On the acoustic you can only go so far up the neck, if you are so inclined to play that high. But I feel it has more room between the strings (it does... I measured them too).
My Ovation has a cutaway, and I have access to around the 20th fret... and the electric the same. On a non-cutaway (Ie. my Fender) I can only access to about the 14th fret

3. The strings on an acoustic take more pressure. So, if you can master that, playing an electric is a bit easier.
On my acoustics, I use "Silk and Steel" strings. Both my guitars are set up quite well and actually feel pretty similar to playing the electric. The strings are soft and easy to press. So, I guess it varies a lot based on how the guitar is set up, and what type of strings you use.

4. I am starting lessons again next week; I will probably use the electric, since it's easier to carry around and that's probably what my teacher will use.
If your teacher has an amp available for the lessons, then you can go with either. If not (like my previous instructor), then the acoustic is definitely the better option to bring rather than truckin' your amp in with you.

I am in the process of trying to sell my Fender acoustic (DG-16) because of the lack of cutaway, and I hardly use it now that I have the Ovation. I would definitely recommend to anyone buying an acoustic for the first time to buy one with a cutaway. Anyone want to buy a Fender DG-16 :)

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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Minotaur
(@minotaur)
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Just some observations about what you said... it is not meant to prove you wrong, just to show that everything varies on different types of guitars. Your experience is different, as Seagull's and 12 strings do have wider and different necks.

Exactly the point. Ymmv (your mileage may vary).

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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cnev
 cnev
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There is no rule and I say do what you want...what happens if you never plan on playing an acoustic guitar? do you still have to learn on it? To me that would be ridiculous.

I don't own an acoustic and don't really see the need as I have no desire to play one so all I will ever play is an electric.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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Chris C
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Why do people in places ( for example a place my friend wants to start taking classes in ) like to start out with an acoustic guitar ( its actually a rule, he must take 6 months of acoustic before he can move on to electric guitar) ok, so why ?

My guess is that they want to weed out all the 'wanna-be-a-rock-star-in-a-week' kids with the El Cheapo starter electric packs from Target, and try and stick to students who might be more 'serious' about the study of music (particularly in the styles that they prefer to teach... ). There can be something of a 'revolving door' syndrome with students who take "All you need is three chords and the truth" a bit too literally and think they'll be rockin' in minutes...

Noise is also always an issue too. It's difficult (not to mention very expensive) to provide lots of somewhat soundproofed rooms so that all your wannabe rock drummers, metal singers and lead thrashers can all wail away at the same time.... :shock: In theory you could use amps with two headphone plugs, and both say "Eh? what? Pardon?" a lot, or the school can provide the amps and keep the student's hands off the volume control, but all that costs money in gear and electricity too.

When I've been at the local shops during lesson time (they mostly seem to have have teaching booths out the back) it's all a lot more bearable for everybody else when the beginners are plunking quietly away on acoustic instruments. Except banjo. Banjo schools should ideally be located in the middle of jungles, heavy industry sites, or on remote mountain tops next to the bagpipe schools... :wink:
So maybe that's part of the reason?

Like Cnev, I can't see any reason why you would actually need to start on an acoustic if you really want to play electric. Nylon string guitars, steel string acoustics, and electrics all require some difference in touch and technique, so it seems reasonable enough to start on the one you want to end up playing. The local places that I know of let you start on whatever you choose.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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