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Acoustic vs. Electric: What's the best guitar to learn on?


I get this question often from both students and parents. The truth is that it really doesn’t matter which guitar you decide to start learning on. Both guitars have the same number of strings, the same tuning capabilities, and the same notes, chords, scales, and songs can be played on each. But, there are some things that you can consider when deciding which one is best for you.


  1. Which one do you like more?


This may seem like a silly question but it has to do with motivation. If you have a guitar that you are excited to play, you will play it more! In the beginning stages of learning, this is the most important thing. So, if you love rock and dream of electric guitars, get an electric guitar. If you are a folk singer at heart, get an acoustic. If you love classical music, get a classical guitar. Only you will know what excites you the most, follow your heart and your imagination.


2. Make sure it is set up properly


A guitar setup means that the strings and neck of the guitar are adjusted to be the easiest to play and sound the best. Brad Jefford Music does offer guitar setups so visit https://www.bradjeffordmusic.com/repairs to learn more.


Unfortunately, new guitars often do not come properly setup and, if they do, the woods in the guitar will often contract and expand when the guitar enters Newfoundland’s crazy climate. So, even a new guitar may need a setup to make it easier to play. I will write more about setups on a future Tip of the Month so keep an eye out for that.


3. Make sure your guitar is a comfortable size


Whether you choose electric or acoustic they come in a variety of sizes. Electrics have solid bodies which are usually smaller and hollow bodies which are usually bigger. Acoustics have jumbos and dreadnoughts which are bigger and parlor and classical guitars which are usually smaller. I suggest you try different sizes and see what feels best for you. Sometimes smaller people like smaller guitars but other times this is not the case. Comfort is a personal preference and only you can tell what feels good.


4. Get the right string gauge for your playing style


I will talk more about strings in a future post, but just know that strings come in gauges that are labeled from light to heavy gauge. These gauges do not affect the fingertips of your fretboard hand, but rather have everything to do with picking. If you pick lightly you should get a light gauge and if you have a heavy picking hand then you should choose a heavier gauge of strings. This will make your guitar tone more pleasant and project with a lot of volume.


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