Is Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic?

If you’re a beginner guitarist trying to decide between electric and acoustic, you may be confused. Is Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic? Both types of guitars have their own pros and cons, so the answer to this question rests on your personal tastes and the way you learn.

Here, I’ll explore the differences between electric and acoustic guitars in terms of playability, technique, and sound. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type of guitar, as well as provide tips for beginners who are deciding which instrument to choose. 

So, if you’re ready to embark on your guitar-playing journey, keep reading to find out whether an electric or acoustic guitar is the right choice for you.

is electric guitar easier than acoustic

What Makes Electric Guitar Easier to Play?

Electric guitars are more accessible to play because their bodies are smaller, their necks are shorter, and their strings are softer. Also, the strings aren’t as thick as those on an acoustic guitar.

You can also project all the sounds with speakers and reverbs. For an electric guitar, you can even use a headphone input to practice in almost complete quiet.

Acoustic guitars, on the other hand, have bigger necks. Not only that, but they have a little higher motion, and the strings are more robust than those on electric guitars. In this way, it’s harder to break a string on an acoustic guitar.

One more thing that makes electric guitars stand out is that they can create a lot more sounds. Apart from having a sound that is usually louder and crisper than acoustic guitars, electric guitars also let you change the sound to suit your tastes.

For instance, you can connect an electric guitar to a separate amplifier, which makes the tone very clear. You can also improve the sound by adding effects tools to your electric guitar. Also, it’s easier to learn barre chords on an electric guitar because the strings are softer and don’t hurt your fingers as much.

Distinguishing Features of Acoustic and Electric Guitars

Electric Guitars

Electrical energy is converted from vibrations in the strings by the pickups on an electric guitar. Upon passing through an amplifier, the signal is converted into sound.

When the guitar isn’t amplified, its sound is minimal and, therefore, unheard. The reason they are so popular is that they can produce a wide range of tones, regardless of how loud or soft they are.

Although electric guitars have similar parts and a similar shape, they sound different. It depends on a lot of things, such as the size of the guitar, the shape of the neck or body, the type of wood used, and so on. 

Usually, an electric guitar has a scale length of 25.5 inches and a length of about 38 inches. Strings 6 to 1 are tuned to E, A, D, G, B, and E. 

When we talk about “electric guitars,” we usually mean solid-bodied guitars made of hardwood with polymer finishes. Gibson made the first solid-body guitar, and many other companies followed suit by the 1970s. 

Electric guitars are available in all shapes and sizes today at a music shop. Regardless of how they sound, all guitars require pickups to convert vibrations from strings into electricity, which is then amplified to produce sound.

red-electric-guitar

Pros

  • With effects tools, you can make your electric guitar sound different and more functional. However, not all pedals work on acoustic guitars.
  • An electric guitar is more accessible to play than an acoustic guitar because the strings are not as tight. Using a keyboard is much easier than holding down notes.
  • You can easily change the settings on your electric guitar. You can play it this way if your music requires it, making it loud or soft as you choose.

Cons

  • Electric guitars need an amp or a computer with a DAW to be heard. To hear yourself, you require an external sound source since they don’t make sound on their own. 
  • In many cases, they are expensive. Beginners can find inexpensive guitars, but adding effect pedals, amps, and other gear makes an electric guitar very expensive.

Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars have hollow bodies. You can feel the strings moving when you pluck them near the bridge. Due to vibration interfering with the air inside the guitar, the sound is heard through the top hole, which makes it sound like it’s coming from the whole guitar.

A plectrum or fingers can be used to make a sound. There are many types of acoustic guitars. Here are a few of the most common ones based on their size: 

  • Parlor
  • Concert
  • Auditorium
  • Grand Auditorium
  • Dreadnought 
  • Jumbo 
  • Mini

On all of these guitars, the steel strings are tuned in the same way. You can play fingerstyle traditional music on an acoustic guitar with nylon strings.

black-acoustic-guitar

Pros

  • You can play an acoustic guitar anywhere and at any time if you own one. A pickup may enhance the sound of some acoustic guitar models, but not in smaller rooms or intimate settings.
  • It’s much easier to fingerpick or fingerstyle on an acoustic guitar than on an electric guitar.
  • With acoustic guitars, the tone is not affected by transposing music with a capo because string tension is higher. The strings of the acoustic hold tuning better, so you can experiment with different tunings.

Cons

  • Compared to electric guitars, these guitars are less versatile. You can play any genre of music on an acoustic guitar, but some genres sound better with specific effects applied to the tone. 
  • It is more challenging to maintain them. It is important to remember that wood reacts negatively to damp conditions. You may experience fret buzz or dull sound if you do not take care of your acoustic guitar. Guitars with hollow bodies are fragile because they are hollow.

The Basic Difference Between Electric And Acoustic Guitar

There are some significant differences between electric and acoustic guitars, even though they are both guitars. The electric guitar sounds different, has different strings, and can have different neck shapes.

Amplification

The most important thing is how they feel in your hands, not how they sound when they’re amplified. It probably feels easier to play the electric guitar because its strings are smaller. 

When you play an acoustic guitar, parts like the soundhole and guitar body wood work together to make the vibrations of the strings loud enough. This is why you need strings with a broader size; they make the guitar more audible and more “percussive.” It’s not likely that the sound would be rich and full like an acoustic guitar if you used thin gauge strings.

Electric guitars are more flexible because they can sound different thanks to pedals and amps that change the tone. You can play without distortion or with it, change the lows, mids, and highs, and more. 

Electric guitars don’t need heavier gauge strings because they make sound with amps and pickups. They also respond better to picking dynamics.

You can add an acoustic guitar pickup to your guitar, or some acoustic guitars already have electronics built in. However, acoustic guitars can’t make as many different sounds as electric guitars can.

String Tension

String tension goes up when the strings are thicker, so you have to press down harder to play. Acoustics can also have a higher effect from time to time. That being said, this doesn’t mean that acoustic guitars are always hard to play; it depends on the player.

That’s true for any new guitar. It will get easier as you play it. Your fingers will get calluses, and your hand will get used to the neck and fretboard of the guitar better.

Neck and Body Shape

Acoustic guitar necks come in a lot of different forms, but electric guitar necks are usually thinner. It’s easier for people with small hands to play with thinner necks because they reward a lighter touch. Even so, because they are made of solid wood, electronic guitars tend to be heavier than acoustic guitars. It might be hard or uncomfortable to play while standing up because of the extra weight. 

A lot of guitar players find it easier to play on an electric guitar. It helps them get better at advanced skills like vibrato, bending, hammer-ons, tapping, and more. You can still do these things on an acoustic guitar, but an electric guitar is better. 

This table of comparisons might help you make your choice:

Acoustic Guitar
Electric Guitar
Sound
Tone that is rich and warm, great for folk, blues, and country
Tone range that works well for rock, pop, blues, and metal
Portability
Easy to take with you anywhere
Needs an amplifier and a wire, so it's not as portable
Ease of Playing
Needs more agility and finger strength
It's easier on the fingers and great for newbies
Durability
Higher because the strings are stronger
Lower because the strings are thinner

Similarities Between Acoustic And Electric Guitar

  • Both guitars have virtually identical anatomy. A guitar consists of a headstock, a neck, six strings, and a bridge. Only the bodies differ in shape. You can play both if you know how to play one. 
  • Both use wood as their primary material. Most guitars are made from rosewood, ebony, mahogany, and maple.
  • There is no difference in tuning between the two types of guitars, even if you want different tunings. Electric guitars are tuned the same way as electric guitars, and vice versa. 
  • Both fretboards have the same notes, despite the different widths. Your fingers should be placed in the same position on both fretboards to hold a chord or play a melody.

Is Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic?

There are a few factors that make electric guitars easier to play than acoustic guitars:

Electric Guitar Bodies Are More Comfortable

While the forms and sizes of guitar bodies vary by model, electric guitar bodies are often more comfortable. They feature narrower bodies that are simpler to wrap an arm around, particularly for young individuals and those with shorter arms.

Designs like the Fender Stratocaster have curved bodies that fit comfortably under your arm and against your side.

Acoustic guitar bodies, on the other hand, are often large and boxy, with hard edges where the sides meet the top and back.

Electric Guitar Strings Are Easier to Press

Electric guitar strings are often simpler to press against the frets than acoustic guitar strings due to their lower tension. This is the most fundamental thing that guitarists do, and it is one of the primary reasons that playing electric is easier. Every note and chord takes less physical effort.

The strings of an acoustic guitar are typically more tense and require more energy to press down, particularly when fretting chords. It is usual for novices to experience pain at the tips of their fingers while learning to play. This will be more challenging with an acoustic guitar.

Electric Guitars are Easier to Play Loud

Electric guitars can be played louder since they can be plugged into amplifiers. Some acoustic guitars can be plugged into amplifiers, whereas others cannot. If you want to play with a band, even simply bass and drums, the amp allows the guitar to mix in with the band.

Without an amp, you’ll be playing your acoustic at total volume the entire time, attempting to keep up. It’s good to be able to experiment with dynamics. The beats will easily drown out single notes on an acoustic guitar.

Electric Guitars Have a Better Selection

Most music stores feature a more extensive variety of electric guitars. This is presumably related to the increased demand for electric guitars. A more extensive selection increases your chances of finding the features you want at a price you can afford.

If you are left-handed, your guitar options may be limited at first. Don’t be frightened to buy online; do your “homework” first and make sure the merchant accepts returns just in case.

Easier to Change Electric Guitar Strings

It’s easier for me to change the strings on an electric guitar. Each string needs to go through the bridge, a hole in the nut, and into and around a tuning peg on the headstock. This depends on the type of electric guitar.

There are pegs in the bridge of some acoustic guitars that hold the strings down. It’s not clear how to get these pegs out, and they get stuck sometimes. It’s always been faster for me to change electric strings, which is essential for me as a musician.

If you don’t have an extra guitar with you at the show, you need to change the strings quickly!

Electric Guitar Can Be Played Very Quietly

When played without an amplifier, electric guitars are quiet. If you don’t want to bother other people, this is a good thing. If you like to practice in peace, away from your family and friends, the electric guitar is a great choice.

An electric guitar can be played either very loudly or very quietly. On the other hand, an acoustic guitar usually sounds about average.

Electric Guitars are Easier to Adjust

The action (height of the strings) and the neck are the two most usual changes you’ll need to make to your guitar. It’s easy to change the motion of an electric guitar. Most of the time, screws or Allan wrench sockets are used to adjust the height of each string separately.

The bridges of most acoustic guitars are made of wood and plastic, and they don’t have these adjustments. From what I’ve seen, filing the slots in the bridge and nut can lower the action of an acoustic guitar. Similarly, changing the nut and bridge or raising the action can do the same thing. You should have a professional woodworker do these things.

To change the neck, use the truss rod, which is a metal rod that goes through most guitar necks. Some necks have mechanisms at each end that let you change the rod. A cover sometimes hides these mechanisms. Then, you’ll need to take off the truss rod cover before making any changes.

That goes for any truss rod changes as well. Try these things out on a cheap guitar first before doing them on a valuable guitar. You can change the motion and tone of your electric guitar however you like.

More accessible to Solo on Electric Guitar

It is much easier to solo on the electric guitar. This makes sense, given that most pop and rock guitar solos are performed on electric guitar. When playing solo, it’s helpful to be able to play high, bend, slide, vibrato, distortion, delay, and other effects. All of this is easier with an electric guitar!

On the other hand, acoustic guitar soloists feel free to explore their material on acoustic guitar.

Easier to Emulate Pop and Rock Electric Guitar

Most beginner guitarists desire to learn pop and rock music. The great majority of such stuff is related to electric guitars. The major exception is acoustic singer/songwriter material or mild rock. It makes sense to use an instrument comparable to your favorite artists.

Electric Guitars Can Use Effects Pedals

Effects pedals are designed to be used with an electric guitar. The input and output jacks are compatible with 1/4″ (“quarter inch”) instrument cables.

If your acoustic guitar lacks an instrument cable output (as some do), you will be unable to use it with this type of effects unit. The only method to employ the impact in this circumstance is to mic your guitar and process the resulting output.

Electric Guitars Have Lower Action

The term “action” describes how distant the strings are from the fingerboard. The strings must be forced down to the frets; hence, this distance influences how easy the guitar is to play.

It is more accessible to Play High Notes on the Electric Guitar

Many acoustic guitars have fingerboards that continue into the body. These notes are challenging to reach comfortably. Most electric guitars feature cutaways that allow your hand to get the high notes more effortlessly.

This is why acoustic guitars favor the instrument’s low and middle ranges. I’ve always appreciated having quick access to all of the notes on my electric guitars.

What You Can Play on Acoustic vs Electric Guitars?

Aside from the way guitars feel to play, the other significant distinction between acoustic and electric guitars is what you can play on them. Technically, you can play any genre of music on any guitar. However, each musical style is best suited to a specific type of guitar.

Some types of music are better suited to acoustic guitars, while others are to electric guitars. This is extremely important to consider when considering whether to purchase an acoustic or electric guitar.

First, choose what types of music you want to play. Then, look at what guitars are commonly utilized in various genres of music. Look up live versions of your favorite songs and see which guitars they use.

If you notice that the majority of the music you listen to is played on steel-string acoustic guitars, that’s where you should start. Don’t worry if the strings are more demanding on your fingers at first; it’s still the finest option for you. If the music you listen to is all played on 7-string electric guitars, don’t start with a 6-string guitar (as many people recommend). Begin with a 7-string electric guitar (learn more about them here).

It may be more difficult in the beginning, but it is the best option for you. When deciding on the best guitar for you, keep in mind that you want a guitar that you will love playing both now and in the future. There’s nothing worse than learning on a guitar that is meant for beginners, only to become upset with it after a few months because you discover it’s not the correct type of guitar for you.

Start with the guitar that best complements the music you wish to learn, and you’ll never outgrow it. You may eventually upgrade to a better guitar, but you will never outgrow this one.

Final Words On Is electric guitar easier than acoustic

When it comes to the debate of whether electric guitar is more accessible than acoustic, there isn’t a straightforward answer. Both types of guitars have their unique characteristics and challenges. It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and goals as a musician. 

While electric guitars may have lighter strings and offer more control over sound through amplification, acoustic guitars can help develop finger strength and provide a more organic playing experience. 

The key is to choose the guitar that resonates with you and motivates you to practice and improve. So, whether you choose electric or acoustic, remember that dedication and consistent practice are the keys to mastering any instrument. Keep strumming!

FAQs

If I Can Play Acoustic Guitar, Can I Play Electric Guitar?

Yes, if you learn how to play acoustic guitar, you can also play electric guitar. Everything you learn to play on one style of guitar may be applied to another.

Some guitarists play both electric and acoustic guitars, and the same principles apply to both. Some forms of music will feel more natural on one sort of guitar, but you can play the same things on both.

Can You Play an Electric Guitar Like an Acoustic?

You can play an electric guitar the same way you would an acoustic. You can strum the same chords, fingerpick the same arpeggios, and perform the same music. It will sound and feel drastically different on an electric guitar, but you can play it the same way you would an acoustic.

If you try to play an electric guitar without plugging it in, the sound will be inferior to that of an acoustic. Trying to play an electric guitar while it is unplugged will not work. You’ll barely hear the notes you play, and they’ll sound dreadful.

Is Acoustic Harder To Learn Than Electric?

Acoustic guitars are frequently regarded as more challenging to learn. This is due to the thicker strings and increased string height compared to ordinary electric guitars. You only notice this during the first few months of playing; after that, your fingers adjust and strengthen.

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