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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Best to learn on..Electric than Acoustic or Acoustic than Electric????

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Kellysintrouble, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Holic

    Dec 6, 2014
    Crook County IL
    To me it’s simple. Do you want to play acoustic or electric guitar? Really can’t go wrong with a Telecaster and Tweed Champ.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  2. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    I originally was told that it was the same argument as learning to drive, if you can drive a stick, you can drive anything. So, if you can play acoustic, you can play anything. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be reality as one does not equate to skill at the other. As great as BB King was he always said that he couldn't play the acoustic well and promised that nobody would ever see him doing it. Acoustic doesn't hide your mistakes like an electric can, especially if under a lot of drive or heavy effects, so you have to be more precise. That should help you moving over to electric, but there is no doubt that they are different animals.

    I try to play both every week to blend the skills together. Acoustic in the evening and electric during the day. That will either make me more versatile or mediocre at both...time will tell.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  3. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 22, 2007
    I learned on electric, but with no amp, teaching myself very basic stuff, it was electric only in the sense that you could plug it in. I next got an acoustic, and played only that for about twenty years.

    I’ve since played both in bands and at home, and could pick up either at any time. It does take me a bit of time to adapt to the relatively light touch required when going electric after a long period of flattop.

    They are both great, and different.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  4. rainbowbear998

    rainbowbear998 Tele-Meister

    Jul 11, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I think all the posts here have already summed it up pretty well. The other thing that I’ve found is getting good at one often means you get worse at the other. I played only acoustic for years before buying an electric, thinking that electric would be easy after the 12 and 13 gauge strings I ran on my acoustic. Then I bought an electric, and it kind of has to be approached as an entirely new instrument - on an acoustic you’re trying to milk every decibel of sound out of the instrument, whereas an electric needs to be muted really well with both hands to stop strings unintentionally ringing out. I’m still learning how to do that after playing electric for over a year now. So to second what multiple people have said, pick what you want to play, don’t just start on acoustic for the sake of it.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  5. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    Im sure starting on electric works for some folks, but I’d for sure recommend starting with an acoustic because there’s so much less to think about when all you really need to worry about at that point is learning how to make the chords, how to play a couple of scales, etc. Adding in the variables of an amp, the various different sound and tone options on the amp, learning about which pickup to choose and how to work the volume and tone controls, etc is just too much crap to think about when all you really need to be doing is learning how to form and hold chords and strum and pick and learn the basics of how the fretboard is laid out and how the notes and chords relate to each other. I’d played about a year before I got an electric (and a better acoustic) and I’m glad I did - I was proficient enough at the fundamentals to be able to make the transition really easily and start learning the additional variables of the electric. If I’d had all of those variables to deal with when it was brand new, I think I’d have been overwhelmed...

    Most electrics are easier to physically play than most acoustics though and I can see pros and cons both ways on that one. I learned to drive on a manual transmission (when they were still a less expensive option in most cars (actually automatics were the more expensive option and manuals were standard equipment) and I’m glad I did. Learning on an automatic would have been easier but I might never have learned how to drive a manual after that. If I’d learned guitar on an electric I might never have played a more difficult acoustic. In both cases I feel I’ve been better off for experiencing both. I may never drive another car with a manual transmission, but I’m glad for all the years I did. And I’m sure I’ll be playing acoustic guitar at least as long as I play electric...

    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  6. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    I'd say learn on the one that fits the music you want to play.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  7. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

    Jul 10, 2014
    I'd say learn both at the same time. I started on an acoustic, and I got a thrill when I was first able to play a song with two chords. Then I got an electric, and started playing scales while listening to rock music, and before long, I learned the fret board, and could play along with everything.

    Then I began playing electric guitar riffs and such on my acoustic, lots of fun.

    I enjoy all kinds of guitars, and have been taking classes in classical guitar. You can mix and match styles and techniques on many kinds of guitars.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Tele-Holic

    Feb 11, 2006
    Near Athens GA USA
    Kids these days. Back in my day we learned on a Sears catalog acoustic guitar with a 1 inch high action at the 12th fret and we liked it!

    Basically, learn on what's going to hold the student's interest, both music and the instrument, and not frustrate and discourage them early.

  9. mfromb

    mfromb TDPRI Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    Boston, MA
    That's partly making my point, though. "Forget cords, amps, etc." but, if the new learner is inspired by (for example) Slash, EVH, Jimmy Page, Hendrix, etc., there they will be, plucking away at single notes on a nylon stringed instrument that is inarguably not well suited for the task they wish they were working on and find themselves longing for something else. Sure, it might help develop some aspects of techniques that will serve well down the road, but it's very unlikely to inspire them to learn when what they truly yearn for is a different experience entirely.

    I'm not saying NOBODY should learn on a classical (or even acoustic) guitar, I am just saying that, again in my opinion, the learner's ambition and inspiration should drive the starting point and not some theoretical or ideological "drink this, it's good for you" approach to learning.

    How many people would take a young kid wanting to play hockey and instead sign them up for figure skating lessons and then equip them with skates to match? Buy them a decent (i.e. supportive and protective) pair of hockey skates and let their aspiration be aligned with their inspiration. Likewise, if a new learner of guitar dreams of being the next Eddie Van Halen, don't get them started on something that may be better suited to becoming the next Andres Segovia. You could lose their interest in the effort to start them out on something other than where they really want to be. ;-)

    In the end, people are of course free to opine differently. A couple of my daughters picked up my acoustic and self-taught their way through the early stuff of fretting notes, chords, strumming patterns, etc. But, they were inspired more by a young woman named Swift than an old man called Slowhand, so that seemed pretty well matched as a learning experience.
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  10. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    Above is what the OP wrote. I am not sure what it means except that they want to play rock and it sounds like they are forming a band. So, maybe an electric rig would be better suited for them, but they also asked the question of "acoustic or electric" in their first post. Also, I believe that EVH started learning classical piano before he started guitar. Overall, my point was that if they are inquisitive about music in general they may want to think about getting a guitar that will allow them to view on the vast landscape music. If they just want to shred like EVH learned how to shred, them they should get an EVH guitar and all the accessories (after studying classical piano:) )
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  11. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2016
    To me there's similar difference between electric, western and classical guitar as you have between a synth, a piano and an organ. The fingerings are the same, but the playing technique, style and available sounds are vastly different. Of course you can play Clair De Lune with all of them, but it was originally written for piano so to achieve the same effect you have to re-think your approach. You also could play Eruption on a classical guitar and it might sound really cool, but etc.

    So ultimately there's no single "best". For learning the bare basics it doesn't greatly matter what you start with, but at the end you'd generally choose the tool best suited for the job you want done :)
    Kellysintrouble likes this.

  12. Kellysintrouble

    Kellysintrouble TDPRI Member

    No vidio games for me (yet). I like showing off my bleeding fingers! But I say learn on a good acoustic first then move along to electric. Case in point...I have a mesa Lone Star amp..just to get a good sound out of it takes time..I mean electric guitars have so many sounds and amps and etc. Sometimes you just want play.

  13. Kellysintrouble

    Kellysintrouble TDPRI Member

    acoustic in the evening and electric during the day,..yep..,you're hooked.
    Milspec likes this.

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