I get asked quite a bit “Why the acoustic guitar? Why not the electric?”
The purpose of this article is to discuss the many reasons why I think the acoustic guitar is better than the electric guitar. And why I encourage RLG members to start with the acoustic guitar.
Reason number 1: The acoustic guitar sounds better.
The acoustic guitar has such a classic sound that is more soothing, delicate and precise than the electric guitar. With the acoustic guitar you get a full range of dynamics. You are able to make some great sounds right away just by strumming it.
Open chords sound better on an acoustic than on an electric guitar.
When you play an acoustic guitar, you get the best resonance. The acoustic guitar sounds deeper and fuller. The perfect way it is constructed means better reverberation. You can get some resonance from the electric guitar, but it usually means adjusting a knob or turning it up….
Because the acoustic guitar is more organic, just wood and steel, no electronics, you get a true sound. It is great to feel the satisfaction that it is just you and the guitar that are creating those sounds, and expressing your creativity.
You don’t need accompaniment on the acoustic guitar. Often the most beautiful songs are simple. An acoustic guitar for the rhythm and a voice for the melody is really all you need. This is more difficult to achieve with an electric guitar.
Reason number 2: The acoustic guitar is more accessible.
When it comes to the acoustic guitar you just need a pick to play. And not even that if you are playing finger style.
You don’t need an amplifier, and chords, and effects pedals, and batteries etc.
It is just ready for pick up and play. And therefore more portable and easy to take along to those sing alongs or jams. Less is more.
There are less distractions with the acoustic guitar. You can focus on playing and not worry about dialing in the right tone. Or getting lost in that new pedal with tons of settings…
Reason number 3: Rhythm is king
The acoustic guitar is perfect for playing rhythm. I tell my members in the Relax and Learn Guitar membership that the most important thing when it comes to playing guitar is learning to play in rhythm or time.
90% of playing guitar is rhythm. And the acoustic guitar is more naturally percussive then an electric guitar.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for scales and modes and solos. But when it comes to playing the guitar, start with the acoustic. Nail your rhythm, get really good at it, and worry about those blistering electric guitar solos later (if ever).
Reason number 4: Hand Strength
The action on an acoustic guitar is probably going to be a little higher than an electric and the strings on an acoustic will be thinker. This scares some beginners away. But if you learn to play open chords and barre chords on an acoustic, you are going to build up your hand strength.
Hand strength is important when playing any kind of string instrument. And once you have had strength, and maintain it, playing any guitar will be easier. Which brings me to the last reason…..
Reason number 5: Acoustic guitar skills translate well to the electric
What you learn on the acoustic guitar in terms of strumming, picking, chords, structure, rhythm, timing and scales will translate very well to the electric if you ever decide to pick it up.
The hand strength you gain from playing the acoustic guitar will also be noticeable should you ever take up the electric guitar.
Skills learned on the electric guitar do not translate quite as well when you move from electric to the acoustic.
For all of theses reasons I advocate for playing the acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar is better than the electric guitar. Especially for beginners. You can cover so many styles and types of music with the acoustic guitar without any needful embellishment.
I love playing the electric guitar too. But I always go back to the acoustic guitar. Probably always will…….
Try it out. Get yourself a quality acoustic guitar. Learn to play it and see how great it makes you feel. See if you prefer the acoustic guitar over the electric guitar too!