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Acoustic or Electric?

When people are first starting out to play the guitar, or if a parent is thinking they want to get their child started with guitar, I always get the same question; should they start on acoustic or electric, and wouldn’t it be better to start with a cheap acoustic first, to see if they really like the guitar? Well, the first thing is that you should never think “cheap” when getting someone their first guitar ... staying within a budget, yes, but to compromise too much on quality would do a great disservice to the person who wants to learn, and may actually do more to discourage them than anything else! Imagine if you were just starting out as a guitarist, and you had an instrument that was “fighting” you all the way! You’d probably forever associate the guitar with pain! Hardly the way to start off on the right foot!

The other part, about whether or not someone should start on acoustic or electric is also a big “old wife’s tale.” After all, most of us were attracted to the guitar by the “sexiness” and appeal of the electric guitar. That’s not to say the acoustic is not attractive or sexy, because it surely is, and may actually be what is more attracting you at this juncture. But one thing is for sure, I actually believe in, if your budget can take it, learning on both the acoustic and electric guitars together. There is no doubt that the combination will instantly make you a more well-rounded player from the get-go, and the two different styles and techniques of playing can much more become “one” if you start out with them together.

Now, I started on classical, which is very disciplined and gives you a great respect for the guitar at a very early age, and then quickly moved on to electric guitar. It wasn’t until a good 11 years later that I got a wonderful steel-string acoustic guitar, and it was a real eye-opener! What then happened was that my already well-established electric style was blending with my new acoustic playing to form a kind of unique acoustic/electric “hybrid!” I was bending more than one normally does, using vibrato more too, and just generally applying a much more “electric” approach to the acoustic. I has truly served me well, since to this day, I feel like I really “wrench” a lot out of that acoustic guitar compared to many other players I know of.

In any event, I really feel you should try to do as much of both as possible, and really let the techniques flow into one another. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll come up with!

Posted: 8/13/2010 3:04:49 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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