Acoustic vs Electric Guitar: 10 Tips You Must Know

Are you looking to start playing the guitar but you don’t know what guitar to get? This epic guide will show you the main differences between acoustic vs electric.

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 10 must-know lessons which show you the difference between acoustic vs electric guitar.
  • 2 powerful tips which will help you learn guitar as quickly as possible.
  • 5 essential buying tips which will help you find the perfect guitar.

Over 250,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

1. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Similarities And Differences

Acoustic guitars are great for beginners as they are simple, easy to use and have all you need to get started.

There are no complications, what you see is what you get.

acoustic vs electric guitar

The acoustic guitar is a great starting point as you don’t have to worry about plugging it in to anything.

From our experience beginner guitarists are more likely to be successful if they start on acoustic guitar. They are quick and easy to use.

However you can of course learn on an electric guitar as both types of instruments share similar layouts.

Do you want to learn acoustic? This guide will show you some of THE best tips: 10 Guitar Tips I Wish Someone Had Taught Me

Electric Guitar

The main difference between an electric and an acoustic is that one can be amplified and the other can’t.

Electric guitars tend to look a little complicated due to the electronic switches on them. However the core features of the guitar are EXACTLY the same.

acoustic vs electric guitar

The addition of being able to plug your guitar into an amplifier will instantly make you feel like a rockstar.

Want to learn electric guitar? Go here: Learn Electric Guitar In 9 Easy Steps

2. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – How Much Are They?

One key contributing factor to buying your first guitar is the price. This can often be the deciding factor in which guitar you purchase.

As a guideline, you’ll need a budget of around £200 when purchasing your first guitar.

There are a number of guitars on the market which are cheaper, however anything below £100 tends to not last and is difficult to learn on.

Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars are the most budget friendly guitars. They’re simple to buy and you only need a few accessories to get you started.

As well as this there are a wide range of starter packs on the market which are perfect for beginner guitarists.

These come with:

  • Acoustic guitar and case.
  • Spare strings.
  • A tuner.
  • Guitar picks.


acoustic vs electric guitar

These range between £100-£150 and are offered by well known brands such as Fender, Yamaha and Epiphone.

Getting a starter pack is one of the most cost-effective ways to learn guitar.

We personally love the Fender FA115 Starter Pack – it’s got everything that a beginner guitarist needs to get up and playing quickly without any back-and-forth to the music store.

🇺🇸 Buy now on Sweetwater

🇬🇧 Buy now on

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It's hard to understand which scales work with which keys.

So we created a cheat-sheet! A key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Get your personalised guitar-learning plan 🎸

Get a custom guitar-learning plan here: Click here for GuitarMetrics™

World-Class Guitar Courses 🌎

Learn from the world's best guitar educators: Click here for our guitar courses

Electric Guitar

Electric guitars are more expensive than acoustic guitars and need more accessories.

You’ll need:

  • An amp.
  • Guitar lead.
  • Tuner.
  • Picks.

Even though it doesn’t sound like a lot, these extra essential items can really bulk up the price.

It can be a little bit daunting to spend lots of money on an instrument, however if you’re going to stick with it,  it’s worth the investment.

A great way of keeping the cost down when buying an electric guitar is getting a starter pack!


We personally love the Squier Sonic Stratocaster starter pack. These guitars are perfect for beginners – they play great and come with everything you need to plug and play quickly.

🇺🇸 Buy now on Sweetwater

🇬🇧 Buy now on

3. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – The Sounds

Acoustic guitars have a lot of great tones on offer. They sound awesome when you hit an open G chord and also sound great when you finger pick the softest of melodies.

To learn how to finger pick, go here: Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – 5 Easy Ways To Sound Amazing

As well as this you have YOUR sound with you when you have an acoustic guitar. You don’t need an external amp for it to be heard.

acoustic vs electric guitar

So if you want to rock up at a party and play a few of your favourite tunes, the acoustic guitar is the perfect option.

However bare in mind, acoustic guitars are limited to one sound, you cannot add effects to an acoustic guitar.

Electric Guitar

Electric guitars are a lot more versatile when it comes to sounds.

As we have an external amp, there’s a huge opportunity for sound expansion.

Most amps have a clean channel and a distortion channel, so instantly you have more tone options than an acoustic. We can also enhance our sound by adding effects pedals to our guitar sound.

acoustic vs electric guitar

Want to learn more about pedals? Check out this article by Guitar World:The Top 50 Stomp Boxes, Devices and Processors of All Time

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 250,000 guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

Our Guitar Courses

To become a better guitarist click here to see our guitar courses

Get your personalised guitar-learning plan 🎸

Want us to make a guitar-learning plan that is customised to you? Click here for GuitarMetrics™

4. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Playability

Acoustic guitars are often considered harder to learn. This is due to the strings being heavier and the height of the strings being higher than standard electric guitars.

You only really notice this for the first few months of playing, after this your fingers adjust and become stronger.

If you’re really struggling with heavy strings, you can put lighter ones on. Your local guitar shop will do this for you for a small fee.

The space between each string is wider on an acoustic, so when it comes to learning lovely open chords, you have lots of room to put your fingers.

Picking an acoustic guitar can help your technique develop quickly and efficiently.

Want to learn acoustic guitar? Go here: How To Play Acoustic Guitar : A Beginner’s Guide

acoustic vs electric guitar

Acoustic guitars come in a wide range of sizes. It’s essential that you pick a guitar which is appropriate for your body size.

If the size of your guitar is wrong, this can often make learning the guitar difficult. It’s essential that you can sit comfortably with the guitar.

To learn more about the sizes of guitar, go here: Guitar Sizes – A Guide To The 10 Sizes of Guitar

Electric Guitar

Electric guitars are easier to play. The strings are lighter and far more comfortable than acoustic guitars.

One key aspect which makes electric guitars so appealing is that they are a lot smaller than acoustic guitars, so it does make learning more comfortable.

However, chords can feel difficult on an electric because there is less space between each string.

acoustic vs electric guitar

Over the years we’ve seen students struggle on electric guitars. 9 times out of 10, this is due to poorly set up guitars. If you do decide to purchase an electric guitar, make sure it’s well set up.

Much like re-stringing, your local guitar shop should be able to set up your guitar for a small fee.

Want to learn electric guitar? Go here: How To Play Electric Guitar: A Beginner’s Guide

5. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Try Before You Buy

Even if you can’t play any music yet, it’s worth trying a guitar before you buy one.

The main reason for this is so that you can feel what the guitar is like on your lap.

When holding the guitar you should ask yourself these questions.

  • Does it feel comfortable?
  • How does the neck feel under my hands?
  • Is the guitar slipping away?
  • How high are the strings?
  • Does the guitar feel big?

These are important factors when first looking for a guitar.  It may seem pointless trying a guitar if you can’t play one, but trying one with very little knowledge of the instrument will actually give you a greater understanding of how it’s going to feel.

Acoustic vs electric guitars feel very different so it’s important that you try both to understand the differences between them.

Most music shops will cater to your needs if you ask them politely enough. They may even teach you a sneaky riff or two!

acoustic vs electric guitar

6. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Small Guitar Syndrome

Often when many beginner guitarists look for guitars, they often ask themselves the question.

“Is the guitar too big for me?”

Yes, guitars are big and they can be hard to handle! However if you can persevere, we strongly recommend that you get yourself a full size guitar.

One of the main reasons for this is that if you’re serious about guitar, you’ll end up getting a full size guitar anyway! Just start with a full size one and you’ll save yourself a bit of money and time.

acoustic vs electric guitar

Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t get a smaller guitar:

  • Playing the guitar will feel totally different on a smaller guitar than on a larger guitar, so you’ll have to readjust when you get a new guitar.
  • The quality lacks in smaller guitars compared to larger guitars.

One question which often gets asked is also, “But my son/daughter is only 8 or 9, the guitar is bigger than them! They need a smaller one!”

This is true, if your child is between the ages of 4-9, a smaller guitar can work.

However any older than this, we strongly recommend that you get them started on a full size guitar as soon as possible!

7. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Pick Your Genre!

It’s a fact that some guitars work better for some genres than others!

Picture the scene, you love playing rock music and you want to start playing the guitar but your parents get you an acoustic guitar.

You’re excited because you’ve finally got the guitar you’ve always wanted, but something just isn’t right.

“Back In Black” by AC/DC  just doesn’t sound the same on your acoustic guitar.

This is the same for electrics, if you love folk and acoustic music, you wouldn’t grab yourself a electric guitar. It just wouldn’t sound right.

acoustic vs electric guitar

When picking your guitar, think about what genres you like as this could affect what guitar you buy!

If you like:

  • Folk
  • Acoustic Music
  • Bluegrass
  • Singer Songwriters
  • Country

Chances are you want an acoustic.

Not sure on what songs to learn, here’s a list of 10 easy songs: 10 Easy Songs On Guitar

But if you like:

  • Rock Music
  • Metal
  • Blues
  • Punk

You may be looking for an electric guitar!

Maybe you want some awesome tabs? Don’t worry! We’ve got it covered, check out this lesson: Guitar Tabs For Beginners: 20 Easy Songs That Sound Great

8. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Who’s Your Favourite Artist?

If you’re still unsure what type of guitar to buy, one way of helping you decide is to think about your favourite artists.

  • What do they play?
  • Do they play both types of guitar or just use one specific type of guitar?

Try this as as challenge:

  • Pick 5 of your favourite artists.

This could be anyone from the Foo Fighters to Ed Sheeran to Oasis! Just make sure there are lots of guitars in there music.

  • Watch a live video of each one.
  • Take note as to what type of guitars they use.

So if your favourite artist plays mainly acoustic guitar, maybe the acoustic guitar is the right guitar for you.

But if your favourite musician plays an electric, maybe you should look at getting an electric guitar.

acoustic vs electric guitar

9. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – There’s Always Another Guitar.

When first purchasing a guitar it can be difficult to find the right one.

However if you’re really stuck, try not to worry. There’s always another guitar out there.

If you want to buy an electric but still want the dulcet tones of an acoustic, you can always purchase an acoustic later on.

The same goes for electric, if you think the acoustic guitar is the right way to go, but love the rocky tones of an electric guitar, you can always get the other at a later date.

5 easy guitar songs for beginners

Learn 12 EASY beginner chords with our popular guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly! 😎

Get your own personalised guitar-learning plan 🎸

Get a custom guitar-learning plan here: Click here for GuitarMetrics™

World-Class Guitar Courses 🌎

Learn from the world's best guitar educators: Click here for our guitar courses

10. Acoustic vs Electric Guitar – Pick Something Which Inspires You!

This is arguably the most important point of all..

Whatever guitar you pick, make sure it inspires you.When you first start learning guitar,  the hardest part is picking up the guitar to practice.

What you want when you first start learning is a guitar which MAKES you want to play.

Whether that’s acoustic or electric, it doesn’t matter, as long as it inspires you to pick it up and practice.

If you have a guitar which doesn’t inspire you, it will make your guitar journey disappointing.

B.B King

So if that means spending a bit of extra cash on an electric guitar, it’s really worth it. But if you want to save a bit of money on an acoustic that’s fine too. As long as the instrument inspires you that’s all that matters!

Want epic free lessons? Go here: Learn Guitar Online: Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Lesson Programmes

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Join the world's best online guitar school 🌎

  • Get your own personalised guitar learning plan (customised just for YOU).
  • World-class online guitar courses. Learn at your own pace.
  • Community Campus & Learning Forum -  A friendly community! Connect with our team & students. 😊
  • Beginner Song library with chordsheets, tabs and tips. (Songs suitable for all levels!)
  • Regular live streams, seminars and Q&A sessions - Learn from world-class guitar educators. Get all your questions answered!

Click here to learn more about National Guitar Academy membership

Cool Guitar T-shirts 😎

Look cooler! Check out our merch: Click here to see our merch store

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 250,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about National Guitar Academy: About Us

Visit our YouTube channel for fun guitar videos.

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

Get our best guitar tips & videos

Where should we send it?

Get our best guitar tips & videos

Where should we send it?

Get our best guitar tips & videos

Enter your email address to learn our best guitar tips and tricks today!