Differences Between Acoustic vs Electric Guitars

One of the biggest decisions new guitar players must make is whether to learn to play an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar first. While similar in many ways, the two types of guitars have some big differences. If you’re still considering which type of guitar to learn first, read on below to discover the main differences between acoustic vs electric guitars.

Similarities between Acoustic and Electric Guitars

Before we dive right into the differences between the two, it’s helpful to know how they are similar. Both are string instruments (six strings on each) and produce sound through the vibration of the strings. Both electric and acoustic guitars have long necks, a fretboard, tuning pegs, and are primarily made of wood. However, beyond that, the two types of guitars are very different.

Differences Between Acoustic vs Electric Guitars


Perhaps the biggest and most noticeable difference between the two types of guitars is their sound. Each one has a very distinct and unique musical style, making them geared towards specific genres of music. While an acoustic guitar is capable of producing sound on its own, an electric guitar needs power and an amplifier to emit any real sound. The amplifier magnifies the sound and allows for more control and manipulation as well as the opportunity to add effects. For this reason, electric guitars are very versatile and capable of producing many different tones.

An acoustic guitar, on the other hand, is more limited in sound as it is not supported by an external amp. Thus, it has a more mellow tone compared to an electric guitar. For those who are interested in playing folk, bluegrass or country music, an acoustic guitar is the best choice while an electric guitar is better suited for heavy metal and hard rock music.


As you might expect, there is a cost difference between acoustic vs electric guitars. In most cases, acoustic guitars are more budget-friendly because they require fewer accessories. Whereas electric guitars require an amplifier and other gear, which can quickly add up in price. However, there are always ways to minimize costs. No matter what type of guitar you choose, be sure to visit a local guitar store in Scottsdale or Phoenix to find the best deal possible before making your purchase.


While both electric and acoustic guitars have six strings, the types of strings used on each guitar are different. Acoustic guitars tend to use heavier strings made of bronze and brass while lighter steel or nickel strings work best on electric guitars. Due to the heaviness of the strings, acoustic guitars are usually a bit harder to play than electric guitars because more finger strength is required. But with enough practice and plenty of guitar lessons, your fingers will adjust over time.

Shape and Size

Another major difference between the two types of guitars is their shape and size. Acoustic guitars have big hollow bodies with a sound hole in the middle that helps to project the sound. In contrast, electric guitars are solid bodies and do not have sound holes. Instead, sound is projected through pickups (magnetic coils) and an amp. Generally speaking, electric guitars are smaller than acoustic guitars, have thinner bodies, and thinner necks, making them more comfortable to play (especially for beginning guitar players).

However, many newbie guitar players opt to learn on an acoustic guitar instead because of its simplicity (no knobs, wires or accessories) and its portability. For example, you can easily transport it to your guitar lessons in Scottsdale without breaking a sweat or worrying about lugging extra equipment. When choosing between an acoustic vs electric guitar, it all boils down to preference and priorities.

No matter which one you choose, remember that you can always learn to play the other as well!  Once you learn the basics of one guitar, it’s fairly easy to learn to play the other. For help learning how to play either guitar, contact Scottsdale Music Academy or sign up for a free introductory music lesson to see what we’re all about!

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