Posted May 6, 2017 by Chris in Blog

Electric or Acoustic for a beginner guitarist

Acoustic or electric
Acoustic or electric

his is a question that comes up a lot, whether a beginner should start on an electric or acoustic guitar.  There are lots of factors here, so if you’re asking yourself this question, read on to get some insight into what the best choice might be for you. At the bottom of the post, we even make a few recommendations to help.

Do you already have access to a guitar?

Firstly, if you’re an absolute beginner and you already have access to a working guitar…then I don’t think it is worth getting a new one. A zero cost option is a great way to dip your toe in the world of guitar without any cost risk.  So if you have access to a guitar, either with someone in your family, a friend, your school…whatever, then I don’t think it is worth getting anything new until:

  1. you’ve been playing for a while and are sure this is a medium-long term interest, or
  2. the guitar you have access to is is very poor condition and is hindering your improvement.

If you can’t access a guitar

If you don’t have access to a guitar, or perhaps you do, but it is in poor condition or broken, then read on.

Acoustic – nylon string

There are some real advantages starting on an acoustic (nylon) guitar

  1. They are often cheaper
  2. You don’t need an amp
  3. Nylon strings are easier on fingers, especially in children.

Acoustic – steel string

Another popular option is a steel string acoustic guitar. The benefits of starting on a steel string acoustic guitar are:

  1. Gives you options to play unplugged and through an amp
  2. Typically there are more to choose from than nylon string acoustic guitars
  3. Sounds fantastic


An electric guitar may seem like an unusual way to start as a beginner, but there are some real advantages to them:

  1. In my opinion, easier to play due to smaller neck profile and “softer” string tension than steel string acoustic guitars
  2. When playing through an amplifier, it teaches you to quiet the strings from an early stage with muting, and accurate fingering
  3. Through an amp, give you a huge range of tonal options


what are your long term plans?

My take on the electric vs acoustic question for beginners hinges on two main points. Firstly, one key question; what are your long term plans? If you see yourself wanting to progress to electric guitar as soon as possible, then I think you should start with an electric guitar.  If you feel that an acoustic repertoire is probably going to make up the most of your playing, then start acoustic.

Guitar is an amazing instrument, a great way to relax and will give you a lifetime of pleasure. Whichever way you choose to start, don’t hesitate to jump in…you’ll never regret it.

Which one should I buy?

This takes a lot more explanation, but here are some good places to start.

Acoustic (Nylon) – Yamaha C40

Great value and quality. The Yamaha C40 is a terrific place to start for beginners and juniors.
Buy at Amazon

Acoustic (Steel String) – Epiphone EL00

If steel string is the preference, the Epiphone range delivers.
Buy at Amazon

Electric – Yamaha Pacifica 012

The Pacifica range regularly tops “best value” reviews year after year.
Buy at Amazon