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Is Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic for Beginners?

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You’ve heard the tales… Electric guitar is wayyyy easier than acoustic, mannn.

But then almost every beginner you see starts with an acoustic, so what the flip?

Today I’ll be going over which one is actually the best to start playing so that you can smash some songs out in no time, which is what we all want, right?

Let’s begin.

Which Will Hurt Your Fingers More?

Ha ha ha, the classic question. And here’s an even more classic, annoying answer… Both.

Electric guitar strings are thinner, which means that they are sharper. As a result, the strings will feel particularly spikey on your wee, uncalloused digits in the beginning.

You’ll probably only be able to play for 5 mins or so before you need a break.

However, acoustic guitar strings are thicker and therefore a bit softer to play. As well as this, acoustic guitars tend to have four wound strings, and electric guitar only have three. This means that you get an additional soft feeling string on acoustics.

Wound Strings

But still, you’ll only be able to play for about 10-15 minutes at a time when you first start out before the damned finger pain hits.

That’s because, being thicker, the strings require more effort to push down. This means you have to push into the strings more than on an electric.

At the end of the day though, both will be a little uncomfortable for the first week or two, and your fingers will soon toughen up. Mine nowadays could probably even block a Nerf bullet…

Anyway, I’d say the acoustic still wins the least-finger-pain-whilst-playing-guitar award.

Playtime is everything when you’re starting out, and acoustic will help with that.

Which Is Easier to Play Riffs On?

Alright, so you like riffs and want to play along with tracks of your favourite band asap?

Obviously it depends on the genre, but I’d say electric guitar just pips this one.

The riffs themselves are actually about the same difficulty in most cases. Funk, blues, soul, reggae, rock, indie etc. you won’t be able to feel a noticeable difference.

The only problem occurs when you start playing genres like Metal and Hard Rock, where lots of distortion is used.

No distortion.
Distortion, wooo!

You can buy a distortion pedal or an amp with a distortion setting for electric guitar, but you don’t do that for acoustic guitar. At least, not unless you are moderately insane.

So the electric guitar is just a bit more customizable in terms of genre, although you will have to pay for those extra gadgets.

Which Is Easier to Play Notes On?

Electric guitar. Fact.

No offence acoustic, but those thicker strings just make everything require increased effort. More friction makes slides more annoying, hammer ons and pulls offs need more power to sound out clearly, and bends aren’t gonna happen without your fingers needing a burial after.

This is normally the point where people decide that electric is easier than acoustic. Those same licks and solos require a tenth of the effort on an electric guitar than on an acoustic.

And by the time you want to play licks and solos, your fingers are tougher anyway, so the sharper strings aren’t so much of an issue.

However, you’d be more of an intermediate guitarist than a beginner by this point. So in terms of choosing a guitar from a beginner’s perspective, don’t let this worry you too much.

Which Is Easier to Pick Up and Play?

So you’re in a Guitar Centre, overwhelmed by the wall of guitars facing you, and you just wanna know, which can I buy, take home and just play straight away?

Well, the answer to that – my friend – is going to be the acoustic.

You pick it up, tune it with a free app like GuitarTuna, and voilà! You have your own playable, not-terrible sounding instrument.

No knobs, no cables, no amps dials or funny words like “EQ”, “Mid” or “Gain”. That stuff confuses new electric guitar players and gets people frustrated messing about with things they don’t understand. Really, you should just be playing.

The last thing you want is quitting because you got fed up trying to find a “good tone”.

Plus, you’d have to buy an electric guitar, an amp AND a cable, which costs much more than just a simple acoustic.

If you wanna just play, then choose the wooden guitar with hole in the middle.

So Which One Should You Get?

Here’s the thing, they are both the same instrument and teach you the same skills.

Electric will be harder initially, but then easier in the long run, particularly once you have callouses and are at that intermediate stage.

That’s why I recommend that people should start out on acoustic. Learn the chords, play the instrument as much as possible, and don’t worry about anything more complicated than that just yet.

Find out whether you actually even like playing before you dive in with money.

And hey, once you’ve played for a few months and find yourself wanting more, then great! Get yourself an electric guitar & amp and have fun learning the technical stuff.

But obviously, if your mate is offering you an old electric guitar and amp for free, then you should definitely just take that!

Loads of people start out on electric, and if it saves money, then it’s worth it.

I myself started in summer on an old, battered acoustic with a massive split open crack through the middle of it.

I played for a while, got good at chords, then got a 10W Marshall Amp and Squire Telecaster for the following Christmas… Worked for me!

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully that’s been insightful for y’all. Everybody starts differently, so don’t spend too much time dwelling on it.

Some people even start playing bass, realize guitar gets you way more dates, then transition over and do absolutely fine.

I don’t care what you get, as long as you actually play it.

Anyway, I’ve been Sam,


P.S. If you want to take your first free guitar lesson and learn how to play guitar for beginners, then click here to start playing!


Sam is a guitar teacher and educator, with his main goal being to give people advice that they can truly rely on. He strives to teach through modern and effective techniques that actually provide results. Getting good at guitar was always his dream, and this blog outlines the steps he took to achieve total guitar freedom from scratch.

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