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Learn acoustic before electric. Why?!

Discussion in 'Acoustic Soundboard' started by gretev, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. sadmoodyfrazier

    sadmoodyfrazier Senior Stratmaster

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    Cause you can do "meow meow" on an electric even if you suck but you can't do anything on an acoustic if you can't play.
     
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  2. Stratoholic

    Stratoholic Senior Stratmaster

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    I started out on the poorest example of a guitar, my dad got it for me at a flea market, it was like 30 dollars (this was 1993-94)

    Imagine an Esteban guitar, but WAY lower quality. You couldn't tune up above like A, or the bridge would come flying off, the intonation had to have been way way off, since the saddle was completely straight, the action at the nut was probably close to 1/4".

    But I toughed it out.
     
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  3. firebrand

    firebrand Senior Stratmaster

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    My first guitar was electric. Didn’t own an acoustic until after I finished a regional tour with my first band and was working on a new project.
     
  4. Jemwielder

    Jemwielder Strat-Talk Member

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    There’s something to be said about learning on an acoustic first. Harder to push down strings, so chords can be really tough for some beginners. I do think that the extra strength needed and can scare some beginners off though. I started on acoustic in 5th grade, I messed with it a bit but didn’t really stick with it. Also my parents dragged their feet on signing me up for lessons. When I got my first electric when I was 13 suddenly the fact that I sucked was the entire households problem. I also couldn’t put it down. I got lessons shortly after that and a lifetime passion was kindled. In summation, the kind of guitar a person should start on is the one that makes them want to play and practice all the time.
     
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  5. diverse379

    diverse379 Strat-O-Master

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    It’s easier to transfer classical acoustic technique to the electric than it is to go the opposite way

    when I try to play a classical piece on the electric I have to try very hard as the strings seem to get in the way of clean technique

    so in a sense they become different instruments.

    I play Hammond organ
    I also play pipe organ
    They are two different instruments.

    Although they share many similarities.

    I would definitely say learn on acoustic first because you tend to learn to read which in my opinion helps you to understand your instrument

    but everyone is different no all or nothing rules in music
    Just guiding insights and words of wisdom brought about by much trial and error
     
  6. hogrider16

    hogrider16 Strat-Talk Member

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    Whenever someone starts a sentence with, "you must" you know everything after that is a lie. Everything depends on circumstances.
     
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  7. Rocket King

    Rocket King Strat-Talker

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    Yeah I've heard this rubbish loads of times too.
    And it almost always comes from people who don't have the foggiest idea what an electric guitar is.
    I started on an acoustic because :
    -it's what I had available at home
    -that's what I'd been told.
    Played it for 2 years until I was able to get an electric guitar - which is what I wanted in the first place.
    When I finally got it, I felt totally unfamiliar.
    It took me a few weeks to get used to it. The whole way you physically interact with an acoustic guitar is just different from an electric. Starting from your position when you're holding it.
    It's no small thing in my opinion, given that we heavily rely on muscle memory while playing.
    As someone said above :it's totally necessary to learn on an acoustic, provided that's what you want to play in the first place!
    If you want an electric then go electric.
     
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  8. BigTerp

    BigTerp Strat-Talk Member

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    This!! I played acoustic, as an absolute beginner, from 2012-2016. Simply learned songs that I wanted to play. Songs that involved strumming, flat picking, finger picking, etc. I got pretty good, IMO, but only good at playing those particular songs. I was fine with this at the time. But anytime I wanted to learn another, it was a bit of a struggle if it involved different techniques, chords, etc (especially further up the fretboard). Life got busy when my son was born in '16 and my acoustic got put away not to see daylight until a few months ago. This time around I instantly got into learning some theory (scales, chord construction, general fretboard knowledge, etc.). This little bit of theory knowledge has already increased my skill set greatly. It has made learning new songs and techniques easier. Things just make more sense now when I'm playing, and those songs I learned years ago sound so much better because I play them differently now because of my increased knowledge in guitar theory. I'm no longer so robotic in my playing, if that makes sense.

    With all of that said, I've never even touched an electric. But will be picking up my first strat and amp in the near future. Sure, my experience on an acoustic will make playing an electric for the first time easier. But I don't think it will be any easier because I started on an acoustic versus an electric. But what I know will shorten the learning curve will be the theory knowledge I've recently picked up and continue to learn. My acoustic is currently at the luthier getting some work done. Just last night I picked up my book (Guitar Fretboard Workbork) and did a little reading and some exercises. Several AH-HA moments, which happens every time I work on it. And it's not just the mental aspect of learning some theory that has improved my playing. The exercises, drills, etc. that apply the theory I'm learning to the guitar has really improved my physical technique as well. Of all the things I did when first learning to play guitar, theory is something I really wish I spent some time on!!
     
  9. StratomooseII

    StratomooseII New Member!

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    Why learn acoustic before electric?! To spare music teachers from getting splitting headaches? Perhaps it is recommended, because a starter acoustic can be had for less than a electric and amp, so if a kid just starting out loses interest, there is not as much of the parents' $$ thrown down the rabbit hole. Playing nylon string acoustic is easy on newbie fingers, too.
     
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  10. tele808

    tele808 New Member!

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    If some kid is excited to learn the guitar because he loves punk rock or metal, the last thing you want to do is put an acoustic guitar in his hands until he somehow "earns" the right to play electric. Great way to kill the passion. I've been playing over 30 years and have had plenty of people ask "what kind of guitar should I buy to learn on" and my response is always "What kind of music do you want to make?" That's the most relevant question for an aspiring guitarist.
     
  11. gretev

    gretev Strat-O-Master

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    completely agree with this statement!
     
  12. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    My path was very similar. Trombone in fifth grade, then tuba in 10th. And I played dad's acoustic on the side, started playing hours at a time around 8th grade. Then I got a bass for my 16th birthday.

    When I was in 12th grade I'd play bass with the school band if I could use an amp, tuba if I couldn't.
     
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  13. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    This was true in 1964, an electric guitar cost 4 times as much as a new cheap acoustic and a practice amp cost just as much as the electric guitar. But it hasn't been true since 1990. These days a used Squier PLUS an amp can be had for about $100, and it's very difficult to find a used acoustic that's worth a damn for under $200--some of the ones between $200 and $500 aren't any good either. The economics have reversed.
     
  14. gitlvr

    gitlvr Strat-O-Master

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    This is my story. I was given an old Kay by my brother when I was about 14. He played the snot out of it, so I did not know anything was wrong with it. Bought a Mel Bay book to learn chords, could never form them cleanly, thought I had no talent and could never learn to play, so quit.
    When I hit my twenties visited my other brother ,and caught the guitar bug again. Bought a Yammy from the BX (USAF) and could not play that one, either. Bought an old, cheap Lazer strat copy, and found I could easily play that. 37 years later, looking back I realize the Kay my brother gave me had an action probably around half an inch off of the 12th, and the yammy I bought new at the BX was very high as well.
    If it weren't for the electric guitar, I would have gone 37 years not knowing the joy of music made with my own hands.
    The idea that someone MUST learn guitar on an acoustic, or that there is ONLY one proper way to do or learn anything, is a boatload of hogwash. MHO
     
  15. Colo Rasta

    Colo Rasta New Member!

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    Great question - and I don't think there's a one size, fits all answer.

    For me, I learnt on a $150 fender acoustic dreadnought......huge guitar, high action, heavy strings (great dynamics/resonance tho). The fretboard fit my hand, and the genuine love of playing my favorite songs was more than enough for me. All the basics are there - tuning, changing strings, scales/chords/arpeggios, pick technique, dynamics, etc...fast fwd a few years, the acoustic really enhances clean clean playing and a dope rhythm hand.

    Bring em over to a American made strat and a Fender Twin, look out! U guys know exactly what i'm talking about, look at muddy waters, buddy guy, bb king guitar rigs. Simple, beautiful, elegant - hit em w/ your playing, not electronics (sorry edge).

    Opposite example. You could give a noob a $6k santana model PRS, if he doesn't wanna play, he ain't gonna learn.....We see the same in snowboarding. Young local kids just learning on $hitty boards are loving it, and usually launching 20 feet in the air. While rich, tourist college brats have fresh $1k boards and their busting their lips and quitting early. Not always, just setting the scene.

    I think the bottom line really is on the individual, with the key element being closer to their love of playing music.....The best musicians I've seen, usually can rock most if not all instruments in the mix. It's a heart for music that matters. And learning bass, drums, keys will all help your overall guitar playing and musicianship. JM2C
     
  16. Bcorig

    Bcorig Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    I self-taught at age 14 with a nylon string acoustic dreadnaught because we could afford it. Acoustics are always ready to play. Learned Beatles, all sorts of stuff. I just evolved into electric through friends and my teenage suburban gardening business which provided the funds for that first Gretsch. All the bad playing habits I accumulated on that acoustic were eliminated on the much more easy to play Gretsch.
     
  17. keys88

    keys88 Strat-Talk Member

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    I think it’s most important to start on what you like so there’s a greater chance you’ll stick with it. Too many people start, get discouraged and then quit. But that being said, acoustic guitars are very honest instruments. You get exactly what you put into it. It’s a lot easier to hide poor technique and sloppy playing behind amps and effects.

    I played both when I was learning and I think that’s partly why I stuck with it. My acoustic helped me focus on the basics and build my finger and grip strength, and my electric gave me the chance to goof off and have fun. Two sides of the same coin. It kept me from getting bored with it.
     
  18. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    The only reason to start on acoustic is because there is less contraption to deal with for a beginner. Learning F is much more important than learning gain structure, inputs outputs, cables, buttons, knobs, etc. in the beginning, so not having those distractions while learning basic playing technique can be an advantage.
     
  19. Richard McKay

    Richard McKay Strat-Talk Member

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    My (Electric) Guitar teacher who is a fantastic touring musician has his acoustic in the back of a storage unit that he hasn't been in for about five years. He thinks playing acoustic destroys your touch on an electric guitar. I still get mine out occasionally, but when I go back to electric, I find I'm crushing the strings and pulling them sharp.

    Play electric if you want to play electric. Especially if you are an adult.
     
  20. Nadnitram

    Nadnitram Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just yesterday I strung up an older acoustic with a set of electric 10-46s. It's sooo easy to play. I'm sure I sacrificed a bit of tone, but I can bend notes and the G is unwound.

    I'd offer that to a beginner any day.
     
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