Learn acoustic before electric. Why?!

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

  1. 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 easily, and there's no string noise on the unwound G.

    I'd offer that guitar to a beginner any day.
     
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  2. davidrconnell

    davidrconnell Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    After 2019 IMG_2032.JPG IMG_1485.JPG
     
  3. GoldenEagle0308

    GoldenEagle0308 Strat-O-Master

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    There have been some comments about how playing an acoustic will make you a better player because you can't hide mistakes behind distortion. Playing an electric guitar through a clean amp will do nothing to hide mistakes. In fact, the mistakes are AMPlified.

    Play what you like.
     
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  4. SatinNeck81

    SatinNeck81 Strat-Talk Member

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    It probably doesn't matter - but when you are a kid like others have said - your parents are more likely to buy you an entry level Fender acoustic than an electric guitar, plus an amp, plus whatever pedals you discover, etc. I do think playing an acoustic helps get your fingers calloused and stronger. But when I tried to teach a friend some cowboy chords because she just got an Epiphone acoustic for her birthday - she couldn't handle the pain in her fingers from the steel strings. Granted she is probably in her 50s, but it does turn people off having to go through that initial pain.
     
  5. dspellman

    dspellman Strat-Talk Member

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    I never bothered to learn on an acoustic first.

    I was playing keys in a band and the guitar player wanted someone to do extra guitar parts as well, so I picked up a used ES-335 12-string and learned on that.

    I eventually learned to play an acoustic (grumbling the whole way because I thought it was clunky coming from an electric), but long after I learned electric.
     
  6. bobalu

    bobalu Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    :eek: Absolute hogwash. Play the instrument of your choice, be it electric or acoustic. I play both and telling someone to start on acoustic first is utter nonsense. You have way more important things to deal with in life. (can you tell I have strong feelings about this? :D ;) :))
     
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  7. moosie

    moosie Senior Stratmaster

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    Why? Because if you can play it well with thicker strings, higher action, and no effects, playing it on an electric guitar should be easy.

    It's like how in baseball, the batter warms up with a weighted bat.

    On the other hand, if you perfect the skill on electric, it means very little when picking up an acoustic.
     
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  8. davidrconnell

    davidrconnell Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    I learnt on a lot of acoustics before I got my first Strat in 1960 ( a pink one & one of the first in the UK).
    Some of my first acoustics were animals to play kept on breaking strings, ruining fingertips, etc. Then I got a Hofner Senator in 59 which led to a Hofner Committee very quickly. But, what I wanted to say is, it built a foundation for me which I'm pleased I have because, 60+ years on and (arthritis in my hands) I can swap with no problems between acoustic and my Strat. But I agree with a lot of guys on here it's not compulsory or an absolute. It does make joining your mates easier in a play day any time anywhere no power needed.
    The pics here are my 2 baby's the Nashville is a replacement for my lost Guild D55 and personally 45 years on, it's as good as the Guild.
     
  9. Chont

    Chont Most Honored Senior Member

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    I had a set of silk and steel 10s on one of my acoustics for a while. Its was really fun too. Til I got too into it and snapped the wound G bending. Now I have regular 11s. Its still fun to play and i don't have to worry quite as much.
     
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  10. CThomas

    CThomas Strat-Talk Member

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    I agree with the others. Use the instrument you want to play.
     
  11. 33db

    33db Senior Stratmaster

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    You should learn acoustic first, electric is harder to bring to parties.:whistling:
    skip to 1:22 for the hate

     
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  12. Wayfinder

    Wayfinder Strat-Talker

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    There are opinionated opinions in every field. There is a school of thought that since steel-string acoustics are the most physically difficult to play, if you learn on one you will find it much easier to play other guitars.

    Hogwash. <--- opinionated opinion, but it's mine. ;D

    If you are going to specialize in nylon-string classical guitar, you don't want to mess with a thin-neck steel-string acoustic. Despite appearances, it is a totally different instrument, as different as a violin and a cello.

    If you plan on playing an electric and nothing else, ever, why even mess with a standard acoustic or classical? Learn electric from the start. Electrics use a significantly different playing method.

    That said, if one plans diversity then yes, learn standard acoustic first and then branch out. We see a lot of modern rock bands that have at least one or two acoustic sets. If that's what one is going to do, it might be realized it's difficult to switch from an electric style to a steel acoustic style. Not so difficult to switch from steel acoustic style to electric.

    So as with so many questions of this sort: it depends on the ultimate goal of the guitarist.
     
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  13. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

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    I think it's one of those "old wives tales" used by a parent who doesn't want to spring for a shiny new electric guitar and an amp when can they buy a cheaper used acoustic first to see if little Billy will actually spend the time needed to learn. I went through it with my Dad before he finally sprung for a $35 used Silvertone bass.

    One problem as I see though is if the acoustic is poorly setup with high action and it's not addressed little Billy gets frustrated by how difficult it is to play and stops trying to learn. So we do no one any good by asking them to learn on a poorly setup guitar acoustic or electric. Other than this and the above there's no rationale I would use for one over the other.

    I've given lessons to beginners on both but they are different enough instruments that eventually a guitarist should have experience playing both.
     
  14. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    you made perfect sense to me, it is in different words but exactly what my experience was/is.

    music is a language, not an electric guitar or acoustic guitar.

    if you just learn phrases you may be able to ask for a coke or where the bathroom is in that language but you will not comprehend anything or be able to have a conversation, just like learning to play riffs or songs but have no concept of theory.
     
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  15. gitapik

    gitapik Strat-Talker

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    This is very timely; as someone recently asked my advice on it for his daughter’s first “serious” lessons. And I have some thoughts from my personal experience:

    I was a pretty good fingerpicker in high school. This very good player I was jamming with asked about my goals and I told him I wanted to play like Hendrix. He said, “Study classical for a while. You’ll be able to play anything”.

    So I got seriously into the classical guitar. And, as I got better and better, it translated really well to my fingerstyle acoustic stuff in other genres.

    But I did NOT get good at playing like Jimi. No. No. No.

    THAT required a whole lot more time playing an electric guitar with a pick through some effects and a few different amps. And to get it “right”, I had to learn to play with touch at a higher volume. And it was still hard to get it down...he’s so good.

    AKA: The electric guitar is an entirely different animal, in my experience. Jimi especially, lol. Both the technique and, just as importantly, the general vibe of where you’re coming from.

    So I asked my friend’s daughter some questions about who and what she liked to listen to and we narrowed it down to a steel string acoustic to start. To avoid the agonizing callous break ins, she’ll put a capo on the first fret and tune to standard from there Using light gauge acoustic strings. Definitely helps.
     
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  16. vintageguitarz

    vintageguitarz Strat-Talker

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    As long as you play like S*%T, you can't hide from it on an acoustic.

    I'd pay good money to hear all the so-called great trendy guitarists of the last 20 years have to play several of their trademark tunes on a basic sound hole acoustic with NO amp, just mic'd. That's how you sift the wheat from the crap.
     
  17. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    A lot of valid points in this thread.

    A lot of rubbish too.
     
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  18. Scampoh

    Scampoh New Member!

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    I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to learn on acoustic first but it probably helps. Playing an acoustic well is no small feat. Nowadays many play acoustic with effects and sound great but can’t sound great without the effects. Effects definitely hide your blemishes.
     
  19. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    I agree so much with this.


    I suspect, if your plan is diversity--it's easier to learn sight reading and music theory on keyboard, easier to learn pitch and musical listening on an instrument that requires matching pitch by ear (trombone, violin). And for guitar--acoustic builds hand strength and callouses faster, but electric doesn't require much hand strength or callouses. If you're gonna play acoustic first maybe incorporate electric 6-12 months in.
     
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  20. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Strat-O-Master

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    With an acoustic you can be that guy always sitting all alone at the beach party bon fire hacking around on a couple of chords and you wouldn't need an amp. :whistling:
     
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