Electric Guitar Is OK For Beginners – Here’s Why…

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 01/19/23 •  6 min read

A lot of students ask me all the time, is electric guitar ok for beginners? The answer is a little complicated, but today we look at the advantages and the disadvantages.

Is Electric Guitar OK For Beginners?

There is a weird myth going around that to play guitar, you should start out on an acoustic guitar. I have heard this myth since I first picked up a guitar in 1993! You often hear this from parents and instructors alike. But where does this myth come from, and how did it originate?

Like most myths, it is rooted in some bit of truth. I give private lessons myself, and while most of my students have moved on to electric guitars, some of the brand-new students have acoustic guitars. There are a few reasons why this happens, but if you are wondering is electric guitar ok for beginners? The answer is yes, absolutely.

But let’s look at why so many parents and instructors seem to insist on beginners starting with an acoustic guitar. Then, we will go over the best electric guitars for beginners, since there are a few caveats to take into consideration. We will quickly go over the very specific features you should look for when choosing a first electric guitar.

The Myth of Having To Start With An Acoustic Guitar:

This myth probably started because acoustic guitar is an easier purchase for most parents. All you need to buy is the guitar itself. You do not need to buy an amp, or any accessories to go with an acoustic guitar. If you are a brand-new beginner, you may not “stick with” guitar as a hobby. So just buying a cheaper acoustic is the easiest way to get started.

But the easiest way, is not always the right way.

So is electric guitar OK for beginners? Yes, but it is a slightly higher initial investment, since you need an amp and accessories like cables to get started. But the reality is that electric guitar is probably going to be easier to learn on, when it comes to the basics. There are a few factors that go into this:

So we can see where the myth originated. If you learn on an acoustic guitar as a beginner, the process will be a little bit harder. It kind of makes sense, since if you learn how to play on a harder instrument, when you transition to an electric it will be easier to play. But I think it is better for the beginner to start out with a guitar that is easy to play, and comfortable.

Acoustic guitars have a shorter scale length, but a higher string tension. This means that it is harder to press the strings down, and fret a note. Electric guitars are made to have a longer scale length, but it is easier to fret a note. For a first-time beginner, this can be a night and day difference!

This will avoid any frustration down the road, since beginners usually have a tough time building up their hand strength. Cheap acoustic guitars are often very hard to play, since the action is so high. The action is how high the strings are, from the fretboard. This makes it harder to press the strings down, and on most electric guitars, this is easily avoidable since the action is adjustable.

Is Electric Guitar OK For Beginners? Yes, But Look For Features!

is electric guitar ok for beginners?

While we have answered the question, and given some good reasons for beginners to start with an electric guitar…there are some things to look out for! Just like most things in life, you get what you pay for, and guitars are no exception. There are a few things that you want to take notice of, when buying a beginner electric guitar:

It can be very tempting to buy something online with a super low price tag. But you get what you pay for, and you should stay away from the cheap “imitation” guitars. Sticking to a brand name will yield the best results for beginner guitarists. Brands like Epiphone and Squier have some great “Starter Packs” that come with everything you need. Is Electric guitar ok for beginners? A decent one is, yes!

When we mention a “fixed bridge” this is just a suggestion, but it will be much easier for beginners. A fixed bridge guitar does not have a “whammy bar”. These are called Tremolo Systems, and they are better avoided when it comes to a beginner guitar since they require a lot of maintenance. A “fixed bridge guitar” will be overall easier for new guitarists. Below are some of our resources for beginner electric guitars that we have tested personally.

Additional Resources:

  1. The Best Beginner Electric Guitars: Our #1 Picks
  2. Our Favorite Beginner Electric Model
  3. The Best Budget Guitars You Can Buy

Is Electric Guitar OK For Beginners? You Bet It Is!

Electric guitar is a great way to start your journey with guitar playing. They can be much easier than acoustic guitars, especially for people with smaller hands. Many of my personal students prefer an electric guitar to start out with, and there is nothing wrong with that! They are just easier to play for beginners of all ages, and easier to maintain!

Another good point to make would be the guitarist’s ultimate goal. Clearly, if you want to play folk music, acoustic guitar is probably where you want to start. But if you want to play Rock or Metal music, you might as well start with an electric guitar. You are going to want an electric eventually, so skip the acoustic and go right to the electric guitar!

Is Electric Guitar Ok For Beginners?

Yes, in fact electric guitars have some advantages when it comes to beginner guitarists, and learning guitar! Electric guitar necks are usually slimmer, and easier to play. Electric guitars can also be used quietly with headphones. Most beginners these days are starting with electric guitars, and that might be better in the long run!

Do I Have To Learn Acoustic Guitar Before I Play Electric?

No. While acoustic guitar can be just as fun as electric, it is not a requirement. Many guitarists start by playing electric guitar first.

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

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