Here's a question we hear all the time in the shop: Is it better to learn on an acoustic or an electric guitar?
The short answer is, neither. One isn’t inherently better or worse than the other for a new player. It’s true that the basic techniques involved in playing the guitar are fairly universal. They all have strings and are (usually) played with two hands. They are (again, usually) tuned the same way, and most have frets, etc.
It’s also true that each category of guitar has unique sonic properties and abilities, which, in the long run, have the potential to lead a player down very different musical paths.
When selecting your first guitar, you’ll typically have 3 basic categories to choose from: Acoustic Steel String, Acoustic Nylon String, and Electric. What matters most to begin with is what style of music you are hoping to eventually learn, as each type of guitar will have its own unique sound and feel.
If you want to learn how to play loud rock & roll, for instance, at some point you’re likely going to want an electric guitar and an amplifier. That doesn’t mean you can’t rock out on an acoustic guitar, but no acoustic guitar is ever going to sound exactly like an amplified electric guitar.
If you’re into classical guitar music, as a contrast, a nylon string acoustic guitar will get you the sound you’re looking for.
If you’re anything like me, and are interested in many styles of music, acoustic and electric, then you can’t really go wrong. If you stick with it long enough, you’ll likely end up with at least one of each kind anyway.
In that case, having an acoustic to begin with means playing the thing is as easy as picking it up and putting your hands on it, without any messing about with cables and electricity. This makes the acoustic much more portable as well.
Nylon strings are much easier on the fingers and steel strings have a bigger sound. Steel strings are also what most people associate with as an acoustic guitar, though not always.
Any of the folks here at Sylvan, myself included, would be happy to guide you you to an instrument that you’ll be excited to pick up and play, which is the most important thing! Our shop has one of the best selections of guitars out there, and the best thing to do is come down check them out for yourself!