Electric or Acoustic?
Whether to choose an acoustic or electric guitar really depends on what you want to do with it. Acoustic guitars are perfect for solo artists, singer-songwriters, and campfire singalong enthusiasts, and they’re easy to play anywhere, since they don’t require an amplifier. They’re also an important part of country, folk, Americana, bluegrass, Celtic, or Latin music.
That said – electric guitars are easier for beginners to play, since their softer strings are easier on tender fingers. They’re also very versatile in the sounds they can create, depending on your amp settings and pedals, and they’re a must for any rock, punk, jam, grunge, or blues band. Electrics are generally smaller and thinner than acoustic guitars, but a little heavier, and they often come in splashier colors and sparkly finishes.
They’re both great options, and fun to play! If you think you might want to try both, we recommend starting with an acoustic, since it’s easier to move from acoustic to electric than the other way around.
Note: If you go acoustic, look for an acoustic-electric, which offers the feel and sound of an acoustic, with the added benefit of being able to optionally plug in to an amplifier if you want to.
What size guitar should I choose?
Guitars come in many sizes, but we recommend choosing the largest size the student can handle comfortably, since they’ll grow into it pretty quickly, and you’ll get a fuller sound from a larger guitar. Be sure to try before you buy! We don’t sell guitars ourselves, but you’re welcome to use one of ours during your first lesson before making a decision. We know it’s tempting to buy cheap when you’re not sure whether you’ll really like playing an instrument, but resist that temptation! Cheap guitars don’t stay in tune well, and there’s nothing more DE-motivating than practicing with an out-of-tune guitar.
If you want to test the waters before buying, we recommend renting from Rock N Roll Rentals on Burnet in North Austin.
(A note for our youngest students, and for seniors who might have pain in their fingers: don’t rule out the ukulele!)
To amp or not to amp?
We recommend choosing a guitar you can plug in, regardless of whether you want the acoustic or electric sound. Acoustic guitars can make sound without an amp, but if you ever want to use that guitar in a recital, student band, or talent show, you’ll need a way to amplify the sound, or you’ll be drowned out. Acoustic-electric guitars are acoustic guitars in every way, but can also be plugged into an amp when you need to. It’s the best of both worlds!