Exploding a great myth about learning and playing guitar

Long ago, when I expressed a desire to learn guitar, I indicated that I wanted to specifically learn electric guitar. The response I got from virtually everyone was, “You really should learn to play an acoustic first.” Undoubtedly, if you are (or were) in the same situation, you probably heard the same statement. This mantra is always uttered with utmost reverence and sincerity; as if it were an edict handed down from the ancients that should never be challenged, lest you invoke the wrath of some unseen Guitar God, or worse yet, simply never rise above the level of mediocrity as a guitar player.

Don’t fall for this. If you want to concentrate on electric first (or exclusively), GO FOR IT! There are actually multiple reasons to go “straight for the Strat.” Here are just a few.

Money, it’s a hit

If you are starting off on guitar, there is a great chance that you don’t have enough money to buy both an acoustic and an electric. If your dream is electric, start with that. If you know where to look, you can pick up a starter kit, complete with brand-name guitar, amplifier, and accessories for about $300. Alternately, you can shop around for good used equipment and get even more bang for your buck.

Take it easy

Most people who have played both acoustic and electric guitars have found that electrics are easier to play. It’s easier to move your fingers along the fretboard and the action (the distance between the strings and the guitar body) is usually lower. This makes for much easier playing. Yes, electrics do tend to weigh more than their acoustic counterparts, but that‘s a small consideration for most people.

Make some noise

Whether you are playing a small stage in a coffee house or restaurant or a large theatre, an electric can get your music across as long as you have the right level of amplification. While it’s true that a standard acoustic can be fitted with a pickup, the results can vary, and it just doesn’t sound the same.

Taste the rainbow

Between your guitar, your amp, and available effects pedals, you can create and endless number of tones, sounds, and effects. This will allow you to personalize your sound in a way that an acoustic would not be able to.

Follow that dream

Now, a few psychological reasons for going straight to electric if that’s really what you want to do … If you get your hands on the instrument that you want to play, rather than a variation that someone insists that you learn first, you are countless times more likely to enjoy it. You are also much more likely to push through when you hit a challenging piece of music (by the way, that happens to all music students at some point). You are more likely to stay inspired and to keep plugging away at it until you excel at it.