Many beginner guitar players wonder, “What the best type of guitar to learn on is, and how easy it is to transfer learned skills between acoustic, electric, or classical guitars?”
To answer these questions, it’s important to get some basic knowledge in place about guitars and playing music with them. Most guitars have six strings that can be set to standard tuning.
There are alternate tuning’s but the vast majority of music and learning resources for the guitar are written in the standard tuning (E A D G B E). This means a G major chord will look and play the same way on any type of six-stringed guitar.
This also means that available charts and diagrams will work on any guitar.
Different students have different physical needs. Some students like the feel of the electric guitar because it is smaller and fits closer to the body.
The strings of the electric guitar are easier to push since they are set lower than those on acoustic and classical guitars.
Children tend to favor the classical guitar due to its nylon strings. Nylon strings are softer and fairly easy to push. The wider neck of the classical guitar also provides more room between the strings for those with “fat” or “clumsy” fingers.
One of the bigger challenges for beginner guitar players is pushing a single note without blocking another string.
The wider spacing of a classical guitar helps this.
The standard acoustic guitar uses steel strings similar to those on an electric. Many students like this type of guitar due to its popularity and thinner neck. It’s a good compromise between the modern electric and the traditional classical guitar.
Guitar instructor’s will often suggest the acoustic or classical guitar for beginners who have no idea where to start. The reason for this is simplicity and convenience.
Acoustic and classical guitars only require tuning and they are ready to go anywhere, anytime.
Electric guitars require electricity to power the amplifier. Both the electric guitar and amplifier have knobs that can confuse or frustrate beginner players trying to dial up the right tone.
The lack of knobs on acoustic and classical guitars takes the guess work out of finding a good tone and saves time. Proper tuning and technique will be needed to produce a good, clean tone.
Ultimately, the best guitar for the beginner player is the one they feel most comfortable playing.
This means having the guitar properly sized for the player and the action properly set to ensure the strings are close enough to the frets to reduce the effort required to push them.
Most music shops have guitar specialists who can check the action and make adjustments if needed. At the beginning stages of learning, comfort is more important than style.
Over time, the beginner will progress and adapt their guitars and musical equipment to suit their preferences and style.
It’s important to understand the skills acquired to play chords or scales on one guitar are transferable to other kinds of guitars.
Beginners may not realize this because the average person associates certain guitars with certain sounds and music. They tend to associate the classical guitar with a Spanish sound, the steel stringed acoustic with a bluegrass sound, or the electric guitar with a rock sound.
Irrespective of the musical style or sound there are three commonalities to playing music on any kind of guitar:
In music, scales create melody and chords create harmony. Together in time, they create rhythm.
Using harmony you can play a G major chord with a classical guitar over a beautiful backdrop of violins and it would sound classical. Conversely, you can play the G major chord with an electric guitar over heavy drums, driving bass and belted vocals which would sound like rock or heavy metal.
Despite the differences, both styles are producing harmony using the same G major chord.
Not only is it true that playing skills developed on one type of guitar is transferable to other types of guitars, but the study of harmony also known as music theory is easily transferred and adapted to any musical style or instrument.
This is why the focus for beginners should be on the basic principles of melody, harmony, and rhythm.
At Levels for Guitar, They designed their “Beginner Guitar I levels” for any and all types of six-stringed guitars in standard tuning. The basic technical skills learned are relevant to any guitar or style of guitar playing.