A quick comparison of the electric guitar and acoustic guitar will show us that obviously they are similar in many ways – for example, both are 6-stringed, both use tuning pegs to tune their strings and both have long necks with frets on them. When you learn to play one, you can play the other. So it is the body that is different. And so is the sound. Electric guitars are made of solid bodies with magnetic pickups and knobs for adjustments. Acoustic guitars have hollow resonating bodies.
An electric guitar hardly produces any sound when its string is plucked. In the absence of a soundboard and a hollow body, the string’s vibrations are not amplified. It has electro-magnetic pickups mounted under the strings that pick up the sound. Sometimes there are two or three different pickups, each with a unique sound, located at different points on the body. An amplifier is required to make an electric guitar heard. Acoustic guitar bodies, being hollow are like boxes and amplify the sound when the strings vibrate as they are plucked. Usually no other amplification is needed. It is however possible to amplify acoustic guitars to make them sound like electrics. Electric guitars can sound like electrics with pickups. Some hollow bodied electric guitars combining the elements of both acoustic and electric.
Both electric and acoustic share the basic playing techniques in terms of scales and chords. Tuning is similar, though both sound different. Generally electric guitars are louder and acoustics are more natural sounding and fuller.
To play an electric guitar, a pick or a plectrum is used for the initial sound of the note. Some guitarists use a combination of pick and fingers to play different genres of music, especially the blues. Other techniques are whammy bar, finger tapping, bending etc. This is possible because of the loud, distorted amplified sound in an electric guitar. But there’s no need to be concerned about the noise when you practice since most amps have a headphone jack you can use. Acoustic guitarists use flat-picking and finger picking techniques to produce the mellow clean sound, which is further supported by the wider neck of the guitar.
Strings And Other Things
String gauge is another point of comparison. In an electric guitar, the strings are much thinner than in acoustic guitars, making it easier to push the strings down on an electric. This makes an electric very sensitive to the slightest touch, finger placement and pressure. Because of this, it’s easier to detect even small errors when you play on an electric guitar than on an acoustic. Electric guitars are more expensive since you will need to buy an amp and guitar cable along with the guitar. You can carry an acoustic wherever you go more easily and play it where you like, whether it is indoors or outdoors. You don’t need extra equipment.
Your decision for electric guitar vs acoustic guitar, therefore, would depend primarily on sound, price, portability and playing style. Most guitarists end up playing both types.