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Skinnyman

First guitar - acoustic or electric?

Question

As Kiwi has gone to all the trouble of setting up this section, it seems churlish not to use it so I’ll ask the first question - and although I’m no longer an absolute beginner, it’s one that I’m not sure of the answer as I can see pros and cons of each.

Anyway, my question to the panel is;

What’s the best choice for a complete beginner - electric or acoustic or classical?

Obviously, with an electric you have the added complication of an amp but I wonder which is the easiest for a beginner to get to grips with in the very early days when it’s all about learning some chords and getting your fingers toughened up?

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I'd take the view that there are multiple answers to this question. One important (maybe the most important..?) factor in learning stuff, any stuff, at any age, is motivation, that's to say: wanting to. How many children were sat at a piano, or handed a recorder or violin, even having expensive lessons thrust upon them, but didn't take it on board, or even rejected the whole thing..? If the itch that needs scratching is for an electric guitar, then start off on an electric guitar. If the motivation is more towards classical music, a classical guitar  would be the way to go. To get one's hand in by the (relatively..) easier route, an acoustic guitar can bring more rapid satisfaction (as long as the effort is put in, naturally...).
For starting out, a decent acoustic guitar gives very rapid, almost instant, gratification, and will be held onto, even if other guitars are acquired over time. To get the best out of a classical guitar, there is, in my view, no substitute for a good classical guitar teacher, and will certainly involves reading music from the outset. The road is harder, but the rewards are commensurate. If it's a question of idolatry, and wanting to join in with the modern rock idiom, then an electric has its appeal, and can be enjoyed, at least for starting out, with only a practise amp, or even a jack-plug amp and headset.
Complete beginner..? Find out why and what their interest is in the instrument, and get 'em started on that. Whatever the choice, a good tutor is a great asset, with the proviso that the pupil is willing to cooperate. If not, 'laisser faire' has produced legions of virtuoso players over the years, although the path is longer and more strewn with rocks. Better that, though, than being forced to learn in a way that doesn't fit the motivation.
Have I answered the question..? Probably not; sorry. :$

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Acoustic is a cheap and convenient way into the learning process but unless they're set up properly and well made, they can be cumbersome to get around on.  But I agree with Dad3353 in that passion is the motivation and if the aspiration is electric then it's better to get an electric in the first place.  When many of us were in the 12-14 year age range, good quality was hard to find (if not impossible) but these days there are extremely servicable instruments and amps available to all but the most miserly budgets.   My Ibanez TSA5 amps were less than a hundred quid and are superb, a nice Harley Benton guitar would be a few hundred quid and be great for a few years.

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