Which Guitar Should I Get? Acoustic vs. Electric


It’s official: Back-to-school 2019 is here in Portland, OR! That means the Rock Dojo after-school group guitar lessons are in full swing! At the start of each school year, the number one question parents ask us when they sign up their kids for our after-school guitar lessons is this: “Should I buy an acoustic or electric guitar?”

While the answer to that question ultimately comes down to personal choice and musical preference, it’s always helpful to understand the pros and cons of each instrument.


The Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is similar to the classical guitar, except it features steel strings, a steel rod, and a pickguard. Famous acoustic guitar brands include Taylor, Martin, and Gibson.






Tougher on the fingers

No extra gear is required.


Perfect for singer-songwriters.

Lower volume makes it harder to hear, especially in a rock band


Not good for rock guitar solos

Most popular instrument on the planet.

Many students switch quickly to the electric, so parents end up spending more money.

Legendary players: Tommy Emmanuel & Robert Johnson.


Popular acoustic guitar brands include Taylor, Martin, and Gibson.


The Acoustic Guitar is Perfect for . . . 

The acoustic guitar is more convenient for kids since it doesn’t require any additional gear or amps. That makes it much easier for kids to lug back and forth to their after-school guitar lessons. More importantly, perhaps, the acoustic guitar is perfect for a student who wants to learn to sing and strum a few chords on the guitar. In other words, if your son or daughter’s favorite musicians are Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, or Bob Dylan, then the acoustic guitar is probably the best choice.

Just be aware, the action and string gauge is higher on an acoustic guitar, which means little fingers will hurt at first! That’s why I recommend starting off with a nylon string (also known as a classical style) guitar. My favorite acoustic guitar for beginners is the Amigo AM15!


The Electric Guitar

The electric guitar is built from a solid slab of wood with a steel-reinforced neck. This is the instrument most closely associated with rock music. The most famous brands include Fender, Gibson, & Ibanez.







Requires amp, cable, & power supply

Dozens of cool effects & 100s of tones

Some amps are too heavy for a child to lug around

Play Rock, blues, metal & everything else!

Except for bluegrass!

Raw power 🙂

Raw power 🙁

The cool factor

More gear = more money

Perfect to get into a band

Legendary players: Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, & Eddie Van Halen

Popular electric guitar brands include Fender, Gibson, & Ibanez.


The Electric Guitar is Perfect for . . . 

 It growls; it screams; it whispers, the electric guitar is the heart and soul of rock music! If your kid wants to rock, there is no other choice! Plus, the action (also known as string height) is generally set low on electric guitar, which makes it much easier to play than the steel-string acoustic guitar. On the other hand, the added power provided by the amplifier makes it harder to control.

Obviously, there’s a trade-off here: while the electric guitar is easier to play in the beginning, it often takes longer to master because there are a slew of muting techniques a guitarist must eventually master if they’re ever going to truly harness the awe-inspiring power of the electric guitar! 

As for convenience, the electric guitar does require an amp and a cable. That means lugging it back-and-forth to after-school guitar lessons can be a real chore for a six-year-old!

In short, the electric guitar is probably the best choice if your son or daughter’s favorite musicians are Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, or The Who.

My favorite electric guitar for kids is the Squier Mini Strat.


Key Takeaways

By now you should have a general understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the acoustic and the electric guitar.

The acoustic is:

  • More convenient.
  • Perfect for singing and strumming.
  • Ideal for folk minded guitarists.
  • Easier to lug around.
  • Harder on sensitive fingers because of the higher action.

On the other hand, the electric guitar is:

  • More powerful.
  • Perfect for rocking hard.
  • Ideal for kids who wanna rock!
  • Harder to lug around.
  • Easier on sensitive fingers because of the lower action.

 If you have any questions or comments, please post them on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kidsrockdojo

Good luck! 


Sign up for Rock Dojo guitar lessons today. Want to learn more? Check out Rock Dojo’s FAQs and learn how our colored-belt systems works (here’s a hint: it’s like karate and you graduate with a black belt). Do you have a specific question about our guitar lessons for kids? Drop us a line at (503) 484-6417. Sign up for after-school guitar lessons in Portland, OR, on the Rock Dojo Find a Class page.