#1
My situation is that I live with other people, so my practice on the acoustic guitar can get a bit annoying after a short period, because I'm not any good yet.

I was already planning on buying an electric guitar starter kit which includes a small amp and headphones, which would be perfect because I can play and not bother anyone.

My question is, would I be able to transfer any guitar playing skills from my electric guitar to acoustic guitar, or are they too different?


I'm sure it requires more finger precision on the acoustic as not too get any muted sounds on the strings, etc, I just want to know how different it is. Thanks!

I appreciate your advice. Thank you!
#2
They're exactly the same, only difference is that electric can be distorted through an amp. In fact, if you can't play things you learn on electric on acoustic, then I would say there's an issue. And no, it doesn't require more finger precision on an acoustic.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 17, 2013,
#3
Electric are easier to play due to less tension on the strings, and you can throw enough effects through an amp to cover up poor technique if you wish.

Acoustic are harder on the fingers, and better for practice IMHO.

If I Was teaching someone to play guitar, I would get them to start on acoustic and then later on an electric.

Conclusion:
Yes, you can transfer your skills, but it's not a direct transfer.
"I think, as a musician, you should practice your technique to be as good as you need to be to facilitate whatever ideas come into your head."
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#4
Quote by Mind_Reader7
Conclusion:
Yes, you can transfer your skills, but it's not a direct transfer.

I practice everything I've written for electric on acoustic, which is what everyone should do if given the option. If you can play it with the same playing dynamics on acoustic (same pick attack, same speed, still cleanly, etc.) as you can on electric, then your fingers and your ear probably know it well enough. If you have issues playing it on acoustic, then you need to practice it more (preferably on acoustic).

Alternatively, if you can't (because you don't own an acoustic), then practice using your amp's clean setting.


Even so, because acoustic has heavier strings generally (and therefore more tension), practicing things like bends or slides on an acoustic is generally better for your technique.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 17, 2013,
#5
I always wondered why people worry about this so much. The best way I could put it is this way: Imagine you've been driving a car for your whole life then you buy a truck. It may feel different and take you a bit of time to get use to but it's not like you have to completely re-learn how to drive. Same goes from making the switch from electric to acoustic and vice versa.
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#7
As a beginner, it would seem more beneficial to first learn on an acoustic guitar.

The acoustic I learnt on has much thicker, higher tension, higher action strings than my electric. It would have been less painful from the beginning on an electric probably, but it means that when going from an acoustic to electric it was made very easy and I didn't have to worry about going from electric to acoustic which was a bonus.
#8
People very often over think the difference of electric and acoustic guitars, there really isn't a whole lot of difference other then sound. Some people use different picking techniques, but you don't have to. Get the electric and buy an acoustic when you start sounding okay.
#9
Quote by ehbacon
People very often over think the difference of electric and acoustic guitars, there really isn't a whole lot of difference other then sound. Some people use different picking techniques, but you don't have to. Get the electric and buy an acoustic when you start sounding okay.

Actually, there are several differences. The first is that acoustics frequently have slightly heavier strings -- this means that, if people are used to (for instance) doing bends on a set of heavier strings, it makes it easier to do it on lighter electric strings. The second is that an electric requires an amp, which generally means distortion (obviously) -- this is great, but a lot of young/new guitarists don't have the ear to be able to tell if they're actually playing cleanly with distortion. Third, there's the fact that many songs sound better on acoustic or electric -- nonetheless, you can play any song written for guitar on either.
#10
Acoustic guitars generally have poorer access to the higher frets, not all of them have cutaways and on average acoustic guitar bodies are thicker than those for electric. But generally the playing techniques that you learn on an electric can be transferred over to a steel string acoustic, though you'll have to get used to the heavier strings and higher string tension. Nylon string 'classical' style guitars are a different beast though, nylon strings have a different feel to steel strings, and the neck is usually much wider.

Also crazysam's suggestion that something is wrong if you can't play everything that you play on electric on acoustic is ridiculous.
.
#11
Depends what you want to do on acoustic. Most things can be transferred between the instruments, but certain techniques used solely for acoustic sound better on acoustic and cannot be replicated on electric (as its supposed to sound).

There is a big difference between electric players and acoustic players. Anyone who doubts this, put your head back in your hole and pretend you didn't read this simple truth. The amount of technique adjustment is quite large, but extremely manageable. Also, acoustic brings percussion to the table that electric simply can't do. Picking patterns remain the same; behind the nut bends on a tele transferred to acoustic - nope. Forget it. Not gonna happen. Two step bends, nope... unless you have light guage (which sacrifices tone). Legato remains legato. Slide just sounds so much better on acoustic and dobro/resonator guitars (electrics need action resets which makes shredding slightly more difficult). Having said that, slide on electric is still cool. Just not Delta enough though. Thumb slaps work on either but just sound way cooler on acoustic... also a slight technique adjustment needed between the two. Flamenco techniques... different story - reserved for nylon. Steel strings tend to damage nails more and the effect is kind of nulled on electric (but still useable).

So in a nutshell, again, the basic techniques are freely transferrable. So do what you must to maintain your learning. When you can play your acoustic on particular days... adjust and enjoy.

@sam - higher tension does not equate to better technique. Two different tensions would require adjustment in playing. If one bends on 13's (acoustic) and moves to 10's or 11's (electric), there is a huge adjustment that needs to be made as you are going to have extreme overbends. Vibrato on 11's or 10's would not make a dent on 13's... and vibrato on 13's comfortably and good, would sound like rubbish on lighter 10's. Plectrum picking needs a miniscule adjustment too... gauges play a bigger role than people think.

If all you're gonna do is strum, then yes... this technique is easily transferrable. If you do other things, forget what sam said.
Last edited by evolucian at May 19, 2013,
#12
I actually think it's harder to go from an acoustic to an electric than vice versa. On an electric you tend to do more things - lots of barre chord progressions and licks - that you do less of on an acoustic.
#13
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Actually, there are several differences. The first is that acoustics frequently have slightly heavier strings -- this means that, if people are used to (for instance) doing bends on a set of heavier strings, it makes it easier to do it on lighter electric strings. The second is that an electric requires an amp, which generally means distortion (obviously) -- this is great, but a lot of young/new guitarists don't have the ear to be able to tell if they're actually playing cleanly with distortion. Third, there's the fact that many songs sound better on acoustic or electric -- nonetheless, you can play any song written for guitar on either.

I see what you mean, but those aren't huge differences. All I'm saying that it wouldn't be a big deal if you were to pick up an acoustic guitar after a couple years of electric. Its the same instrument with different additions.
#14
Yes you can.
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#15
Quote by Nietsche
Also crazysam's suggestion that something is wrong if you can't play everything that you play on electric on acoustic is ridiculous.

Short of playing things on higher frets (due to it being harder to access higher frets on acoustic), it isn't. You should know your guitar parts well enough that you can play them cleanly (kind of a given). Acoustic has no distortion and frequently has thicker strings. If you can play what you're playing just as well on an acoustic as you can on an electric, then chances are you really know whatever you're playing.

Quote by HotspurJr
I actually think it's harder to go from an acoustic to an electric than vice versa. On an electric you tend to do more things - lots of barre chord progressions and licks - that you do less of on an acoustic.

Errmmm...you can do barre chord progressions on acoustic very easily. The licks might take a bit, but they can all be done on acoustic too (unless they're on the higher frets maybe).

Quote by ehbacon
I see what you mean, but those aren't huge differences. All I'm saying that it wouldn't be a big deal if you were to pick up an acoustic guitar after a couple years of electric. Its the same instrument with different additions.

No, it wouldn't be a huge deal. But the main point I (and a few others) are making is that it may be better for TS's skill development on guitar if he starts with acoustic first. I started on electric, and I wish I hadn't. My first few teachers had to correct several bad habits I'd fallen into.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 20, 2013,
#16
If TS wants to play acoustic, he should start on acoustic. If TS wants to play electric, he should start on electric.

Acoustic and electric share the same techniques. And you can buy heavier gauge strings and raise your action if you want to make your guitar harder to play (though I see no point in that - you want your guitar to be comfortable to play).

But I think my playing style is kind of different on acoustic. I play different kind of things. Some things work better on acoustic, some work better on electric.

Evolucian got it right.

Also if you want to have better finger strength, why not just start playing the bass? I mean seriously, you don't play the guitar because you want better finger strength.
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#17
Guthrie Govan said that he's saving classical guitar for prison.

Get an electric buddy!
#18
It should be noted that unless you take care with your parts, acoustic guitars sound better as a solo instrument than electrics.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#19
It depends on what you want to do with your acoustic. Imo, playing an acoustic with picks and using the same licks as an electric is a disservice to the instrument. The dynamics are different and it can be used to sound much fuller than any electric on its own.

It's like playing a Nylon/Classical with picks and only sticking to a bar chord(CAGED) system. It can work, but you're not exploring the instrument's strength by staying in your comfort zone.
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#20
I think the two insturments are a lot like playing piano compared to keyboard (obviously) or less obviously, pianoforte compared to piano. Actions on keyboards can be virtually non existent and the dynamics and technique on pianoforte compared to piano are, well, slightly different. I do consider the practice of the two instruments to be, essentially the same, but the output of the two instruments and the style of the two to be.. very ... different. (for example, the electric tends to be far more melodic (think lead guitar) compared to the acoustic which, when not classical, tends to be an accompaniment instrument (typically accompanying voice.))
Last edited by Erc at May 20, 2013,
#21
I'd add that acoustic guitar playing whether steel or nylon also carry a bigger emphasis on multiple voices at once, where that doesn't always equal strumming chords and singing. Looking at classical guitar, the harmony is often built right into the piece, which gives it a much more fulfilled sound.

Electric guitars tend to be a bit more flashy on average, but carry a heavy dependance on their band and equipment for them to sound good. While a competent classical or flamenco guitarist can easily whip out a piece that can stand alone on the spot, only the best guitarists can provide a similar experience without proper preparation or accompaniment.
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#22
Quote by megano28
I'd add that acoustic guitar playing whether steel or nylon also carry a bigger emphasis on multiple voices at once, where that doesn't always equal strumming chords and singing. Looking at classical guitar, the harmony is often built right into the piece, which gives it a much more fulfilled sound.

Electric guitars tend to be a bit more flashy on average, but carry a heavy dependance on their band and equipment for them to sound good. While a competent classical or flamenco guitarist can easily whip out a piece that can stand alone on the spot, only the best guitarists can provide a similar experience without proper preparation or accompaniment.

That's how things usually are but what stops you from playing acoustic guitar songs/licks on electric? Both instruments can do same things, they just sound different.
Quote by megano28
It depends on what you want to do with your acoustic. Imo, playing an acoustic with picks and using the same licks as an electric is a disservice to the instrument. The dynamics are different and it can be used to sound much fuller than any electric on its own.

It's like playing a Nylon/Classical with picks and only sticking to a bar chord(CAGED) system. It can work, but you're not exploring the instrument's strength by staying in your comfort zone.

Electric guitar does have dynamics but it depends on your sound (if it's heavily distorted, there are no dynamics). But I think it can have lots of dynamics if you have set your amp so that it distorts when you pick hard and is clean when you pick softly. That's different kind of dynamics of course. You can also play acoustic with a pick (same as bass). Actually there are many acoustic players that use pick. It's about the sound you are after.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cadbYIzhqQ

And of course there are electric players that use fingers. It's all about the sound you are after. There are things you can do with pick that you can't do with fingers and vice versa.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
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Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#23
Quote by MaggaraMarine
That's how things usually are but what stops you from playing acoustic guitar songs/licks on electric? Both instruments can do same things, they just sound different.


I don't think you ever understood my point. To say that you can just transfer over songs like that is very misguided

Quote by MaggaraMarine
Electric guitar does have dynamics but it depends on your sound (if it's heavily distorted, there are no dynamics). But I think it can have lots of dynamics if you have set your amp so that it distorts when you pick hard and is clean when you pick softly. That's different kind of dynamics of course. You can also play acoustic with a pick (same as bass). Actually there are many acoustic players that use pick. It's about the sound you are after.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cadbYIzhqQ


It's funny that you show that video. The player that stood out was Paco, not that guy who sounds like he's playing an electric. I never said it couldn't be done, but it sounded so dull

Quote by MaggaraMarine
And of course there are electric players that use fingers. It's all about the sound you are after. There are things you can do with pick that you can't do with fingers and vice versa.


Like I said, you either didn't get my point or you're completely dismissing the differences in instruments.
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#24
Quote by megano28

It's funny that you show that video. The player that stood out was Paco, not that guy who sounds like he's playing an electric. I never said it couldn't be done, but it sounded so dull

John and Al never sound like they're playing electric. All three of those virtuoso's brought the world (of muso's) to its knees with the speed/technicality/beauty involved in 81 or 83 when the first album was released. Al plays electric like he plays his acoustic. It works in the fusion stuff stuff he did... but even his instructionals are with the acoustic. Now lets take a time travel trip to John playing with Shakti. Rather, check it out for yourself if you don't know about it. John was never really at his best when he played electric. End of defense of players.

Paco is super brilliant. He manages to keep up with whomever plays with a pick... line for line. But credit needs to go to Al too as his plectrum matches Paco's fingerstyle.

But there is a big difference in instruments, I agree... as stated elsewhere. Also elsewhere is the difference between electric players and acoustic players... John never quite pulled electric off well, but he got by. On the other hand, John Williams never pulled electric off well - in fact he sucked major balls
Last edited by evolucian at May 27, 2013,