Is it better to practice with acoustic or electric?

Do you practice with an electric and no amp? There are some greats (EVH IIRC) that have done it that way. I’m not a fan of it myself.

I did that at first, practicing on my electric, unplugged, just for the noise factor. (I live in an apartment building.) Someone, I think on here, was saying that you notice your errors more readily when on an amp though, so now I practice mostly with either my amp or audio interface and headphones. Practicing without the amp doesn’t bother me, though. I am hoping to acquire an acoustic.

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Oh this is a good topic. I reckon, practice on both.

Near the beginning, a lot of techniques and chords are easier on the electric. Don’t make it harder on yourself than it needs to be. Once you can do it on electric, then try acoustic. A bit later on, some techniques you really, really seldom see people doing on one rather than the other and there’s a reason for that. They want to be played different ways.

I really, really don’t buy the “learn it the hard way” thing. Learn it the easier way first, then get better at the hard way. Otherwise you may as well raise the action on all your guitars to mark them harder, or put on super heavy strings so they hurt and are hard to fret and bend… doesn’t make sense to me. Play what you love. Not what’s hard. IMHO.

For which one I play, it depends what music I’m playing. Strummy, open chord stuff, even with some chord embellishments, sounds a lot better on acoustic. So does fingerstyle. Just love that sound. The percussive nature and natural tone of an acoustic can make sounds than an electric really can’t.

Something with gain, power chords, legato, rock/metal riffs, arpeggios - I prefer the electric. They just don’t sound the same on acoustic. I’m SO much worse at legato on acoustic, it’s just harder. (My legato is beginner level anyway).

I like both, play on both. I don’t measure or divide the time at all though. Yesterday I only played my electric, one day last weekend I only played acoustic.


I agree with this. Of course it depends what your aim is: if you only ever want to play acoustic, there’s no point practicing on electric (or vice versa).

As I intimated before, although the basic skills are the same between acoustic and electric, they are different beasts in many ways, and switching from acoustic to electric can be just as hard as the other way.

Muting, controlling gain, bending notes, keeping in tune whilst fretting chords, and simply getting used to how an amplified guitar feels are all things which are different with an electric guitar from an acoustic.

If you you want to play both then you should probably practice on both.

I also don’t agree with the view that learning barre chords on an acoustic first specifically because it’s harder is a good approach. I think that is putting artificial barriers up. Learning barre chords is hard enough already, and you should give yourself the best chance of success.

Learning barre chords is more about stretching, finger position/control and technique to start with. Once you have nailed it on an electric, transitioning to acoustic isn’t that hard.

Ultimately, you should practice on whichever inspires you the most at the time, whichever gives you the most joy.




B.B. King, talking about using light strings on Lucille, said “why work harder than you have to?”


I mix and match to be honest with where I’m at now. I started learning on an acoustic as it was all that I had, and it was badly set up so made my life doubly difficult. I did really notice the difference after buying an electric guitar with easier fretting and therefore found getting thing under my fingers that little bit easier. Now I have an acoustic again, that’s way better to play than my original one, I find I am using both pretty equally and it more depends on what I’m doing / what song I’m learning or playing.
If trying to learn a new technique I’ll try it out on both but adopt the approach Toby mentions above, use the electric first but then consolidate on the acoustic.
At the end of the day though I’ll always say go with whatever works for you, I don’t think there is a “better” that can be prescribed!


If I’m learning a song (lyrics, strumming pattern or chord progression) I don’t need to have a cool sound, and I definitely don’t need to bother my loved ones, as I lounge on the couch in front of the TV.
I do enjoy plugging in however, when I have the place to myself.
(Does that make me an introvert? :rofl:)


That’s another good point I had forgotten about! Yeah I think I remember when I switched to amping my electric more regularly, that I would notice more the errors I was making, particularly in the lower strings (like the low E and the B)

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