Learning using multiple guitars

Hi all,

When you are learning guitar as a slightly more advanced beginner will it impede your progress if you learn rotating between two different guitars?

Given the different characteristics of guitars the concern would be that you wouldn’t be able to gain that muscle memory as quickly if you switch guitars.

Thanks all. Appreciate any thoughts you may have.

~ Jerry

No, it just adds more knowledge to you, so more the merrier.


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Welcome to the community Jerry.

You’re going to get a bunch of different opinions.

I think it does impede progress if you swap between a lot of different guitars. I’ve noticed I take a bit of adjustment when switching guitars. Not really noticeable with open and barre chords, but very noticeable with arpeggios and riffs that are closer to my limit of skill. I reckon switching too much makes it harder to program in the muscle memory.

I made the decision not long ago to stick with predominantly playing one electric and one acoustic. I do have 4 guitars total, but 99.9% of my playing time is on those two guitars. Those are two guitars were my first electric and first acoustic, so it’s not to hard to always play on the good ones.

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Hi Jerry! I’m a mid-beginner (Grade 2 Module 11), and have been playing around with this. I wanted an electric, and rationalized buying it by convincing myself that it would be beneficial to switch between it and the acoustic. I’ve now been switching between the two for a few months. For me, it’s been fabulous! The neck on my electric is much different than on my acoustic, and of course electrics have a smaller radius (mine is 12") than (most?) acoustics. Just the difference between the two necks has made me focus much more on refining my fretting. I found myself pressing far too hard on the electric when I started (my finger actually slipped off the fingerboard at first!). Adjusting for that on the electric has caused me to fret with more finesse on the (to me, more forgiving but more difficult) acoustic. Another thing this prompted me to do was to go back to the beginning of Grade 2 and re-do all the lessons. I’m just back to where I left off, and I’m glad I did this.

As @jkahn said, everyone is different! But if you’re suffering from GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome), and if purchasing another guitar won’t cause any life or marriage issues :rofl:, I fully support using this as an excuse to add another guitar to the family. :smiling_face:


I’ve been infected with GAC (guitar acquisition syndrome) for more years than I’d really care to admit. Over time I’ve noticed I gravitate back to my old favorites (one acoustic, one electric) for practice time. However, I break out the others for some relax time. This keeps the others from getting jealous.

Preventing bad JUJU is important. :rofl:

I think it helps rather than hinders. If you spend years practising on just one guitar exclusively, then it’s going to feel completely alien when you eventually try something else. Getting used to making that switch while learning will eventually make it come naturally, same as any other technique. I can switch between any of my four guitars without thinking about it.

It really depends on what you want. Do you want to be more versatile/able to play different guitars without too much difficulty? Then you should def swap. It will impede though progress because you’re learning slightly different muscle memory. At first it will feel much harder, eventually though I think it will be easier to switch between. For example, for me it’s not exactly seamless switching between my acoustic guitar and electric guitar. It takes me a couple of minutes to get the hang of a different guitar after playing something else, but it is much easier than it used to be. I expect that eventually (maybe years) it will feel seamless as I see it is for some guitarist who’ve played for years.

Thank you all very much for the thoughtful responses.

I have 4 different styles of electrics (LP, SG, Strat, HB) and swap every few days as the mood takes me. Apart from the HBs having bigger bodies I move from one to the other without any problem, despite scale length differences as well. I also have some dreadnoughts and been playing a lot of acoustic for a couple of months but then switch back to one of the electrics for different skill development. Again no issue.

But for a number of reasons I’ve not played much over the last 3 weeks and they are ALL proving difficult to play. So swapping not an issue but stopping is !


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As others have noted, opinions will vary on this question. Personally, I find practice on different guitars to be useful. There might be a small adjustment period when going from one to another but it’s not a very long period. Minutes, not days or weeks.


It wasn’t an issue for me. I started on an acoustic and 4 months later bought an electric, too. When I learned a new technique, I tried to learn it first on the acoustic, then (or in the meantime) to apply it to the electric as well.

In time, you find that a certain guitar is more suitable for certain techniques or songs. For example, I prefer to practice scales on the electric as single note melodies played with a pick just sound better to my ears on an electric guitar. However, it doesn’t mean that I can’t do the same on an acoustic guitar.

I have two electrics. They have different string diameters, scale lengths, weights, thicknesses, etc. Due to the different sound, so I tend toward playing specific stuff on each.

When I play something typically played on the other, it is a bit messy for a couple minutes, but tends to come into sounding ok.

I will often pick up both guitars during a 30-minute session. I like switching and getting used to each quickly was never much of a problem.