Group: Super Admins
Joined: Dec. 1999
||Posted: Feb. 28 2006, 17:18
I would say it really depends entirely on what interests you more. Aside from the limits imposed by the number of frets on some guitars, you can play pretty much anything on any guitar (there are a few very specific techniques that only work on one type, but there are very few that I can think of). Some will make certain kinds of thing very difficult, though - I'd not recommend an electric guitar for learning the 'grand tremolo' (the technique used in 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' any more than I'd recommend a classical guitar for learning tapping.
You probably won't be learning either of those techniques to start off with though, so it'll likely be other things which guide your choice. If your interest is in lead playing, I would suggest going for an electric guitar. Learning the right touch is something which I would say is very important - without it, all your solos will sound laboured and sour (like those of what seems to be quite a large number of players, and not always novices by any means...). I feel that electric guitars are particularly sensitive to the way they're handled, so it would be the best place to start, otherwise you might find you have a lot to re-learn when you go back to the acoustic guitar. Once you have that ability, you can transfer it to a steelstring acoustic and make the thing sing like you never imagined an acoustic guitar could.
If you're more interested in learning rhythm playing...well...
What's quite good about electric guitars for learning that is that you can string them up with really light strings and set a low action (so the strings are close to the fretboard), which will be easy on the fingers, whilst still sounding decent. The nylon strings on a classical guitar are of course even easier on the fingers, but the necks on classical guitars are very wide, which some people find too much of a stretch (especially when starting out). It's nicer to sit round strumming an acoustic guitar though. An acoustic might also be good if you fancy going to open mic nights, or want to play outdoors at barbecues, on the beach or anything like that. I think strummed acoustic guitar on its own is somehow more satisfying for accompanying songs than a strummed electric guitar (in the context of a band, that can be different), so if you want to accompany yourself or someone else singing, I'd say an acoustic is a better one to go for. That said, perhaps a lot of that will be of little concern to you at the moment, if you'll be just learning the basics on your own for a while.
I think I probably spend more time playing the acoustic guitar than the electric, because it's very convenient to just pick up and play. I like playing fingerpicked solo pieces though, so I can keep myself (and others ) entertained without accompaniment for quite a long time. If you're just starting to learn lead lines, you may find it more satisfying to play along with CDs on an electric guitar.
Electric guitars, despite their loud image, are the quieter of the two types - in situations where you have to be really quiet, an electric guitar that isn't plugged in (or plugged into an amp simulator) is far less likely to disturb others than even the most quietly played acoustic guitar.
I suppose at the end of the day, the best thing is having a guitar - what kind you get is secondary!