Is Electric Guitar Easy? 73 Guitarists Weigh In

I’ve played both electric and acoustic guitar, and although I’m much better on a nylon string guitar than an electric guitar, I can play both very well. So, today I thought I’d explain whether learning electric guitar is easy based on a poll I did. Here’s what I found.

As a general rule, electric guitar is easy. A survey of 73 guitarists asked whether electric guitar is easier than acoustic guitar and 80.88% of people said that electric guitar is easier than acoustic. Another survey showed that guitar was rated as the easiest instrument to learn.

There are various reasons why electric guitar is easy, so below I’ll explain the reasons why electric guitar is easy, as well as, whether you should learn electric or acoustic guitar first, whether you can learn electric without learning acoustic, and present the results for the various polls that show why electric guitar is the easiest instrument to learn.

Is Playing an Electric Guitar Easier Than Acoustic?

The results of a survey indicate that the vast majority of people find electric guitar easier than acoustic. However, there ARE some factors that can make acoustic guitar easier than electric.

Here’s the results of a poll I did that shows what percentage of people thought that electric guitar is easier than acoustic:

Type of GuitarPercentage of people who voted it is the EASIEST type of guitar to play and learn
Acoustic – steel string4.41%
Acoustic – nylon string also called classical/spanish/flamenco guitar14.71%
Electric guitar80.88%

The total number of people that voted is 73. And the poll was done in August, 2021. I also looked at how hard guitar is compared to learning other instruments. The results of that poll are shown in the table below:

InstrumentPercentage of people who voted it is the HARDEST type of instrument to play and learn
Drums12.67%
Piano or Keyboard20.67%
Strings – guitar only10%
Strings all others – such as, violin, cello32%
Wind instruments – for example flute, saxophone24.67%

150 people voted, and comparing the responses received it’s easy to see that guitar was voted as the easiest instrument to learn. 

So, if you take the fact that guitar is considered by most people to be the easiest instrument to learn AND electric guitar is the easiest type of guitar to play and learn, it follows that electric guitar is the easiest instrument to learn overall.

In percentages 98% of people think that electric guitar is the easiest instrument to learn overall – out of all instruments and all types of guitars. So, the chances are very good that you’ll also find it very easy to learn.

The reason why electric guitar is easier than acoustic guitars

Electric guitar is easier than acoustic because it’s, well, electric. Being electric the sound isn’t produced from the guitar but rather goes through an amp. The fact that that happens means that when you play an electric guitar you can be a lot less precise.

And you don’t need to be as focused on the tone your producing as you play. In effect, an electric guitar masks a lot of errors that would otherwise sound bad on an acoustic guitar. 

There are also numerous effects such as ‘distortion’ and ‘delay’ that make playing only a few strings or some very simple chord shapes sound amazing.

Whereas, on acoustic guitar you need to put much more emphasis on playing well with your right hand (on right handed people) to produce a good tone. As well as, being more precise with your fretting hand.

With an acoustic guitar there is no way to hide errors, as every sound you make is picked up and amplified by the sound hole. On an electric guitar by comparison you can play much softer and it still sounds very loud and very impressive. And you can play dud notes – by muting them accidentally – and it still sounds really good.

And if you were to play the exact same thing on an acoustic guitar it would not sound very good.

Why nylon string guitar (classical) is easier for larger hands

I personally have long fingers, which are both an advantage and hindrance. For example, on electric guitar I find the neck is too narrow, and makes it more difficult to play than the wider neck and bigger sized frets. 

Therefore, I can play a classical guitar much easier than an acoustic steel string, or an electric guitar. The top 3 strings of a nylon string guitar, and an electric or acoustic steel string are the exact same. But, the bottom 3 strings of a nylon string guitar are very soft and easy on the finger.

In the beginning stages of learning guitar it takes a few weeks to a month to develop calluses on the fingertips of your fretting hand. 

And the harshness of the bottom 3 strings of an acoustic steel string, or electric guitar is more painful and you tend to be able to play less until you can develop calluses. Especially when you slide your fingers up and down the strings which is common in a lot of songs. 

However, the fact remains that the vast majority of people find electric guitar easier than other styles of guitar, and guitar is the easiest of all instruments.

Interestingly, bass guitar falls into the category of guitars. I have my own opinions, but I did a follow up poll to see whether bass guitar is easier than regular guitar. I summarized the results, and provided detailed reasons. You can read the article here about what’s harder guitar or bass.

Is It Better to Learn Acoustic or Electric Guitar First?

Electric guitar is easier than an acoustic guitar. But, various people with a lot of music experience can often recommend some instruments over others for different reasons. So, is it better to learn acoustic or electric guitar first?

Overall, it’s better to learn electric guitar first. However, there are many significant reasons why learning acoustic guitar is better. The reasons are that an acoustic guitar doesn’t require an amp so you can play it in more places, and an acoustic guitar is generally cheaper.

The reason that you should learn electric guitar first is that it’s by far the easiest type of guitar to play. Which will make it much more fun to play in the beginning. 

But, many people have an acoustic guitar that they carry with them often. And also have an electric guitar. I personally had an acoustic classical guitar, and a steel string. Because I started with a steel string guitar, and then fell in love with classical and flamenco guitar.

An electric guitar means you need to buy both the guitar and the amp. And you need to always have it plugged in. Because if you play an electric guitar without an amp you can barely hear anything at all.

Can I Learn Electric Guitar without Learning Acoustic?

When just getting into guitar there are a lot of options to start with, and a question many beginners have is whether you can start with electric without first learning electric guitar. Here’s the answer.

It’s possible to learn electric guitar without learning acoustic. Both the electric guitar and an acoustic guitar have an identical fretboard and strings. So, playing on an electric guitar is virtually identical to playing on an acoustic guitar. 

But, a classical – also called a nylon string or spanish guitar – is very different to an electric guitar. The frets are wider and the strings are further apart. If you go from learning electric guitar to playing on a classical guitar you will find it takes some getting used to.

However, the tuning, and layout of an electric and a classical guitar is exactly the same, so any skills you develop on the electric guitar can easily be used when playing a classical guitar.

If you mostly play classical and switch to electric guitar you’ll find it takes a week or two to adjust and play as well on an electric as you do on a classical. The same is true if you do it the other way around – if you learn on an electric and then play a classical.

But, there is very little difference between an electric guitar and an acoustic steel string guitar.

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