How to Play Acoustic Guitar

Author: classic-guitars  //  Category: Instruments - Guitars
Andreas Wahlstedt posted:

Beginning guitarists often wonder whether there are differences between how to play acoustic guitar versus electric guitar. The short answer is: ‘Yes and No’.

Acoustic guitars and electric guitars are identical in terms of how the notes are laid out on the fretboard. All your chords and scales are in the exact same place. Both guitars can be picked, plucked and strummed.

Where they differ is in their construction and playability. Generally speaking, acoustic guitars have heavier, less flexible strings. What this means for you is that you’ll need to build up a bit more strength in your fretting hand in order to play an acoustic guitar.

Although the strength building will take a bit longer, it will pay off if you decide to play on an electric guitar with lighter strings. You’ll be able to fly across an electric on string gauges that your average electric player considers ‘heavy’.

Another thing to understand about acoustic guitar is that it’s characteristic sound changes the type of music that sounds best on it. If you’re into ‘death metal’, for example, it’s going to sound completely different when played acoustically because you don’t have distortion and you don’t (usually) have access to higher notes (14th fret and above) used in those screaming solos.

Speaking of distortion and other effects, it is possible to use effects on an acoustic, but you have to create an extra set up.

The first option is to play your acoustic in front of a microphone that’s run through an effect pedal and into a regular guitar amplifier. The second option is to have your guitar equipped with a small ‘pickup’ mic, and wired out with an input jack so that you can plug directly into an amp.

Last but not least, keep in mind that acoustic guitars don’t have ‘moveable’ bridge systems the way electric guitars do. There’s no ‘whammy bar’ on an acoustic.

Keeping in mind the points mentioned above, you can rest assured that learning how to play acoustic guitar is the same as learning to play electric: all you need to do is learn your scales and chords, then practice ’til your fingers bleed!

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