The differences between electric guitars and acoustic are significant, yet in terms of instruction a player that wishes to eventually master the electric guitar can safely learn the basics through acoustic guitar lessons. However, there are many nuances and unique aspects to the electric guitar that are not present in acoustic versions, and the advanced electric guitarist should be well aware of reverb, distortion, pickup type/positioning, 12- and 8-string variations, amplifier distinctions, and most importantly the type of electric guitar in order to produce an ideal sound while performing.
As the most effective electronic guitar lessons encompass many advanced techniques, it’s recommended that beginners avoid undertaking the electric guitar before they’ve exhausted lessons on an acoustic version; if not for the sake of one’s pride than for the sake of the neighbors who might not appreciate amateur electric guitar sound blasts at odd hours of the night! When ready for something more advanced than simple chord progression and basic sheet music reading, it is actually very important for an electric guitar player hopeful to get as much experience playing the instrument as possible, as the sound, weight, functionality, and techniques will all be significantly altered from what has been learnt so far in acoustic guitar lessons.
Contrary to the way an acoustic guitar works, the electric guitar makes use of an amplifier and pickups to produce sound. As taking electric guitar lessons will teach, there are different types of pickups to be used, all producing a unique sound—it is ultimately up to the player to determine what kind of tone they seek for their music (this also depends on the genre, i.e. jazz versus heavy metal). Pickups, as the link between the plucking of strings and the sound produced from the amp, can carry electronic distortion in the sound from other sources. While much of this can be intended, it takes practice to manipulate the output of an electric guitar when accounting for the distortion on-the-fly. This is the difference between an amateur electric guitarist and a professional one—while all the notes may be hit when an amateur plays, the sound will be many times more distinct and deliberate with a professional player.
Yet another difference when learning the electric guitar is in the use of guitar picks and steel-strings. While all 6-stringed guitars will carry the same notes when plucked, the addition of pickups and amps for electric guitars make the force of plucking strings that much more important when producing sound. Using a pick gives more control over the immediate vibration of a guitar string (and saves players from cut fingers when using steel strings), and while this can be learned with acoustic guitar lessons as well the effect is significantly more pronounced when using an electric guitar. Some electric guitars are also equipped with a tremolo arm (“whammy bar”) which produces a distinctive vibrato by temporarily tightening/slackening the steel strings to change pitch on-the-fly; this is often used for adding ‘color’ to sustained notes in guitar solos.
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