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I'm 15, and recently I've watched a few electric guitar performances on YouTube. It got me really interested in electric guitars. Now, I've never played a guitar before, neither electric nor acoustic, i kind of did, I'll explain in a second.

My grandfather owns a few acoustic guitars and he's pretty good at it. When i was 11 he taught me how to play Smoke on the Water, a pretty simple melody. I didn't practice that song much, I played it a few times for fun, what I'm trying to say is that I kind of know how a guitar feels on my lap and I know how it feels to play the strings. Apart from that, I never played them.

I wasn't interested in guitars before, but recently I have. I don't like acoustic guitars, I like electric ones. Anyway, I have a question: I''m a beginner. I'd like to learn how to play an electric guitar. Should my first guitar be an electric or acoustic? Which one is easier to play and easier to learn to play?

And a bit sillier one, could I cut my fingers on a guitar's strings? I'll be glad if someone answered my questions, I'm eager to learn how to play an electric guitar.

  • Hi Nikad, welcome. I have edited the formatting a bit to make it easier to read. And please try to just ask one question at a time next time. There are loads of posts here with information that will help you so have a good read of the questions in the guitar and electric guitar tag. – Doktor Mayhem Jul 28 '18 at 17:37
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    Buy a Yamaha Pacifica and a small amplifier with built in effects. Learn all of the basic chord shapes.Then watch YouTube... And just play.. don't think of it as practice.. just play the guitar.. as often as you can.. talk to others that play.. in a year.. you'll be as good as 70% of guitarists. Your fingers will have hard skin on the ends.. and you will have levelled up your life. – Richard Aug 2 '18 at 0:39
  • Also.. I didn't know that guitar strings snap every now and then. So don't worry about that just buy new strings. Also.. your guitar doesn't just need to be in tune with itself.. it needs to be in tune with everybody else.. so buy a guitar tuner.. or download a tuner app for your phone. – Richard Aug 2 '18 at 1:06
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I don't like acoustic guitars, i like electric ones.

You should start with an electric guitar.

There are arguments both ways to whether to start on electric or acoustic, but these differences are minor compared to enthusiasm. You won't get anywhere with a guitar that you don't like and don't play. You'll go far with one that gets your heart racing so you play it frequently.

The strings on electric guitars are usually lighter and closer than acoustic. This is argued in favor of electrics as easier to get started on and in favor of acoustics as forcing better habits.

If your grandfather is available I'd recommend taking him shopping for an inexpensive but well set up electric guitar and amp. There are dozens of sites with reviews of good starter guitars. The important thing when starting out is that it's set up well. A cheap but well set up guitar will play better and easier than an expensive but poorly set up one.

Once you have the guitar take some lessons (or have your grandfather give you some if he's available and able to - playing and teaching are very different skills though) and find some like minded friends to play with. Locally a lot of the teen-oriented lessons also help the students form bands. If your friends aren't already interested in playing there may be something similar near you.

Your fingers will be sore when you get started, but they shouldn't bleed. You'll need to build up strength and stamina. Take things slowly at first and stop when your fingers or hands hurt. A teacher will be able to help identify if you're hurting because of bad technique or if it's just from getting tired. Playing several 10-15 minute sessions is much safer and more valuable than one marathon session.

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Should my first guitar be an electric or acoustic?

If you want to play electric, as you said, then your first guitar should definitely be an electric.

Which one is easier to play and easier to learn to play?

Stylistically, as in how people choose to play them, they are just a little different and neither is necessarily easier. But from a technical standpoint, assuming you chose to play the same thing on both, an electric is usually a little easier to play for most people because of the string gauge, action, and neck thickness.

And a bit sillier one, could i cut my fingers on a guitar's strings?

Just from playing them? No, not really. You might get blisters at first if you practice hard enough but eventually you'll build up calluses. And you can and probably will prick yourself on the strings ends at some point when changing strings.

how do i start?

  • Get a guitar
  • Get a teacher
  • Have them help you learn songs that you like because you'll make more progress if you're enjoying your practice time.
  • Try to have a goal and keep that in mind at all times. For example if your goal is to play cover songs in a band with friends, then you should spend your practice time learning songs and playing with a band. But if your goal was something different you might spend your practice time on something else. Your practice time should always be moving you toward your goal.
  • Might build up callouses if your guitar isn't set up properly, or you're not playing it properly! – Tim Jul 28 '18 at 16:14
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    I'm not sure that sentence required an exclamation point, Tim. But I'm glad that you're fired up about calluses. It's pretty common for beginners to get calluses. But then again I guess it's also common for beginners to not play properly, right? – user37496 Jul 28 '18 at 17:04
  • Fired up indeed. I had them when I first started playing, and that was the fault of a very cheap guitar. I'd probably call them scars at the time! After getting a half decent one, and learning how to set up, haven't had them in the last 55+ yrs of regular playing - guitar and bass. Certainly don't believe in them, and good players find them a hindrance, as they're not playing with proper skin! – Tim Jul 28 '18 at 17:34
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GOOD LORD! ELECTRIC GUITAR IS NOT DEAD! THANK YOU!

Another good news is: It's totally OK to start with electric guitar!

I see you already have great answers on this post, so I'll just try to bring in what I found missing from my experience, as well as some enthusiasm!

And a bit sillier one, could I cut my fingers on a guitar's strings?

Not a silly question at all: actually, you're not going to cut your fingers with the strings on regular playing, but you might cut your fingers with the frets on a poorly built instrument.

Frets should be polished (and also crouned and leveled) so the edges won't cut your fingers.

However on very cheap guitars, you'll find the frets are roughly polished and THAT might cut you seriously.

So my recommendation goes to buying a guitar: you should have a seasoned guitarist to help you on your first buy. If you don't know any body, you'll find lots of reviews on YouTube to help you. Take your time! And start with grand-pa's acoustic if you can't get your hands on an electric guitar quickly.

Basically, you should range between 100$ and 300$ for a new guitar in a retailer store. If you can get a Fender or an Epiphone for this price range, you can't go wrong. You may also want to check-out Harley Benton. It's a German low cost brand. They only sell on the internet, so check-out the reviews before you move.

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    My two cents worth on the buying process...go out and play every guitar on the rack in every store you can find, even if you know it's out of your price range. You'll soon find things you like and things you don't like and will have a better grasp of what makes a good guitar. And if the store won't let you play them...walk out and find another. – Duston Nov 30 '18 at 15:08
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Should I start with acoustic or electric?

Well you like electric so, you'll need one of them ;-)

But .. acoustic guitars have one massive advantage: you can just pick one up an play it. No plugs, leads, amp to sort out. You can do that with an electric guitar too of course, but it's much more quiet.

I have found that playing elewctric is great for playing the songs I want to play, and have them sound how I want them to. however an acoustic s much better for clarity and hearing the detailof what you're playing. so I'd advocate having both, if you can manage it - but spend the money & buy a nicer electric for yourself because that's what you really want.

Re your fingers: Yes, it'll hurt at first. electric guitars use steel strings and these cut into your finger pads a bit at first for a couplke of weeks until you get used to it.

if you have a steel-string acoustic, it's even worse: the strings are usually quite thick and they really dig into your finger pads- again only until you get used to it. a nylon-string acoustic might be a good starting point just to get the fingering right because the nylon strings are thicker generally, and do'nt hurt as much. ie you can get more practice in without any pain.

nylon strings aren't very good for bending so if you want to simulate that, you can tune it quite low so the strings are looser, and then they become bendable like an electric guitar (just in a lower key)

don't worry aboiut the finger pad wear though, it really only takes a little while before you get used to it.

Good luck ! Hope you enjoy :-)

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So listen, I play Clarinet and Flute since a while and I don't know much about guitars, I never liked them :D. But I can give you a few suggestions:

1) First thing is emotion and enthusiasm. Make sure you are ready and afford the money for everything you must buy in order to keep a quite "professional" studying-time with the guitar.

2) Learn the basics. Learn the low key and the violin key as starting; keep studying them and learning them daily, don't stop. Practice and improve yourself as much as you can daily.

3) Learn reading music (solfeggio). Even if it's kind of "boring", it's one of the most important chapters of the music; it allows you to properly understand the music, so you won't have particular problems into playing a piece for the first time. Practice daily & start playing a bit after doing some solfeggio.

4) Buy everything you need (guitar, lectern SHOT, etc.), so you won't have this problem into the future.

5) Keep practicing daily.

6) Possibly study and learn with a teacher; in case you do some mistakes or errors while playing the guitar or doing solfeggio, he/she'll be surely helping you out into "fixing" that problem, and so it will be easier for you "check-'n-fix" problems with playing, etc...

7) Watch some videos on YouTube/Internet (generally), but DON'T take too much "profit" out of them; nobody's perfect, so who says that you won't do some mistakes into reading/learning from internet, or than even those who made the videos did some errors?

8) Keep studying.

9) Never leave the guitar just because you have the day too full or other null excuses. Just keep studying and remember the empathy and emotion you have got towards the guitar.

10) Love the music. Music is the best tool God gave us to exprime our emotions out of ourselves, so don't waste it, it's a very powerful tool, ;) :).

Once again, I'm not a guitar expert, as I play Clarinet and Flute, but I hope this helped you out, even if just "a little bit". ;) :).

  • +1, for insisting to "keep on practicing" – Tim H Nov 29 '18 at 8:13

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