Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Electric Guitar vs Acoustic Guitar

Anyone else here in our wonderful forum world play both acoustic and electric guitar?

Mike R’s post on “Absolute Beginner Again” and the conversations therein got me thinking about how differently I approach electric guitar and acoustic guitar. Yes, they’re both guitars and yes, tunings are the same, with even the same number of strings. But after that, to me, they are two completely different instruments.

There is so much more going on with electric than acoustic. I’m not saying it’s harder, there’s just much more to think about and do with the palm muting, watching the other strings that you don’t want to ring out and be amplified, the guitar knob settings, the amp settings all the pedals, tone, technique, etc, etc! Oh, and which pickups to use. Even the pick angle and attack are different. I could keep going but you get the point.

I’ve heard many great electric guitar players say that what they play is much easier than flatpicking acoustic guitar… but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it the other way around. I find them both equally challenging and again, I believe they are two totally different instruments… even as much as guitar and banjo are different instruments.

This is only my perspective and that does not mean I’m right… Just wondering what you’re all thoughts are on this?



I think if you’re good at one, you’re at least decent at the other.



Yeah, you get what I’m talking about!

I didn’t know that about Jake.


I used to play electric, but haven’t much for decades. Every once in a while, I try to get back into it and I don’t get too far. Maybe some day there will be a local need and then I’ll give it another go.
I agree, I play an electric totally different.


There was a time, not long ago, when the only time I had an acoustic in my hands was when I was playing classical music. The steel string felt large, unwieldy, with high, slow action and heavy, unbending strings. Now I rarely pick up an electric (but I should). I have some fun instruments and they all deserve to be played regularly.


I remember not too long ago you played a jazz piece on a hollowbody electric guitar if I remember correctly. You posted it somewhere here, I can’t remember where, but it was brilliant! It was more than just the playing though… It was the attack, the timing and the tone (and of course the great playing). It was all very well done.

This is true but you should also play what you feel like playing… whatever you’re in the mood for. Music should never be a have to thing (unless of course, it’s your living)!


You are right . I am an old electric player I played a American made Strat plus for many years and played a lot of the old rock tunes and many surf tunes such as Apache and Pipe line and some I forget the names but could sort of still play them I agree with everything you said but there is more. there is a lot about reverb I love but it must be used with restraint. I could talk all night about electric versus flat top . A flat top sounds homey and sweet an electric sounds really great to me . but I need to lay down and rest the heart is about gone and the COPD has me in its grip, be true to thy self no matter what you play and enjoy each for the difference between them . I love them both and also will start playing the electric more because of your post.


Kenny, you always brighten my day when you post. Great hearing from you!


This is a little off-topic, but there is a connection - I think. Flea markets used to be great sources for oddball purchases. Years ago the wife and I were at a flea market here in Northern California. I had found a large two-handed saw with a blade about five feet long. The teeth on the thing were nearly an inch deep. It was a formidable weapon of wood cutting. I bought it as a garage decoration, but then had to haul it around the rest of the day. I noticed other flea market attendees moved out of my way when they saw my saw coming along. It was pretty good way to get through the crowd but was also a legal liability so I was careful.

Anyway, I came across a couple hippies selling cheap musical instruments. I recognized them as flea market regulars. One of them was passed out in the van; the other sat on a chair staring off aimlessly. I surmised that that both of them were likely under the influence of the wacky tobacco that California has become famous for.

I walked up to the seated salesman and asked if they have any electric saws. “What?” he responded; he was confused. “I play the saw, but I need to amplify it.” He looked at me standing there holding a massive saw. I could see he was trying to figure out what was happening. Completely confused he got up and walked over to the van where he woke up his partner and asked if they had any electric saws. No was the answer, and why are you waking me up for this nonsense was the response. The salesman turned and said, “No man, we don’t have any electric saws.” “Okay,” I replied and turned and walked away. I reconnected with the wife who was looking at other junk. She asked what I was doing. “Asking if they have any electric saws,” I replied. She made one of those noises that married guys hear a lot, and then walked off.

If you are unfamiliar with musical saws, here is some info.


Great to hear from you Ken! I do hope you keep playing… and play what you enjoy!

I’ll be praying for you!


A really informative post, reading it you interpret everything on your personal experience.Thank you!

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I have a feeling this has been posted before, but the “electric vs acoustic” question reminded me that I had these photos.

Acoustics left to right
Blueridge BR180, Martin M38, Seagull M12, Martin 000-15, Silver Creek T-160

Classicals and travel left to right
Giannini Craviola Classical, Giannini thinline classical, Great Divide Travel

Electrics and fretless bass left to right
Hohner Steinberger fretless bass, Casio PG380 Digital guitar, Ibanez Roadster II, Jay Turser 134 Quilt.

A few others have joined since including a short scale Gretsch Americana “Sundown Serenade” (my current favorite couch guitar", and Ibanez mini 335, Kala Ubass “very fun to play miniature bass” and last but not least, the acoustic I go to for all my gigs a Recording King RD 316, a poor man’s D18 Authentic.


Finally, it is 5:00 o’clock! I knew it was 5:00 o’clock somewhere.