Acoustic, electric or classical? What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between Acoustic, Classical and Electric guitars?

A question we are asked often – The fundamental differences between Classical, Acoustic and Electric guitars, are the strings, body shapes and (Most importantly) the sound.


Firstly, Classical guitars are strung with nylon strings, this gives classical’s a warmer and mellower sound, and it’s also softer on the fingers, this is why they’re generally recommended for younger beginners. Classical’s tend to come in one body shape, however, where beginners can struggle with a full size, you can also get them in 1/2 and 3/4 sizes.


Secondly, Acoustic guitars are strung with metal strings, in comparison to classical guitars, they’re higher in pitch and achieve a crisper sound. With acoustic guitars, you have a far wider array of different shapes and sizes, the bigger the body, the bigger the sound.


Sizes from largest to smallest; Jumbo, Dreadnought/Baby Jumbo, Auditorium/Folk, parlour and Travel. BUY-14

Acoustic and Classical guitars produce their sound solely from the hollow body, this is why the timbers they’re made out of is so important to the quality of the tone. Guitars at the entry level will be made out of laminated woods to then progress up to solid timbers ranging in a variety of grades.


Lastly, Electric guitars probably have the most amount of variation of the three. Generally they have much thinner bodies than Classical and acoustic guitars, affecting the feel and playability of them, where they are fitted with electronics, you would need an amplifier (Often abbreviated to Amp or Amps.) and an instrument cable to connect the two. With the use of an amp you can change the volume, treble and bass levels, amps such as the Roland Cube’s will allow you to change the sound with use of effects such as, Distortion, Overdrive, Chorus, Reverb and many more.


Electric guitars mainly come strung with Steel Strings but are thinner than the strings on acoustics, this allows you to manipulate them easily to play solos and scales. One of the other many variations you will find on electric guitars, are the use of pick-ups, depending on different makes/models you can get, they will (Most Commonly) have Single coil Pick-ups or Humbuckers. Single coils are known for getting a thinner more clean tone, and for this reason, are generally used in genres such as Funk, Blues, Soft Rock etc. Humbuckers on the other hand will have a much higher output, meaning that they are louder and slightly more aggressive in nature, for this reason they’re used mainly in heavier genres such as Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Metal etc.


BF500MAcoustic/electro acoustic differences.

A common misconception is that electro acoustic guitars are different from a regular acoustic guitars. Fundamentally they’re the same the only real difference is that Electro acoustics will have a pick-up fitted, this allows you to directly plug your guitar into an amplifier or PA without use of a microphone.


DEROSA offers guitar lessons from £12 teaching at our academy as well as in primary schools.

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