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acoustic or electric guitar

Acoustic Or Electric Guitar: Which Should You Get?

So you’ve chosen to take up the guitar. Good for you! Now comes the hard part: which guitar is the best to start playing on? Well, the answer to that question depends on many things. It depends on what kind of music you enjoy listening to, what kind of music you are looking to play, and what kind of level you wish to reach–amateur or professional.

Before we go over each topic, let us first discuss the differences between Electric and Acoustic guitars.

The main difference between an Electric and Acoustic guitar is the fact that the Electric must be plugged into an amplifier in order to be heard loudly, while the Acoustic can be played and heard without the use of an amp. This is because Acoustic guitars have sound holes, which produce the sound. Electric guitars, on the other hand, don’t have a sound hole and are thus known as Hollow-body’s. Electric hollow-body’s can be heard by the people playing them, but are inaudible to others without the use of an amp. Additionally, there are Electric guitars with the ability to be played both acoustically and electrically because they have little sound holes. These are known as semi-hollow bodies and are very versatile because they can sound one way unplugged and another way on an amp. Finally, there are some Acoustic guitars, known as Acoustic-Electric’s, that can be played acoustically or on an amp. However, these are very different from semi-hollow bodies, because they sound pretty much the same unplugged or plugged–the only difference being that the Acoustic-Electric when plugged into the amp.

OK, now that we’ve briefly gone over the different types of Acoustic and Electric guitars, we can now move on to the criteria for choosing a guitar.

The Music You Enjoy Helps You Decide What Guitar to Buy: Let’s start off with the first topic. Obviously, those who enjoy listening to a certain kind of music are most likely going to want to play it on guitar. That is why you must take this into consideration when looking for a guitar. Choosing the wrong type of guitar could lead to frustration and giving up the instrument all together. Do you enjoy rock music–metal, modern, alternative and otherwise? Then chances are a hollow-body electric guitar is a wise choice. If that is the case, you will also want to purchase an amp. But what if you like rock music that makes use of both acoustic and electric guitar? Then perhaps a semi-hollow body guitar is the best choice. Or maybe you don’t like rock and instead enjoy country or mellow music. Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric guitar is then your best bet.

What Kind of Music Do You Want to Play?: Maybe you’re a big rock fan, but would rather learn to play mellow, acoustic-based songs. That’s perfectly fine, and if that’s the genre you wish to play, you definitely want to pick up an Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric guitar. It’s also possible that you’re a big fan of acoustic-pop but want to start playing rock & roll. Do yourself a favor and pick up a semi-hollow or hollow body guitar.

What Level Do You Wish to Achieve?: Are you just taking up the guitar for recreational purposes and not looking to form a band or master the instrument? The Electric guitar is probably a good choice. This is because Electric guitars are much easier to start playing on than Acoustics are. Electrics have thinner strings (which are easier to start playing on) and, when plugged into an amp, allow room for error. Beginner mistakes can be easily covered up with Electric guitars. However, you cannot expect to make mistakes and be a pro. Acoustic guitars do not cover up your mistakes at all–if anything, they highlight them. You are forced to play songs correctly and master techniques the right way. The learning curve of an Acoustic is steeper, but you will reap the rewards if you master it. A transition from Acoustic to Electric guitar will be incredibly easy, whereas a transition from Electric to Acoustic guitar will be a bit harder. Thinking about what you want to accomplish on the guitar is a big factor in your decision.

Skillet Licker Designs sells clothing apparel, 100% cotton t-shirts, that have images of Blues, Bluegrass, Country, and Folk Music personalities (Bill Monroe, Maybelle Carter, Tony Rice) screen printed on them. We also specialize in screen printed Vintage Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck Catalog advertisements of musical instruments such as guitar (Recording King), guitar strings (Black Diamond Strings), and banjo (Bacon and Day Silver Bell Banjos).

Please visit us often and see what’s new at our website store SkilletLickerDesigns.com

“There’s always something cookin’ in the skillet!”

Thank you for your patronage.

Skillet Licker Designs


A Guide to Buying an Acoustic Guitar

Knowing how to choose the right guitar and how to identify a bad one, will save you from countless headaches, not to mention finger aches.

Acoustic guitar bodies come in basically the same hourglass shape, with some variations, but they do vary in size, color, wood-type, style, and extra features. You can even buy an acoustic guitar so small that fits into a hiking backpack.

Guitars come in a very wide range of prices, but when it comes to instruments, in general, you get what you pay for, especially when you buy new. There’s a real difference between getting a bargain and buying cheap.

But whether you buy new or used may be determined by many personal factors including your budget, and each has their own pros and cons.

Buying new, gives you a warranty and, hopefully, a return period, if for some reason you’re not totally satisfied with your purchase, or something goes wrong.

Under ‘usual’ circumstances, a used guitar can usually be purchased cheaper and has already gone through its “break-in” period.

Commercially built guitars are usually mass manufactured. “Custom-made” guitars are exactly that. They are custom built and tailored to your specifications by a highly skilled guitar maker.

Prices for a custom-built guitar vary considerably, depending on the skill level of the craftsperson you contract the job to, but, as a rule, they are generally quite higher than a commercially built guitar of “similar” quality. Each custom built guitar is unique and therefore hard to compare in price to a commercially built guitar.


Understanding some of the parts of a guitar will definitely help you when it comes to the Pre-Purchase Checklist.

BODY: This is the part with the sound hole in the front. It is where the strumming is done, and it can vary in size. The actual size, shape, type of wood, coating, and general build of the body also affects how the guitar will “sound”, whether it’s a rich and warm sound, or a thin and ‘twangy’ sound. The body tends to be the part that also gets scratched, damaged, and generally banged-up the most.

NECK: This is the long piece extending from the body and ends at the ‘head’ of the guitar where the ‘Tuning Heads’ are, also known as ‘machine heads’. The strings travel from the ‘Bridge’ on the body, across the sound hole, along the ‘Fret Board’, which is attached to the front-side of the neck, and finally arriving at the tuning heads where they are wrapped around tuning posts. The tuning heads are then turned by hand, which then turns the posts, making the strings tighter or looser, thus affecting their ‘tuning’. Necks tend to warp and twist if not looked after, or if the guitar is left propped against a heat source.

BRIDGE: The Bridge is normally located on the front of the body, by the sound hole, and on the side of the hole opposite to the neck. The strings are usually fed through the bridge first before they cross the hole and travel up the neck to the tuning heads. The bridge is like an anchor-point for the strings. Metal bridges are best, but on most acoustics they are either hard plastic or wood. Bridges have a tendency to crack and split over a long period of time.

FRET BOARD: The fret board is glued to the front of the neck. This is the part you press the strings onto to make chords or play individual notes. Because it’s glued on separately, a fret board can be made of a wood that’s different from the neck.

The strings travel over the fret board and the distance they are above the fret board makes a difference to the playability of the guitar. If the strings are too far above the fret board, then they will be hard to press down, making the guitar hard to play.

When a beginner plays a guitar, initially his or her fingertips are very soft and need to be hardened. A guitar with the strings too far above the fret board, also known as having a ‘high action’, will cause the player’s fingers to hurt so much that they are likely to put the guitar away in discouragement and possibly stop playing altogether.

STRINGS: Acoustic guitar strings, come in a wide variety of ‘flavors’. They can be made out of nylon, brass, steel, or a combination. Nylon strings are usually only found on Classical guitars and Student guitars, because they’re easier on the fingertips. They have a rich, warm sound to them.

Strings sets come in different ‘weights’, or sizes. Strings that come from a package marked ‘Heavy’ are usually quite thick in size and sound “beefy”. Strings that are light, or extra light, are very thin and usually have a brighter sound to them, but are also quieter sounding than heavy strings.

String choices are purely personal taste. Light strings are easier to press than heavy strings but also sound quite different. The more often strings are played, the dirtier they get. If a cloth isn’t run over and under them, from time to time, the sound becomes very dull


– Before you buy a used guitar, cost-compare against the price of a new one, unless the guitar is quite old. You could also compare its used price to other used prices by going to an online auction and either searching for the same or a similar guitar.
– Check the overall condition of the wood for cracks, scratches, splits, dents, chips, etc.
– Also check the lacquer finish for cracks and splits.
– Check the neck/fret board for warping and twisting. You can do this by holding the guitar flat on its back, with the sound hole facing upward. Bring the guitar up to eye-level, with the neck running away from you and the edge of the body almost touching your face. Let your eyesight skim across the front of the body and down the fret board. You should be able to see if the neck is twisted or bowing.
– Tune the guitar, or have the seller tune it for you.
– If you know how to play about five or six chords then play them. If you don’t know how to play, ask the seller to play them for you. This check ensures that the neck of the guitar is not warped, even though you couldn’t physically see it. If the neck is warped, and the guitar is properly tuned, then some of the chords will sound good, but others will sound as though the guitar is not tuned. If this happens, check the tuning again. If it persists, then don’t buy the guitar.
– Check the bridge of the guitar. If it’s made out of wood or plastic, make sure it’s not cracked or splitting. The bridge needs to be rock-solid, as a lot of pressure is exerted on the bridge by the strings.
– Check the tuning heads. Do they turn easily, or are they very stiff and hard to turn. Even with the high tension of the strings, a quality guitar will have tuning heads that are fairly easy to turn.
– Check the ‘action’ of the guitar. Are the strings a fair distance from the fret board? Are they easy or hard to press down at various points on the fret board?
– If you are buying the guitar for yourself, and you know how to play, even if you’re a beginner, then play the guitar.
– How does it feel?
– Is it easy or hard to play?
– Can you fit your hand around the neck/fret board comfortably to play chords?
– Is the guitar a comfortable size and shape for your body? Is it easy to hold?
– If you plan to play standing up, ask for a guitar strap.
– Do you like the sound, the color, etc?
– If you don’t play, have someone else play it for you so that you can judge what it sounds like.


Buying a guitar from a physical retail music store allows you to ‘test drive’ the guitar and ask more questions up front. Buying online or from a catalog may bring you more cash savings.

No matter where you buy your guitar, if you know what to look for, and spend a little extra effort in your search for that ‘perfect’ guitar, not only will your fingers thank you, but also your ears, and all those who will come to join you around the campfire, or even go to see you in concert. Who knows?

Skillet Licker Designs sells clothing apparel, 100% cotton t-shirts, that have images of Blues, Bluegrass, Country, and Folk Music personalities (Bill Monroe, Maybelle Carter, Tony Rice) screen printed on them. We also specialize in screen printed Vintage Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck Catalog advertisements of musical instruments such as guitar (Recording King), guitar strings (Black Diamond Strings), and banjo (Bacon and Day Silver Bell Banjos).

Please visit us often and see what’s new at our website store SkilletLickerDesigns.com .

“There’s always something cookin’ in the skillet!”

Thank you for your patronage.

Skillet Licker Designs

So here we are !! What now ?

When you’re a poor skillet licker like myself, you can’t wait for the others to be done with their takes and then start on what they’ve left for you. The best part is the first lick of the skillet – the greasy pan that holds all the juice and flavor – some will say “the gravy” of the whole dish. Well you’re here to share it so grab a bit of bread and lets get a few morsels of what the others have left us. We don’t need much – we enjoy just what we need.

The big fellas are gone and now its time for us to enjoy.


Enjoy our posts that will entertain and delight the senses on a variety of topic from Blues, Bluegrass, and Folk music to Festivals and camping and other interests including beverages and cooking.