Acoustic Guitars vs. Electric Guitars — What Make Them Sound Different
Guitar beginners frequently wonder, "Should I start with an acoustic or an electric?" And they will get various answers. To be clear, there’s no correct or wrong answer. Each type of guitar has a distinct tone, which implies that each kind of guitar is better suited to particular types of music. One of the factors in solving your problem will be the sound of these two kinds of guitars.

So, let's first look at some of the reasons why the sounds of guitars are so distinct. Keep in mind that the sound produced by an acoustic or electric guitar is caused by the resonance that happens when a string is moved.

How Do Acoustic Guitars Make Sound?

When an acoustic guitar string vibrates, the sound is amplified by the guitar's structure. First, the vibration will resonate with the air inside the body, causing the entire soundboard to vibrate. Then the vibrations are amplified to audible levels by the hollow body. Finally, the sound comes out through the soundhole.

The guitar body's big and hollow structure is important for amplification and tone. This also implies that the volume and sound of an acoustic guitar are affected by its body shape and size.

Furthermore, the wood used to construct a guitar also significantly impacts its tone and sound quality. These are known as "tonewoods" in the guitar world. Mahogany, for example, has a great mid-range response. Spruce, on the other hand, has a wide dynamic range with great clarity, volume, and projection. You can look for more details in our Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide.
acoustic guitars versus electric guitars

How Do Electric Guitars Make Sound?

Electric guitars produce music in a similar way to acoustic guitars. The difference in the method of making a sound between the two guitars is in the body.

The majority of popular electric guitar models are solid, with sound coming from pickups mounted on the soundboard. Pickups are wire-wrapped magnets that produce a magnetic field around your guitar strings. When an electric guitar string vibrates, the vibration cuts through the magnetic field created within the pickups when electricity is applied. This generates a signal within the coil of the pickup.

Then the signal is sent to a preamplifier, which minimizes noise and interference while amplifying the signal. Finally, the amplified guitar signal reaches the speakers and produces sound.

It is easy to see how aspects like pickups, amplifiers, and even the electronic components within the guitar play a huge role in the sound of an electric guitar. And with these various effects pedals, electric guitars have more control over sound and effects than acoustic guitars, allowing them to produce a variety of timbres.

After knowing the difference between acoustic and electric guitars in terms of making sounds, you may have another question: what genres are these two guitars suitable for? Keep reading and you'll find out.

Suitable Genres for Each Type

The body of an acoustic guitar plays an important role in its tone. Some acoustic guitars may have a brighter, transparent sound. Others may have a warm darker tone. For example, most acoustic guitars using mahogany as the back and sides have a warm, natural sound.

However, unlike acoustic guitars, when an unplugged electric guitar's strings vibrate, they do not produce a particularly loud sound. And you'll note that most electric guitars sound thin and weak when played without electricity. When you connect them to an amplifier, they spring to life.
playing an electric guitar

The sound of an electric guitar is mostly determined by the pickups, as well as various amp settings and effects pedals such as distortion, reverb, and modulation. And that allows electric guitars to achieve a variety of tones, including clean, gritty and distorted. 

Acoustic guitars are ideal for beginners who are interested in country music, bluegrass, and folk music. Donner DAG-1 can give you rich lows and detailed highs, which is useful for composing your own music.
playing an acoustic guitar

Electric guitars are the primary choice for beginners who plan to play rock, metal, blues, and pop music. Most bands in rock-related genres rely on the electric guitar as the primary instrument driving their sound.

Final Words

In brief, acoustic guitars make sounds by vibrations through the soundboard, while electric guitars make sounds by magnetic interactions. When deciding between the two, focus on what you find yourself enjoying more, specifically what kind of music you favour. 

Acoustic guitars have a clear, resonant tone which can vary widely depending on the wood and string combinations used. And they may be a better choice for beginners who prefer folk or country music.

Electric guitars are more versatile than acoustic guitars for playing many genres of music because they can use effects pedals to change their tone. If you prefer rock or pop music, an electric guitar should be your first pick. If you want to know more information about guitars, click Donner Canada for more useful details. Most importantly, have fun!