The question I get the most is what’s it like playing an electric guitar?
is it any different? The answer is yes, it’s really different and it’s also really cool!
Most of my beginner guitarists play on an acoustic. Learning on an acoustic guitar is a hard slog but it also pays back 100 fold in the future as your hand strengthens so if you then switch to an electric you suddenly realise how super easy it is to play one.
Most people also learn on acoustic first because they are often the cheapest option. You can pick up a relatively inexpensive acoustic in the mindset of if you don’t get on with it, you haven’t forked out lots of money you aren’t going to enjoy playing.
I learnt on an acoustic guitar, the action was ridiculously high and I winced through the pain and forced myself because I really wanted to learn. It wasn’t until much later that I learn’t you can lower the action on your guitar and make it much more bearable! I wish I had the internet back then!
My first electric guitar
Was a Hohner Rockwood guitar bought from a friend of a friend. It was bright red and had a whammy bar and I thought it was awesome. It did also have a flyod rose of which I had no idea what it was. I bought a small Peavey practice amp for £20 from a second hand shop. The plug was very dodgy and borderline dangerous but I and plugged it in anyway and no sound came from the guitar! A quick panic call to someone who might no about guitars and then I was told to buy some contact cleaner and clean the jack socket. I cleaned it up, plugged it in and it sounded dirty and muddy and loud!
My obsession with Jimi Hendrix followed and the first solo I learn’t to play on my electric was Hey Joe (It was Wonderful tonight on the acoustic!). Well, I learnt the first part as I couldn’t quite keep up when It got a bit faster! During music college I slugged the guitar up the mile walk from the train station to my lessons and enjoyed playing it. One of my college peers was rocking his Epiphone Les Paul and loving how it sounded. I did give it a go but I hated how heavy it was. I think it’s just a bloke thing, loving how heavy a guitar is around your neck. I personally would rather not have to take ibuprofen for the rest of my life and suffer neck pain!
The Hohner got put to one side after a few years and I was diagnosed with a warped neck! With it being slightly unplayable I sold it and used the money and extra to buy my first Fender Stratocaster. Looking online since, I see that they do go for reasonably money on auction sites! Sometimes I wish I hung on to it, but that’s not the case if you have to raise cash to buy an upgrade!I was in a rock covers band so I chose the HH stratocaster so I could get a meaty sound. At the time I wasn’t aware of the Mexican / American fenders and nor did I care! I liked the body shape of the Stratocaster, I was originally looking at an Ibanez SA but playing both of them in the shop it was the Fender that shouted out to me to buy it. I loved the colour, the feel and the weight. It has since been dubbed ‘The Oxblood Red’ by one of my band members haha.
After nearly 15 of owning my Fender I still love playing it and at a recent guitar lesson I took it along to show one of my students who was keen to know what it was like to play one. Putting them next to each other their colours compliment each other perfectly. My student loved how the electric guitar felt and commented on how easy it was to play, and when not plugged in how quiet it was! You can practice without annoying your partner! Having a quick look on some second hand sites we found a few Yamaha Pacificas that are really good guitars for learning on and their price range is great.
My journey through electric guitars is still going on and I would love to own a honeyburst Fender stratocaster with single coil pickups. But I might have to wait for a birthday… or Christmas.. or a pay rise….
Let me know what you think, what was your first electric guitar?