The main difference between electric and acoustic guitars is the way they amplify their sound. Most other aspects of the two instruments are identical.
An acoustic guitar uses its built-in sound cavity to increase the volume of the instrument, whereas electric guitars use magnetic pickups, powered by electricity to capture the guitar's sound. This is then passed through a wire to an amplifier.
Acoustic guitars come in two basic forms. These are either Spanish (or classical) acoustics or steel stringed acoustic guitars. Spanish guitars are nylon-stringed and are generally finger picked.Steel-stringed acoustics, are as the names suggests, steel-stringed. This gives the instrument a different tone compared to a Spanish guitar.
- Spanish/Classical guitar.
- Steel stringed acoustic guitar.
- They use their built in sound box to amplify their sound.
Electric guitars also come in two basic formats: Semi-electric (hollow-bodied) or solid-bodied electric guitars. Semi-electrics have small sound cavities built into the body of the guitar, which gives them a warm, rich and bright tone. They also have the advantage of being more audible when they are not plugged in, making practice possible if noise levels are an issue. In contrast solid-bodied electric guitars are solid as their name suggests, and therefore have no sound cavities - relying solely on the pickups to amplify the instrument instead. Solid-bodied guitars have a wider range of sounds and tones and usually have better sustain.
- Solid bodied electric guitar.
- Use electric pickups to capture the sound, this is then boosted by an amplifier.