The electric guitar is extremely popular and has recently undergone a major resurgence of interest due to the prevalence of guitar based bands. In the past, guitar teachers felt that it was important to get a good technique on an acoustic before playing an electric, but attitudes have changed, and as long as the correct teaching approach is used an electric is just as good a starter instrument as its acoustic cousin.
While having six strings is common to both the acoustic and electric guitar the electric’s strings are much thinner, lighter and closer to the fretboard than an acoustic (steel strung) guitar. Beginners need to take care with their fingers as it takes a while to accustom to the movement and pressure, and fingers can get quite painful.
As electric guitars do not have a hollow body to amplify the sound, magnetic pickups are used underneath the strings which need external amplification, so you will also need a guitar amplifier and an instrument cable to connect it with. Electrics guitars are generally played with a plectrum (pick) and you’ll also need a strap.
You can either buy all the components separately or choose from the range of guitar packs now available which include amplifier, cable, strap and often tuition materials. These packages are ideal and tailored for beginners and take the stress out of buying. Don’t forget to protect your investment with a good case or padded gig bag.
Like all instruments, many major brands offer low cost guitars made under license in the Far East or Mexico. They look very similar and they are usually easier to play too and will do the beginner very well. You will need a small amp to start, but these are not expensive.
You may also think about using software modeling amps, or even a practice effects box such as the Roland ME-80. Used in conjunction with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) you can start recording authentic guitar sounds!