Can ACOUSTIC Guitar Players Learn From ELECTRIC Guitar Teachers?

Can ACOUSTIC Guitar Players Learn From ELECTRIC Guitar Teachers?

Tommaso Zillio

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acoustic electric lessons

I have questions for yo, dear reader... questions with non-intuitive answers that keep people awake at night.

I present them here for your perusal:

  • as an electric guitar player, can you learn anything from a teacher who plays the acoustic guitar?

  • as an acoustic guitar player, can you learn anything from a teacher who plays the electric guitar?

... or in other words, here is the question that has stumped scholars and professionals alike for many moons:

Can a guitar teacher teach a guitar player?

It is hard to say because the electric and acoustic guitars are, of course, entirely different instruments that share no real similarities.

In fact, the only thing that these two instruments could be argued to have in common is that:

  • they both have 6 strings,
  • tuned to the same pitches,
  • strung over the same fretboard,
  • attached to a bridge on one side, and 6 tuners on the other,
  • they are both played the same way,
  • held the same way and sound mostly the same,
  • and can be used to play all of the same things.

Very superficial similarities, if you ask me.

This is in stark contrast with the myriad of massive, significant differences, like:

  • the fact that the electric guitar has TWO strap buttons compared to acoustic guitars, frequently having only half that number,
  • electric guitars have silver-colored strings as opposed to the gold coloring of the acoustic guitar,
  • and, of course, perhaps most notably, the big gaping hole in the middle of the acoustic guitar that is clearly missing from the electric guitar.

So, is there anything to learn about the acoustic guitar from an electric guitar teacher (and vice versa), or is it fruitless?

Check out the video below to see the shocking truth on these questions:

So how about a few things that you can practice both on the electric and acoustic guitar? Check out my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course, so you can skyrocket your chord knowledge both on the electric AND acoustic guitar!

Video Transcription

Hello, internet; so nice to see you! I have a great question, and well, it wasn't a question. It was more of a comment, but I still want to talk about it.

I was looking into your paid lesson courses, but then saw you taught with an electric guitar. My acoustic guitar balked at the idea. Unfortunately, you sound like a good teacher.

So, unfortunately, I sound like a good teacher. But since I teach in the electric, acoustic players are fleeing away from me. But let me tell you, first of all, that's not true. I have several students who play acoustic guitar and classical guitar, but that's a great point actually made in this comment because the thing is, can acoustic players, and electric players, and classical players learn from each other?

And the answer is, of course, yes. Those instruments have a very similar interface, okay. I mean, we even tune them in the same way, we have the same strings on the same pitch, we have the same chord shapes, we have the same scale shapes, we can exchange a number of things.

Sure the sound is different. Yes, sure. The tone is different. Yes, sure, the technique may be different if you pick if you don't use a pick, if you use distortion, if you don't use distortion, and all this kind of thing.

But those are, let's face it, pretty superficial differences. Sure, the right hand technique may be different. But then again, a lot of people play electric with fingers or with hybrid picking. So it's really not that far, the beauty of these instruments, whether electric, or acoustic or classical is that it's the same instrument, but there are 1000 ways to play it, we can all learn from each other. That's the beauty of it. Okay?

It's not it's not just one instrument, there's not just one thing, it's multiple instruments, but with the same interface, so you can pass from acoustic to electric to classical and get different things done on all of them.

Hey, I myself, I learned a lot from acoustic players and classical players, even if I'm mainly an electric guitar player. And I liked the electric simply because I liked the sound better, and I liked the feeling better. And that I can remember things better. But that doesn't mean that the other guitars are not good. They are great. Okay.

So here's the thing. And especially when we talk about theory, because theory transcends even beyond the guitar so, I mean, my website is called music theory for guitar. Because yes, there are some idiosyncratic things in music theory that work on guitar, and maybe some stuff will work for other instruments that doesn't work on guitar. And then we have some stuff that works on guitar that doesn't work on other instruments.

Because I mean, we have all those things about for instance, the chord shapes. A piano player would think about chords in completely different ways when they play on the instrument. But many other things are perfectly in common. chord progressions work the exact same way. Okay. Modulation changing key works exactly the same way on the guitar and on the piano several things as we do on other instruments works the same on the guitar. And indeed, I learned a lot from piano players too. And honestly, I really learn a lot from violin players and cello players too, because they have a different approach to the strings.

So yes, there are different things for the guitar than for other instruments, but at least inside the guitar world, a lot of things are in common. I've taught how to play scales to several classical guitar players. And they tell me that the way we developed of playing scales on the electric guitar, once you change a few things, works great for classical guitar, too. And in their opinion, it works better than some of the classical approaches.

I am not a classical player, I cannot tell you that this is true because of my direct experience. I'm just telling you what my students have found after learning from me. I had the acoustic player learning from me telling me that some of my approaches to chords are completely different than what they were thinking before and it works better for their instrument now that they mastered it.

Again, mostly an electric guitar player I think it works great for electric but hey, if they tell me that and I believe them, okay, simply because sometimes it is pretty obvious what works and what doesn't work even if a technique is different.

The problem here is when people are snobs, okay? When people are like ‘no I play electric guitar so the other kinds of guitars are inferior’, or ‘no I play acoustic guitar, so the other kinds of guitar are inferior.’ ‘No, I play classical, so the other kinds of music are inferior’.

Guys, we are all trying to make music and there are several different kinds of music and there are several different styles of music, and several different approaches to music.

I am not sure there is any meaningful way to say that something is superior to everything else. Okay. We can take a lot from all the styles. We can take the idea of improvisation from jazz, we can take the idea of harmonic deepness from classical music, we can take the idea of phrasing from rock and blues. We can take all those things and put them together and learn all the best from all those approaches.

Okay, it's kind of stupid in my opinion to just limit yourself to one thing when you have all those possible influences and those possible inputs that come from all this rich guitar world that we have. If you who made the comment are still out there, shoot me an email we can discuss.

I'm not saying that my courses will necessarily work for you. That's why I want to have a conversation. That's why we want to talk before so we see if what they teach is what you want to learn and in the way you want to learn it. No problem, but to write off somebody just because they play a slightly different instrument than yours, well, I think it's a lost occasion for you, and probably for me too. Okay, because maybe I can learn something from you, Who knows?

Take home message is, don't be snobs. Learn from everybody learn from everything and everyone. Okay? There is lots to be learned from other instruments. And lots to be learned from other approaches. There is lots to be learned from different kinds of music, even from musicians you have in your city, go around, play with other people. If you find a mandolin player, ask him how he thinks about scales and chords. It's interesting, okay.

You'll find a violin player, ask him how they warm up or how they play their own scales and chords, talk with other people, get all those inputs. It's fun, and you learn a lot and you learn about thinking about all this in a creative way. Don't limit yourself, okay?

And of course, if you need some help learning this instrument, shoot me an email, I have several courses available on chords and harmony, on scales and modes, on different things. Just shoot me an email, we'll find what works for you. And if you don't want to learn from me, great. Anyway, find the right person for you. I may be the right person, maybe not, not a problem.

But that's the thing. Don't close yourself in your room and decide your priority, what you want and what you don't; be open. Get all those inputs. And with those things, you will create your own site your own sound, your own music. This is Tommaso Zillio for, and until next time, enjoy.

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