Guitars 101: Comparing Bass, Acoustic, and Electric Sunday April 3 2022, 11:05 AM
Guitars 101: Comparing Bass, Acoustic, and Electric

Have you decided to learn to play the guitar? If so, you have an exciting road ahead. Before you get started, there are a few decisions that you'll have to make. An important choice is selecting which guitar to purchase. There are three basic styles with several subcategories. Comparing the main types will help you make your choice.

Bass Guitars

Stringed instruments went through centuries of changes to bring us the bass guitars of today. The first rendition of the modern, horizontal form was developed during the 1930s by Paul Tutmarc. Mass production didn't begin until the 1950s when Leo Fender and George Fullerton picked up the design. The following two decades brought further advancements to get to todays' basses.


The design of a bass guitar is quite different from other guitars. While a bass may have five or six strings, the traditional design only has four.  Bass tabs  are based on the four-string models. The strings, neck, and scale length are much larger than other guitars. 

Sound Quality

Bass guitars produce a unique sound quality. The larger size contributes to a tone that is a full octave below non-bass guitars. Most basses are electric, but you can find acoustic versions. Electric versions are typically solid-bodied, so they produce a meatier sound. Acoustic designs have more resonance due to their hollow bodies.


Any genre of music can be played with bass guitars. The deep tone makes them especially suited for rhythm sections. Bassists often use a faster pace and effects pedals when playing the lead.

Acoustic Guitars

The acoustic guitar began to take its modern shape in the late 1700s. In 1850, Antonio Torres Jurado altered the guitar's proportions and interior bracing. His advancements made the tone and projection so exemplary that few changes have been made to the design since.


Acoustic guitars  have a recognizable appearance. They are built with wide, hollow bodies. Some have cutaways to widen the reachable range of notes. Six steel strings are traditional, but doubled-up versions boasting exist. While acoustics always have the same shape, they can be purchased in many sizes.

Sound Quality

Sound vibrates and resonates within the bodies of acoustic guitars. The volume is quite loud even without an amplifier attached. Individuals describe the tone as bright and pleasant.


Blues music may have skyrocketed acoustic guitars' popularity, but they are versatile enough for many genres. From rock to bluegrass and country to folk, you can play it all. Acoustic guitars are commonly associated with social sing-alongs at beaches, bars, and bonfires.

Electric Guitars

Experiments attempting to electrically amplify string instruments began as early as 1910. Initial designs were hollow-bodied. In 1941, Les Paul invented the first solid electric guitar. Fender and Fullerton stepped in again in 1948 to begin mass-producing the configuration used today.


Solid-bodied electric guitars are available in several shapes. The shape you select won't directly affect the sound, so it's best to choose a design that fits your body. Magnetic pickups along the guitar create an electrical signal from the six strings' vibrations.

Sound Quality

The sound of an electric guitar changes when you use  an amplifier . Unamplified, the music is quieter and less steady. Plugging in increases volume and allows you to use effects such as distortion, reverberation, and delay.


From professionals to beginners, electric guitars are a common choice. Adults and children alike can find models that work for them. Electric guitars are most associated with rock and metal, but they are also used widely across the music industry.

Each category of guitar has a unique background and characteristics. Pick the model that suits you best.

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