Top 11 Guitar Types You Must Know – What’s Good For Beginners?


The Guitar has been one of the most popular instruments since the sixties, and many people are looking to start learning it. But even if you haven’t started with your guitar journey, you are probably aware that there are many different types of guitars you can find in your local store. 

When you consider all the guitar types out there, you can categorized them as one of the two main guitar types. The acoustic and the electric, even if some have features of the others. These two main guitar types are split various sub types that are categorized based on features/materials/propose of the instrument.

How do you pick a guitar type that’s perfect for you? In general, the most important thing is that you like it. It is as simple as that. Almost every type of guitar can make it work in other music genres, but each model has its own strength and weaknesses.

You can always rely on these strengths and pick an instrument based on what it can do. Some guitars are better for blues while others work great in metal. This doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment and play blues on a “metal guitar”.

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Acoustic Guitars

You probably saw a couple of these in your lifetime, and it is one of the most popular types of guitar you can find. There are many players who prefer the sound and feel of acoustic guitar, and they can be beautiful. 

When it comes to the design, it’s pretty traditional. There is a sound box, and it’s used to amplify the sound of vibrating strings. The acoustic guitar uses metal strings (usually steel or nickel), and there are six of them. 

One of the main advantages of acoustic guitars is that they come in all shapes and sizes. You can find a model for you regardless of your hand size, and there are even smaller models for children. 

The guitar originated in the 13th century, and it was just another one of stringed instruments. In the Renaissance, we can finally notice the now well-known shape of the guitar and a couple of sub-variants. 

Today, acoustic guitars come in several options based on the size, and you can find different materials, colors, and nearly anything else. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On An Acoustic Guitar?

In theory, you can play any type of music on any type of guitar. But things are a bit different in practice. Why would you use an acoustic guitar for heavy metal when you can get a better sound from an electric one? 

Acoustic guitars are rather popular for the country, early blues, folk, and ballads. But of course, there are countless rock songs that are played on acoustic guitar exclusively. The very nature of the instruments allows it to be perfect for a song with a slower tempo that doesn’t require a lot of effects and volume to sound good. 

Is An Acoustic Guitar Hard To Play?

The acoustic guitar is not the hardest instrument to learn. The popularity of it allows you to learn it by yourself since there are many courses and lessons you can find online. It’s intuitive, and you can even learn how to play it without proper education. 

However, this doesn’t mean that it is easy. You will still need to practice it a lot based on the level you are trying to reach. But learning basics can be quite simple, which is what makes it a perfect instrument for beginners. 

Is An Acoustic Guitar Good For Beginners?

Yes. As I mentioned before, acoustic guitars are perfect for someone getting into music. Many people would suggest getting an acoustic guitar even if you plan on playing the electric. Of course, this isn’t something I’d recommend, since these two are completely different instruments. 

How Much Does A Good Acoustic Guitar Cost?

You can find good quality beginners guitar somewhere around $300 from well-known brands with good features such as a solid top. You can find even lower than that but sometimes it can be a gamble on those instruments. On The other hand, Professional instruments can go over $1,000 easily, but those are for well-experienced players and performers.

Electric Guitars (Solid-Body)

Electric guitars are the most popular type of guitars you can find. They first appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, with the rise of rock and blues. Instead of having a sound box, these instruments have pickups. The majority of pickups are based on magnetism, and they use vibrations in the magnetic field to create an electric current that’s later used to create sound. 

Two of the biggest names in the guitar world are Fender and Gibson, and they have been around for decades. As music changed, many new names emerged trying to give their own spin to the idea of electric guitars. 

Today, it is impossible to imagine music without electric guitars, and they are quite versatile. Of course, to play an electric guitar, you will need to have an amplifier since the volume of the instrument is low on its own. 

Since they are so popular, you can find so many different types, shapes, colors, and everything is customizable.

What Type Of Music Can You Play On An Electric Guitar?

You can play any type of music on electric guitar. These instruments are quite versatile, and there is a model for each genre. If you like blues and rock, you can get an instrument with single-coil pickups. For those that enjoy the heavier sound, humbuckers can add more drive and make a fuller tone. You can also find guitars with a combination of single-coils and humbuckers, that will give you an option to play a variety of genres and sounds. 

Is An Electric Guitar Hard To Play?

No. Electric guitars have lower action, thinner strings, thinner necks, and they can be a lot more comfortable for playing. It doesn’t require a lot of force to press the strings to get a clear note, and they are great for children as well. You can also find smaller models that will have an optimal size for teens. The process of playing is a lot simpler, but you will still need to practice a lot if you want to be a good guitar player. 

Is An Electric Guitar Good For Beginners?

Yes. If you want to play music on an electric guitar, the best option is to start learning on one. While some people might suggest that starting with an acoustic is better, there is no reason for you to learn an instrument you don’t plan on playing. It is all up to personal preference, but electric guitars are easier to play.

How Much Does A Good Electric Guitar Cost?

The cheapest models are around $100, and I wouldn’t suggest going under this price. As for a good electric guitar, you will need to spend between $250 and $500 based on the model you like. The prices of professional instruments can go well over $1,000, but you don’t need that if you are a beginner. For $500, you’ll be able to have a lot of options, and get a really great instrument you’ll be able to play for years.

Classical Guitar

As you can probably guess, classical guitars are designed for classical music. These instruments are similar in design to acoustic guitars, but there are a couple of differences. Firstly, classical guitars tend to be smaller, and they often have nylon strings. 

This means that playing the instrument is a lot easier, and it can be significantly more comfortable. The strings are looser, and they allow more flexibility. Finally, the neck on the classical instrument is often a lot wider compared to electric or acoustic ones. 

The main problem, of course, is that the options are limited, and the majority of the instruments you can find follow the same pattern. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Classical Guitar?

Classical music. While it is possible to play other genres, the guitar won’t perform as well as other types. Furthermore, there are no pickups, effects, or anything else you could use besides the traditional sound of nylon strings. 

The guitar can work well with ballads or other songs designed for acoustic guitar, but playing chords is not nearly as satisfying nor will it sound the same. 

Is A Classical Guitar Hard To Play?

The instrument is easier to play compared to the acoustic guitar. It is usually smaller, the action is lower, and nylon strings won’t hurt your fingers as much. However, if you plan on learning classical music, you will need to practice a lot. Playing classical music is so much harder to do compared to the popular genres. Of course, if we talk only about playability, then the answer is no. Classical guitar is not hard to play.

Is A Classical Guitar Good For Beginners?

Yes. It is one of the best choices for beginners, especially if they plan on going through music theory. And this is one of the most common paths for beginner players. They will buy a classical guitar, go to a couple of classes, learn the basics of music theory, and then get an electric guitar.

If this is your plan, you might as well go straight for the electric guitar. There is no reason for you to take the longer path since you will be able to save money in the process. If you really want to buy a classical guitar, it is a great choice and they are beginner-friendly. 

How Much Does A Good Classical Guitar Cost?

Classical guitars are not expensive, and you might be able to find yourself a model for under $100. The famous Yamaha C40 is around $100 to $130, and it is a great classical guitar for beginners. This is one of the biggest advantages of classical guitars, and you won’t need to spend a fortune to get your hands on one. 

Hollow Electric Guitars 

Hollow electric guitars are similar to acoustic/electric models, except they have a different purpose and design. These models are often larger, and they are also called semi-acoustic guitars or Thinline. 

The first thing I should mention is that hollow-body guitars don’t have piezo pickups like some acoustics, and they often have standard humbuckers instead. Companies that started manufacturing hollow-body guitars are Gibson, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, and others. 

They often have an arched top, f-shaped holes on the sound box, and the pickup usually offers clean sound. This made hollow-body guitars rather popular in jazz and blues, and they are still made to this day. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Hollow-Body Guitar?

If we’re talking about vintage models like the Gibson ES-150, these guitars are perfect for jazz. While some people might use them for folk and blues (or even rock), the guitar doesn’t really shine in other genres. The main problem with hollow-body guitars is they often have problems with feedback, especially if you play them on high volume. So, the best option would be to go for these guitars if you are into jazz. 

Is A Hollow-Body Guitar Hard To Play?

Hollow-body guitars can be easier to play than some acoustics, but they are still more challenging compared to standard electric guitars. The main problem with these models is their size. Hollow guitars can be quite big, which makes them difficult to play if you are younger or have smaller hands. This is one of the main reasons why so many people dislike these instruments. 

Is A Hollow-Body Guitar Good For Beginners?

Not really. There are better options for beginners out there. These guitars have flaws, and while they do their job flawlessly, it isn’t something that many people would enjoy. The controls on these models can be overly complicated, there is a problem with feedback, and the instrument is too big for comfort. Naturally, there are those who enjoy every single thing I mentioned, and they should undoubtedly go for a hollow-body guitar. 

How Much Does A Good Hollow-Body Guitar Cost?

Since they are not as popular as standard solid-body guitars, the price can be a bit higher. There are no cheap hollow instruments out there, and budget options are instruments made by Epiphone which are around $500. Keep in mind that these guitars are great if you are looking for something similar, and they are well worth the price. 

Semi-Hollow Guitars

Now, semi-hollow guitars are a subcategory of hollow-body instruments. There are a couple of differences between the two. Firstly, the body of the guitar is not completely hollow. Instead, there is a solid wooden block running through the center of the body. 

This means that the hollow parts of the body are “wings” on the side of it, and they often have an f-shaped hole. By adding this change, the problem with feedback is eliminated, and these models often have humbuckers. 

The most famous semi-hollow guitar is the Gibson ES-335, and the model is quite popular today. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Semi-Hollow Guitar?

The guitar was quite popular for blues and rock, and many players use it to this day. If you watched Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox plays a semi-hollow guitar during his Johnny B. Goode scene. 

Since the guitar doesn’t have issues with feedback, you can use it for any type of music. Chris Cornell played ES-335, B.B. King and Angus Young had one, and it just shows that you can play nearly anything on them. However, I wouldn’t recommend picking a semi-hollow guitar for heavier genres like metal. 

Is A Semi-Hollow Guitar Hard To Play?

The story here is similar to hollow-body guitars. These can also be large and uncomfortable, especially for children. While the entire situation is a bit better compared to the hollow-body guitars, it is still not easier to play than solid-body models. 

Is A Semi-Hollow Guitar Good For Beginners?

I wouldn’t recommend going for a semi-hollow guitar as your first instrument unless you plan on playing jazz/blues on it. It is not as comfortable as other options, and you might struggle with it. Of course, it is all a matter of personal taste, and there are many players who would want to get a semi-hollow instrument as their first guitar. 

How Much Does A Good Semi-Hollow Guitar Cost?

Once again, the situation is similar to hollow guitars. Since they are not nearly as popular, it is challenging to find a cheaper affordable option. The only choice you have is to go for an Epiphone model since they already design budget Gibson guitars. 

But even with this, you will probably need to pay over $500 to get a good model. 

Extended-Range Guitars

This leads us to extended-range guitars. These instruments became quite popular in the past couple of years, and the design and construction are almost identical to solid-body or acoustic guitars. 

The most important difference here is that they don’t have six strings. Instead, extended-range guitars have seven, eight, nine, ten, or even more strings. Some of these instruments come from different cultures, while others are designed based on players’ desire to have more notes. 

Either way, you can find both acoustic and electric guitars with more than six strings. Modern electric guitars and companies like Schecter design models for heavier genres and for people who need an extra string after the low E. The options are limitless, and there are many people who became popular thanks to their skills on these extended-range instruments. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On An Extender-Range Guitar?

In theory, you can play anything. The “original” six strings are still there. And you can use them the way you always did. However, the very nature of the guitar opens a whole new world of possibilities. 

This makes the guitar perfect for djent or progressive music since playing them on a “normal” guitar can be quite challenging. Also, metal players love using lower tunings, which gives them an option to have those lower notes without changing the tuning of the guitar. 

Is An Extended-Range Guitar Hard To Play?

Yes. The very fact that you have an extra string makes everything more complex. Not to mention models with eight, nine, or more strings. It is necessary for you to know how to play a six-string guitar before you can proceed to add more strings. 

Even players who have years of experience will need some time to adjust to extra strings, and the process is everything but easy. 

Is An Extended-Range Guitar Good For Beginners?

No. Players without any experience can struggle to play a regular guitar, and adding more strings will make it a lot more complicated. Of course, it is possible to learn to play an instrument with more strings, but it will make the entire process unnecessarily complicated. 

I wouldn’t recommend getting an extended-range guitar if you are a beginner. 

How Much Does A Good Extended-Range Guitar Cost?

As I mentioned before, extended-range guitars are designed for advanced players who want more. This means that it is nearly impossible for you to find an entry-level guitar for a low price. And if you are looking for a good instrument, the only option is to pay $1,000 or more for a good guitar. 

Acoustic/Electric Guitars

The next one on the list is a mix of acoustic and electric guitar. Usually, these instruments will be able to work as either version, and it is not as common. The most popular models you can find today are Stratacoustic and Telecoustic by Fender, which have the shape of Stratocaster and Telecaster but still offer a sound box like normal acoustic guitars. 

The main difference here is that the sound of the guitar will be neither acoustic nor electric, but rather something in between. The shape and profile of the neck are similar to acoustic guitars, but there won’t be clarity and richness acoustic guitars have. 

It is an interesting combination for people looking for something a bit different that falls in neither of these categories. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On An Acoustic/Electric Guitar?

The guitar is mainly designed for modern music, and experimenting with genres. The idea behind it is to have one guitar that you can use either as acoustic or electric. The player will have the comfort of the electric guitar while having a sound similar to an acoustic one without pedals. 

It is an interesting combination for those willing to try something new. 

Is An Acoustic/Electric Guitar Hard To Play?

No. In fact, these hybrid guitars are easier to play than acoustic guitars. Acoustic instruments often have a wider neck and more space between strings and the neck, which is known as action. With lower action and electric-type neck, the guitar is easier to play. 

Is An Acoustic/Electric Guitar Good For Beginners?

Yes. It is a great instrument for beginners but they often have a big flaw which is the price. Someone who is just learning to play an instrument probably won’t be willing to invest as much in a guitar, and it is the main drawback of these models. As for the playability, it is an excellent option for beginners since they will get the best of both worlds. 

How Much Does A Good Acoustic/Electric Guitar Cost?

The price of these instruments can be around $1,000, which is more in line with professional equipment. While they are amazing for beginners, the price is everything but a beginner’s price. This is probably the primary reason why you won’t see many beginners with this type of guitar. 

Resonator Guitars

Resonator guitars don’t have a sound hole. Instead, the vibrations of the string go to the bridge, and then to one or more metal cones or resonators. The idea behind them was to compensate for the volume of traditional guitars, and they tend to be louder. 

It wasn’t long before amplifiers became a thing, and resonator guitars became obsolete. However, they still kept popularity among bluegrass, country, and blues players, and there are many who prefer the sound of these models. 

There are two types of resonator guitars you can find. The first one has a larger square neck that’s played as a lap steel guitar, while the second one can be used as a traditional guitar. The rest of the guitar’s body is made from wood or metal, and they look beautiful. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Resonator Guitar?

Resonator guitars are perfect for bluegrass, blues, and country. While it is possible to use them for other genres, it isn’t something you’ll encounter. The primary reason for this is that they can be quite expensive, and no one wants to spend tons of money just to try out things. 

Is A Resonator Guitar Hard To Play?

This mostly depends on the type of instrument you buy. Since there are two different models you can find, each will have its own difficulty. I already talked about pedal steel guitars and acoustic guitars, and the difficulty is the same based on the type you get. 

Is A Resonator Guitar Good For Beginners?

If you can get your hands on a resonator guitar, that’s great. It can be a decent instrument for beginners, but it is highly unlikely you will go and just buy one. These guitars tend to have higher action, and even if you buy one it might be too hard to play it. In the end, you can find a better instrument for beginners for a significantly lower amount of money. 

How Much Does A Good Resonator Guitar Cost?

You can find resonator guitars for around $300 to $500. These are primarily newer models made by companies like Harley Benton. They look good, and they are so much fun to play. The main problem here is that the price is a bit higher compared to other acoustic guitars, and beginners might not be willing to spend as much on a first instrument. 

12-String Guitars

Twelve-string guitars come in both electric and acoustic versions. The headstock of the guitar is larger to allow more tuning machines, and each string is paired with another. As a result, the guitar has a richer fuller tone compared to the traditional ones. 

While the neck is wider to allow more strings, it is similar in size to classical guitars. This means that strings are not individual with equal spacing between them, but it is similar to six strings that are just doubled. 

The tuning of the twelve-string guitar is based on octaves, and it’s based on the standard one. Instead of EADGBE, you will get EEAADDGGBBEE. Each pair of strings is separated by an octave. For example, the low E strings are E3 and E2. This doesn’t apply to the first two strings since they are the same. So, the most common tuning will look like this: E3E2, A3A2, D4D3, G4G3, B3B3, E4E4. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Twelve-String Guitar?

The guitar has a similar sound as a chorus pedal, and it’s rather popular in blues, rock, pop, and others. Almost every famous guitar player used a twelve-string guitar at least once, and you can hear it in many popular songs. 

Is A Twelve-String Guitar Hard To Play?

It can be a bit too much to swallow at once, but it isn’t as hard as seven-stringed guitars. Since the strings come in pairs, you will play them as you would with the regular guitar. The main problem here is that the neck is slightly wider and that you will need some time to get used to fretting two strings at once. 

Is A Twelve-String Guitar Good For Beginners?

Not really. While they are fun to play, twelve-string guitars are not nearly as versatile as acoustic or electric ones. I believe that a beginner would get more out of a regular six-string guitar since they would be able to learn more about music and playing in general. 

How Much Does A Good Twelve-String Guitar Cost?

A decent twelve-string acoustic guitar is around $200, while electric ones are above $500. They are significantly pricier compared to standard guitars, and it’s probably due to the lack of popularity. While some people still enjoy playing them, they aren’t as versatile as other guitars you can find. 

Pedal Steel Guitar

The next type of guitar is steel guitars. The main characteristic of these models is that you play them with a slide instead of fretting them with your hand. There are several different types of steel guitars, and the most common (or representative) is pedal steel. 

Pedal steel works like a consol, and the neck is placed horizontally. The musician will use the slide instead of fretting it, and they will usually have thumb picks since they can be used at an angle. 

The console also has pedal and knee levers that the player can use to adjust the pitch. 

There is also a lap steel guitar, which is a bit smaller and doesn’t require a console or pedals. Another important thing to mention is that steel guitars often have a huge action. The distance between the strings and the fret is quite high, and it would be impossible to play it normally. 

The reason for this is that it allows players to easily use the slide without touching the neck. One of the important things to mention is that steel guitars don’t use frets, and they are just for orientation. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Pedal Steel Guitar?

Pedal steel guitars can work with effects, but you shouldn’t go crazy with the choice. The most common use of steel guitars is in blues, folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, honky-tonk, and others. It is a nice instrument to use in the background, and it is similar to the regular guitar played with a slide. 

Is A Pedal Steel Guitar Hard To Play?

Yes. The very concept of pedal steel guitar is different. The same thing applies to using a slide as well. You will need to adjust to different types of playing, ignore frets, and so on. It is not something that comes without practice, and it takes some time to become good at it. 

Is A Pedal Steel Guitar Good For Beginners?

No. Getting a pedal steel guitar as your first instrument for learning would be a terrible choice unless you plan on playing exclusively pedal steel. While there are a couple of overlapping techniques and parts, pedal steel guitars are completely different from regular ones. It wouldn’t do you much good to learn how to play this one, only to have to relearn everything once you get an electric one. 

Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar box guitars are fun and unique. The main characteristics are that they aren’t commercially manufactured instruments, but rather homemade guitars that people used to make. Instead of a sound box, the guitar uses a cigar box, and the earliest versions had one or two strings. However, you can find cigar box guitars today with three or more. 

The guitars were common after 1840, and they were soon replaced with real instruments. What is interesting is that recently, cigar box guitars reappeared again, especially for people interested in DIY guides. 

What Type Of Music Can You Play On A Cigar Box Guitar?

Cigar box guitars were popular for blues and folk songs, and you can play simpler songs on them. The number of strings can be quite limiting, and you won’t be able to go wild on them playing modern music. The very idea of the instrument is quite simple, and it doesn’t have much space for you to experiment. But it can be so much fun to use. 

Is A Cigar Box Guitar Hard To Play?

No. The fewer strings you have the easier it is for you to play. Even if you get yourself a fancy cigar box guitar, you will still have three or four strings. It is a lot simpler to play it since there are no complex chords or techniques for you to learn. The popularity of the instrument is in its simplicity and the fact that you don’t need to be an experienced luthier to make one. 

Is A Cigar Box Guitar Good For Beginners?

Yes. Due to the fact that the instrument is not hard to learn, it is a great choice for beginners. Especially for those looking to try out something different that has a bit of history with it. Naturally, you might want to move to a real guitar after a while, but having a cigar box instrument is a good place to start. 

How Much Does A Good Cigar Box Guitar Cost?

The price of the instrument can vary based on its origin, craftsmanship, and so on. You can find models for a couple of hundreds or even thousands. If you decide to make it yourself, the price will be significantly lower. This way, you can easily spend less than $100 on all parts for the guitar. 

Summary

Finding a guitar can be challenging, especially if you don’t know which one you want to buy. There are so many different options, and some are great for beginners while others are designed for those with more experience. 

The widest classification is acoustic and electric guitars. However, each of these types has other sub-variants that often have nothing to do with the original guitar. The most important question is what type of music you want to play, and what guitars you think are suitable for you. 

Keep in mind that each of the types I mentioned can be incredible in the right hands. The only important thing for you is to find the model you will love playing.

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Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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