Acoustic Bass Guitar Vs Electric

man playing bass guitar with blue light

Acoustic Bass Guitar Vs Electric

Acoustic Bass Guitar vs Electric



  • An electric model bass guitar requires you to plug it into an amplifier.
  • When you strum an acoustic bass guitar’s strings, they produce sound that reverberates through its hollow body and projects outward towards the listener. 
  • Electric guitars are best for beginners because they have a versatile musical style. Also, the strings are easier to press down, and they have a smaller body and thinner neck. 

You’ll find a slew of options to choose from when selecting the best bass guitar. Many beginners find themselves asking about the differences between an acoustic bass guitar vs electric model. So, for you aspiring bassists out there, read on as we explore this topic.

Of course, if you’re in the process of finding a bass, there are other questions you’ll need to ask yourself. For example, what are the differences between a 4-string vs 5-string bass? Also, knowing how many strings a bass guitar has is essential for the style of music you play.


Differences Between an Acoustic Bass Guitar vs Electric Bass

The formal definition of “acoustic” is “relating to the sense of the sound of hearing.” In musical terms, it means a sound produced by an instrument without electric amplification. So, where acoustic basses have a natural amplification, electric basses use an electromagnetic pickup to amplify sound. For more information on the sound production of electric bass, you can read how to wire an electric bass guitar


What’s interesting about these instruments is that both electric and acoustic bass guitars can produce sound without electricity. The only difference is that electric bass guitars are much quieter — almost to the point of uselessness — if not plugged into an amplifier. Witha body made of solid wood, these instruments require a conduit for the electrical current of the bass to produce sound. So, if you’re playing an electric guitar of any kind, you’ll need bass cables and guitar cables

Although some musicians do play an acoustic guitar with an amplifier, they are typically played without amplification. Their hollow, spacious bodies provide natural sound amplification because it acts as a soundboard, allowing the vibrations from the string to bounce off it and amplify the sound. Some have a unique sound too like the guitar in our Gretsch G9500 review.



The consensus is that electric bass guitars are better for those just starting to their bass training. This reasoning is because it’s generally easier to manage. After all, the strings on an electric bass are easier to press down than an acoustic, the guitar’s body is smaller, and the neck is thinner. Once you get better control over the instrument in general, you can move onto other playing styles, like learning how to play slide guitar.


Music Style

Acoustic bass guitars are often used for folk, jazz, and country music. But ultimately, electric guitars offer a more diverse range of music. They are used in every type of music imaginable, which makes it better for a beginner whose still trying to figure out their style. If you’re a beginner and still exploring types of guitars, there are affordable acoustics on the market that would suit beginner-level guitarists like the one in our DR100 review.



If you look at the cheapest options for either type of bass, you’ll likely find that acoustics are the least expensive. Electric guitars also require you to purchase an amp, which increases the price.  The most affordable acoustic basses will cost you around $100, while cheaper electric options start at closer to $200. However, once you start getting into nicer models, the prices begin to look more similar, and typically fall within a range of $600-$1,000. 


Acoustic Bass Guitar vs Electric FAQs

What is the most critical step in selecting an acoustic bass guitar?

Knowing your budget is absolutely critical. Once you have a price range in mind, you want to select a guitar with a neck and body that feel comfortable to you.

What material is a fingerboard made of? 

Fingerboards can be made from a handful of materials but typically are made of wood. The most common types are rosewood, ebony, or maple. 

What makes the guitar and bass different?

The main differences are the size, amount of strings, and the octave to which the instrument is tuned. The bass has a longer neck by about 6-8 inches. Also, the average guitar has 6 strings, while a bass typically has 4. And finally, the bass is tuned to a lower octave and handles lower frequencies.



Overall, beginners should first consider purchasing an electric bass unless they are certain an acoustic bass is in their interests. Then, once comfortable with an interest, move on to an acoustic guitar if they find their style is suited to the acoustic style. 



Most bass guitars have four or five strings, but some have eight. (source)



When first starting, it’s helpful to take your instrument to a professional to set it up with proper string and neck adjustments. 


VS Comparison Table


  Acoustic Bass Guitar Electric Bass Guitar
Versatility   X
Volume  X  
Price X  




Nathan Rizzuti
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