Can You Play Rock Songs on Acoustic Guitar?


There are various advantages of playing an acoustic guitar.

One of them is how easy it is to play this stringed musical instrument, even as a beginner.

The other one is the various music genres you can play with a guitar, such as country, rock, and blues.

So, you can play rock songs on acoustic guitar if that’s the music genre you like and the type of guitar you own.

That may surprise many, but it is accurate, and various rock bands have proven it possible.

Which are these bands, and what rock songs have been played using an acoustic guitar?

This piece unveils that and much more regarding playing rock songs on acoustic guitars.

You will also figure out how to go about it, so keep reading;

How to Play Rock Songs on Acoustic Guitar

As you play rock songs on acoustic guitar, it is important to remember several things that make a huge difference.

One of them is keeping your energy up as your picking hand moves, whereas its strumming counterpart stays steady.

Strike your acoustic guitar string with extra force when playing rock songs.

After all, rock music should sound relatively aggressive with the power it deserves, and that’s what striking the strings hard translates to.

Equally important, take advantage of distortion to ensure your acoustic guitar gives you its best, including a full sound.

Whereas one can use various pedals to achieve that distortion, the most suitable one, especially for beginners, is the basic overdrive pedal.

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Remember to use a pick for excellent and professional sound as you play your acoustic guitar.

Lastly, use the right guitar-playing techniques; a great example is the palm mute.

Following these recommendations, rest assured that playing rock songs on acoustic guitar will sound amazing.

Examples of Rock Songs Played on Acoustic Guitar

Various rock artists and bands have played rock songs on acoustic guitar.

Interestingly, these guitarists have done it so well that you may mistake it for an electric guitar on these occasions.

An excellent example is the Foo Fighters, and the popularity of this heavy rock band is indisputable.

The band has several heavy rock songs played on acoustic guitar, and excellent examples are Big Me and Everlong.

These songs have electric versions, but most fans prefer the acoustic ones.

Nirvana also performed an entire concert using an acoustic guitar, which the audience loved.

An excellent example of an incredible song on an acoustic guitar was The Lake of Fire.

Other rock songs that guitarists find easy to play on an acoustic guitar include the following;

  • “Basket Case” by Green Day
  • “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones
  • “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
  • “Lightning Crashes” by Live
  • “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple
  • “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
  • “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton

Expert acoustic guitar players also enjoy the following;

  • “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty
  • “Hotel California” by the Eagles
  • “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos

Is It Easy to Play Rock Songs on Acoustic Guitar?

Whereas one can play rock songs on acoustic guitar, don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.

That’s especially when playing extensively shred stuff containing many legato lines.

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The worst mistake would be playing such rock songs with an acoustic guitar without amplification.

If you love playing blues songs such as what Stevie Ray Vaughan produces, it won’t be easy to play with acoustic rock.

It is no secret that acoustic guitars have heavier and thick strings than their electric counterparts.

On the other hand, rock and blues demand the guitarist to bend the strings quite extensively.

Whereas it is easy to achieve that using an electric guitar, that’s a whole different story when using an acoustic one.

Consequently, it becomes difficult for a guitarist to play such rock songs on acoustic guitar.

If the songs require half-step bends, achieving that with an acoustic guitar may not be different.

However, a huge problem will arise once you try the whole step bends with the same guitar.

In most cases, that’s enough to break the guitar string hence the need to proceed cautiously.

Can You Play Metal on Acoustic Guitar?

Besides rock, you can also play metal on an acoustic guitar.

However, just like in the case of rock, playing metal music on this guitar requires more effort than it would demand you if using an electric guitar.

Don’t expect the right sound to come easy when playing metal on acoustic guitar.

On the contrary, it requires many strumming and picking techniques to get it right.

Equally important, you will want to settle for acoustic guitars with relatively heavy strings.

Failure to consider such issues can make producing the right sound hard, if not impossible.

What Genre Can Acoustic Guitar Play?

Besides rock and metal, there are other music genres that you can play using an acoustic guitar.

The list is quite long, but some of these music genres include the following;

  • Bluegrass
  • Blues
  • Country music
  • Folk
  • Jazz
  • R&B
  • Ragtime
  • Rock
  • Swing
  • Worship music
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In most cases, what you can play on an acoustic guitar can also be played using an electric one.

However, how you play it for the right sound differs from one type to another, including the playing techniques and how hard you pluck the strings.

Is Electric Guitar Only for Rock Music?

Initially, the music genre that inspired the design of an electric guitar was rock music.

However, change is inevitable, especially over time, and electric guitars have already changed this narrative.

Its evolution is indisputable, and so is its versatility.

That makes it ideal for various guitar-playing styles and sounds.

Some music genres you can play using an electric guitar include country music, jazz, blues, folk, pop, and rock.

Besides rock, electric guitars’ role in developing music genres such as electric blues, heavy metal music, and rock and roll was huge.

Is Acoustic or Electric Guitar Better for Rock?

Whereas you can play rock music on electric and acoustic guitars, it is better played on the former than the latter.

That’s not the only music genre that sounds better if played on an electric guitar instead of its acoustic counterpart.

The same also applies to hard rock and metal genres.

Similarly, there are music genres that are better played on acoustic guitar, including bluegrass, folk, and country music.

So, when choosing the type of guitar to play, consider the music genre you will play since that makes a huge difference.


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