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Let’s Begin with the Basics.

First lets have a look at the two main guitar types and their parts:

Fig. 1.  Two most common types of Guitar (Electric and Acoustic) and their Parts.

Becoming familiar with the various Guitar Types and the Names/Functions of their parts
is essential to understanding this site and to your success as a musician.

Parts Of The Guitar listed in Fig. 1:
Click on the UNDERLINED name below to learn more about the part:


– The HEAD is where the strings are anchored at one end.
– The MACHINE HEADS (1 for each string) are attached to the Head and are used to adjust the tension of the strings.
– The NUT is one of the two end points of the string’s vibrating length.  It also serves to guide the strings.
– The NECK resists string tension and supports various other components of the guitar.
– The FRETS are located at exact points to produce a near perfect pitch.
– The FRETBOARD (aka the Fingerboard) is the wood with the frets embedded in it.
– The POSITION MARKERS assist the guitarist in finger placement for proper fretting of the strings.
– The SOUND HOLE projects the sound of the Acoustic guitar.
– The BODY transmits the string vibration and is a major factor in determining the sound of a guitar.
– The PICK GUARD protects the guitar from scratches.
– The PICKUPS convert the strings vibration into an electrical signal.
– The SADDLE is one of the two end points of the string’s vibrating length.
– The PICKUP SWITCH (Selector) is used to select individual or combinations of pickups on an Electric guitar.
– The TONE/VOLUME CONTROLS provide control at the guitar.
– The OUTPUT JACK is where the cable to the Amp is plugged in.
– Note that the above Electric and the Semi-acoustic guitar in fig.2 both have Whammy bars mounted on the Saddle.
The WHAMMY Bar (seen attached to the bridge of the Stratocaster style electric guitar in fig.1) is used to lower and raise the tone to Imply a certain note and adds an extra element of creativity to guitar playing.

– As you can see, the Electric and Acoustic guitar share many common parts.
Some acoustics may be amplified using an electric pickup.
Some electrics have a hollow body and are called semi-acoustic.

Fig. 2  The Archtop (Semi-Acoustic) Guitar is an electric with a hollow body.

The sound holes are “f” shaped and called “f-holes”.

-The acoustic has a warm natural sound which is pleasing to the ear and lends itself well to vocal accompaniment.

-The electric guitar can be plugged in to an amp through the Output Jack.
The signal can then be manipulated, using a vast array of Effects, to achieve the desired sound and volume level.
This makes it excellent for live shows to large crowds.
Volume and Tone are controlled from knobs mounted on the body of the guitar.

-The acoustic guitar’s signal may also be amplified, if it has a pickup.
The pickup is optional on the acoustic guitar.
An amplified acoustic guitar has an inherent feedback problem at higher volumes due to it’s superior acoustic sound amplification properties.
Here’s how it works… the guitar’s body picks up the sound from the Amp, amplifies it and sends it back to the amplifier to be amplified again.  This feedback “loop” continues until the amp begins to scream.  Some musicians exploit feedback and use it as a creative element of their music.

-The electric guitar usually has more frets allowing higher notes to be played.  It’s solid body allows the sound waves to resonate uninterrupted throughout the solid wood of the guitar, creating superior Sustain of the vibrating string.

-The hollow body of an Acoustic Guitar allows the sound to echo inside the body off the Top Board.  It is then projected through the sound hole.

-The Semi-acoustic guitar makes a great practice guitar when unplugged and has a unique Rockabilly/ Jazzy sound when amplified.

FYI: Guitars are considered POLYPHONIC Instruments because more than one note may be played simultaneously.  There are a vast number of different note combinations allowing for numerous creativity possibilities.
A Flute would be considered a Monophonic Instrument as its notes are played one at a time.

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