Guitar Parts – The Basic Construction of a Guitar
Although it isn't necessary to know much, if anything, about the construction of a guitar to play guitar, it can be helpful information, especially when deciding on what type of guitar you want to purchase. Obviously, there are a few different types of guitars available and their main differences are how they are built. Acoustic guitars are the large wooden guitars which are hollow and have a hole in the body beneath the strings. Acoustics are nice because they don't have any electronics (for the most part) and you do not need to buy an amp or anything else to play them. Electric guitars need an amplifier, or at least headphones, to play.
Among electric guitars there are two different types. Solid body guitars are, as the name implies, solid all the way through, whereas hollow body guitars are hollow inside. This can make a significant difference in the type of sound the guitar makes. Solid bodies are more popular because they are used in all types of rock and roll, so if you listen to mainstream rock and roll chances are the bands you like have a guitarist who uses a solid body guitar. Hollow body guitars are more popular among jazz and blues artists. Of course, you can play any type of music with any type of guitar, but these are the trends among musicians.
Some popular solid body guitars include the Gibson SG and the Fender Stratocaster. The Fender Strat is also a great beginner's guitar and probably one of the most popular guitars around. The Gibson SG is beautiful but quite a bit more expensive. It's a great step up from the Strat. If you were to compare these two guitars to cars, I would say that the Strat is like a Honda Civic and the Gibson SG is more like a Mercedes Benz. However, both are great guitars.
The main components of any guitar are the body, the neck, and the head. The head is the top of the guitar where all the tuning pins are. The neck is the long bit between the body and the head. The small metal strips on the neck which divide the notes are called frets. Additionally, there are two different types of necks. Most guitars have a neck which is separate from the guitar body itself, but some nicer guitars have a straight through neck which means that the entire guitar is one single piece. This is generally considered to be better quality because it is impossible for the neck to become loose or disjointed in any way, which can occasionally happen on other guitars, especially if they are not properly cared for.
The body of the guitar is pretty basic on acoustic guitars but electric guitars have a little bit more going on. This is because they need to have pickups to "pick up" the vibrations from the string, send them through the guitar's electronics, and then out to the amplifier or your head phones. Finally, you have the strings and the bridge. The bridge of the guitar is the piece of hardware attached to the body which the strings are attached to. The bridge does not differ much, although some guitars have a floating bridge, which means that it is not physically attached to the body of the guitar. Some blues and jazz artists prefer the floating bridge but it is, for the most part, not that common because it can sometimes be a bit of a hassle when changing strings.
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