Learn about all the parts of a guitar. Its important for serious guitar students to know more about guitars and how it makes music. Knowing the parts and their various function will help you fix glitches and get the best possible sound from your guitar. Take a look at the individual parts of a guitar and their functions. Also find guitar parts diagram with clear breakdown of both acoustic and electric guitars.
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Parts of the Guitar
There are so many different kinds of guitar like classical, electrical etc, each having a different construction and components. However, there are some parts that are common amongst most of the guitars. To know to play a guitar or even to understand it well, it is important that you know its basic parts.
Guitar and its Various Parts
A guitar is a stringed (generally 6) instrument that is played with fingers or a pick. It consists of a body and a neck, to which the strings are attached. Now, let us look at some of the important parts of the guitar in detail.
Here’s a video showing the various guitar parts:
The neck holds the strings, tuners, nut, frets and fretboard. The neck is where you play all the notes (by fingering, tapping and other ways). The design of the neck has an impact on the play-ability of the guitar.
The neck of the guitar is usually either bolted or glued to its body. The neck part consists of frets, truss road, tuners, fret board and headstock which are all fastened to a long extension made of wood. Usually the wood on the neck and the fret board are always different from each other. You can determine the quality of the guitars quality by checking its firmness or stiffness.
The neck region of the guitar consists of the following parts:
Headstock / Head
The headstock is located at the neck end of the guitar which is farthest from the body. It holds the tuning gears that the strings are attached to. The tuning gears, or tuning pegs as we alternatively call it, is used for tuning the guitar. The design of the head determines the placement and design of the tuners also.
You will find the nut at the joint where the headstock meets the fretboard. The nut holds the strings in place on the neck.
It is a small strip made up of plastic, steel, brass, fossilized mammoth bone or other hard metals (bone is better). The nut is important for tuning of the guitar. It must be cut accurately; else it contributes to tuning problems due to string slippage or buzz.
You will find the fretboard is usually made of rosewood and is glued to the neck of the guitar. Fretboard is a piece of wood which has many frets embedded in it and is also called as fingerboard. It is on the top of the neck of the guitar. In classical guitars, the fretboard is flat, whereas in acoustic and electrical guitars, the fretboard is slightly curved.
Frets are metal strips, made of either nickel alloy or steel placed on the fretboard. It is placed in such a way that it divides the scale length on the basis of a specific mathematical formula. Standard guitars have 19 frets while the electric guitar has 21 – 24 frets. The frets determine the tone, when you press the strings to the fingerboard between the frets or pluck or strum it, you get a tone.
All guitars have strings. Most guitars have 6 strings, but some have more. The more strings the more sonic possibilities. More expensive guitars use better wood and its top quality craftsmanship make a lot of difference to the sound quality.
You will find guitars with various numbers of strings, four, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven etc but a standard guitar has six strings. Modern guitars use strings made of metal, polymers or plant and animal product materials.
Be it any type of guitar, the resonance of the wood structure of the body affects the sound produced by the guitar.
The body of an acoustic guitar consists of :
The upper bout is the upper part where the neck connects to body and it also includes the sound hole. At times, due to the large body of the guitar, it becomes difficult to use any frets above the 12th but if the guitar has a cutaway, it gives an easy access to the frets.
The sound hole is where all your sounds come out from.
The lower bout is where the sound and the depth of the sound is generated. You will find that they come in different sizes as per the type of guitar.
The body of the guitar usually made of tonewoods such as spruce and red cedar in an acoustic guitar determines its overall sound quality. However, in an electric guitar, the body is made of maple, basswood, ash, poplar and mahogany etc.
In an acoustic guitar, the bridge enables the transfer of vibration from the strings to the sound board causing a vibration inside the soundboard thus amplifying the sound produced by the strings. The bridge holds the strings in place on the body of the guitar.
The way the bridge is attached, affects the sustain (how long the notes sound) and sound quality of the guitar.
Pickups help in amplifying the sound. Most guitars have at-least one and maximum of 3 pickups.
To make the sound of the guitar louder, acoustic guitar has a resonance chamber and the electric guitar has pickups.
To learn about the guitar, understanding its parts is very important. Every guitar, be it acoustic or electric have more or less the same parts except a few variations here and there. The guitar can be largely divided into the neck portion and the body portion for easy understanding. Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are other parts like, pickguard, saddle, whammy bar, guitar strap etc.