Easiest Guitar Basics – The Parts of the Guitar
By Brian Hawthorn
If you are absolutely new to or are just thinking about learning to play the guitar, it is very possible that you don’t know the names of any of the parts to a guitar or even the difference between an acoustic and an electric guitar. So let me start at the very beginning by giving you explanations on the easiest guitar basics.
First, there are two general types of 6-string guitars – The acoustic and the electric.
Both of these guitars have 3 major parts; the head, the neck and the body.
The acoustic guitar has a hollow body with usually a round sound hole just under the strings. A few acoustic guitars have “f” holes shaped the same as the “f” holes on a violin.
The electric guitar usually has a solid body with one to three “pick-ups” on the body under the strings. They are designed to be plugged into an amplifier.
The head of the guitar has six tuners. These are what are turned to get the guitar in tune. There can either be three tuners on one side and three on the other or all six tuners on one side. On some electric guitars they also have metal guides on the head. These are called “string trees.”
The next part of the guitar is called the neck. This is where you your place your fingers to play.
The strings naturally run the entire length of the neck. The strings are lined up and evenly spaced being separated by the grooves in the nut.
The nut is the piece of plastic or other material that is where the head of the guitar finishes and the neck begins. It runs the width of the neck.
The back of the neck is where your thumb is placed. The front of the neck, where you place your fingertips is called either the fingerboard or the fretboard. Both names are correct. The frets themselves are the thin steel pieces that run the width of the neck. You’ll notice that the fretboard has between 20 – 24 frets, depending on the style and make of the guitar.
Also, all guitars except for the very inexpensive ones have a steel rod called a truss rod going through the inside of the neck. It is not visible. This truss rod allows a technician to adjust the height of the strings by adjusting or eliminating the curve in the neck.
Finally, the dots that are on the fingerboard and along the edge of the neck are called position markers. This is to let the player know where any fret is at a glance.
The third part of the guitar is the body. As mentioned earlier, the guitar can either be acoustic or electric.
The acoustic guitar body has the top board which is also called a soundboard, the sides and the back. Inexpensive guitars have a laminated soundboard, the sides and the back.
Laminated means it’s plywood. For a beginner this is just fine providing the guitar strings are easy to press.
As guitars get more expensive the top board is solid (usually spruce or cedar). In very expensive guitars, the top, sides and backs are all solid woods. Solid woods give a richer tone.
The final part of the body is where the strings attach. This is called the bridge. The strings go into a hole on the bride and are held in place with the bridge pins which look like six little round buttons. As the strings rise out of the body they cross a thin usually white piece of plastic or other material know as the saddle.
The electric guitar body is usually solid wood although there are semi-acoustic as well as full acoustic, electric guitars. There are a number of different body shapes. Also a number of different woods and mixes of woods used to build the bodies.
Instead of a sound hole the electric guitar has pick-ups. These are rectangular shaped and sit below the strings. Electric guitars have a toggle switch to turn the different pick-ups on and off which will change the sound of the guitar when it is plugged into an amplifier. There are also volume and tone controls as well.
The final part of the electric guitar is the bridge. Again, this is where the strings attach to the body of the guitar. There are a number of different designs of electric guitar bridges.
Now to go to the next step, download my free guitar basics e-book, “Guitar – How to Get Started” which is available at http://www.easiestwayguitar.com You’ll also receive my Getting Started Mini Course – 7 Useful Tips for Beginners.” Brian Hawthorn began playing the guitar in the mid 60′s and is a professional musician, guitar teacher, author and consultant.