Before you go ahead to the nearest store to buy your first guitar, it is important to learn about the guitar design concepts so that you are able to make the correct choice.
One thing to be kept in mind is that different guitars sound different and it all depends on the materials and expertise used in the design.
Parts of a Guitar
Let us go over the basic parts to understand the guitar design in detail. This is important as each element of a guitar contributes to a better sound system and management as you progress in your guitar training.
Assuming that you are just starting out to learn the guitar, the most popular choice is the Acoustic Guitar. However, making a choice between Acoustic vs Electric type for your first guitar depends on the type of music that interests you. We will deal with that in the later part of this post.
Acoustic Guitar Design
Any guitar design consists of three major parts:
- Head (known as headstock)
Each of these major parts consists of elements which are integrated together to form the guitar as a whole.
The headstock is the portion at the end of a guitar which has got the tuners installed. What are tuners? Tuners are tools used to tighten or loosen the guitar strings so that the strings produce the correct sound. In short, they are used to tune a guitar.
The neck is where the heart of the guitar actually is and contains the nut, fingerboard and frets.
The nut is where one end of each string is firmly attached.
The fingerboard is the portion on the front face of the neck portion. This is where the notes and the chords are played.
The frets are thin metal strips which are evenly placed on the fingerboard. They act as a marker for ease in playing the notes and chords.
The body is the wide portion of the guitar which contains the Sound hole and the Bridge.
The Sound hole is only found in acoustic/semi acoustic guitars and is a crucial part of its guitar design. Acoustic guitars depend on the sound produced by vibration of the strings and amplified in the hollow of the guitar.
Without a Sound Hole, an acoustic guitar will produce very less sound when played. The type of wood influences the sound quality and this is the main difference between cheap and expensive guitars.
The bridge is used to secure the other end of each string firmly onto the guitar.
Electric Guitar Design
The major difference between the designs of an acoustic vs electric guitar is that the electric guitar has no Sound Hole. An electric guitar does not need a Sound Hole as it uses electrical signals to produce sound.
Pick ups are the magnets which are the powerhouse of an electric guitar. They do the work of converting the sound produced by the vibration of the guitar strings and convert them to electrical signals.
The electrical signals are amplified and can be modified to produce a large variety of sounds. The number of pick ups and their position on the guitar gives the guitarist a range of options with regard to sharpness of the sound. The pick up closer to the bridge produces the sharpest sound.
The pick up selector is used to select the pick up you have chosen to play.
Volume/Tone Controls And Output Jack
These controls allow you to adjust the volume and the bass/treble. The output jack is used to plug in the guitar to an amplifier.
So Which Type Of Guitar To Buy?
Choosing your first type of guitar, be it acoustic or electric, depends on the type of music you prefer. Remember what motivated you to learn guitar in the first place.
Buy an acoustic guitar if you are interested in country and blues. Acoustic guitars also have the benefit of portability as you don’t need an electrical connection every time you play. If simplicity and portability are also your priorities, then go ahead and buy an acoustic guitar.
Buy an electric guitar if you are interested in rock and heavy metal. Electric guitars are also more versatile as the electrical signals can be manipulated to produce a wide range of music.
There are semi acoustic guitars also which incorporate the design elements of both acoustic as well as electric guitars. However, if you are a beginner, it is not advisable to go for a semi acoustic guitar.
Once you have decided on the type of guitar to buy, there are other considerations like budget, size, type of wood, features, etc. A detailed guide can be found on this website here.