PhamoxMusic » A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

Parts Of A Guitar

There are various parts of a guitar that exit in both in acoustic,, and electric guitar. There are different types of guitar in the market but all guitars are majorly constructed as either acoustic or electric. However, the construction of both acoustic and electric guitars is almost the same. Basically, the part of a guitar can be divided into three major sections which are body, neck, and headstock. But generally, most guitars have two distinct structural components which are a neck and body. Each section has different parts that come together to make up what we call a guitar.

The Basic Parts of A Guitar

A guitar is made up of different parts that make it function as a well-tuned musical instrument. In a nutshell, every guitar has a headstock, tuning machine, nut, neck, fretboard, fret, position marker, body, bridge, strings, endpin, and saddle. The only major difference between acoustic and electric guitars is the sound projection system employed in both.  This aspect also defined differences in acoustic and electric guitars tone production.

The additional part that you can find on the electric guitar that is not on the acoustic guitar is the electronic and control part. These are pickup, pickup selector, output jack, volume knob, tone knob, and whammy bar. Also, the acoustic guitar has some parts that are majorly for acoustic sound production that is not on electric guitar. These are soundholes, bridge pins, and sounding boards or guitar tops.

Nevertheless, all guitars have a typical physical feature that makes them identified as a guitar. Besides, they have the physical characteristics that differentiate them from other string instruments like violins or cello. In the following sections, we will look into different parts of the guitar one by one.

The Headstock Part of A Guitar

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

This is the section of a guitar on which we have tuners also called tuning pegs or machine heads. The headstock majorly functions as a place to hold mechanical parts that hold the strings and also makes the room for guitar strings tensioning. Also, it is the place where guitar manufacturers usually place their logo for visibility. Besides, the part called the nut is attached to the headstock of a guitar. The nut resides in the junction between the headstock and the fretboard which made part of the guitar neck.

Tuning Pegs/Knobs Part Of A Guitar

This is the major component of a guitar headstock section. It is also called other names like tuning machine, tuner, or machine head. A tuning peg is absolutely a geared mechanism normally used to tune a guitar by raising or lowering the tension of the strings.  Consequently, adjust the pitch of sound every string on the guitar produces and ensure the pitch of the guitar is correct. To achieve this, the string is firmly attached to the part of the tuning peg called post or tuner post.

Nut

This is the white or silver strip closest to the headstock and prevents the strings from vibrating beyond the bounds of the neck. The nut is common to string instruments and is usually made from hard material like brass, bone, or other synthetic substance. The nut is the second point besides the bridge where the vibrating area of guitar strings stops. Also, it combines with the bridge to hold the guitar strings at the proper height and specifies the vibrating length of the strings.

The Neck Part Of A Guitar

This is another section of the guitar part that is in the middle and between the body and headstock. It is the thin and longer section of the guitar that stems out of the body section. In addition, it is the section on which we have fretboard, fret, and position markers. The hand is used to grip the neck in order to press down the string to adjust the pitch while playing the guitar. The neck is commonly in three major shapes which are C, D, U, and V shapes.  

The Neck section of a guitar is typically made of wood. Usually, maple and mahogany are commonly used but there are a lot of other types of wood that can be used. The neck of a guitar must be strong enough so that it can withstand the tension induced by string loads. Also, it has to be light enough to balance with the body and comfortable for the player to play.

Fretboard Part Of A Guitar

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

This is the board on which the fret of a guitar is deep-seated and the front side of the neck. The Fretboard is likewise known as the fingerboard and it is a crucial part of nearly all the string instruments. The fretboard is a flat and long thin piece of wood attached to the neck of a guitar. It completely topped the front side of the neck and firmly sits on it.

The material used for the fretboard is not always the same as the one used for the neck. Mostly, the fretboard is made from rosewood, eco-rosewood, ebony, or other hardwood. However, some guitar manufacturers are using other non-wood and lightweight materials like carbon fiber nowadays. Fretboard accommodates the guitarist’s fingers for note and chord production during the playing of the instrument.

Fret

The fret is a hard material in the form of a thin bar that runs at intervals across the fretboard. Metal material is normally used for the fret on the modern guitar. The major function of the fret is to shorten the vibrating length of a string.  This happens when the player presses the string down off the fretboard and behind the fret. The string will then rest on the fret and its vibrating length will change. This as well will change the pitch of the sound produced when the string is strum or pluck. This is possible because the fret is always laying in the direction that is perpendicular to the strings.

Position Markers

These are the dot marks on the fretboards of a guitar and it is also known as fretboard dots. It is usually white dots and normally used to show the positions on the fretboard. Also, the position marker serves as a visual guide on the fretboard for guitarists when they are playing. And make it convenient for them to jump to any fret position on the fretboard.

Most of the guitars have position markers on their fretboard but some guitars do not have it at all. For instance, classical guitars do not have position markers on their fretboard. But you will see a set of these dots known as position markers on the side of their neck. This accommodates the positioning of classical guitar as these dots will be seen without difficulty from the classical guitar standard playing position.

Strings

This is part of the guitar that vibrates to produce the sound of the guitar. Absolutely, it is an integral part of any guitar, either electric or acoustics. A number of six strings can be found on a standard guitar and some have more. Actually, the more strings a guitar has the more its power in terms of sonic potentials.

The old guitar strings were gotten from the gut. Nylon material was later employed to produce strings for guitars before steel guitar strings were made. The string is spanned over the fretboard and tensioned by the tuning machine and the bridge pin in acoustic guitar. The tuning machine is used with the saddles in electric guitar and tie block in classical guitar to tension the string.

The Body Part Of A Guitar

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

The body is typically a box-type design and the biggest part of the guitar. The neck of a guitar is attached to the body for support and the body provides an anchor for the bridge as well. Besides, the body is the main section where actual sound production and projection are happening. You will see parts like a soundhole on the body of the acoustic guitar. And parts like pickup, pickup selector, and volume knob on the body of the electric guitar. The design and construction of the acoustic and electric guitar bodies are not the same.

Bridge and Bridge pins Part Of A Guitar

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

The bridge rests on the soundboard and is part of a guitar that reinforces the string. Typically, the bridge system is used to hold the end of the tension string in place on the body. Also, it serves as an interface between the vibration of the guitar’s string and its body.

In an acoustic guitar, the bridge is usually made of wood, for instance, rosewood. Other materials like steel are used in electric guitars for instance. Generally, a bridge as a component of a guitar helps to send the vibration on the string to the body of the instrument.  In detail, it promotes the transmission of the vibration on the strings to the soundboard.

The strings of the acoustic guitar are firmly attached to the bridge with the help of pins known as bridge pins. Specifically, the bridge pin is used in the instrument to hold one end of the strings down.

The bridge system on most electrical guitars is of different types. They are not the same system we have in acoustic guitar. Also, the classical guitar used tie block instead of bridge pin for the same purpose. This is so because the classical guitar is majorly made from nylon materials. Again, the bridge pin is common with guitars with steel strings.

Saddle

This is the part of the bridge system of the instrument. It can be a piece of plastic material in an acoustic guitar or metal in an electric guitar. Usually, electric guitars have a separate saddle for different strings. This allows the string to be adjusted separately. On the other hand, the saddle on acoustic guitar is a single piece of material just like the nut

The saddle is attached to the bridge and normally used to raise the strings to the desired distance away from the body. In particular, it allows the strings to achieve free-floating above the body. The rise of the string by the saddle determines the height distance of the strings to the fretboard.  Moreover, the saddle combines with the nuts to achieve the vibrating length of the string. This establishes a node point where the vibration of the playable string stops.

Sound Hole (Acoustic)

This is a circular hole on the body top (known as a soundboard) under the string that further amplifies the sound. In particular, it helps in acoustic guitar sound projection. It actually carves out of the instrument top to allow the free vibration of the soundboard. Also, it serves as a means of escape from the vibrating air on the soundboard. The sound hole is common with the acoustic guitar especially in the middle of the body. However, you can see a soundhole on another spot on the body or no sound hole at all.

Pick Guard

The pickguard part of the instrument serves as a protector from the scratch that the pick or finger marks can cause. It is majorly made of plastics materials. Another name for a pickguard is a scratchplate. The pickguard is near the soundhole of an acoustic guitar and pickups of electric guitar.

Control Knobs and Switches (Electric)

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

The knobs are typically found on the body side of an electric guitar. These control knobs are majorly used to adjust the volume and tone of the string instrument.  Specifically, the volume knobs control the intensity of the signal picked by the pickups and make it low or high. And the tone knobs control the brightness of the sound signal colour. The switch on the other hand is used to select two pickups simultaneously.

The two pickups allow volume with one pickup and tone control with the other pickups. This allows the guitarist to blend the volume and tone of the guitar to a suitable sound. However, one knob is common in some guitars. This allows the pickup to be adjusted collectively instead of doing so independently. And each pickup will also have a tone knob to blend the sound in this type of single volume knob.

Pickups (Electric)

A Guide To The Basic Parts Of A Guitar

This part of a guitar is peculiar to the electric guitar. It is a metallic and magnetic component on the body of a guitar at the end of the fretboard. The position of pickups on an electric guitar is similar to the position of the soundhole on the acoustic guitar. Its major function is to pick up the string vibrations of a guitar and convert them to electric signals. This signal is sent out through the output jack to the amplifier that normally sends the amplified sound to the loudspeaker.  In electric guitar, we have single-coil pickup and double coil or humbucker pickup.

Output Jack (Electric)

This is the jack on an electric guitar when the electric signals from pickups are transmitted to the sound system for amplification. This is done by connecting a signal chord to the output jack to collect the signal and then pass it to the sound amplifier to boost the sound. It is sometimes called cord and jack-plate.

Let us stop here at the basic parts of a guitar. With this article, you should be able to identify different parts of the guitar, their names, and their functions. This is true whether you are a new beginner or have significant playing experience under your belt.


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