Parts of the Guitar – Acoustic & Electric
As in all musical instruments, guitar also requires not only tuning, but to know certain positions to correctly perform the different notes and master some tricks, both in acoustic and electric guitars.
Therefore, in order to play this instrument correctly, you must first know the different parts of the instrument and what their specific functions are. Then, when a teacher or a tutorial refers to a part of the guitar, you will know exactly where to go.
Which are guitar parts?
The guitar consists of 16 fundamental parts. These are:
- Pegbox and tuning pegs
c. Sound hole
e. Pick Guard
Each of these parts plays a role in sound, beauty, design and aesthetics, depending on the type of guitar and the manufacturer.
The head has six pins. These adjust the strings and change the intonation of the notes played on the string by increasing or reducing tension. The pegs are in the head, placed by three on each side, as they appear on the Spanish guitar. There are other designs in which all the strings are on the same side of the head, as is the case with Fender or Jackson guitars.
There are also headless guitars, which are tuned with keys at the bridge where the string joins the lid. Others have straight and horizontal blades, located on the same line as the neck or fingerboard. Finally, there are blades that have an angle between 3º and 25º with respect to the fretboard, as is the case of the Gibson Firebird or the Martin guitars.
The nut is a small piece, usually made of ebony, plastic or brass, which goes between the head and the neck and has some indentations where the strings goes. The indentation will be wider and deeper depending on the thickness of the strings.
The nut keeps the strings in place, so that they do not collide with each other, product of the vibration.
The neck is usually made of a single piece of walnut, pine or cedar wood and gives the fingerboard greater quality. Among the elements of the neck are the frets, the fretboard, the head, the pegbox and the soul, no matter if we talk about an acoustic or an electric guitar.
The Fretboard (or Fingerboard)
The fretboard has bars and frets. It is made of laminated wood and is the front of the neck. Along the fretboard there are often inlay markers, either dots or more elaborate markings that help to visualize where to play, although the Spanish has no marks.
The inlay markers are usually placed at frets 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 24.
The Pegbox and pegs
We call pegbox the set of pegs that are on the head of the guitar and are used to adjust tuning. They are made of ebony, plastic or metal and should be more or less resistant, depending on the type of guitar.
The soul is a cylindrical bar that is located inside the neck of both acoustic and electric guitars. Its function is to withstand the tension of the strings. The traditional Spanish guitar does not have this element, since the pressure of the strings is not as strong as with the electric or acoustic guitar.
The Neck Joint
This is the base that is fixed to the body and acts as a union with the neck. The Neck Joint is usually stuck or screwed, depending on the type of guitar and the manufacturer.
The body is everything that is not the neck. It is where the sound of the acoustic and Spanish guitars is made. This soundboard includes certain fundamental parts such as the lid, the rings, the mouth, the rosette and the bridge. The body of the electric guitar is usually solid.
The lid, as its name indicates, is the part that covers the entire guitar body. In the acoustic guitar it has a hole in the middle that is usually ornate, which is called mouth and the ornament is called rosette. This can be constructed of pine, fir, cedar or cypress. If we look at the lid on the other side, we will see that it has fine bars, also made of wood, called spinets. There cannot be seen with the naked eye, and its arrangement inside the lid depends on the manufacturer. This is one of the parts that care most.
The Pick Guard
The Pick Guard is a plastic sheet that serves to protect the guitar lid from scratches that arise when played. We see them in acoustic, electric and some Spanish guitars.
The rings are the two pieces that surround the acoustic box. The type of wood does not only influence the rings, but also the other parts of the guitar. For example, the wood of the hoops is one of the parts of the guitar that greatly influences the sound and can make it change, that is, acoustically we can have a bright sound with the Maple, a sound with more harmonics with the Walnut, or a more powerful sound with the Rosewood.
In addition, the type of wood also enhances the image and aesthetics of the guitar.
The mouth serves to project the sound out of the guitar, and is located in the middle of the cover. It is exclusive to acoustic and Spanish guitars.
There are different types and colors, but they are always bordering the mouth of the guitar. It has an aesthetic function.
The function of the bridge is to transfer the vibrations of the strings to the body, and amplify the sound. The bridge is located on the top a few centimeters from the mouth. There are different types of bridge designs according to the manufacturer and the guitar type, whether Spanish, acoustic or electric.
The function of the seal is to hold the strings and separate them from each other. It is a piece made of plastic, except in the electric guitar that is made of metal.
These are one of the most important parts of the guitar. There are different brands, types and materials according to the musical genre that you want to interpret. They are usually made of nylon or copper, or metallic in the case of the electric guitar
The electric guitar
The electric guitar may have a soundboard or not, but several additional elements are incorporated.
These are the capsules or pads (microphones that pick up the vibration of the strings) and knobs or volume and tone controls (which modify the output signal from the guitar to the amplifier).
Some electric guitars have other elements such as a vibrato lever, which allows you to loosen or tighten the bridge; or built-in effects.
Although they are not as such parts of the electric guitar, you must also have an amplifier to play it. Many guitarists also use effects pedals such as reverberation, delay, chorus, phaser, wah-wah, tremolo, octavoids, audio compression, etc.