How many Gitas are there
The structure of the guitar and its parts
Name parts of the guitar correctly
Knowledge about electric guitar, concert guitar and western guitar
(Image: © Von Tatiana Popova Royalty-free stock photo number: 250576867By rosarioscalia Royalty-free stock photo number: 738767506)
Today we will deal with a few very elementary guitar vocabulary, because we are dealing with the structure of this popular instrument. If you value certain details when buying, if you need spare parts or want to exchange parts, you should know the correct names.
For all those who want to get to the bottom of their instrument and get to the bottom of it, we have given the most important parts of acoustic and electric guitars their names and explain their function.
In principle, the guitar can be divided into three main parts, which are based on the designation of the human body:
At the top is the head, below the neck and the largest part is taken up by the body or corpus. The fourth higher-level part can be found at Electric guitars add the electrics.
At acoustic guitars There are different designs, of which the concert or nylon guitar and the western or steel strings or steel string guitar are certainly the most popular. But also others, such as so-called gypsy guitars, 12-string versions, so-called resonator guitars and many more are very popular and can be found in various styles.
a) The head
The headstock or English "headstock" is characterized above all by the fact that the tuning mechanisms or the pegs are attached here. They can either be oriented vertically, i.e. backwards, as with nylon models, or horizontally, i.e. to the side, with western models.
The saddle over which the strings run lies at the transition between head and neck. This is traditionally made from bones, but nowadays there are also very often plastic or graphite-based variants.
In rare cases, acoustic guitars provide access to the adjustment rod behind the saddle, which is used to adjust the curvature of the neck. Much more often, however, the opening is at the other end and is set via the sound hole. By the way, concert guitars usually get by without such an adjustment rod, because the tensile strength of nylon strings is much less than that of steel strings.
b) The neck
The guitar neck consists of three components: the actual neck material, the fingerboard, which is usually glued on, and the frets with frets.
The neck itself is often made of mahogany or maple, while the fingerboard is often made of ebony or Rosewood are used, more recently modern composite materials based on wood.
With nylon guitars, the fingerboard is usually flat, whereas almost all acoustic guitars have a slight curve on the outside, the so-called fingerboard radius. The frets delimit the individual frets and are made of metal, mostly nickel silver, steel or stainless steel. Most western guitars have 20 or more frets and the transition from the neck to the body is traditionally on the 14th fret, concert guitars usually have 18 or 19 frets with the body beginning at the 12th fret.
c) The body
The body itself is in turn divided into different elements: on top the top with sound hole and rosette, on the sides the sides, below the back and the bridge to lock the strings.
For the top of nylon guitars, the most common types of wood are the light and somewhat higher-sounding spruce wood or the somewhat warmer and darker cedar wood. These types are also used in acoustic guitars, but the somewhat more center-sounding mahogany or more special types such as laurel are also popular. The sides and back are usually made of rosewood, mahogany, cherry or maple.
Because types of wood such as rosewood are subject to strict Species protection guitar makers are currently using local types of wood, among other things, with very good tonal and visual results.
The so-called bridge is located on the body to attach the strings. In nylon guitars, the strings are fastened with a knot before they are stretched over the bridge in the direction of the headstock.
Incidentally, the saddle and saddle mark the end points of the so-called scale length, i.e. the length of the vibrating string, which can vary depending on the type of guitar.
Bridge concert or classical guitar
For western guitars, strings with a so-called ball end are usually used, a ball that is attached to the end of the string. This is inserted into a hole and clamped with a pin made of wood, plastic or bone, also known as a pin or stick:
Acoustic guitar bridge
The third possibility, which is used with certain guitars, are strings with a loop at the end, the so-called loop end, which is hooked into a tailpiece:
Bridge gypsy guitar
(Image: © Von rosarioscalia Royalty Free Stock Photo Number: 738767506)
Electric guitars do not differ fundamentally in their structure from acoustic instruments, but there are some special features, such as the bridge and of course the electrics.
a) The head
The headstock is usually home to the tuning mechanisms, which are often found asymmetrically on electric guitars, i.e. all six pegs are on one side of the headstock. As a rule, the machine buttons point upwards, but also downwards in the case of so-called "reverse headstocks", which is particularly popular with certain rock guitars.
Bones, plastic or graphite composite are also used here for the saddle. Occasionally we also have to do with clamp saddles, e.g. in connection with "Floyd Rose" tremoloswhich we will discuss below. The strings are not only clamped to the bridge, but also to the saddle, so that they can hardly get out of tune even with extreme playing styles.
With electric guitars, the access to the neck adjustment rod is usually directly behind the saddle, but there is also the variant with the body-side service opening.
b) The neck
Most of the information that also applies to the acoustic guitar applies to the neck of the electric guitar. Rosewood and maple are used as the fingerboard material, with rosewood standing for a rounder, somewhat bassier sound and maple where it should sound brilliant and present.
The number of frets is usually higher, usually between 22 and 24. Their number also has an indirect influence on the sound, as it determines where the pickups are placed.
There are also different neck radii for electric guitars, whereby the following applies: the lower the radius, the more curved the fingerboard. Strong bulges can be found e.g. in old Fender models (7.25 "), or almost flat, as in modern Ibanez guitars (15.75-17"). So-called "compound" radii, where different dimensions are to be found at different points on the neck, are also popular.
c) The body and electrics
Various woods are used for the electric guitar body. Mahogany is very well known, e.g. in traditional guitars from Gibson, but also ash or alder from Fender. Linden (basswood) and various other, sometimes exotic woods are also included. Of course, there are also very curious excesses, such as with Danelectro guitars, the body of which is made of a frame and so-called masonite fiberboard.
For the body, either a solid construction is used, which in certain models contains hollow chambers to reduce weight, which are not visible from the outside. In addition to the solid body construction, there are also semi-acoustic or full resonance guitars, which are particularly popular in jazz and blues. These are guitars in which the body is mostly hollow, similar to acoustic guitars, but mostly much flatter. Such guitars can also be recognized by their often larger body radii and characteristic F-holes.
With electric guitars they are Pickups either directly in the body or in the so-called pickguard, a protection usually made of plastic, which is supposed to protect the top from scratches when the strings are struck.
Pickups are available as so-called single coils,
or two-coil as humbucker:
The switching and control options of an electric guitar basically consist of a selector switch that determines which pickup picks up the vibrations of the strings and controls for volume and tone. Usually pots and switches are conveniently located below the pickups, but on some models they are also divided into different areas of the guitar. The pick-up selector switch on a Gibson Les Paul can be found in the upper front body area.
The bridge or bridge of the guitar can appear as a "fixed bridge", it is then firmly screwed to the body as in these models:
Alternatively, there are so-called "tremolo systems" in which the tailpiece and bridge are designed to be movable. By operating a lever, the strings are loosened or tightened, which changes the pitch accordingly and results in a very characteristic effect that has shaped the typical sound of the rock guitar. However, the name is tremolo misleading, because it is actually a Vibratobecause the pitch and not the volume is modulated.
Tremolos come in many different designs. That's the classic Vintage tremolo very sound, but unfortunately not completely free of detuning:
The iconic Bigsby tremolo can be found on many rockabilly guitars and instruments from Gretsch:
The 80s and Eddie Van Halen brought with the Floyd Rose tremolo an innovative and almost detuning-free variant on the guitar, which in the course of time called various imitators on the scene. Disadvantages of this system are the somewhat limited vibration transmission and the cumbersome and quite laborious Changing strings:
Floyd Rose tremolo
To pass the guitar signal on, a cable connection is required, which is in the form of a jack socket, which is either mounted directly in the frame or, as with various guitars from Fender, in a metal plate in a cutout on the body.
Incidentally, the guitar strap is attached to the frame using so-called strap pins.
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