Friday, August 20, 2010

Guitar Anatomy

The body is the part of the guitar which resonates and amplifies the vibration of the strings. It is responsible for giving the guitar a good tone. Its size affects the loudness and softness of the sound produced by the guitar. Classical and acoustic guitars are made of hollow bodies while electric guitars are made of solid wood bodies.

The bridge is the part of the guitar which secures and holds the strings at the body of the guitar. On acoustic and classical guitars, the bridge is made of a thin piece of wood. On electric guitars, it is made up of metal.

A saddle is a piece of material, usually plastic, ebony, or bone, found on the bridge. It holds the strings above the bridge and mutes the vibration of the strings to eliminate string noise and buzz.

Sound Hole
The sound hole can be found only on classical and acoustic guitars. It is the round opening in the body of the guitar which helps project the sound produced by the guitar.

Pickups can be found between the bridge and the neck of electric guitars. Pickups work like a microphone by converting mechanical vibrations to an electrical signal which can then be amplified. Pickups may also be used in acoustic or classical guitars instead of using microphones.

Pickguard can only be found in some guitars. It is usually a thin piece of plastic which protects the finish of the top of the guitar from damage due to the use of a plectrum or fingernails.

The neck is the long curved piece of wood connected to the body. The end of the neck is the head which secures the strings at the opposite side of the guitar body. The neck is usually made of hard wood such as mahogany or maple.

This is the thin flat piece of wood glued to the neck. The fretboard is usually divided between 21 to 24 frets for electric guitars and 19 frets for classical and acoustic guitars. The fretboard is made of either ebony, rosewood, or maple. On classical guitars, however, they are most commonly ebony.

The frets are the metal wires on the fingerboard that are perpendicular to the length of the fretboard. Pressing a string against a fret determines the strings' vibrating length and therefore its resultant pitch.

The nut is a small piece of plastic, ivory, or bone which is found between the fretboard and the headstock. The nut has cuts used to hold the strings in place.

The headstock is the end of the neck where the tuning machines are found.

Tuning machines
The tuning machine is the hardware system which consists of gears and tuning pegs. The tuning machine tunes the strings by allowing them to be tightened or loosened using the tuning pegs.

The strings stretch along the length of the guitar starting from the bridge, resting on the saddles, then over the sound hole or the pickups, over the fretboard, then on the nut, and finally wound around the tuning pegs on the headstock.

Strings used for acoustic and electric guitars are made of steel while that of classical guitars are nylon. The three lowest or thickest strings used in classical guitars are made up of a nylon core and surrounded by steel.

Strings also come in different tensions. Strings which have a high tension are much thicker and are harder to press on the guitar.

Volume and Tone Controls
The volume control knob controls the loudness or softness of the guitar's sound, while the tone knob controls the bass and treble frequencies produced by the guitar. These knobs are found only on electric guitars.

Output Jack
The insertion point for the cable that connects the guitar to an amplifier or other electronic device. Output jacks are found only on electric guitars.


Guitar Background

Guitar Anatomy


  • Using an Electric Tuner
  • Using a Keyboard or a Piano
  • Using a Pitch Pipe
  • Using a Pitch Fork
  • Standard Tuning
  • Half Step Down Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb
  • Whole Step Down D-G-C-F-A-D
  • Dropped D D-A-D-G-B-E
  • Double Dropped D D-A-D-G-B-D
  • Dsus4 Tuning D-A-D-G-A-D
Holding the Guitar
  • Sitting
  • Classical
  • Casual
  • Standing

Ways to Learn
  • Theory Books
  • Videos
  • Private Lessons with a Good Teacher
  • Learning by Ear

Reading Music
  • Standard Music Notation
  • Treble / Bass Clef
  • Tablature
  • Scale / Chord Charts

  • Strumming
  • Muting
  • Bending
  • Timing


  • Major
  • Minor
  • Seventh
  • Augmented
  • Diminished
  • Half-Diminished / Minor Seventh Flat Fifth
Other Chords
  • Suspended Chords (Sus4 and Sus2 chords)
  • Bar Chords
  • Power Chords
  • Slash Chords
  • The Pentatonic Scale
  • The Blues Scale
  • Major Scale
  • Minor Scale
  • Harmonic Minor Scale
  • Melodic Minor Scale
  • Exotic Scales
  • Ionian
  • Dorian
  • Phrygian
  • Lydian
  • Mixolydian
  • Aeolian
  • Locrian

  • 12 Bar Blues
  • Jazz Progressions