Updated: Oct 13
A quick lesson showing you the parts of the Electric Guitar. Important information for learning how to play the electric guitar.
Electric Guitar Parts
There are lots of different designs of electric guitar. The two most popular two brands have two different styles. Fender have 6 tuners on one side. Gibson have the more traditional 3 tuners a side.
The rest of the headstock and neck is pretty much the same as the acoustic.
Electric bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. As it’s the electronics that have the most affect on the sound, guitar companies can get creative with the body shape.
In essence a simple design, normally 6 magnet poles wrapped in copper coil. The vibrating strings move the magnetic field created by the pickups which in turn creates a very small electric current. This current is sent down a guitar cable to the guitar amp, which amplifies this current to push a speaker, moving the air around it and creating sound. (This is a very dumbed down explanation but is the essence of how an electric guitar works).
There are many, many different pickup designs. The most common are Single Coil seen here on my Fender Telecaster. The other famously used by Gibson are Humbucker Pickups which are two single coils stuck together with the windings going in opposite directions to reduce the electric hum made by single coil pickups.
This has the same purpose on the electric as on the acoustic: to protect the paintwork. On some electric guitars the pickups and controls are mounted to the scratchplate, giving it a second purpose.
Again there are many, many different layouts here depending on the model of guitar. Most will have a Volume Knob and a Tone Knob so you have some control of the sound you create from the guitar.
Lots of electric guitars have more than one pickup (two or three being most common) so there will be a Pickup Selector to choose between these.
The pickup closer to the neck will have a warmer, fuller tone. The pickup at the bridge is often described as “bright” or “trebley”.
There are tons of variations here too. Most electric guitars tend to have an individual saddle per string so each string’s intonation can be adjusted separately to help the guitar play in tune better.
There are tons of variations of every part of the guitar and people will argue over what is better, but in truth every guitar has its own character and in the right hands any guitar will sound great. The big saying here is: “Tone is in the Fingers”.
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