Guitars are made of wood, hardware, strings, and a lot more. When you are just starting with learning guitar, knowing guitar anatomy is a must.
Parts Of A Guitar
Every guitar is manufactured in a slightly different style, but there are four fundamental parts to every guitar:
- The Headstock
- The Neck
- The Body
- The Strings
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The Headstock is the topmost part of the guitar, and it consists of TUNERS (also known as tuning pegs or tuning machines) and NUT.
Tuners/Tuning Machines (B)
Tuners consist of tuning posts — used to hold the strings in place and tuning pegs -used to alter and fine-tune the guitar tuning.
The Nut sits where the headstock meets the neck. The Nut is the sandwiched strip (generally white), of plastic or bone, with notches for the strings to pass through. The Nut holds each string in its place and at a proper height from the fingerboard.
Neck(D) is the thin, long piece of wood consisting of FRET WIRE, FRET, FRET MARKERS, FRETBOARD, and TRUSS ROD.
Fret wires are the vertical metal wires that run across the neck and divide the neck into different frets. Fret wires are made using a different metal alloy like Nickel Silver, Stainless Steel, Evo Gold, Brass, etc. Generally, fret wires are constructed using Nickel Silver and Stainless Steel.
The neck of the guitar is divided into different FRETS by the fret wires. Frets are assigned numbers that increase down the neck. So on an acoustic guitar, fret number 1 is close to the nut, and fret number 17 is closer to the body. When a string is pressed down behind a fret, it changes the length of that string and produces a different note. The higher you go up the frets, the pitch increases.
Generally, acoustic guitars have 19 frets and electric guitars have 22-24Frets.
Fret Markers / Inlays (G)
Fret markers are the small dots or inlays that you see on the frets. These are used to identify the fret you are playing at. Generally, fret markers are at fret numbers 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.21 and 24.
The guitar offers all different shapes of fret markers and inlays. Dots being the most common, followed by rectangles, shark tooth, flags. On custom guitars, you may come across several shapes and styles.
If you look closely at the neck from the side, you will see that the neck is made of two different pieces of wood, laminated to each other. The Fretboard is wood laminated to the top of the neck. The strings run over the fingerboard, between the nut and neck joint. Fretboards can be made using Rosewood, Ebony wood, Maple wood, or any other hardwood.
A truss rod is a long, adjustable piece of metal that is mounted inside the neck and runs the length of the neck. The truss rod keeps the neck from bending under the tension of the strings and changes in weather conditions. A properly adjusted truss rod is essential to any good setup and helps to eliminate things like fret buzz, intonation issues, and other playability problems.
The body of the guitar is wood. The body has a front, side, and back. Choice of wood and guitar body construction plays a significant role in the tonality of the guitar. Let us look at different parts of acoustic and electric guitar bodies.
The hole in the top of an acoustic guitar is the soundhole. When you pick a string, the hollow body of an acoustic guitar allows the frequency to enter the body, get amplified, and then project through the soundhole. Soundholes can be of different shapes, generally a circle. You can also come across oval or f-type soundholes.
In electric guitar amplification of sound is done using pickups. In a solid body electric guitar, there are no soundholes. While on a hollow or semi-hollow electric guitar, an f-type soundhole is there. The presence of the soundhole and a hollow body shape in electric guitars leads to a more pronounced bass response.
Pickups are used to convert sound to electric signals. The pickup could be said to be the “heart” of an electric guitar. The pickup converts string vibrations into electricity and is embedded in the body of the guitar right beneath the strings. An electric guitar generally has one, two, or three pickups.
Acoustic guitars also offer pickups. Pickups in an acoustic guitar may be placed on a bridge, maybe an onboard preamp system or maybe a piezo system. There are several ways to add pickups to an acoustic guitar.
The Pickguard is intended to prevent scratches, dings, and wear. Pickguards are installed on top of the guitar body underneath the strings. They can easily be replaced and come in different colours, shapes, and materials.
Bridge & Saddle (L)
The small piece of wood on the body of an acoustic guitar is the Bridge. An acoustic guitar bridge holds the saddle and secures the strings in place using bridge pins. The saddle is usually made of bone, plastic, or some kind of graphite material. The string runs over the saddle and is held in place by a bridge pin. Bridge pins can be removed while changing guitar strings. Some bridges come with string through design or pinless bridges. These bridges do not have bridge pins and the strings go through the bridge.
On an Electric guitar, there are different types of bridge systems that are used. Common bridge systems for electric guitar are TOM Bridge, Tremolo Bridge, Kohler type, Telecaster type, Floyd Rose Locking System and a lot more.
Volume & Tone Controls (M)
Volume and Tone Controls are part of electric guitars. These are potentiometers that are used to alter the volume output or to alter the frequency response (Tone) of an electric guitar.
In A semi-acoustic guitar than you might have a preamp installed in the guitar body with volume and tone functions.
Pickup Selector (N)
A Pickup Selector is a switch that is used to select different pickups or a combination of pickups on an electric guitar. Guitars have a 5-way pickup selector or 3-way pickup selectors depending on electric guitar configuration. If there is only one pickup installed on an electric guitar, then there is no pickup selector switch required for that guitar.
Strap Buttons (O)
Strap Buttons are used to install a strap to the guitar.
Output Jack (P)
The output Jack is used to route the guitar signal. To get a signal out of a guitar, connect one end of a 1/4″ guitar cable (TS) to the output jack and the other end to your amplifier, DI box, pedal or pedalboard, mixer, or recording interface.
Neck joint (Q)
The neck joint is where the neck of the guitar is joined to the body. There are different ways to join a neck to the guitar body. It may be glued or set, it may be a bolt-on joint, or it can also be a neck-through. The way the neck is joined to the guitar alters the sustain of the guitar tone.
Strings are a vital part of the guitar. They alter how a guitar feels, plays and sounds. A guitar string typically consists of a thin core with wire wrapped around it (in the case of bass strings) or just the core by itself (for higher strings). On a Guitar, There are 6-strings, 1st string to 6th string. The 1st string is the thinnest string and the 6th string is the thickest. The thickness of the strings is known as the string gauge. Thin strings produce higher frequencies and thick strings produce lower frequencies. The thicker the string or core, the lower the pitch. You can find strings that are round-wound and flat-wound and made from a variety of metals, including steel, nickel, and/or bronze — each with its sound and characteristics.
Hopefully, you found this article about guitar anatomy useful and learned something new. I suggest you watch the video lesson as well.
Also, download the PDF workbook on Lesson 1 — Guitar Parts and Anatomy. Solve it and assess your skills. Post your answers in the comments sections, and start a discussion with the community. Also, post it on Instagram and tag me @udeekshsood to get featured and get my feedback.
In the next lesson of The Beginner Guitar Course, you will learn How To Hold a Guitar and Guitar Pick.
Beginner Guitar Lessons
- Lesson 1 — Parts Of Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar
- Lesson 2 — How To Hold The Guitar and Guitar Pick
- Lesson 3 — How To Tune The Guitar
- Lesson 4 — How To Read Guitar Tabs and Chord Diagram
- Lesson 5 — Easy Guitar Chords For Beginners
- Lesson 6 — D Major And G Major Chords
- Lesson 7 — A Major, B Major and E Major Chords
- Lesson 8 — E Minor & D Minor Chords
- Lesson 9 — Guitar Strumming Basics For Beginners
- Lesson 10 — How To Play F Major Chord On Guitar
- Lesson 11 — Music Theory Basics For Beginner Guitarist
- Lesson 12 — How To Play Barre Chords On Guitar
- Lesson 13 — How To Palm Mute A Guitar
- Lesson 14 — How To Learn Scales On Guitar For Beginners
- Lesson 15 – Learn Chord Formulas And Chord Inversions
- Lesson 16 – How To Know Chords In A Major Scale And Chord Progression
- Lesson 17 – Parts Of A Song And Song Structure
- Bonus Lesson – How To Write Your First Song On Acoustic Guitar