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What are the different parts of an electric guitar?

santa ana guitarThere are two main types of guitar: acoustic and electric.

Electric guitars are made up of far more components than acoustic guitars.  Despite this, most guitar makers seem to agree that electric guitars are easier to make.

This explains why, in general, acoustic and electric guitars are around the same price.

Both types of guitar apply the same principles when it comes to neck construction and string tension, yet they produce radically different sounds.

 

Electric guitar parts

Bar

Also known as the tremolo bar, whammy bar, vibrato bar and wang bar.  It is a metal rod which is attached to the bridge and allows the player to alter the string tension by tilting the bridge backwards or forwards.

Body

This is the box that anchors and stabilises the neck and bridge and provides the playing surface for the right hand. On an electric guitar, it houses the bridge assembly and electronics (including volume controls and pickups).

Bridge

The metal plate that holds the strings to the body.

End Pin

A metal post which attaches to the rear end of the strap.

Fingerboard

Located at the top of the neck, this is a flat piece of wood where the fingers of the left hand produces the notes and chords. It’s sometimes known as a fretboard.

Frets

Thin metal wires that run at a ninety degree angle to the strings, shortening their vibrating length and enabling them to produce different pitches.

Headstock

The section that houses the tuning machines and often carries the manufacturer’s logo.

Neck

Long, club-shaped piece of wood that connects the headstock to the body.

Nut

A ridged sliver of synthetic material (often stiff nylon) that prevents the strings from vibrating beyond the neck.  The strings pass through the ridges and attach to the tuners in the headstock.  There are two points at which the vibrating area of the strings is inhibited, one is the Nut and the other is the Bridge.

Output Jack

Where you plug the guitar into the amplifier.

Pickup Selector

Determines which pickups are active.

Pickups

Magnets that create the electrical signal that is converted into musical sound by the amplifier.

Strap Pin

The pin that attaches to the top end of the strap

Strings

Although detachable from the guitar itself, the vibration of the strings produce the sound.

Top

The face or upper surface of the guitar. It faces away from the player.  On an electric guitar, this is no more than a decorative fascia that covers the body material.

Tuning Machines

Increase or decrease the tension of the strings and allow them to produce different pitches.  The strings wrap around posts at the top of the headstock.  These posts run through the headstock to the back and are connected to the tuning keys (also known as tuners, tuning pegs and tuning gears).

Volume and Tone Controls

These vary the loudness of the sound and its bass and treble frequencies.

This is a very brief introduction to the parts of an electric guitar.  As you become increasingly familiar with your instrument, remembering the names of the different parts will become second nature.