You may have held a guitar before or strung the string a couple of times. You may have know to play some chords, or may have recently developed an interest for music & planning to start learning guitar soon. However, to most beginners, the anatomy of an acoustic guitar or the different parts of a guitar is still a mystery.
Starting to learn guitar does not mean holding the guitar right & hitting some notes or even chords. It is about knowing your instrument. Only if you know your instrument & have proper knowledge you will able to make progress in the right direction. In this article, you will read about the different parts of a guitar(acoustic).
Guitars are generally made up of a lot of hardware (metal & plastic), tone woods, strings & a lot of electronics(if required). Each type of guitar has its unique properties & is different from the other kind. However, to generalize, all guitars consist of 3 fundamental guitar parts – the head stock, the neck & the body.
The Head stock
The top of the guitar is termed as the head stock, which consists of the tuner machines and the nut. The head stock includes the following parts.
The Tuner Posts
These are the metals with a hole situated at the top of the guitar through which the strings are held at the correct places.
The Tuner Pegs/keys
This is the Knob like structures at the sides of the headstock. They are turned around to adjust the tuning of the strings. They make the tuning posts to turn, which in turn allows the string to tighten or loosen.
The nut is the notched area at the junction of the headstock and the fretboard. Nuts are generally made of bones or plastic. They help in keeping the guitar strings aligned throughout the fretboard as they enter the tuning posts. They also help to provide a slight elevation to the string height. It is a critical contribution to the tone of the guitar as they proceed towards the end side of the strings.
The neck is the thin piece of wood that’s situated between the headstock & the body. It consist s of the frets, fretboard & the truss rod. The neck is attached to the body of a guitar with the help of bolts, glues & sometimes both of them.
The fret board is generally attached to the top of the neck & is made of high-quality tone woods such as ebony, rosewood or maple. It is made up of high-quality woods to prevent it from damages & dents. The fret board may be made from the same piece of wood as the neck or may be made from a different wood altogether. For example, there may be a rosewood fret board on a mahogany neck or there may be a maple wood fret board on a maple wood neck.
Frets are the metals pieces running across the fretboard. When the string is pressed behind any fret, a unique tension is produced on the string. This string, when picked or played while in pressure, produces a music note. Frets are generally marked as dots or blocks (sometimes other shapes too) at different positions such as 3,5,7,12 or maybe more for the ease of playing.
The truss rod is a long metal piece of rod that is placed inside the neck of the guitar. It runs all across the neck. The truss rod helps to keep the neck in position & prevents it from bending and other damages due to the tension of the string. A well-adjusted truss rod helps to produce a great quality tone, by eliminating playability problems like fret buzz or intonation.
The body of a guitar can be described as the big curvy part of a guitar & it is the most important yet ignored part in the anatomy description of an acoustic guitar. It is the part that rests over your body and strum the strings. Acoustic guitar has a hollow body. The body generally consists of a cutaway, the bout, the pick guard, the bridge & the sound hold and contributes to 60% of the guitar’s looks.
The cutways is kept in an acoustic guitar to allow the guitarist to reach the highest fret. It is the slight cut pattern which is situated below the neck end in the body.
The Upper Bout
The body part nearest to the guitar neck is called the upper bout.
The Lower Bout
The most substantial part of the body below the string termination on the bridge is the lower bout.
The Pick Guard
The pickguard acts as a shield to your guitar & prevents your guitar from scratches, wears & dings caused due to the hard pick. It even protects your guitar from the extreme summers. The pickguard comes in various colors & designs, and can often be changed.
The Strap Buttons
The strap buttons are situated at the lower & upper bout of the guitar. The strap buttons allow you to add a strap to the guitar.
The bridge consists of a saddle made of bone or plastic. This saddle keeps the strings in position. The strings run over the saddle and are retained in place with the help of bridge pins. When a string is strummed or picked, the vibration travels to the top of the neck & back to the bridge through this saddle.
The Sound Hole
Have you ever wondered, what is the hole in a guitar called. The hole situated at the top of the guitar is known as the sound hole. The bass frequencies produced by the guitar resonates in the hollow body, amplifies the sound, and then projected out through the sound hole. Sound holes are generally round in shape. However, there are guitars with other sound hole shapes, such as f-holed guitar.
A guitar string consists of a metal core wire with a wire wrapping (in case of lower strings) or just the core wire(in case of higher strings). The thicker strings produce a low pitch sound while the thinner string produces a sound of a higher pitch. The strings are made up of a variety of metals, each having its own characteristic & sounds. The guitar string names are generally based on the open string tunning key they have.
Add-on Guitar Accessories
Some acoustic guitars contain other accessories in the guitars, which enhances the playing experience & also allows to project sound when plugged in. These guitar parts generally include the guitar tuner, the guitar pickup & the output jack.
The Guitar Tuner
Some acoustic guitars have tuners attached to them. They help you to keep the guitar in a perfect, desired tune. The tuning of a guitar varies from guitarist to guitarist. However, standard tuning (EADGBE) is widely followed. Though this is not required if you are practicing from twelve frets. We have our very own in-house Tuner.
Acoustic Guitar Pickup
The pickup is an electronic device that can be placed at various places in an acoustic guitar. The pickup helps to take the sound produced acoustically & project them through the amplifier through electronic signals. A guitar can consist of one, two, or even multiple pickups. The quality of the pickup directly affects the quality of sound produced when plugged in. Pickups, when placed near the bridge, produces a bright, chime tone & when placed near the neck, produces a warmer & bass sound.
The Output Jack
It is the jack that takes the ¼” guitar cable & transfers the signal to the external amplifier, effects pedal, mixer, or a recording interface.