Saturday, April 29, 2006

Know Your Guitar Parts

By: Ian Williamson

Guitars have been used with so much diversity in many musical
forms. The instrument is known by many as a classical solo
instrument and the basic musical instrument in rock music.

Get acquainted with this magnificent instrument; know its parts:

1. Headstock. This is found at the edge of the guitar's neck. It
is tailored with the instrument's head for adjusting the pitch.

2. Tuners. The tuners keep the strings of the guitar stretched
beginning at the base down to the knobs. Tuners likewise allow
the guitar player to alter or modify the pitch either flat or
sharp, depending on the player's choice of music.

3. Nut. This is a tiny strip of hard medium or material which
supports the strings at the intersection where the "headstock"
meets up with the "fret board". The strips can be made of
plastic, bone, graphite, brass or any hard medium and indented
to secure the stings in position. The nut acts as one of several
endpoints assisting the tension of the string.

4. Fret board. Also known as the fingerboard, it is a lengthy
wood plank inserted with frets of metal that composes the top of
the guitar's neck.

The fret board of a classical guitar is flat and is a little
curved diagonally on an electric or acoustic guitar. The curve
is calculated by the radius of the fret board that is the range
of a "hypothetical circle" and which the surface of the fret
board makes up a segment.

The smaller the radius of the fret board, the more that the
curve is evident. When a string is pinched against the board,
the string's "vibrating length" is shortened thus creating a
higher pitch sound or tone.

5. Frets. These are strips made of metal, particularly nickel
alloy set in alongside the fret board that are positioned in
conjunction with the string's length that mathematically divides

When the strings are pushed down from the rear of the frets,
this cuts the string's length of vibration to emit different
tones or pitches.

6. Neck. The neck is composed of the guitar's fret board, frets,
tuners, truss rod and headstock; all are fastened to a long
extension made of wood. Usually, the wood that is used for the
fret board will be of a different kind from that used on the
remaining neck parts.

The firmness or stiffness of the guitar's neck in accordance to
its body is one determining factor of whether it is of good
quality or not.

7. Body. The acoustic guitar's body is an echoing cavity
projecting the vibrations through the guitar's sound hole which
enables the audio of the instrument to be clearly heard even
with no amplification.

In acoustic guitars, its body is a big determining factor in the
overall sound it produces. The soundboard or guitar top is a
delicately engineered and crafted component that is usually made
out of red cedar, spruce or mahogany.

This very thin slice of wood, generally measuring only 2 - 3 mm
thick, supported by different kinds of internal brackets, is the
most pronounced and important element in influencing sound

Most of the sound is brought about by the guitar's top vibration
as the momentum of the vibrating cords are transmitted to it.

8. Pickups. This is what really amplifies the cords sound. Most
guitars have one to a maximum of three pickups. The kind of
pickup is reasonably important, depending on a particular sound
that you are aspiring for.

9. Pickguard. Commonly called the scratch plate, is a plastic
guard or any laminated medium which protects the guitar's top

The pickups as well as almost all electronics in other electric
guitars are framed and inserted atop the "pickguard". On
"acoustic guitars" and several "electric guitars", the pickguard
is directly inserted to the top of the guitar, and on guitars
having carved tops; the "pickguard" is raised.

10. Bridge. On acoustic guitars, the key objective of the
guitar's bridge is to hand over or shift the string's vibration
to the "soundboard", which then shudders the air within the
guitar; thus increasing and strengthening the sound created by
the cords or strings.

Go ahead, explore the parts of your guitar to better acquaint
yourself with this wonderful instrument; test it too and see
where it will take you. Enjoy!

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