How to Choose an Electric Guitar

Who hasn’t dreamed of playing guitar in front of countless screaming fans? We could not have the ability to help you play any type of much better, yet we can put the appropriate axe in your hands! This Buying Guide consists of information that deserve to assist you select an Electric Guitar for your demands. Since there’s so a lot to take into consideration once purchasing an Electric Guitar, don’t hesitate to contact (800) 222-4700 for more indevelopment.

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The anatomy of an electrical guitar


Parts of a guitar

Electric guitars are obtainable in a vast diversity of body layouts, tonewoods, and electronic devices. We’ll discuss some of the necessary facets listed below. You deserve to learn more around the individual components in this article: “Parts of a Guitar.”


Parts of a Guitar

Guitars are consisted of of tonewoods, strings, hardware (steel and plastic), and also electronic devices — all working together to create a music machine.

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Tonewoods: sonic signature

Since the earliest days of music, instruments and also woods have actually had actually a connection, and also electric guitars are no various. The woods provided in electric guitars are often described as tonewoods. These are are well known for having desirable tone and also sustain as soon as provided in musical instruments. It’s interesting to note that the timber itself takes on different features relying on which part of the guitar it’s supplied for.

The woods provided below are the a lot of typically offered tonewoods for electrical guitars, though you will certainly find others. Even though one guitar might have actually the very same tonewoods as another, they may still sound exceptionally various.

Usual Tone Woods


Light weight through balanced tone.


Open grain via balanced tone, good for transparent finishes.


Light weight and heat sounding, via solid mids.


Medium to hefty weight wood, very warmth sounding, much less highs.


Medium to heavy weight, exceptionally warm through great sustain.


Medium to heavy weight, exceptionally bideal via long sustain.


Light weight hardlumber, bright and also crisp.

Common Neck Woods


Dense, tough and also strong, extremely bright sounding through great sustain.


Very heat and fat sound.

Fretboard Woods


Dense, difficult, and also solid, rapid playing, incredibly bright sounding through great sustain.


Plays smooth and rapid via exceptionally warm tone.


Very difficult hardwood, smooth and quick playing, exceptionally bappropriate sounding via lengthy sustain.

Pau Ferro

Very hard hardwood, rapid and also smooth playing, brighter than roselumber, warmer than ebony.

See more: The 9 Best Guitar For Beginners, What'S The Best Guitar For A Beginner

Three bodies, 3 different sounds

Electric guitars come in 3 standard varieties: solidbody, semi-hollowbody, and also hollowbody. Solidbody guitars have… well, solid lumber bodies. The hollowbody guitar is constructed choose an acoustic guitar with a fully hollow inside. And a semi-hollowbody guitar adds a solid center block to a hollowbody design.

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How a pickup deserve to affect your sound

Single-coil pickups

The first electric guitars all offered single-coil pickups. A single-coil pickup has only one coil of wire. It may have a solitary magnet, a single magnet via screws for adjustable pole pieces, or a sepaprice magnet for each string. Regardmuch less of the number and plan of magnets, it is still a single coil pickup if it has only one coil of wire.

Unfortunately, in enhancement to creating an electric signal from a vibrating magnetic field, a coil of wire is a very effective antenna. A coil of wire will certainly “pluck” electromagnetic radiation out of the air, and we are surrounded everywhere by this radiation – the majority of notably the sixty-cycle hum from building wiring, electric noises from fluorescent lighting, and the most current resource of noise troubling guitarists via single coil pickups: the computer system monitor. In short, single-coil pickups are prone to hum.

The single-coil sound

Single-coil pickups have a thin, clean, and also transparent sound. These pickups are typically around 3/4th of an inch wide and 2-1/2 inches long. Single-coil pickups are widespread on Fender guitars such as the Stratocaster and also Telecaster, two guitars that are incredibly prevalent in rock, country, and pop. Some of the many significant users of the Fender Strat single-coil sound include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and also Stevie Ray Vaughan. Famous Telecaster players encompass Bruce Springsteenager, Buck Owens, and also Johnny Paycheck.

Humbucker pickups

As early on as 1935, Gibchild introduced the initially electro-magnetic pickup, described as the “bar.” The initially version this appeared on was the Gibboy “Hawaiian Electric,” yet was quickly adapted to the ES-150 model by 1936 and also Gibchild banjos by 1938. Made famous by electric guitar pioneer Charlie Christian, the “bar” pickup was extremely effective. Even now it is known as the “Charlie Christian” pickup.

In the 1950s Ted McCarty, president of Gibchild and an engineer by training, assigned Walt Fuller and Seth Lover the job of designing a pickup that would not be prone to “humming” in the visibility of transformers, rheostats, and also various other electrical interference. Lover began job-related in 1954 and also a year later on filed a patent application for a pickup that made use of two coils to cancel or “buck” the hum, generally recognized as “humbuckers.”

A humbucker provides 2 coils and also either 2 magnets (or sets of magnets), or pole pieces at opposite ends of a solitary magnet. Contrary to famous idea it is incorrect, or at leastern very misleading, to say that the two coils are “out-of-phase.” When speaking strictly of electric coils by themselves, they are sassist to be “in-phase” when they are wound the same direction. However, pickups are sassist to be “in-phase” as soon as their signals are in phase (the signal produced in one pickup adds to the signal created in the various other, rather of subtracting from it). In a humbucking pickup, the 2 coils are wound through opposing electric polarity, but the magnetic polarity for each coil is also reversed. Without going right into great technical information, this suggests simply that each coil carries 2 signals; the string vibration signal, which is reinforced, creating a thick, meaty sound, and also the noise signal, which is cancelled.

The double-coil sound

The humbucker was featured on two models of Les Pauls in 1957, the goldtop Standard and the three-pickup Les Paul Custom. The heat, smooth, double-coil sound of the Gibkid Les Paul is a favorite for rock, blues, pop, and also jazz. While a lot of of the guitarists pointed out above have actually played Gibson guitars, the most famed players whose sound is linked through the double-coil “humbucker” sound encompass Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, John Lennon, BB King, Wes Montgomery, and also Chet Atkins.

Many kind of guitars have actually a combination of single- and double-coil pickups. It’s likewise widespread for a double-coil pickup to have a switch that will certainly revolve among the coils off to offer the player an option in between single- and also double-coil.

Guitar necks explained

If you haven’t figured this out by now, no 2 guitarists are achoose, and also their choices around their favorite guitars vary extensively. That extends to guitar necks, as well – you’ll find an nearly bewildering variety readily available by different guitar makers! But we can pare down the neck problem to 3 crucial factors: the lumber (form and also number of pieces), the neck joint (just how it connects to the guitar’s body), and the profile (the width, thickness and shape).

What wood you do?

Whether your guitar’s neck is one item or made of two or more sections laminated together – this often renders the neck more powerful – the lumber supplied to make it is an often-debated topic. The issues center on the “hardness,” determined by the tightness of the wood grain, and the weight, a vital element in building a well balanced guitar. Here’s a brief summary of some frequently used neck woods:

Maple – This was what Leo Fender supplied on the initially solid-body electrical (which became known as the Telecaster). Maple is tool difficult and medium weight, which worked well without leading to the guitar to be neck-heavy. Fender additionally let the maple serve as the guitar’s fingerboard, also (more about this in a moment).Mahogany – Acoustic guitars have actually offered this as neck material for a lengthy time. It is slightly more “flexible” than maple (and a little bit lighter). Its distinctive dark natural shade provides an extremely attrenergetic comparison to a maple or spruce height. Many acoustics additionally usage mahogany for their backs and sides.Rosewood – This tight-grained, heavy timber comes in a number of arrays. One, Brazilian rosewood, is currently rare and also expensive, the result of overusage and also deforeterminal. Rosehardwood is likewise regularly supplied for fingerboards because of its smooth, tough surface. Paul Reed Smith builds electrics through rosetimber necks and many acoustics have actually used this hardwood also.Pau ferro – This up-and-coming replacement for Brazilian roselumber (the name literally means “iron wood”) is hefty and also nonporous, which makes it straightforward to end up and also popular for necks and also fingerboards.Basswood – Considering this wood’s relatively wide grain, which makes it “softer” than others, basswood has discovered a location in both economic situation acoustics and also in a high-end electric establishing. Parker Guitars coats a basslumber neck via carbon/epoxy resin to develop an extremely light, extremely strong result.

No joint pains for these necks!

The neck joint is the suggest at which the neck is attached to the guitar’s body. This is a vital process for a couple of reasons. First, the joint have to have the ability to withstand the push and also tension created once guitar strings are installed and also tensioned – and also that push have the right to be very high! 2nd, joining the neck to the guitar’s body will affect the tone of the finished instrument, if only as a result of the raised mass of the guitar. For these factors and also more, the neck joint is carefully designed and built in both acoustic and also electric guitars. There are three main approaches of attaching the neck:

Set (or “set-in”) Neck

This ssuggest indicates that the neck is glued right into place. This technique has been used as long as acoustic guitars have actually existed and is nearly constantly supplied in acoustic guitar building and construction (through one significant exemption, described below). The set neck is very closely reduced to enhance its mounting allude on the guitar body and also the 2 sections are nearly always associated via dove-tail joints to maximize the gluing surconfront and minimize neck wiggle. The Gibchild Les Paul models are prime examples of electrical guitars with set necks.

Bolt-on Neck

This term was used to Leo Fender’s initially electric guitar, which would eventually be referred to as the Telecaster. Ironically, Fender didn’t usage bolts at all – his guitar neck was attached to the slab body through 4 hardwood screws. However, the name stuck. Some manufacturers actually carry out usage bolts. Taylor, a practice builder of acoustic and also electrical guitars, emerged a special bolt-on style in which the head of the bolt is inside the body of the guitar. Althe majority of all various other bolt-on necks are seen on solid-body electrics.

See more: Ten Easy Acoustic Guitar Campfire Guitar Songs & Campfire Songs (2021)

Neck Thunstable Body

This method is restricted exclusively to solid-body guitars. The “neck” is actually an integral part of the guitar’s body and exoften tends the whole length of the instrument. In reality, Les Paul’s beforehand speculative guitars began with a 4″ hardwood post that ran from tail to headstock, through the sawed-off halves of a guitar body glued onto its sides. More advanced neck-with designs usage dovetail joints or dados – a “tab” in one piece that fits right into a slot in the other – to affix the full-length neck to the body wings. Some players feel that the lower mass of the body wings cuts dvery own on low frequency resonance, developing a bappropriate, thin-sounding guitar. Neck-via instruments occupational well in high-volume playing situations that call for meaning and also clear low finish. Some neck-through guitars (Gibson’s Firebird, for example) use a mahogany neckitem. This softer lumber gives a warmer, rounder tone more characteristic of a set-in, or set-neck, guitar. The Parker Fly Standard combines a neck-with style via light basswood underneath its carbon/glass “exoskeleton” to provide a lightweight guitar with the feel of much denser, harder woods.

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