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The guitar is a
fret A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form th ...

fret
ted
musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who play ...
that typically has six
strings String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Strings (1991 film), ''Strings'' (1991 fil ...

strings
. It is held flat against the player's body and played by
strumming In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated c ...
or plucking the strings with the dominant hand, while simultaneously pressing selected strings against
frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the ...
with the fingers of the opposite hand. A
plectrum A plectrum is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a stringed instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. ...
or individual finger picks may be used to strike the strings. The sound of the guitar is projected either acoustically, by means of a resonant chamber on the instrument, or amplified by an electronic pickup and an
amplifier An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In ...
. The guitar is classified as a
chordophone String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument ...
– meaning the sound is produced by a vibrating string stretched between two fixed points. Historically, a guitar was constructed from wood with its strings made of
catgut Catgut (also known as gut) is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fiber Natural fibers or natural fibres (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the ...

catgut
. Steel guitar strings were introduced near the end of the nineteenth century in the United States; nylon strings came in the 1940s. The guitar's ancestors include the
gittern The gittern was a relatively small gut-strung, round-backed instrument that first appears in literature and pictorial representation during the 13th century in Western Europe (Iberian Peninsula, Italy, France, England). It is usually depicted pl ...
, the
vihuela The vihuela () is a 15th-century fretted plucked Spanish string instrument, shaped like a guitar (figure-of-eight form offering strength and portability) but tuned like a lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instr ...

vihuela
, the four-
course Course may refer to: Directions or navigation * Course (navigation), the path of travel * Course (orienteering), a series of control points visited by orienteers during a competition, marked with red/white flags in the terrain, and corresponding ...
Renaissance guitar The evolution of classical guitar The classical guitar (also known as the nylon-string guitar or Spanish guitar) is a member of the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is he ...
, and the five-course
baroque guitar The Baroque guitar (c. 1600–1750) is a string instrument with five course Course may refer to: Directions or navigation * Course (navigation), the path of travel * Course (orienteering), a series of control points visited by orienteers during ...

baroque guitar
, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument. There are three main types of modern guitar: the
classical guitar The classical guitar (also known as the nylon-string guitar or Spanish guitar) is a member of the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body a ...
(Spanish guitar/nylon-string guitar); the
steel-string acoustic guitar The steel-string acoustic guitar is a modern form of guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked stri ...
or
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

electric guitar
; and the
Hawaiian guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plu ...
(played across the player's lap). Traditional acoustic guitars include the
flat top guitar A flat top guitar is a type of guitar body Body may refer to: In science * Physical body, an object in physics that represents a large amount, has mass or takes up space * Body (biology), the physical material of an organism * Body plan, the phy ...
(typically with a large sound hole) or an
archtop guitar An archtop guitar is a hollow steel-stringed acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album ...
, which is sometimes called a "
jazz guitar The term ''jazz guitar'' may refer to either a type of electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck ...
". The tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the strings' vibration, amplified by the hollow body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber. The classical Spanish guitar is often played as a
solo Solo or SOLO may refer to: Arts and entertainment Comics * Solo (DC Comics), ''Solo'' (DC Comics), a DC comics series * Solo, a 1996 mini-series from Dark Horse Comics Characters * Han Solo, a ''Star Wars'' character * Jacen Solo, a Jedi in the ...
instrument using a comprehensive
fingerstyle Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar or bass guitar The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and const ...
technique where each string is plucked individually by the player's fingers, as opposed to being strummed. The term "finger-picking" can also refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues, bluegrass, and country guitar playing in the United States.
Electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

Electric guitar
s, first patented in 1937, use a pickup and
amplifier An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In ...
that made the instrument loud enough to be heard, but also enabled manufacturing guitars with a solid block of wood needing no resonant chamber. A wide array of electronic
effects unit An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be cons ...
s became possible including
reverb Reverberation (also known as reverb), in acoustics Acoustics is a branch of physics that deals with the study of mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientis ...
and distortion (or "overdrive"). Solid-body guitars began to dominate the guitar market during the 1960s and 1970s; they are less prone to unwanted
acoustic feedback Audio feedback (also known as acoustic feedback, simply as feedback, or the Larsen effect) is a special kind of positive loop gain which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input (for example, a microphone A microphone, coll ...
. As with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars,
archtop guitar An archtop guitar is a hollow steel-stringed acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album ...
s (used in
jazz guitar The term ''jazz guitar'' may refer to either a type of electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck ...
,
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
and
rockabilly Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to ...
) and
solid-body guitar thumb , Sound sample of solid-body electric guitar. A solid-body musical instrument is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted ...
s, which are widely used in
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
. The loud, amplified sound and sonic power of the electric guitar played through a guitar amp has played a key role in the development of
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
and
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
, both as an
accompaniment Accompaniment is the musical part which provides the rhythm Rhythm (from , ''rhythmos'', "any regular motion, " generally means a " marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". ...
instrument (playing
riff A riff is a repeated chord progression In a musical composition File:Chord chart.svg, 250px, Jazz and rock genre musicians may memorize the melodies for a new song, which means that they only need to provide a chord chart to guide improvis ...

riff
s and
chord Chord may refer to: * Chord (music), an aggregate of musical pitches sounded simultaneously ** Guitar chord a chord played on a guitar, which has a particular tuning * Chord (geometry), a line segment joining two points on a curve * Chord (ast ...
s) and performing
guitar solo A guitar solo is a melodic A melody (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast E ...
s, and in many rock subgenres, notably
heavy metal music Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and s ...
and
punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, ...
. The electric guitar has had a major influence on
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
. The guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide. It is recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
, bluegrass,
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
,
flamenco Flamenco (), in its strictest sense, is an art form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain, developed within the Gitanos, gitano subculture of the region of Andalusia, but also having a historical presence in Extremad ...

flamenco
,
folk Folk or Folks may refer to: Sociology *Nation *People * Folklore ** Folk art ** Folk dance ** Folk hero ** Folk music *** Folk metal *** Folk punk *** Folk rock ** Folk religion * Folk taxonomy Arts, entertainment, and media * Folk Plus or Folk ...

folk
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
, jota,
mariachi Mariachi (, , ) is a genre of regional Mexican Regional Mexican is a Latin music Latin music (Portuguese language, Portuguese and es, música latina) is a term used by the music industry as a catch-all genre for various styles of music from Mu ...

mariachi
,
metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
,
punk Punk or punks may refer to: Genres, subculture, and related aspects * Punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arrangin ...
,
reggae Reggae () is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its Jamaican diaspora, diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popu ...

reggae
,
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) In geology, a rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemical composition and ...
,
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
, and
pop Pop or POP may refer to: Places * Gregorio Luperón International Airport (IATA code POP), Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic * Pop, a tributary of the river Jijia in eastern Romania * Poppleton railway station (station code), York, England People ...
.


History

Before the development of the
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

electric guitar
and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides." The term is used to refer to a number of
chordophone String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument ...
s that were developed and used across Europe, beginning in the 12th century and, later, in the Americas. A 3,300-year-old stone carving of a
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...

Hittite
bard playing a stringed instrument is the oldest iconographic representation of a chordophone and clay plaques from
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
show people playing an instrument that has a strong resemblance to the guitar, indicating a possible
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
n origin for the guitar. The modern word ''guitar,'' and its antecedents, has been applied to a wide variety of chordophones since classical times and as such causes confusion. The English word ''guitar,'' the German '','' and the French ' were all adopted from the Spanish ', which comes from the
Andalusian Arabic Andalusian Arabic, also known as Andalusi Arabic, was a variety or varieties of Arabic spoken in Al-Andalus, the regions of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ...
(') and the Latin ', which in turn came from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
.
Kithara The kithara (or Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to ...
appears in the Bible four times (1 Cor. 14:7, Rev. 5:8, 14:2 and 15:2), and is usually translated into English as ''harp''. Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest "guitars" is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are commonly cited as their most influential predecessors, the European
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
and its cousin, the four-string
oud The oud ( ar, عود ) ( so, kaban or cuud) is a short-neck lute-type, pear Pears are fruits produced and consumed around the world, growing on a tree and harvested in the Northern Hemisphere in late summer into October. The pear tree an ...
; the latter was brought to Iberia by the
Moors '' of Alfonso X, c. 1285 The term Moor is an Endonym and exonym, exonym first used by Christian Europeans to designate the Muslims, Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors init ...

Moors
in the 8th century. At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the ' (Latin guitar) and the so-called ' (Moorish guitar). The guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several sound holes. The guitarra Latina had a single sound hole and a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "moresca" or "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, and these two chordophones were simply referred to as guitars. The Spanish
vihuela The vihuela () is a 15th-century fretted plucked Spanish string instrument, shaped like a guitar (figure-of-eight form offering strength and portability) but tuned like a lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instr ...

vihuela
, called in Italian the "", a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is widely considered to have been the single most important influence in the development of the baroque guitar. It had six courses (usually), lute-like tuning in fourths and a guitar-like body, although early representations reveal an instrument with a sharply cut waist. It was also larger than the contemporary four-course guitars. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more in common with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than with the viols, and more like a larger version of the contemporary four-
course Course may refer to: Directions or navigation * Course (navigation), the path of travel * Course (orienteering), a series of control points visited by orienteers during a competition, marked with red/white flags in the terrain, and corresponding ...
guitars. The vihuela enjoyed only a relatively short period of popularity in Spain and Italy during an era dominated elsewhere in Europe by the
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
; the last surviving published music for the instrument appeared in 1576. Meanwhile, the five-course
baroque guitar The Baroque guitar (c. 1600–1750) is a string instrument with five course Course may refer to: Directions or navigation * Course (navigation), the path of travel * Course (orienteering), a series of control points visited by orienteers during ...

baroque guitar
, which was documented in Spain from the middle of the 16th century, enjoyed popularity, especially in Spain, Italy and France from the late 16th century to the mid-18th century."The first incontrovertible evidence of five-course instruments can be found in Miguel Fuenllana's ''Orphenica Lyre'' of 1554, which contains music for a ''vihuela de cinco ordenes.'' In the following year, Juan Bermudo wrote in his ''Declaracion de Instrumentos Musicales:'' 'We have seen a guitar in Spain with five courses of strings.' Bermudo later mentions in the same book that 'Guitars usually have four strings,' which implies that the five-course guitar was of comparatively recent origin, and still something of an oddity." Tom and Mary Anne Evans, ''Guitars: From the Renaissance to Rock.'' Paddington Press Ltd, 1977, p. 24."We know from literary sources that the five course guitar was immensely popular in Spain in the early seventeenth century and was also widely played in France and Italy...Yet almost all the surviving guitars were built in Italy...This apparent disparity between the documentary and instrumental evidence can be explained by the fact that, in general, only the more expensively made guitars have been kept as collectors' pieces. During the early seventeenth century the guitar was an instrument of the people of Spain, but was widely played by the Italian aristocracy." Tom and Mary Anne Evans. ''Guitars: From the Renaissance to Rock.'' Paddington Press Ltd, 1977, p. 24. In Portugal, the word ''viola'' referred to the guitar, as ''guitarra'' meant the "
Portuguese guitar #redirect Portuguese guitar#redirect Portuguese guitar The Portuguese guitar or Portuguese guitarra ( pt, guitarra portuguesa, ) is a plucked string instrument with twelve steel strings, strung in six courses of two strings. It is one of the few m ...

Portuguese guitar
", a variety of
cittern The cittern or cithren (French language, Fr. ''cistre'', Italian language, It. ''cetra'', German language, Ger. ''Cister,'' Spanish language, Sp. ''cistro, cedra, cítola'') is a stringed instrument dating from the Renaissance. Modern scholars de ...

cittern
. There were many different plucked instruments that were being invented and used in Europe, during the Middle Ages. By the 16th century, most of the forms of guitar had fallen off, to never be seen again. However, midway through the 16th century, the five-course guitar was established. It was not a straightforward process. There were two types of five-course guitars, they differed in the location of the major third and in the interval pattern. The fifth course can be placed on the instrument because it was known to play seventeen notes or more. Because the guitar had a fifth string, it was capable of playing that amount of notes. The guitar's strings were tuned in unison, so, in other words, it was tuned by placing a finger on the second fret of the thinnest string and tuning the guitar bottom to top. The strings were a whole octave apart from one another, which is the reason for the different method of tuning. Because it was so different, there was major controversy as to who created the five course guitar. A literary source, Lope de Vega's Dorotea, gives the credit to the poet and musician
Vicente Espinel Vicente Gómez Martínez-Espinel (; 28 December 15504 February 1624) was a Spanish writer and musician of the Siglo de Oro. He is credited the creation of the modern poetic form of the ''décima'', composed of ten octameters, named '' espinela'' ...

Vicente Espinel
. This claim was also repeated by Nicolas Doizi de Velasco in 1640, however this claim has been refuted by others who state that Espinel's birth year (1550) make it impossible for him to be responsible for the tradition. He believed that the tuning was the reason the instrument became known as the Spanish guitar in Italy. Even later, in the same century, Gaspar Sanz wrote that other nations such as Italy or France added to the Spanish guitar. All of these nations even imitated the five-course guitar by "recreating" their own. Finally, circa 1850, the form and structure of the modern guitar are followed by different Spanish makers such as Manuel de Soto y Solares and perhaps the most important of all guitar makers
Antonio Torres Jurado Antonio de Torres Jurado (born 13 June 1817 in Almería, Andalucía – d. 19 November 1892) was a Spanish guitarist and luthier, and "the most important Spanish guitar maker of the 19th century." It is with his designs that the first recognisably ...
, who increased the size of the guitar body, altered its proportions, and invented the breakthrough fan-braced pattern. Bracing, which refers to the internal pattern of wood reinforcements used to secure the guitar's top and back and prevent the instrument from collapsing under tension, is an important factor in how the guitar sounds. Torres' design greatly improved the volume, tone, and projection of the instrument, and it has remained essentially unchanged since.


Types

Guitars can be divided into two broad categories, acoustic and electric guitars. Within each of these categories, there are also further sub-categories. For example, an electric guitar can be purchased in a six-string model (the most common model) or in seven- or twelve-string models.


Acoustic

Acoustic guitars form several notable subcategories within the acoustic guitar group: classical and
flamenco guitar A flamenco guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the full ...
s; steel-string guitars, which include the flat-topped, or "folk", guitar;
twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's bod ...
s; and the arched-top guitar. The acoustic guitar group also includes unamplified guitars designed to play in different registers, such as the acoustic bass guitar, which has a similar tuning to that of the electric bass guitar.


Renaissance and Baroque

Renaissance and Baroque guitars are the ancestors of the modern
classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
and
flamenco guitar A flamenco guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the full ...
. They are substantially smaller, more delicate in construction, and generate less volume. The strings are paired in courses as in a modern
12-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is hel ...
, but they only have four or five courses of strings rather than six single strings normally used now. They were more often used as rhythm instruments in ensembles than as solo instruments, and can often be seen in that role in
early music Early music generally comprises Medieval music Medieval music encompasses the sacred music, sacred and secular music of Western Europe during the Middle Ages, from approximately the 6th to 15th centuries. It is the Dates of classical music ...
performances. (
Gaspar Sanz Francisco Bartolomé Sanz Celma (April 4, 1640 (baptized) – 1710), better known as Gaspar Sanz, was a Spain, Spanish composer, guitarist, and priest born to a wealthy family in Calanda, Spain, Calanda in the comarca of Bajo Aragón, Spain. He s ...

Gaspar Sanz
's ''Instrucción de Música sobre la Guitarra Española'' of 1674 contains his whole output for the solo guitar.)
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
and
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashi ...

Baroque
guitars are easily distinguished, because the Renaissance guitar is very plain and the Baroque guitar is very ornate, with ivory or wood inlays all over the neck and body, and a paper-cutout inverted "wedding cake" inside the hole.


Classical

Classical guitars, also known as "Spanish" guitars, are typically strung with nylon strings, plucked with the fingers, played in a seated position and are used to play a diversity of musical styles including
classical music Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of , , and ...
. The classical guitar's wide, flat neck allows the musician to play scales, arpeggios, and certain chord forms more easily and with less adjacent string interference than on other styles of guitar.
Flamenco guitar A flamenco guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the full ...
s are very similar in construction, but they are associated with a more percussive tone. In Portugal, the same instrument is often used with steel strings particularly in its role within
fado Fado (; "destiny, fate") is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical sty ...
music. The guitar is called
viola ; german: Bratsche , alt=Viola shown from the front and the side , image=Bratsche.jpg , caption= , background=string , hornbostel_sachs=321.322-71 , hornbostel_sachs_desc=Composite chordophone A chordophone is a musical instrument that makes s ...

viola
, or violão in Brazil, where it is often used with an extra seventh string by
choro ''Choro'' (, "cry" or "lament"), also popularly called ''chorinho'' ("little cry" or "little lament"), is an instrumental Brazilian popular music Brazilian ( pt, Brasileiro(a), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from or relating to Brazi ...

choro
musicians to provide extra bass support. In Mexico, the popular
mariachi Mariachi (, , ) is a genre of regional Mexican Regional Mexican is a Latin music Latin music (Portuguese language, Portuguese and es, música latina) is a term used by the music industry as a catch-all genre for various styles of music from Mu ...

mariachi
band includes a range of guitars, from the small '' requinto'' to the ''
guitarrónGuitarrón or guitarron is a common name for a number of stringed instruments found in Latin America * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , religions ...
,'' a guitar larger than a cello, which is tuned in the bass register. In Colombia, the traditional quartet includes a range of instruments too, from the small ''
bandola The bandola is one of many varieties of small pear-shape chordophone String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings i ...
'' (sometimes known as the Deleuze-Guattari, for use when traveling or in confined rooms or spaces), to the slightly larger
tiple A tiple (, literally treble or soprano A soprano () is a type of classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on ...

tiple
, to the full-sized classical guitar. The requinto also appears in other Latin-American countries as a complementary member of the guitar family, with its smaller size and scale, permitting more projection for the playing of single-lined melodies. Modern dimensions of the classical instrument were established by the Spaniard
Antonio de Torres Jurado Antonio de Torres Jurado (born 13 June 1817 in Almería Almería (, also , ) is a city in Andalusia, Spain, located in the southeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, and is the capital of the province of Almería, province of the same name. Abd ...
(1817–1892).


Flat-top

Flat-top guitars with steel strings are similar to the
classical guitar The classical guitar (also known as the nylon-string guitar or Spanish guitar) is a member of the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body a ...
, however, the flat-top body size is usually significantly larger than a classical guitar, and has a narrower, reinforced neck and stronger structural design. The robust X-bracing typical of flat-top guitars was developed in the 1840s by German-American luthiers, of whom Christian Friedrich "C. F." Martin is the best known. Originally used on gut-strung instruments, the strength of the system allowed the later guitars to withstand the additional tension of steel strings. Steel strings produce a brighter tone and a louder sound. The acoustic guitar is used in many kinds of music including folk, country, bluegrass, pop, jazz, and blues. Many variations are possible from the roughly classical-sized OO and
Parlour A parlour (or parlor) is a reception room; part of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland A drawing room is a room (architecture), room in a house where visitors may be entertained, and a historical term for what would now usually be ca ...
to the large
Dreadnought The dreadnought (also spelled dreadnaught) was the predominant type of battleship A battleship is a large armour, armored warship with a main artillery battery, battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20t ...
(the most commonly available type) and
Jumbo Jumbo (about December 25, 1860 – September 15, 1885), also known as Jumbo the Elephant and Jumbo the Circus Elephant, was a 19th-century male African bush elephant The African bush elephant (''Loxodonta africana''), also known as the Afri ...
.
Ovation The ovation ( la, ovatio from ''ovare'': to rejoice) was a form of the Roman triumph The Roman triumph (') was a civil ceremonyA civil, or registrar, ceremony is a non-religious legal marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called ma ...
makes a modern variation, with a rounded back/side assembly molded from artificial materials.


Archtop

Archtop guitars are steel-string instruments in which the top (and often the back) of the instrument are carved, from a solid billet, into a curved, rather than a flat, shape. This violin-like construction is usually credited to the American
Orville Gibson Orville H. Gibson (May 1856 – August 19, 1918) was a luthier A luthier( ) is a craftsperson who builds or repairs string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound fr ...
.
Lloyd Loar Lloyd Allayre Loar (1886–1943) was an American musician, instrument designer and sound engineer. He is best known for his design work with the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. in the early 20th century, including the F-5 model mandolin ...
of the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co introduced the violin-inspired "F"-shaped hole design now usually associated with archtop guitars, after designing a style of
mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Ireland and UK) is a fretted, stringed musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sound ...

mandolin
of the same type. The typical archtop guitar has a large, deep, hollow body whose form is much like that of a mandolin or a violin-family instrument. Nowadays, most archtops are equipped with magnetic pickups, and they are therefore both acoustic and electric. F-hole archtop guitars were immediately adopted, upon their release, by both
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
and
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
musicians, and have remained particularly popular in jazz music, usually with flatwound strings.


Resonator, resophonic or Dobros

All three principal types of resonator guitars were invented by the Slovak-American
John Dopyera John Dopyera (Slovak Slovak may refer to: * Something from, related to, or belonging to Slovakia (''Slovenská republika'') * Slovaks, a Western Slavic ethnic group * Slovak language, an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic la ...
(1893–1988) for the National and Dobro (Dopyera Brothers) companies. Similar to the flat top guitar in appearance, but with a body that may be made of brass, nickel-silver, or steel as well as wood, the sound of the resonator guitar is produced by one or more aluminum resonator cones mounted in the middle of the top. The physical principle of the guitar is therefore similar to the
loudspeaker A loudspeaker (or ''speaker driver'', or most frequently just ''speaker'') is an Acoustical engineering#Electroacoustics, electroacoustic transducer, that is, a device that converts an electrical audio signal into a corresponding sound. A ''spe ...

loudspeaker
. The original purpose of the resonator was to produce a very loud sound; this purpose has been largely superseded by electrical amplification, but the resonator guitar is still played because of its distinctive tone. Resonator guitars may have either one or three resonator cones. The method of transmitting sound resonance to the cone is either a "biscuit" bridge, made of a small piece of hardwood at the vertex of the cone (Nationals), or a "spider" bridge, made of metal and mounted around the rim of the (inverted) cone (Dobros). Three-cone resonators always use a specialized metal bridge. The type of resonator guitar with a neck with a square cross-section—called "square neck" or "Hawaiian"—is usually played face up, on the lap of the seated player, and often with a metal or glass
slide Slide or Slides may refer to: Places *Slide, California Fortuna (formerly, Slide, Springville) (Wiyot language, Wiyot: ''Vutsuwitk Da'l'', "ashes stay") is a city on the northeast shore of the Eel River (California), Eel River (approximately fr ...

slide
. The round neck resonator guitars are normally played in the same fashion as other guitars, although slides are also often used, especially in blues.


Steel guitar

A
steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend ...

steel guitar
is any guitar played while moving a polished
steel bar A steel bar, commonly referred to as a "steel", but also referred to as a tone bar, slide bar, guitar slide, slide, or bottleneck, is a smooth hard object which is pressed against strings to play steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkāki ...
or similar hard object against plucked strings. The bar itself is called a "steel" and is the source of the name "steel guitar". The instrument differs from a conventional guitar in that it does not use frets; conceptually, it is somewhat akin to playing a guitar with one finger (the bar). Known for its
portamento In music, portamento (plural: ''portamenti'', from old it, portamento, meaning "carriage" or "carrying") is a pitch sliding from one note Note, notes, or NOTE may refer to: Music and entertainment * Musical note In music, a note is a symbol de ...

portamento
capabilities, gliding smoothly over every pitch between notes, the instrument can produce a sinuous crying sound and deep
vibrato Vibrato (, from of "", to vibrate) is a al effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of . It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variat ...

vibrato
emulating the human singing voice. Typically, the strings are plucked (not strummed) by the fingers of the dominant hand, while the steel tone bar is pressed lightly against the strings and moved by the opposite hand. The instrument is played while sitting, placed horizontally across the player's knees or otherwise supported. The horizontal playing style is called "Hawaiian style".


Twelve-string

The
twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's bod ...
usually has steel strings, and it is widely used in
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
,
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
, and
rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and st ...

rock and roll
. Rather than having only six strings, the 12-string guitar has six
courses Course may refer to: Directions or navigation * Course (navigation), the path of travel * Course (orienteering), a series of control points visited by orienteers during a competition, marked with red/white flags in the terrain, and corresponding ...
made up of two strings each, like a
mandolin A mandolin ( it, mandolino ; literally "small mandola The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Ireland and UK) is a fretted, stringed musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sound ...

mandolin
or
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
. The highest two courses are tuned in unison, while the others are tuned in octaves. The 12-string guitar is also made in electric forms. The chime-like sound of the 12-string electric guitar was the basis of
jangle pop Jangle pop is a subgenre of pop rock Pop rock (also typeset as pop/rock) is rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing int ...
.


Acoustic bass

The acoustic bass guitar is a bass instrument with a hollow wooden body similar to, though usually somewhat larger than, that of a 6-string acoustic guitar. Like the traditional
electric bass guitar The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an Electric guitar, electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longe ...

electric bass guitar
and the
double bass The double bass, also known simply as the bass (or by other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed (or plucked) string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce so ...

double bass
, the acoustic bass guitar commonly has four strings, which are normally tuned E-A-D-G, an
octave In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated co ...

octave
below the lowest four strings of the 6-string guitar, which is the same tuning pitch as an electric bass guitar. It can, more rarely, be found with 5 or 6 strings, which provides a wider range of notes to be played with less movement up and down the neck.


Electric

Electric guitars can have solid, semi-hollow, or hollow bodies; solid bodies produce little sound without amplification. In contrast to a standard acoustic guitar, electric guitars instead rely on
electromagnetic Electromagnetism is a branch of physics involving the study of the electromagnetic force, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electric charge, electrically charged particles. The electromagnetic force is carried by electromagneti ...

electromagnetic
pickups, and sometimes
piezoelectric Piezoelectricity (, ) is the electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. Electric charge can be ''positive'' or ''negative'' (commonly carrie ...

piezoelectric
pickups, that convert the vibration of the steel strings into signals, which are fed to an
amplifier An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In ...

amplifier
through a
patch cable A patch cable, patch cord or patch lead is an electrical cable, electrical or optical cable used to connect ("patch in") one electronic or optical device to another for signal routing. Devices of different types (e.g., a switch connected to a ...
or
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device ...

radio
transmitter In electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particle ...
. The sound is frequently modified by other electronic devices (
effects units An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered ...
) or the natural
distortion Distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of something. In communications Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful di ...
of valves (
vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric voltage, potential difference has been applied. The type kn ...
s) or the pre-amp in the amplifier. There are two main types of magnetic pickups,
single Single may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Single (music), a song release Songs * Single (Natasha Bedingfield song), "Single" (Natasha Bedingfield song), 2004 * Single (New Kids on the Block and Ne-Yo song), "Single" (New Kids on the ...
- and double-coil (or
humbucker A humbucking pickup, humbucker, or double coil, is a type of guitar pickup that uses two wire coils to cancel out the noisy interference picked up by coil pickups. In addition to electric guitar pickups, humbucking coils are sometimes used in Mic ...
), each of which can be
passive Passive may refer to: * Passive voice, a grammatical voice common in many languages, see also Pseudopassive (disambiguation), Pseudopassive * Passive language, a language from which an interpreter works * Passivity (behavior), the condition of su ...
or
active Active may refer to: Music * Active (album), ''Active'' (album), a 1992 album by Casiopea * Active Records, a record label Ships * Active (ship), ''Active'' (ship), several commercial ships by that name * HMS Active, HMS ''Active'', the nam ...
. The electric guitar is used extensively in
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
,
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
,
R & B Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B or R'n'B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urb ...
, and
rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and st ...

rock and roll
. The first successful magnetic pickup for a guitar was invented by
George Beauchamp George Delmetia Beauchamp (; March 18, 1899 – March 30, 1941) was an American inventor of musical instruments. He is known for designing the first electrically amplified stringed instrument to be marketed commercially. He was also a foun ...
, and incorporated into the 1931 Ro-Pat-In (later
Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some m ...

Rickenbacker
) "Frying Pan" lap steel; other manufacturers, notably
Gibson Gibson may refer to: Businesses * Gibson (guitar company) Gibson Brands, Inc. (formerly Gibson Guitar Corporation) is an American manufacturer of Guitar manufacturing, guitars, other musical instruments, and professional audio equipment from ...
, soon began to install pickups in archtop models. After World War II the completely solid-body electric was popularized by Gibson in collaboration with
Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz guitarist, jazz, country guitarist, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid bod ...

Les Paul
, and independently by
Leo Fender Clarence Leonidas Fender (August 10, 1909 – March 21, 1991) was an American inventor who founded the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC, or simply Fender) is an American manufa ...
of Fender Music. The lower fretboard
action ACTION is a bus operator in Canberra, Australia owned by the ACT Government. History On 19 July 1926, the Federal Capital Commission commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now Kingston, Australian Capital Territory, Ki ...
(the height of the strings from the fingerboard), lighter (thinner) strings, and its electrical amplification lend the electric guitar to techniques less frequently used on acoustic guitars. These include
tapping Tapping, also called tap style (tapstyle), Touch guitar, touch-style, and two-handed tapping, is a guitar picking, guitar playing technique where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion of being tapped onto the f ...

tapping
, extensive use of
legato In music performance and notation In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional ...

legato
through
pull-offImage:G run in G.png, 300px, G run in key (music), G major and minor, major variationTraum, Happy (1974). ''Bluegrass Guitar'', p.25. . contains both hammer-ons and a pull-off. A pull-off is a string instrument, stringed instrument playing and arti ...
s and
hammer-on A hammer-on is a playing technique performed on a stringed instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In prin ...
s (also known as slurs),
pinch harmonic Playing a string harmonic is a string instrument musical technique, technique that uses the node (physics), nodes of natural harmonics of a musical string (music), string to isolate Overtone, overtones. Playing string harmonics produces high pitch ...
s, volume swells, and use of a
tremolo arm A vibrato system on a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the strings w ...
or
effects pedals An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered ...
. Some electric guitar models feature
piezoelectric Piezoelectricity (, ) is the electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. Electric charge can be ''positive'' or ''negative'' (commonly carrie ...

piezoelectric
pickups, which function as
transducer A transducer is a device that converts Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion Religion is a social system ...

transducer
s to provide a sound closer to that of an acoustic guitar with the flip of a switch or knob, rather than switching guitars. Those that combine piezoelectric pickups and magnetic pickups are sometimes known as hybrid guitars. Hybrids of acoustic and electric guitars are also common. There are also more exotic varieties, such as guitars with
two 2 (two) is a number, numeral (linguistics), numeral and numerical digit, digit. It is the natural number following 1 and preceding 3. It is the smallest and only even prime number. Because it forms the basis of a Dualistic cosmology, duality, it ...
, three, or rarely four necks, all manner of alternate string arrangements, fretless fingerboards (used almost exclusively on bass guitars, meant to emulate the sound of a
stand-up bass The double bass, also known simply as the bass (or #Terminology, by other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched Bow (music), bowed (or plucked) string instrument in the modern orchestra, symphony orchestra (excluding unorthodox additions su ...

stand-up bass
), 5.1 surround guitar, and such.


Seven-string and eight-string

Solid-body seven-string guitars were popularized in the 1980s and 1990s. Other artists go a step further, by using an eight-string guitar with two extra low strings. Although the most common seven-string has a low B string,
Roger McGuinn James Roger McGuinn (born James Joseph McGuinn III; July 13, 1942) is an American musician. He is best known for being the frontman and leader of the Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) ...

Roger McGuinn
(of
The Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...
and
Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some m ...

Rickenbacker
) uses an octave G string paired with the regular G string as on a 12-string guitar, allowing him to incorporate chiming 12-string elements in standard six-string playing. In 1982
Uli Jon Roth Uli Jon Roth (born Ulrich Roth; 18 December 1954) is a German guitarist who became famous for his work with Scorpions (band), Scorpions and is one of the earliest contributors to the neoclassical metal genre. He is also the founder of Sky Acad ...

Uli Jon Roth
developed the "Sky Guitar", with a vastly extended number of frets, which was the first guitar to venture into the upper registers of the violin. Roth's seven-string and "Mighty Wing" guitar features a wider octave range.


Electric bass

The bass guitar (also called an "electric bass", or simply a "bass") is similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and four to six strings. The four-string bass, by far the most common, is usually tuned the same as the
double bass The double bass, also known simply as the bass (or by other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed (or plucked) string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce so ...

double bass
, which corresponds to pitches one octave lower than the four lowest pitched strings of a guitar (E, A, D, and G). The bass guitar is a
transposing instrument A transposing instrument is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the o ...
, as it is notated in
bass clef A clef (from French: 'key') is a musical symbol used to indicate which notes Note, notes, or NOTE may refer to: Music and entertainment * Musical note In music, a note is a symbol denoting a musical sound. In English usage a note is also ...

bass clef
an octave higher than it sounds (as is the double bass) to avoid excessive
ledger line A ledger line or leger line is used in Western musical notation Music notation or musical notation is any system used to visually represent aurally perceived music played with instrument (music), instruments or singing, sung by the human vo ...
s being required below the
staff Staff may refer to: Pole * Staff, a weapon used in stick-fighting Stick-fighting, stickfighting, or stick fighting is a variety of martial arts which use simple long, slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden "sticks" for fighting, such as a gun ...
. Like the electric guitar, the bass guitar has pickups and it is plugged into an amplifier and speaker for live performances.


Construction


Handedness

Modern guitars can be constructed to suit both left- and right-handed players. Typically the dominant hand is used to pluck or strum the strings. This is similar to the
violin The violin, sometimes known as a ''fiddle'', is a wooden chordophone (string instrument) in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and thus highest-pitched instrument (soprano) in the family in regular ...

violin
family of instruments where the dominant hand controls the bow. Left-handed players usually play a mirror image instrument manufactured especially for left-handed players. There are other options, some unorthodox, including learn to play a right-handed guitar as if the player is right-handed or playing an unmodified right-handed guitar reversed. Guitarist
Jimi Hendrix James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942September 18, 1970) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...

Jimi Hendrix
) played a right-handed guitar strung in reverse (the treble strings and bass strings reversed). The problem with doing this is that it reverses the guitar's saddle angle. The saddle is the strip of material on top of the bridge where the strings rest. It is normally slanted slightly, making the bass strings longer than the treble strings. In part, the reason for this is the difference in the thickness of the strings. Physical properties of the thicker bass strings require them to be slightly longer than the treble strings to correct intonation. Reversing the strings, therefore, reverses the orientation of the saddle, adversely affecting intonation.


Components


Head

The headstock is located at the end of the guitar neck farthest from the body. It is fitted with machine heads that adjust the tension of the strings, which in turn affects the pitch. The traditional tuner layout is "3+3", in which each side of the headstock has three tuners (such as on
Gibson Les Paul The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1952. The guitar was designed by factory manager John Huis and his team with input from and endorsement by guitarist Les Paul. Its typica ...

Gibson Les Paul
s). In this layout, the headstocks are commonly symmetrical. Many guitars feature other layouts, including six-in-line tuners (featured on
Fender Stratocaster The Fender Stratocaster, colloquially known as the Strat, is a model of electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretb ...

Fender Stratocaster
s) or even "4+2" (e.g. Ernie Ball Music Man). Some guitars (such as
Steinberger Steinberger is a series of distinctive electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck ...
s) do not have headstocks at all, in which case the tuning machines are located elsewhere, either on the body or the bridge. The nut is a small strip of
bone A bone is a rigid tissue Tissue may refer to: Biology * Tissue (biology), an ensemble of similar cells that together carry out a specific function * ''Triphosa haesitata'', a species of geometer moth found in North America * ''Triphosa dubit ...

bone
,
plastic Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or s ...

plastic
,
brass Brass is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appea ...

brass
,
corian Corian is a brand of solid surface, solid surface material created by DuPont (1802–2017), DuPont. Its primary use is as a countertop and benchtop surface, though it has many other applications. It is composed of acrylic polymer and alumina t ...
,
graphite Graphite (), archaically referred to as plumbago, is a Crystallinity, crystalline form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a Hexagonal crystal system, hexagonal structure. It occurs naturally in this form and is the most stable for ...

graphite
,
stainless steel Stainless steel is a group of ferrous alloys that contain a minimum of approximately 11% chromium Chromium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistr ...
, or other medium-hard material, at the joint where the headstock meets the fretboard. Its grooves guide the strings onto the fretboard, giving consistent lateral string placement. It is one of the endpoints of the strings' vibrating length. It must be accurately cut, or it can contribute to tuning problems due to string slippage or string buzz. To reduce string friction in the nut, which can adversely affect tuning stability, some guitarists fit a roller nut. Some instruments use a zero fret just in front of the nut. In this case the nut is used only for lateral alignment of the strings, the string height and length being dictated by the zero fret.


Neck

A guitar's
frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the ...
,
fretboard The fingerboard (also known as a fretboard on fret A fret is a space between two fretbars on the of a . Frets usually extend across the full width of the neck. On most modern fretted instruments, frets are the spaces between the strips (fr ...
, ,
headstock A headstock or peghead is part of a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucki ...
, and
truss rod The truss rod is component of a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the ...
, all attached to a long wooden extension, collectively constitute its
neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...
. The wood used to make the fretboard usually differs from the wood in the rest of the neck. The bending stress on the neck is considerable, particularly when heavier gauge strings are used (see Tuning), and the ability of the neck to resist bending (see
Truss rod The truss rod is component of a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the ...
) is important to the guitar's ability to hold a constant pitch during tuning or when strings are fretted. The rigidity of the neck with respect to the body of the guitar is one determinant of a good instrument versus a poor-quality one. The cross-section of the neck can also vary, from a gentle "C" curve to a more pronounced "V" curve. There are many different types of neck profiles available, giving the guitarist many options. Some aspects to consider in a guitar neck may be the overall width of the fretboard, scale (distance between the frets), the neck wood, the type of neck construction (for example, the neck may be glued in or bolted on), and the shape (profile) of the back of the neck. Other types of material used to make guitar necks are graphite (
Steinberger Steinberger is a series of distinctive electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck ...
guitars), aluminum (
Kramer Guitars Kramer Guitars is an American manufacturer of electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), ne ...
,
Travis Bean Clifford Travis Bean (21 August 1947 – 10 July 2011, aged 63) was an American luthier A luthier( ) is a craftsperson who builds or repairs string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrum ...
and Veleno guitars), or carbon fiber (
Modulus Guitars Modulus is the diminutive A diminutive is a root word A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology, a root is a morphologically simple unit which can be left bare or to which a p ...
and ThreeGuitars). Double neck electric guitars have two necks, allowing the musician to quickly switch between guitar sounds. The neck joint or heel is the point at which the neck is either bolted or glued to the body of the guitar. Almost all acoustic steel-string guitars, with the primary exception of Taylors, have glued (otherwise known as set) necks, while electric guitars are constructed using both types. Most classical guitars have a neck and headblock carved from one piece of wood, known as a "Spanish heel." Commonly used set neck joints include
mortise and tenon A mortise (occasionally mortice) and tenon connects two pieces of or of material. Woodworkers around the world have used it for thousands of years to join pieces of wood, mainly when the adjoining pieces connect at right angles. Mortise and t ...

mortise and tenon
joints (such as those used by C. F. Martin & Co.), dovetail joints (also used by C. F. Martin on the D-28 and similar models) and Spanish heel neck joints, which are named after the shoe they resemble and commonly found in classical guitars. All three types offer stability. Bolt-on necks, though they are historically associated with cheaper instruments, do offer greater flexibility in the guitar's set-up, and allow easier access for neck joint maintenance and repairs. Another type of neck, only available for solid-body electric guitars, is the neck-through-body construction. These are designed so that everything from the machine heads down to the bridge is located on the same piece of wood. The sides (also known as wings) of the guitar are then glued to this central piece. Some luthiers prefer this method of construction as they claim it allows better sustain of each note. Some instruments may not have a neck joint at all, having the neck and sides built as one piece and the body built around it. The
fingerboard The fingerboard (also known as a fretboard on fret A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) ...

fingerboard
, also called the fretboard, is a piece of wood embedded with metal frets that comprises the top of the neck. It is flat on classical guitars and slightly curved crosswise on acoustic and electric guitars. The curvature of the fretboard is measured by the fretboard radius, which is the radius of a hypothetical circle of which the fretboard's surface constitutes a segment. The smaller the fretboard radius, the more noticeably curved the fretboard is. Most modern guitars feature a 12" neck radius, while older guitars from the 1960s and 1970s usually feature a 6-8" neck radius. Pinching a string against a fret on the fretboard effectively shortens the vibrating length of the string, producing a higher pitch. Fretboards are most commonly made of
rosewood Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant wit ...
,
ebony Ebony is a dense black/brown hardwood is a popular hardwood Hardwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natura ...
,
maple ''Acer'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscr ...

maple
, and sometimes manufactured using composite materials such as HPL or resin. See the section "Neck" below for the importance of the length of the fretboard in connection to other dimensions of the guitar. The fingerboard plays an essential role in the treble tone for acoustic guitars. The quality of vibration of the fingerboard is the principal characteristic for generating the best treble tone. For that reason, ebony wood is better, but because of high use, ebony has become rare and extremely expensive. Most guitar manufacturers have adopted rosewood instead of ebony.


=Frets

= Almost all guitars have frets, which are metal strips (usually nickel alloy or stainless steel) embedded along the fretboard and located at exact points that divide the scale length in accordance with a specific mathematical formula. The exceptions include
fretless bass The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an Electric guitar, electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a long ...
guitars and very rare fretless guitars. Pressing a string against a fret determines the strings' vibrating length and therefore its resultant pitch. The pitch of each consecutive fret is defined at a half-step interval on the
chromatic scale The chromatic scale is a set of twelve pitches (more completely, pitch class In , a pitch class (p.c. or pc) is a of all that are a whole number of s apart, e.g., the pitch class C consists of the Cs in all octaves. "The pitch class C sta ...

chromatic scale
. Standard classical guitars have 19 frets and electric guitars between 21 and 24 frets, although guitars have been made with as many as 27 frets. Frets are laid out to accomplish an
equal tempered An equal temperament is a or , which approximates by dividing an (or other interval) into equal steps. This means the ratio of the of any adjacent pair of notes is the same, which gives an equal perceived step size as is perceived roughly a ...
division of the octave. Each set of twelve frets represents an octave. The twelfth fret divides the scale length exactly into two halves, and the 24th fret position divides one of those halves in half again. The
ratio In mathematics, a ratio indicates how many times one number contains another. For example, if there are eight oranges and six lemons in a bowl of fruit, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, 8∶6, which is equivalent to ...

ratio
of the spacing of two consecutive frets is \sqrt/math> (
twelfth root of two The twelfth root of two or \sqrt2/math> (or equivalently 2^) is an algebraic irrational number In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes ...
). In practice,
luthiers A luthier ( ) is a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. I ...
determine fret positions using the constant 17.817—an approximation to 1/(1-1/\sqrt/math>). If the nth fret is a distance x from the bridge, then the distance from the (n+1)th fret to the bridge is x-(x/17.817). Frets are available in several different gauges and can be fitted according to player preference. Among these are "jumbo" frets, which have a much thicker gauge, allowing for use of a slight vibrato technique from pushing the string down harder and softer. "Scalloped" fretboards, where the wood of the fretboard itself is "scooped out" between the frets, allow a dramatic vibrato effect. Fine frets, much flatter, allow a very low string-action, but require that other conditions, such as curvature of the neck, be well-maintained to prevent buzz.


=Truss rod

= The truss rod is a thin, strong metal rod that runs along the inside of the neck. It is used to correct changes to the neck's curvature caused by aging of the neck timbers, changes in humidity, or to compensate for changes in the tension of strings. The tension of the rod and neck assembly is adjusted by a hex nut or an allen-key bolt on the rod, usually located either at the headstock, sometimes under a cover, or just inside the body of the guitar underneath the fretboard and accessible through the sound hole. Some truss rods can only be accessed by removing the neck. The truss rod counteracts the immense amount of tension the strings place on the neck, bringing the neck back to a straighter position. Turning the truss rod clockwise tightens it, counteracting the tension of the strings and straightening the neck or creating a backward bow. Turning the truss rod counter-clockwise loosens it, allowing string tension to act on the neck and creating a forward bow. Adjusting the truss rod affects the intonation of a guitar as well as the height of the strings from the fingerboard, called the
action ACTION is a bus operator in Canberra, Australia owned by the ACT Government. History On 19 July 1926, the Federal Capital Commission commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now Kingston, Australian Capital Territory, Ki ...
. Some truss rod systems, called ''double action'' truss systems, tighten both ways, pushing the neck both forward and backward (standard truss rods can only release to a point beyond which the neck is no longer compressed and pulled backward). The artist and
luthier A luthier( ) is a craftsperson who builds or repairs string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the string ...

luthier
Irving Sloane pointed out, in his book ''Steel-String Guitar Construction,'' that truss rods are intended primarily to remedy concave bowing of the neck, but cannot correct a neck with "back bow" or one that has become twisted. Classical guitars do not require truss rods, as their nylon strings exert a lower tensile force with lesser potential to cause structural problems. However, their necks are often reinforced with a strip of harder wood, such as an
ebony Ebony is a dense black/brown hardwood is a popular hardwood Hardwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natura ...
strip that runs down the back of a cedar neck. There is no tension adjustment on this form of reinforcement.


=Inlays

= Inlays are visual elements set into the exterior surface of a guitar, both for decoration and artistic purposes and, in the case of the markings on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th fret (and in higher octaves), to provide guidance to the performer about the location of frets on the instrument. The typical locations for inlay are on the fretboard, headstock, and on acoustic guitars around the soundhole, known as the rosette. Inlays range from simple plastic dots on the fretboard to intricate works of art covering the entire exterior surface of a guitar (front and back). Some guitar players have used
LED An LED An LED A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor A semiconductor material has an Electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a Electrical conductor, conductor, such as m ...
s in the fretboard to produce unique lighting effects onstage. Fretboard inlays are most commonly shaped like dots, diamond shapes, parallelograms, or large blocks in between the frets. Dots are usually inlaid into the upper edge of the fretboard in the same positions, small enough to be visible only to the player. These usually appear on the odd-numbered frets, but also on the 12th fret (the one-
octave In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated co ...

octave
mark) instead of the 11th and 13th frets. Some older or high-end instruments have inlays made of mother of pearl, abalone, ivory, colored wood or other exotic materials and designs. Simpler inlays are often made of plastic or painted. High-end classical guitars seldom have fretboard inlays as a well-trained player is expected to know his or her way around the instrument. In addition to fretboard inlay, the headstock and soundhole surround are also frequently inlaid. The manufacturer's logo or a small design is often inlaid into the headstock. Rosette designs vary from simple concentric circles to delicate fretwork mimicking the historic rosette of lutes. Bindings that edge the finger and soundboards are sometimes inlaid. Some instruments have a filler strip running down the length and behind the neck, used for strength or to fill the cavity through which the truss rod was installed in the neck.


Body

In acoustic guitars, string vibration is transmitted through the bridge and saddle to the body via sound board. The sound board is typically made of tonewoods such as spruce or cedar. Timbers for tonewoods are chosen for both strength and ability to transfer mechanical energy from the strings to the air within the guitar body. Sound is further shaped by the characteristics of the guitar body's resonant cavity. In expensive instruments, the entire body is made of wood. In inexpensive instruments, the back may be made of plastic. In an acoustic instrument, the body of the guitar is a major determinant of the overall sound quality. The guitar top, or soundboard, is a finely crafted and engineered element made of
tonewood Tonewood refers to specific wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fibers th ...
s such as
spruce A spruce is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including ...

spruce
and red cedar. This thin piece of wood, often only 2 or 3 mm thick, is strengthened by differing types of internal bracing. Many luthiers consider the top the dominant factor in determining the sound quality. The majority of the instrument's sound is heard through the vibration of the guitar top as the energy of the vibrating strings is transferred to it. The body of an acoustic guitar has a sound hole through which sound projects. The sound hole is usually a round hole in the top of the guitar under the strings. The air inside the body vibrates as the guitar top and body is vibrated by the strings, and the response of the air cavity at different frequencies is characterized, like the rest of the guitar body, by a number of resonance modes at which it responds more strongly. The top, back and ribs of an acoustic guitar body are very thin (1–2 mm), so a flexible piece of wood called lining is glued into the corners where the rib meets the top and back. This interior reinforcement provides 5 to 20 mm of solid gluing area for these corner joints. Solid linings are often used in classical guitars, while kerfed lining is most often found in steel-string acoustics. Kerfed lining is also called kerfing because it is scored, or "kerfed"(incompletely sawn through), to allow it to bend with the shape of the rib). During final construction, a small section of the outside corners is carved or routed out and filled with binding material on the outside corners and decorative strips of material next to the binding, which is called
purfling Purfling is a narrow decorative edge inlaid into the top plate A spinning top, or simply a top, is a toy with a squat body and a sharp point at the bottom, designed to be rotation, spun on its vertical Axis of rotation, axis, balancing on the t ...
. This binding serves to seal off the end grain of the top and back. Purfling can also appear on the back of an acoustic guitar, marking the edge joints of the two or three sections of the back. Binding and purfling materials are generally made of either wood or plastic. Body size, shape and style have changed over time. 19th-century guitars, now known as salon guitars, were smaller than modern instruments. Differing patterns of internal bracing have been used over time by luthiers. Torres, Hauser, Ramirez, Fleta, and C. F. Martin were among the most influential designers of their time. Bracing not only strengthens the top against potential collapse due to the stress exerted by the tensioned strings but also affects the resonance characteristics of the top. The back and sides are made out of a variety of timbers such as mahogany, Indian
rosewood Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant wit ...
and highly regarded Brazilian rosewood (''Dalbergia nigra''). Each one is primarily chosen for their aesthetic effect and can be decorated with inlays and purfling. Instruments with larger areas for the guitar top were introduced by Martin in an attempt to create greater volume levels. The popularity of the larger "
dreadnought The dreadnought (also spelled dreadnaught) was the predominant type of battleship A battleship is a large armour, armored warship with a main artillery battery, battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20t ...
" body size amongst acoustic performers is related to the greater sound volume produced. Most electric guitar bodies are made of wood and include a plastic pickguard. Boards wide enough to use as a solid body are very expensive due to the worldwide depletion of hardwood stock since the 1970s, so the wood is rarely one solid piece. Most bodies are made from two pieces of wood with some of them including a seam running down the center line of the body. The most common woods used for electric guitar body construction include
maple ''Acer'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscr ...

maple
,
basswood ''Tilia americana'' is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group o ...

basswood
,
ash Ash or ashes are the solid remnants of fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), products. Fire is hot because th ...
, ,
alder Alder is the common name of a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (ta ...

alder
, and
mahogany Mahogany is a straight-grained, reddish-brown timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant wit ...
. Many bodies consist of good-sounding, but inexpensive woods, like ash, with a "top", or thin layer of another, more attractive wood (such as maple with a natural "flame" pattern) glued to the top of the basic wood. Guitars constructed like this are often called "flame tops". The body is usually carved or routed to accept the other elements, such as the bridge, pickup, neck, and other electronic components. Most electrics have a polyurethane or
nitrocellulose Nitrocellulose (also known as cellulose nitrate, flash paper, flash cotton, guncotton, pyroxylin and flash string, depending on form) is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating In organic chemistry, nitration is a general class of chem ...

nitrocellulose
lacquer finish. Other alternative materials to wood are used in guitar body construction. Some of these include carbon composites, plastic material, such as polycarbonate, and aluminum alloys.


=Bridge

= The main purpose of the bridge on an acoustic guitar is to transfer the vibration from the strings to the soundboard, which vibrates the air inside of the guitar, thereby amplifying the sound produced by the strings. On all electric, acoustic and original guitars, the bridge holds the strings in place on the body. There are many varied bridge designs. There may be some mechanism for raising or lowering the bridge saddles to adjust the distance between the strings and the fretboard (
action ACTION is a bus operator in Canberra, Australia owned by the ACT Government. History On 19 July 1926, the Federal Capital Commission commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now Kingston, Australian Capital Territory, Ki ...
), or fine-tuning the intonation of the instrument. Some are spring-loaded and feature a "
whammy bar A vibrato system on a guitar is a mechanical device used to temporarily change the pitch (music), pitch of the strings. Instruments without a vibrato have other String-through body#Bridge and tailpiece systems, bridge and tailpiece systems. They ...
", a removable arm that lets the player modulate the pitch by changing the tension on the strings. The whammy bar is sometimes also called a "tremolo bar". (The effect of rapidly changing pitch is properly called "vibrato". See
Tremolo In music, ''tremolo'' (), or ''tremolando'' (), is a trembling effect. There are two types of tremolo. The first is a rapid reiteration: * of a single note Note, notes, or NOTE may refer to: Music and entertainment * Musical note In music, ...

Tremolo
for further discussion of this term.) Some bridges also allow for alternate tunings at the touch of a button. On almost all modern electric guitars, the bridge has saddles that are adjustable for each string so that intonation stays correct up and down the neck. If the open string is in tune, but sharp or flat when frets are pressed, the bridge saddle position can be adjusted with a screwdriver or hex key to remedy the problem. In general, flat notes are corrected by moving the saddle forward and sharp notes by moving it backward. On an instrument correctly adjusted for intonation, the actual length of each string from the nut to the bridge saddle is slightly, but measurably longer than the scale length of the instrument. This additional length is called compensation, which flattens all notes a bit to compensate for the sharping of all fretted notes caused by stretching the string during fretting.


=Saddle

= The saddle of a guitar is the part of the bridge that physically supports the strings. It may be one piece (typically on acoustic guitars) or separate pieces, one for each string (electric guitars and basses). The saddle's basic purpose is to provide the endpoint for the string's vibration at the correct location for proper intonation, and on acoustic guitars to transfer the vibrations through the bridge into the top wood of the guitar. Saddles are typically made of plastic or bone for acoustic guitars, though synthetics and some exotic animal tooth variations (e.g. fossilized tooth, ivory, etc. ) have become popular with some players. Electric guitar saddles are typically metal, though some synthetic saddles are available.


=Pickguard

= The pickguard, also known as the scratchplate, is usually a piece of laminated plastic or other material that protects the finish of the top of the guitar from damage due to the use of a plectrum ("pick") or fingernails. Electric guitars sometimes mount pickups and electronics on the pickguard. It is a common feature on steel-string acoustic guitars. Some performance styles that use the guitar as a percussion instrument (tapping the top or sides between notes, etc.), such as
flamenco Flamenco (), in its strictest sense, is an art form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain, developed within the Gitanos, gitano subculture of the region of Andalusia, but also having a historical presence in Extremad ...

flamenco
, require that a scratchplate or pickguard be fitted to nylon-string instruments.


Strings

The standard guitar has six
strings String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Strings (1991 film), ''Strings'' (1991 fil ...
, but four-, seven-, eight-, nine-, ten-, eleven-, twelve-, thirteen- and eighteen-string guitars are also available. Classical and flamenco guitars historically used strings, but these have been superseded by polymer materials, such as nylon and fluorocarbon. Modern guitar
strings String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Strings (1991 film), ''Strings'' (1991 fil ...
are constructed from metal, polymers, or animal or plant product materials. Instruments utilizing "steel" strings may have strings made from alloys incorporating steel, nickel or phosphor bronze. Bass strings for both instruments are wound rather than monofilament.


Pickups and electronics

Pickups are
transducer A transducer is a device that converts Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion Religion is a social system ...

transducer
s attached to a guitar that detect (or "pick up") string vibrations and convert the mechanical energy of the string into electrical energy. The resultant electrical signal can then be electronically . The most common type of pickup is
electromagnetic Electromagnetism is a branch of physics involving the study of the electromagnetic force, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electric charge, electrically charged particles. The electromagnetic force is carried by electromagneti ...

electromagnetic
in design. These contain magnets that are within a coil, or coils, of copper wire. Such pickups are usually placed directly underneath the guitar strings. Electromagnetic pickups work on the same principles and in a similar manner to an
electric generator In electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage prior to its Electricity delivery, deliv ...
. The vibration of the strings creates a small electric current in the coils surrounding the magnets. This signal current is carried to a
guitar amplifier A guitar amplifier (or amp) is an that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a on an , , or so that it can produce sound through one or more s, which are typically housed in a wooden . A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or met ...
that drives a
loudspeaker A loudspeaker (or ''speaker driver'', or most frequently just ''speaker'') is an Acoustical engineering#Electroacoustics, electroacoustic transducer, that is, a device that converts an electrical audio signal into a corresponding sound. A ''spe ...

loudspeaker
. Traditional electromagnetic pickups are either
single-coil A single coil pickup is a type of magnetic transducer A transducer is a device that energy from one form to another. Usually a transducer converts a in one form of energy to a signal in another. Transducers are often employed at the boundari ...
or double-coil. Single-coil pickups are susceptible to noise induced by stray electromagnetic fields, usually mains-frequency (60 or 50 hertz) hum. The introduction of the double-coil
humbucker A humbucking pickup, humbucker, or double coil, is a type of guitar pickup that uses two wire coils to cancel out the noisy interference picked up by coil pickups. In addition to electric guitar pickups, humbucking coils are sometimes used in Mic ...
in the mid-1950s solved this problem through the use of two coils, one of which is wired in opposite polarity to cancel or "buck" stray fields. The types and models of pickups used can greatly affect the tone of the guitar. Typically, humbuckers, which are two magnet-coil assemblies attached to each other, are traditionally associated with a heavier sound. Single-coil pickups, one magnet wrapped in copper wire, are used by guitarists seeking a brighter, twangier sound with greater dynamic range. Modern pickups are tailored to the sound desired. A commonly applied approximation used in the selection of a pickup is that less wire (lower
electrical impedance In electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics The field of electronics is a branch of p ...
) gives a brighter sound, more wire gives a "fat" tone. Other options include specialized switching that produces coil-splitting, in/out of phase and other effects. Guitar circuits are either active, needing a battery to power their circuit, or, as in most cases, equipped with a passive circuit.
Fender Stratocaster The Fender Stratocaster, colloquially known as the Strat, is a model of electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretb ...

Fender Stratocaster
-type guitars generally utilize three single-coil pickups, while most
Gibson Les Paul The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1952. The guitar was designed by factory manager John Huis and his team with input from and endorsement by guitarist Les Paul. Its typica ...

Gibson Les Paul
types use humbucker pickups. Piezoelectric, or piezo, pickups represent another class of pickup. These employ
piezoelectricity Piezoelectricity (, ) is the electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. Electric charge can be ''positive'' or ''negative'' (commonly carrie ...

piezoelectricity
to generate the musical signal and are popular in hybrid electro-acoustic guitars. A crystal is located under each string, usually in the saddle. When the string vibrates, the shape of the crystal is distorted, and the stresses associated with this change produce tiny voltages across the crystal that can be amplified and manipulated. Piezo pickups usually require a powered pre-amplifier to lift their output to match that of electromagnetic pickups. Power is typically delivered by an on-board battery. Most pickup-equipped guitars feature onboard controls, such as volume or tone, or pickup selection. At their simplest, these consist of passive components, such as
potentiometer A potentiometer is a three- terminal resistor A resistor is a passive Passive may refer to: * Passive voice, a grammatical voice common in many languages, see also Pseudopassive (disambiguation), Pseudopassive * Passive language, a lang ...

potentiometer
s and
capacitor A capacitor is a device that stores electric charge in an electric field An electric field (sometimes E-field) is the physical field that surrounds electrically-charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπ ...

capacitor
s, but may also include specialized
integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuit 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of indiv ...

integrated circuit
s or other active components requiring
batteries Battery may refer to: Energy source * Electric battery, an electrochemical device to provide electrical power ** Automotive battery, a device to provide power to certain functions of an automobile ** List of battery types * Energy storage, inclu ...
for power, for preamplification and signal processing, or even for electronic tuning. In many cases, the electronics have some sort of shielding to prevent pickup of external interference and noise. Guitars may be shipped or retrofitted with a hexaphonic pickup, which produces a separate output for each string, usually from a discrete piezoelectric or magnetic pickup. This arrangement lets on-board or external electronics process the strings individually for modeling or
Musical Instrument Digital Interface MIDI (; an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, Digital electronics, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musi ...

Musical Instrument Digital Interface
(MIDI) conversion.
Roland Roland (; frk, *Hrōþiland; lat-med, Hruodlandus or ''Rotholandus''; it, Orlando or ''Rolando''; died 15 August 778) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The ...
makes "GK" hexaphonic pickups for guitar and bass, and a line of guitar modeling and synthesis products. Line 6's hexaphonic-equipped
VariaxVariax is the name of a line of guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the stri ...

Variax
guitars use on-board electronics to model the sound after various vintage instruments, and vary pitch on individual strings. MIDI converters use a hexaphonic guitar signal to determine pitch, duration, attack, and decay characteristics. The MIDI sends the note information to an internal or external sound bank device. The resulting sound closely mimics numerous instruments. The MIDI setup can also let the guitar be used as a game controller (i.e., Rock Band Squier) or as an instructional tool, as with the Fretlight Guitar.


Tuning


Standard

By the 16th century, the guitar tuning of ADGBE had already been adopted in Western culture; a lower E was later added on the bottom as a sixth string. The result, known as "standard tuning", has the strings tuned from a low E, to a high E, traversing a two-octave range—EADGBE. This tuning is a series of ascending fourths (and a single major third) from low to high. The reason for ascending fourths is to accommodate four fingers on four frets up a scale before moving to the next string. This is musically convenient and physically comfortable and it eased the transition between fingering chords and playing scales. If the tuning contained all perfect fourths, the range would end up being two octaves plus one semitone; the high string would be an F, a dissonant half-step from the low E and much out of place. The pitches are as follows: The table below shows a pitch's name found over the six strings of a guitar in standard tuning, from the nut (zero), to the twelfth fret. For four strings, the 5th fret on one string is the same open-note as the next string; for example, a 5th-fret note on the sixth string is the same note as the open fifth string. However, between the second and third strings, an irregularity occurs: The ''4th''-fret note on the third string is equivalent to the open second string.


Alternative

Standard tuning has evolved to provide a good compromise between simple fingering for many
chords Chord may refer to: * Chord (music) A chord, in music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such ...
and the ability to play common scales with reasonable left-hand movement. There are also a variety of commonly used
alternative tunings Guitar tunings are the assignment of pitches to the open strings of guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed i ...

alternative tunings
, for example, the classes of ''open'', ''regular'', and ''dropped'' tunings. ''Open tuning'' refers to a guitar tuned so that strumming the open strings produces a
chord Chord may refer to: * Chord (music), an aggregate of musical pitches sounded simultaneously ** Guitar chord a chord played on a guitar, which has a particular tuning * Chord (geometry), a line segment joining two points on a curve * Chord (ast ...
, typically a major chord. The base chord consists of at least 3 notes and may include all the strings or a subset. The tuning is named for the open chord, Open D, open G, and open A are popular tunings. All similar chords in the chromatic scale can then be played by
barring Barring may refer to: * Barring (music), a guitar playing technique * Barring engine, forms part of the installation of a large stationary steam engine See also

* Bar (disambiguation) * Ban (law), Banning {{disambiguation ...

barring
a single fret. Open tunings are common in
blues music Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues music
and
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
, and they are used in the playing of
slide Slide or Slides may refer to: Places *Slide, California Fortuna (formerly, Slide, Springville) (Wiyot language, Wiyot: ''Vutsuwitk Da'l'', "ashes stay") is a city on the northeast shore of the Eel River (California), Eel River (approximately fr ...

slide
and
bottleneck guitar Slide guitar is a technique for playing the guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, ...
s. Many musicians use open tunings when playing slide guitar. For the standard tuning, there is exactly one interval of a
major third In classical music Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consistin ...
between the second and third strings, and all the other intervals are fourths. The irregularity has a price – chords cannot be shifted around the fretboard in the standard tuning E-A-D-G-B-E, which requires four chord-shapes for the major chords. There are separate chord-forms for chords having their
root note In music theory Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General ...

root note
on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth strings. In contrast, ''regular'' tunings have equal intervals between the strings, and so they have symmetrical scales all along the fretboard. This makes it simpler to translate chords. For the regular tunings, chords may be moved diagonally around the fretboard. The diagonal movement of chords is especially simple for the regular tunings that are repetitive, in which case chords can be moved vertically: Chords can be moved three strings up (or down) in major-thirds tuning and chords can be moved two strings up (or down) in augmented-fourths tuning. Regular tunings thus appeal to new guitarists and also to jazz-guitarists, whose improvisation is simplified by regular intervals. On the other hand, some chords are more difficult to play in a regular tuning than in standard tuning. It can be difficult to play conventional chords, especially in augmented-fourths tuning and all-fifths tuning, in which the large spacings require hand stretching. Some chords, which are conventional in folk music, are difficult to play even in all-fourths and major-thirds tunings, which do not require more hand-stretching than standard tuning. * In
major-thirds tuning Among guitar tunings#Alternative, alternative tunings for guitar, a major-thirds tuning is a regular tunings, regular tuning in which each interval (music), interval between successive open string (music), open strings is a major third ("M3" in m ...
, the interval between open strings is always a
major third In classical music Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consistin ...
. Consequently, four frets suffice to play the chromatic scale. Chord inversion is especially simple in major-thirds tuning. Chords are inverted simply by raising one or two notes by three strings. The raised notes are played with the same finger as the original notes.: In contrast, in standard tuning, the shape of inversions depends on the involvement of the irregular major-third. *
All-fourths tuning Among alternative tuning Guitar tunings are the assignment of pitch (music), pitches to the open string (music), open strings of guitars, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and classical guitars. Musical tuning, Tunings are describe ...

All-fourths tuning
replaces the major third between the third and second strings with a fourth, extending the conventional tuning of a bass guitar. With all-fourths tuning, playing the triads is more difficult, but improvisation is simplified because chord-patterns remain constant when moved around the fretboard. Jazz guitarist
Stanley Jordan Stanley Jordan (born July 31, 1959) is an American jazz guitarist noted for his playing technique, which involves tapping his fingers on the fretboard of the guitar with both hands. Music career Jordan was born in Chicago, Illinois, United St ...

Stanley Jordan
uses the all-fourths tuning EADGCF. Invariant chord-shapes are an advantage of other regular tunings, such as major-thirds and all-fifths tunings. * Extending the tunings of
violin The violin, sometimes known as a ''fiddle'', is a wooden chordophone (string instrument) in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and thus highest-pitched instrument (soprano) in the family in regular ...

violin
s and
cello The cello ( ; plural celli or cellos) or violoncello ( ; ) is a Bow (music), bowed (sometimes pizzicato, plucked and occasionally col legno, hit) string instrument of the violin family. Its four strings are usually intonation (music), tuned in ...

cello
s,
all-fifths tuning Among guitar tunings, all-fifths tuning refers to the set of tunings in which each interval (music), interval between consecutive open string (music), open strings is a perfect fifth. All-fifths tuning is also called fifths, perfect fift ...
offers an expanded range CGDAEB, which however has been impossible to implement on a conventional guitar. All-fifths tuning is used for the lowest five strings of the
new standard tuning New standard tuning (NST) is an alternative tuning Guitar tunings are the assignment of pitch (music), pitches to the open string (music), open strings of guitars, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and classical guitars. Musical ...

new standard tuning
of
Robert Fripp Robert Fripp (born 16 May 1946) is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the Brit ...

Robert Fripp
and his former students in
Guitar Craft Guitar Craft (GC) was a series of guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, ...
courses; new standard tuning has a high G on its last string CGDAE-G.: Another class of alternative tunings is called
drop tunings Guitar tunings are the assignment of pitch (music), pitches to the open string (music), open strings of guitars, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and classical guitars. Musical tuning, Tunings are described by the particular pitch ...
, because the tuning ''drops down'' the lowest string. Dropping down the lowest string a
whole tone In Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world ...
results in the " drop-D" (or "dropped D") tuning. Its open-string notes DADGBE (from low to high) allow for a deep bass D note, which can be used in keys such as D major, d minor and G major. It simplifies the playing of simple fifths ( powerchords). Many contemporary rock bands re-tune all strings down, making, for example, Drop-C or Drop-B tunings.


Scordatura

Many
scordatura Scordatura (; literally, Italian for "discord", or "mistuning") is a Musical tuning, tuning of a string instrument that is different from the normal, standard tuning. It typically attempts to allow special effects or unusual chords or timbre, or to ...

scordatura
(alternate tunings) modify the standard tuning of the
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
, especially when playing
Renaissance music Renaissance music is traditionally understood to cover music of the 15th and 16th centuries, later than the Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length ...
repertoire originally written for that instrument. Some scordatura drop the pitch of one or more strings, giving access to new lower notes. Some scordatura makes it easier to play in unusual keys.


Accessories

Though a guitar may be played on its own, there are a variety of common accessories used for holding and playing the guitar.


Capotasto

A capo (short for ''capotasto'') is used to change the pitch of open strings. Capos are clipped onto the fretboard with the aid of spring tension or, in some models, elastic tension. To raise the guitar's pitch by one semitone, the player would clip the capo onto the fretboard just below the first fret. Its use allows players to play in different keys without having to change the chord formations they use. For example, if a folk guitar player wanted to play a song in the key of B Major, they could put a capo on the second fret of the instrument, and then play the song as if it were in the key of A Major, but with the capo the instrument would make the sounds of B Major. This is because, with the capo barring the entire second fret,
open chord In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated conc ...
s would all sound two semitones (in other words, one tone) higher in pitch. For example, if a guitarist played an open A Major chord (a very common open chord), it would sound like a B Major chord. All of the other open chords would be similarly modified in pitch. Because of the ease with which they allow guitar players to change keys, they are sometimes referred to with pejorative names, such as "cheaters" or the "hillbilly crutch". Despite this negative viewpoint, another benefit of the capo is that it enables guitarists to obtain the ringing, resonant sound of the common keys (C, G, A, etc.) in "harder" and less-commonly used keys. Classical performers are known to use them to enable modern instruments to match the pitch of historical instruments such as the Renaissance music
lute A lute ( or ) is any plucked string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicia ...

lute
.


Slides

A
slide Slide or Slides may refer to: Places *Slide, California Fortuna (formerly, Slide, Springville) (Wiyot language, Wiyot: ''Vutsuwitk Da'l'', "ashes stay") is a city on the northeast shore of the Eel River (California), Eel River (approximately fr ...

slide
(neck of a bottle, knife blade or round metal or glass bar or cylinder) is used in blues and rock to create a
glissando In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated conc ...

glissando
or "
Hawaiian Hawaiian may refer to: * Hawaii state residents, regardless of ancestry * Native Hawaiians, the current term for the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants * Hawaiian language Historic uses * things and people of the Kingdo ...
" effect. The slide is used to fret notes on the neck, instead of using the fretting hand's fingers. The characteristic use of the slide is to move up to the intended pitch by, as the name implies, sliding up the neck to the desired note. The necks of bottles were often used in blues and country music as improvised slides. Modern slides are constructed of glass, plastic, ceramic, chrome, brass or steel bars or cylinders, depending on the weight and tone desired (and the amount of money a guitarist can spend). An instrument that is played exclusively in this manner (using a metal bar) is called a
steel guitar A steel guitar ( haw, kīkākila) is any guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend ...

steel guitar
or
pedal steel The pedal steel guitar is a Console steel guitar, console-type of steel guitar with pedals and knee levers that change the pitch of certain strings to enable playing more varied and complex music than any previous steel guitar design. Like all st ...
. Slide playing to this day is very popular in
blues music Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues music
and
country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed b ...

country music
. Some slide players use a so-called
Dobro Dobro is an American brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business Business is the activity of m ...

Dobro
guitar. Some performers who have become famous for playing slide are
Robert Johnson Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911August 16, 1938) was an American blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It ...
,
Elmore James Elmore James (born Elmore Brooks; January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963) was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader. He was known as "King of the Slide Guitar" and was noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring ...
,
Ry Cooder Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer, record producer, and writer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in traditional music, an ...
,
George Harrison George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles The Beatles were an English Ro ...

George Harrison
,
Bonnie Raitt Bonnie Lynn Raitt (; born November 8, 1949) is an American blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to b ...

Bonnie Raitt
,
Derek Trucks Derek Trucks (born June 8, 1979) is an American guitarist, songwriter, and founder of The Derek Trucks Band. He became an official member of The Allman Brothers Band in 1999. In 2010, he formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife, blues sing ...

Derek Trucks
,
Warren Haynes Warren Haynes (born April 6, 1960) is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his work as longtime guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock music, rock band formed in Ja ...

Warren Haynes
,
Duane Allman Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American rock guitarist, session musician, and the founder and original leader of the Allman Brothers BandAllman may refer to: Music *The Allman Brothers Band, Rock and Ro ...

Duane Allman
,
Muddy Waters McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913April 30, 1983), known professionally as Muddy Waters, was an American blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by Afric ...

Muddy Waters
,
Rory Gallagher William Rory Gallagher ( ; 2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in Pla ...

Rory Gallagher
, and
George Thorogood George Lawrence Thorogood (born February 24, 1950) is an American musician, singer and songwriter from Wilmington, Delaware Wilmington (Lenape The Lenape (, , or Lenape ), also called the Leni Lenape, Lenni Lenape and Delaware people, a ...
.


Plectrum

A "
guitar pick A guitar pick (American English) is a plectrum Image:Guitar picks DSC06879.jpg, thumbnail, Three plectra for use with guitar A plectrum is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a string instrument, stringed instrument. For hand-held instru ...

guitar pick
" or "
plectrum A plectrum is a small flat tool used to pluck or strum a stringed instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. ...
" is a small piece of hard material generally held between the thumb and first finger of the picking hand and is used to "pick" the strings. Though most classical players pick with a combination of fingernails and fleshy fingertips, the pick is most often used for electric and steel-string acoustic guitars. Though today they are mainly plastic, variations do exist, such as bone, wood, steel or tortoise shell. Tortoise shell was the most commonly used material in the early days of pick-making, but as tortoises and turtles became endangered, the practice of using their shells for picks or anything else was banned. Tortoise-shell picks made before the ban are often coveted for a supposedly superior tone and ease of use, and their scarcity has made them valuable. Picks come in many shapes and sizes. Picks vary from the small jazz pick to the large bass pick. The thickness of the pick often determines its use. A thinner pick (between 0.2 and 0.5 mm) is usually used for strumming or rhythm playing, whereas thicker picks (between 0.7 and 1.5+ mm) are usually used for single-note lines or lead playing. The distinctive guitar sound of
Billy Gibbons William Frederick Gibbons (born December 16, 1949) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor, best known as the guitarist and primary lead vocalist of American rock band ZZ Top. He began his career in the Moving Si ...
is attributed to using a quarter or
peso The ''peso'' is the monetary unit A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags ...
as a pick. Similarly,
Brian May Brian Harold May (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, author, and astrophysicist. He is the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen (band), Queen. May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Fredd ...

Brian May
is known to use a sixpence coin as a pick, while noted 1970s and early 1980s session musician David Persons is known for using old credit cards, cut to the correct size, as plectrums. Thumb picks and finger picks that attach to the fingertips are sometimes employed in finger-picking styles on steel strings. These allow the fingers and thumb to operate independently, whereas a flat pick requires the thumb and one or two fingers to manipulate.


Straps

A guitar strap is a strip of material with an attachment mechanism on each end, made to hold a guitar via the shoulders at an adjustable length. Guitars have varying accommodations for attaching a strap. The most common are strap buttons, also called strap pins, which are flanged steel posts anchored to the guitar with screws. Two strap buttons come pre-attached to virtually all electric guitars, and many steel-string acoustic guitars. Strap buttons are sometimes replaced with "strap locks", which connect the guitar to the strap more securely. The lower strap button is usually located at the bottom (bridge end) of the body. The upper strap button is usually located near or at the top (neck end) of the body: on the upper body curve, at the tip of the upper "horn" (on a double cutaway), or at the neck joint (heel). Some electrics, especially those with odd-shaped bodies, have one or both strap buttons on the back of the body. Some Steinberger electric guitars, owing to their minimalist and lightweight design, have both strap buttons at the bottom of the body. Rarely, on some acoustics, the upper strap button is located on the headstock. Some acoustic and classical guitars only have a single strap button at the bottom of the body—the other end must be tied onto the headstock, above the nut and below the machine heads.


Amplifiers, effects and speakers

Electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

Electric guitar
s and
bass guitar The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an Electric guitar, electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a long ...

bass guitar
s have to be used with a
guitar amplifier A guitar amplifier (or amp) is an that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a on an , , or so that it can produce sound through one or more s, which are typically housed in a wooden . A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or met ...
and
loudspeaker A loudspeaker (or ''speaker driver'', or most frequently just ''speaker'') is an Acoustical engineering#Electroacoustics, electroacoustic transducer, that is, a device that converts an electrical audio signal into a corresponding sound. A ''spe ...

loudspeaker
or a
bass amplifier A bass amplifier or "bass amp" is a Instrument amplifier, musical instrument electronic device that uses electrical power to make lower-pitched musical instrument, instruments such as the bass guitar or double bass loud enough to be heard by th ...
and speaker, respectively, in order to make enough sound to be heard by the performer and audience. Electric guitars and bass guitars almost always use
magnetic pickup with the pickup configuration of a fat-strat (H-S-S). The bridge (right) pickup is a humbucker and the neck (left) and middle pickups are single coils. A pickup is a transducer A transducer is a device that Energy transformation, converts ener ...
s, which generate an electric signal when the musician plucks, strums or otherwise plays the instrument. The amplifier and speaker strengthen this signal using a
power amplifier An audio power amplifier (or power amp) is an electronic amplifier that amplifies low-power electronic audio signals such as the signal from radio receiver or electric guitar pickup to a level that is high enough for driving loudspeaker ...
and a
loudspeaker A loudspeaker (or ''speaker driver'', or most frequently just ''speaker'') is an Acoustical engineering#Electroacoustics, electroacoustic transducer, that is, a device that converts an electrical audio signal into a corresponding sound. A ''spe ...

loudspeaker
. Acoustic guitars that are equipped with a piezoelectric pickup or microphone can also be plugged into an
instrument amplifier An instrument amplifier is an electronic device The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol or , w ...
, acoustic guitar amp or
PA system Pa, pa, PA, P.A. or pA may refer to: Businesses and organisations Government and military * Palestinian National Authority The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; ar, السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية ') is the interim ...

PA system
to make them louder. With electric guitar and bass, the amplifier and speaker are not just used to make the instrument louder; by adjusting the equalizer controls, the
preamplifier A preamplifier, also known as a preamp, is an electronic amplifier An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, p ...
, and any onboard
effects unit An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be cons ...
s (
reverb Reverberation (also known as reverb), in acoustics Acoustics is a branch of physics that deals with the study of mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientis ...
, distortion/overdrive, etc.) the player can also modify the tone (also called the timbre or "colour") and sound of the instrument. Acoustic guitar players can also use the amp to change the sound of their instrument, but in general, acoustic guitar amps are used to make the natural acoustic sound of the instrument louder without significantly changing its sound.


See also

* List of guitar manufacturers *
Outline of guitars The following Outline (list), outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars: A guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a guitar pick, pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to whi ...
* Paracho de Verduzco


Notes and references


Notes


Citations


Sources


Books, journals

* * * * * * * * * *


Online

* *


External links


Instruments In Depth: The Guitar
An online feature from Bloomingdale School of Music (October 2007)
International Guitar Research Archive


Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
featuring many historic guitars from the Museum's collection
Online Guitar
Acoustic guitar realistic simulator {{Authority control Guitars Necked box lutes Articles containing video clips String instruments C instruments Rhythm section Folk music instruments Blues instruments Classical music instruments