What are the Different Parts of a Guitar?
When you are beginning to learn guitar, one of the main things you will have to learn is the names of the parts of a guitar. When you first start your guitar lessons knowing where you should be placing your hands or asking your teacher about a certain part of a guitar will be a lot easier if you know what they are called.
Once you have a good knowledge of the parts of a guitar, acoustic or electric, you will find it a lot easier to follow instructions from your teacher or video lesson and should progress quicker as a result.
Below we will talk you through all the parts of a guitar acoustic and electric and let you know what role each part plays in the overall playability and sound of the instrument.
What are the Different Parts of a Guitar?
Here is a rundown of the parts that all guitars have. There may be certain other items according to whether they are electric or acoustic.
- Body – The large, wide, and curved part of the guitar at the bottom.
- Soundhole – The hold in the hollow body of an acoustic guitar, which creates a sound as the amplifying strings echo inside.
- Neck – The long, narrow part of the guitar that the strings run along.
- Saddle – This is a piece of wood attached on top of the bridge which will lift the strings to a playable height.
- Bridge – Found at the bottom of the guitar body, where the bottom so the strings are held in place.
- Bridge Pins – Part of the bridge which holds the guitar strings in place.
- Headstock – The very top of the guitar where the tuner and tuner pegs are found.
- Tuners – Located on the side of the headstock.
- Tuning Pegs – The pegs on the side of the headstock can be used to tighten or loosen the guitar strings.
- Fretboard – The raised block on a guitar neck. The guitar strings run along this down towards the guitar body.
- Frets – Metal wires across the frets which can be used to help position your finger to achieve certain sounds.
Parts of a Guitar: Acoustic
At the top of your acoustic guitar, you will see the headstock which is the square-shaped block on the top of the instrument.
On the side of the headstock, you will find both the tuners and tuning pegs, which are responsible for tightening and loosening the string wires on the guitar. They also help to keep your guitar in place. How tight the wires are will affect the tuning of the guitar.
When you move down from the headstock, you will see the guitar neck, a long narrow piece of wood leading down to the body of the guitar. The white strip at the top of the neck closest to the headstock is called the nut, which has small grooves in it for the guitar strings to sit in. When you have your first guitar, we have an excellent guide on how to adjust your neck here.
On the front of the neck, you will see the fretboard which is a separate board and has wires running across it – these are called the frets. You can use the frets as position markers to help your fingers find the right positioning while you are playing.
Mounted on the inside of the neck is a truss rod, this helps to make sure that the neck doesn't bend under the tension of the tightened guitar strings.
The large wooden shape at the bottom is called the guitar's body. In the middle of this hollow body, you'll see a hole – the sound hole which amplifies the sound of vibrations as you strum the guitar strings.
The top part of the body is called the upper bout, the lower bout is the bottom of the body. You may also see a pickguard on the side of the sound hole – this works as a shield for this part of the body and makes sure there is no damage or scratches from your pick as you strum.
Holding the guitar strings in place on the body of the guitar you will see the bridge, bridge pins, and saddle. These are located at the bottom end of the guitar and are holding the strings in place.
Parts of a Guitar: Electric
If you are learning to play the electric guitar, most of the parts detailed above will also be present on your instrument. But there are some additional parts added which contribute to creating its distinctive sound. The instrument has more attachments that help you to control the sound and tone and attach it to exterior amplifiers, mixers, or pedalboards.
- Pickups – These parts of a guitar convert the sound created by string vibrations through amps.
- Pickup Selector Switch – This is used to choose the pickups and what sound is created. This can be found on the guitar body, close to where the guitar strings meet the bridge.
- Potentiometer – This part of the instrument controls both the volume and tone created.
- Input Jack – Where you plug your electric guitar into a keyboard.
- Output Jack – You can use this to connect a guitar cable to an amplifier, pedal or pedalboard, mixer, or DI board. This is found on the bottom lower bout of the guitar.
- Strap Buttons – These are the parts of a guitar that you attach your guitar strap to and are found on the upper bout and lower bout of the guitar body. Attaching your strap correctly will contribute greatly to how comfortable you feel when playing while standing or moving around.
The Names of the Guitar Strings
You will find six strings on your guitar, the thickest of which will be closest to you when you are holding the instrument and the thinnest furthest away. The thickest string is called the sixth string (E) and the thinnest string is the first string (E). The named strings running from the sixth to the first are E, A, D, G. B. E.
A guitar string is usually made of up a thin string core with layers of wire wrapped around it for lower bass strings. Higher-pitch strings are left uncovered. There are a variety of different metals used in the wires wound around strings such as steel, bronze, and nickel and these can be flat wound or round wound. All of these variables will affect the sound of the instrument.
Summary: What are the Different Parts of a Guitar? Ultimate Guide
Taking the time to learn the names of parts of a guitar is an essential part of your learning process. When you know what the different parts of your instrument are called and what part they play in creating sound will help you both in your playing and learning.
The parts of a guitar acoustic or electric each serve a purpose and can affect the tone and sound of your playing. For this reason, you must know how each part relates to your playing and what may need to be adjusted if you are unhappy with the sound of your playing.
So, before you start your first guitar lesson, why not get a head start and memorize the names and locations of the different parts of a guitar we have detailed above?