I would like this post to serve as a guide for beginners to find out everything they need to know about guitars in order to make informed decisions when purchasing one.

I think these things are important to know especially if you are just starting out and haven't been exposed to many guitars.

Quality is important because a badly made guitar will have low quality parts which will not sound as good. Sometime you can find high quality guitars at a cheap price, you just need to know what to look for.

Best sure to always check the warranty with your guitar retailer.

You need to know what type of genre you will be playing and what type of guitar is used for each genre.

You will need to choose between acoustic, acoustic-electric, semi-acoustic or electric.

The Acoustic Guitar

Because of the way an acoustic guitar produces sound the size and dimensions of the soundboard and sound box notably affect the quality of the sound.

You should keep this in mind when choosing an acoustic guitar, A smaller guitar is useful for traveling but you will sacrifice an otherwise fuller sound.

Acoustic guitars are used in many different genres but the most notable are folk and country.

The Electric-Acoustic Guitar

When not plugged in the electric-acoustic sounds the same as a normal acoustic

In most cases the electric-acoustic uses a piezoelectric pickup or a microphone to turn the acoustic vibrations into an electric signal.

Electric-acoustic guitars are perfect for playing acoustic guitar to an audience through a PA system or for recording your guitar without needing to set-up a microphone.

The Semi-Acoustic Guitar

Semi-acoustic electric guitars have a hollowed out body as opposed to the solid body of a full electric, this provides resonance which gives a warm and smooth quality to the guitar tone.

Dial the distortion up and learn to wield the feedback for some really cool harmonic sounds or switch to clean with a tiny bit of crunch to really bring the best out of the guitar.

The Electric Guitar

The solid body of an electric guitar gives super long sustain. Electric guitars come in many different shapes and are made out of many different materials.

Every guitarist should own at least one electric guitar, the sound possibilities on an electric guitar are worlds apart from that of an acoustic guitar.

Once you know which type of guitar you will be buying you should consider the features you would like to have on your guitar.

Lets go through some of the parts on a guitar and how they can differ from guitar to guitar.

The Body

The body of a guitar consists of a treble or upper bout and a bass or lower bout and the size and shape of these parts have an effect on the tone as well as whether the body is solid or hollow.

In general guitars with larger hollow bodies have a thicker tone and more resonance while on the other hand guitars with a solid body tend to have much more sustain.

The Bridge

The main purpose of the bridge is to maintain the strings at a relative height to the fretboard.

On an acoustic guitar the height of the bridge is not adjustable except by shaving down the saddle, this change is permanent and you could ruin your guitar so you should rather make sure you are happy with the string height before you buy the guitar.

Electric guitars have many different types of bridges, the main thing to note is whether it is a fixed bridge or a tremolo bridge.

Even though there are many different types of fixed bridges they all serve the same purpose however a tremolo bridge can give you extra pitch bending options in your guitar playing.

The Neck and Frets

Acoustic guitars are all pretty standard when it comes to the neck and frets, an electric guitar will either have a bolt-on or a through-body neck.

Although a bolt on or glued on neck is commonly used in cheap guitar manufacturing some of the best guitars available have a bolt on neck so it is no reason not to buy a guitar, it is up to personal preference and quality at the end of the day.

Pick-ups and Pots

The type of pick-ups on a guitar have a huge effect on the tone that will come out of the guitar.

It is common to have different pickups at the neck and bridge position of a guitar. The bridge pickup is mostly used for heavy distortion in rock and metal while the neck pickup is better for clean and jazzy tones.

Electric guitars usually have at least two pots for volume and tone. Sometimes each pickup will have it’s own pot or both pickups will be connected to one pot, having extra pots can give you the ability to make some interesting sounds and modifications that can be made to almost any guitar if you are willing to take it apart.

Final Note

I hope that this article has given you some insight into the world of guitars, if you enjoyed it there is a more detailed version and other great articles about guitars on my blog.

Last edited by Victorgeiger at Jun 26, 2014,