Whether you're a beginner, or an experienced guitar player, it's good to know the parts of your guitar. It helps you to understand your instrument and care for it better. Also, when you encounter discussions or articles regarding guitars, it is helpful to have knowledge of the parts of the guitar if it comes in on the discussion.
The Three Basic Parts
A guitar (acoustic or electric) has three basic parts. For this article, we'll limit ourselves to the acoustic guitar. An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces its sound inside a hollow sound box. As opposed to an electric guitar that produces its sound through a magnetic coil pick up that is amplified through electrical wires and a loud speaker.
Head or Headstock
The head is found on the narrow end of the guitar. It is where the tuning keys are found.
In a 6-string acoustic guitar you will see six tuning keys, often three on each side of the head. These tuning keys are also called tuners, tuning pegs, or machine heads. They turn clockwise and counter-clockwise depending on whether you are tightening the strings (higher pitch) or loosening them up (lower pitch).
You will also see string posts or capstans attached to the tuning keys. These hold the loose end of the guitar string and rotate in sync with the tuning keys.
The neck is the long segment of the guitar. The back side of the neck is often curved to be compatible with the grip of your palm.
The entire length of the flat side of the neck, divided commonly into 21 frets, is called the fingerboard or fretboard. The fingerboard is where you play the chords.
The thick metal wires that divide the fingerboard into segments are called frets. If you observe, the fingerboard segments nearer the head are wider, while those nearer the body (sound box) are narrower.
The main fret that divides the head and the neck is called the nut.It's often made of a thick, hard plastic or other material that is raised slightly above the fingerboard.
You'll also see position markers. They often appear as white dots on the fingerboard itself. Position markers start on the third fret. Then on the fifth, seventh, ninth, twelfth (double dot, indicating an octave), fifteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth, and twenty-first. They guide finger placement.
Acoustic guitars also have (hidden) truss rods that run along the length of the neck. This is used to maintain the stability and curvature of the neck against the tension of the strings.
The body is where the sound reverberates. Usually, the body of an acoustic guitar is hollow with a backboard, sideboards, and a face.
On the face you'll see the sound hole, where typically, the sound comes out.
The decorated patterns around the sound hole is called the rosette.
Usually, an acoustic guitar has a pick guard or scratch guard. This is a hard plastic or synthetic material designed to protect the face from scratches caused by a pick.
The end point in the guitar body after the sound hole is the bridge. This is where the strings are saddled. Pegs or bridge pins lock the strings in place on holes in the bridge.
The white and slender hard material where the strings rest on the bridge is the saddle. The level of the saddle is elevated slightly to give the strings clearance from touching the frets.
These are the basic parts of an acoustic guitar. We hope you'd learn to appreciate and love your guitar more as a result of reading this article.
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