Understanding the anatomy of the guitar is crucial for guitar players. While it may seem pointless to some players, beginners especially, it’s very important. Have you ever seen a surgeon operate on a patient without knowing and understanding his or her body parts? Sounds like nonsense, right? For this reason, I’m going to introduce and explain the various acoustic guitar parts for beginners.
Note: If you are well beyond the ‘beginner’ level of guitarists and still oblivious to the names and roles of the acoustic guitars’ parts, it’s okay. Good thing you tripped over here, because it’s time to learn them.
How Many Are There?
Don’t worry. They aren’t enough to make you overwhelmed. I suggest you count them by yourself if you have a guitar handy nearby.
Hint Hint: They are less than 20 parts. 😉
What Are They?
First of all, take a good look at the diagram below:
1- Head-stock. This is the part where we can find one end of the strings, and where we can tune them. It’s role is pretty obvious. You can think of the head stock as the brain of the guitar, if that makes sense.
2- Nut. This is the part that spreads horizontally across the neck of the guitar, just below the head stock. It’s usually made of plastic or even bones ( no, not human’s ). This piece helps adjust the distance between the strings and the fret board. It also has openings that help hold the strings from overlapping over one another. And yes, it’s replaceable.
3- Tuning pegs. And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the part that helps keep your guitar sound pleasant. The tuning pegs are like keys that you can turn according to the tune of your strings. If they are too high, you simply turn them down. If they are low, you turn the keys up as needed. And SLOWLY! Do not, I repeat, DO NOT turn them abruptly and quickly. There is high probability that the strings will snap on you. Beware!
4- Frets. The number of frets a guitar varies with the type of the guitar. Junior guitars have fewer frets than, say, a dreadnought has got ( dreadnoughts typically have 20 frets, by the way ). There are different types of frets. Jumbo frets are one example. They have larger frets. At each fret, a different note is made.
7- Neck. This part includes the head stock and nut. The strings stretch along it. The neck stops at the top of the guitar’s body.
8- Neck Heel. The neck heel is what supports the neck, and it extends behind the neck. Just like how your heels support your body weight, this neck heel supports the guitar’s upper body. A lot of beginners think that this piece of wood is pointless and useless. However, what they don’t know is that it largely contributes to the acoustic guitar’s structure.
9- Body. This is the second largest part of the guitar after the neck. The body contributes to the tone and overall volume of the guitar sound. It’s referred to as the “lower body” of the guitar. It consists of the upper bout, which is narrow, and the lower bout, which is wider.
12- Bridge. This is where the second end of the strings end, or start.
14- Back. Just as it sounds, this is the back of body. It also contributes to the sound and volume of the guitar.
15- Sound Board. The sound board is the surface of the body.
16- Sides. Again, the sides are another part of the body. Together with the sound board and the back, the sides complete up the lower body of the guitar.
17- Sound-hole. This is where the sound is made, and where it beautifully exits. You can notice that it’s surrounded by a round pair of lines. These lines are commonly referred to as Rose. Not all guitars have them; they are more of a decoration rather than an actual part.
18- Strings. This is pretty self-explanatory. These wires are the strings that extend from the head stock to the bridge, which we will introduce shortly. Without them, there wouldn’t be something called a guitar. Or probably there will, but it would be a silent guitar. Strings come in different sizes, or gauges, and types. You can learn about them here.
19- Saddle. This piece, like the nut, plays an important role in preventing buzzing and keeping the strings in place. It’s made from plastic or bones, just like the nut.
20- Fret-board. And lastly, the fret board is where you make your beautiful music. The fret board extends on the neck below the nut up until the sound hole.
Are They Same For Classical and Electric Guitars?
For the classical guitar, yes. The acoustic guitar anatomy is almost completely identical to the classical guitar. There are a few differences, however, in the head stock and type of strings. In case you were wondering, yes, the guitar in the image above is a classical guitar. I suppose this clarifies how similar they are.
As for the electric guitar, there are some difference, or additions, you can say, to the anatomy of the electric guitar. In general, the electric guitar is a bit more complicated than the acoustic, since, you know, there are some mechanical and technical work that goes into the electric guitar.
How Does Knowing Them Benefit Me?
Knowing them is a huge advantage for you as a guitar beginner, or as a guitar player in general. Imagine if a future student or anyone asks you about the name or role of a guitar part and you sit there, blankly staring at them. Quite embarrassing, right? So put some effort into understanding the guitar fully and properly. It will surely pay off.
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