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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Guitar

2.    Anatomy of A Guitar

Get to know the different parts of electric and acoustic guitars

Before we take a look at what constitutes a good guitar, let’s quickly take a look at the different parts of a guitar, so you know what when we mean when we say things like top, tuners, headstock or neck.

Anatomy of the acoustic guitar from the KAOS Music Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Guitar

The main, large part is called the body, while the long part sticking out of the body is the neck. The front-facing part of the neck that you see is the fretboard (or finger board) and the dots you see on the fretboard are fret markers. As you might guess, the part attached to the neck is called the head, or headstock. Attached to the headstock you'll find the tuning keys, or tuners, which you will turn to get your guitar in tune.


The small part where the neck and headstock meet is called the nut. The nut keeps the strings in place at the headstock end of the guitar, while the bridge and saddle keep the strings in place on the body end. Finally, the bridge pins fasten the strings to the guitar.

Anatomy of the electric guitar from the KAOS Music Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Guitar

Much like the acoustic, the electric has a body, neck, headstock, tuning keys, nut, fretboard, and fret markers, but there are a few extra bits as well. You'll notice the bridge looks very different. There are many different bridge designs used for electric guitar, but this particular one (called a vibrato system) is very common. A vibrato system (which includes the attached whammy bar) allows you to make crazy noise a la Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen or Jeff Beck. On bridges like this, the strings are installed through the back on the instrument.

You will also see the electronics and controls that are hallmarks of an electric guitar. The pickups are magnets that turn the vibration on the string into an electrical signal, while the volume and tone controls (as you might imagine) control the volume and tone of that signal. The pickup selector allows you to switch between combinations of the pickups while the output jack is where you plug in the cable that connects the guitar to an amplifier.

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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your First Guitar