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What To Look For When Buying An Electric Guitar
If you are reading this it means you are interested in buying an electric guitar that is worth its money and you want to choose one that will be good quality.
In order to do this you need to get educated on what makes up an electric guitar and its components, like its construction and different features, which I hope I will help you understand on this subject on what to look for when purchasing.
There are so many different electric guitars on the market today to choose from which can really be overwhelming whether you are a beginner or seasoned musician.
Hopefully, I will try to give you as much information as I can so you can make a good decision when you finally decide on what electric guitar is right for you.
When looking for a guitar try to set a budget so you can narrow the field on selecting your purchase. It is best to purchase the right electric guitar within the budget you can afford and not waste your time looking at guitars you really can’t afford .
You don’t want to look just for the cheapest guitar out there because usually you get what you pay for and you probably wouldn’t be happy with your selection.
What are Some Features of an Electric Guitar
– Tone Knobs – This knob lets you go back and forth between the low and high frequencies.
– Pickups – You can have as many as one to four pickups on an electric guitar. Pickups are used to pick up the sound of the guitar which will vibrate a magnetic coil that is internal. That vibration produces an electric signal that travels through to the amplifier which gives you your sound.
– Volume Knob – All electric guitars have volume knobs. Sometimes an electric guitar can have as many as three knobs. This knob is exactly what it says, it allows you to decrease or increase the loudness of the guitar.
-Selector/Cutoff Switches – The majority of electric guitars have the capacity of selecting a combination of pickups- these switches are used to toggle back and forth between the individual pickups and can activate or cut them off.
– Output Jack – This is where you plug a 1/4″ cable from the guitar to the amplifier and is usually located on the bottom lip or back end of the guitar.
Electric Guitar Bodies
The different types of bodies on an electric guitar is broken down into different categories. Each category has its own sound and what type of music you are playing. You might want to consider what type of music you are interested in playing and your style of playing when choosing what type of body you want to purchase. There are three types of bodies to choose from on an electric guitar.
1- Solid Body – These are the heavier electric guitars and are very sturdy. They are typically made from a single piece of wood. These guitars have to be plugged into an amplifier to be heard because there is no resonance chamber. This guitar is usually what you would choose if you intend on playing Rock and Roll, Metal and Punk Rock style music. The pickups on this guitar are very important in its sound.
2 – Semi-Hollow – This type of body on a guitar is usually used for playing Folk-Rock, Country and Lead Guitar Work. They have a cutout design and a small portion of the body is hollow and gives a bright and chime-like tone
3 – Hollow Body – This type of electric guitar is usually chosen if you are interested in playing Jazz due to the warm and deep mid-range sound. They work best with mellow, low volume amplifiers. This style guitar is hollow on the inside. There is no sound hole like there is on an acoustic guitar and they use a different type of pickup than a solid body electric guitar.
Examine the Electric Guitars Makeup and Uses
1 – Neck – Some of these necks are narrow which would be a better choice for a child or someone with a small hand span and other necks can be wide which are good for adults with a large hand span. They can be made with in a c-shape, thin, wide-thin, wide etc.
2 – Set Neck Vs Bolt On – A set neck on a guitar is glued on which has a better sustain than a bolt on neck. There are two well-known electric guitar examples of these two type necks, one being the Fender Stratocaster and the other being the Gibson Les Paul.
3 – Body Style – As previously stated, there are different body type styles, so you should choose according to what type of music you are interested in playing more often. Solid body electric guitars are good for sustain and loud amplification, whereas, a hollow body electric guitar is great for Jazz style and semi hollow body electric guitars are good for acoustic sound with lots of amplification wanted, which was mentioned above.
4 – Intonation – The distance between the frets on an electric guitar has a lot to do with its intonation. This determines whether the guitar is in tune as you move up the neck of the guitar. If the distance between the frets are off, the guitar will not be able to play in tune.
5 – Number of Frets – Usually an electric guitar will have 22 frets. You can have 24 frets if you like playing in the high register which would give you another whole octave above the 12th fret.
6 – Bridge – There are two types of bridges used on an electric guitar, the tremolo bridge and the stop tail bridge. The tremolo bridge allows musicians to bend all the strings at once, which is good for heavy metal style music. Metal playing musicians love it even though it may throughout the tune of the guitar. The stop tail bridge is much more stable because it is fixed into the body and provides more sustain.
7 – Wood – Different woods on an electric guitar creates different sounds and tones. Even though a wood may be more expensive than another doesn’t necessarily mean it will sound better than a cheaper type wood.
8 – Pickups – Most electric guitars have two pickups, which are located on the neck, for a thicker sound, and one close to the bridge, for a more twangy sound. If a guitar has two pickups, there is usually a three position switch that will allow musicians to choose the pickups or blend them together. Below is a picture labeling the different parts of the electric guitar
Hopefully I have given you enough information so when you do shop for an electric guitar you know what you are looking at. There are a large variety of guitars out there to choose from, while price is a factor, you don’t want to go for the cheapest electric guitar out there. You will most likely be disappointed on your choice in the long run, because, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, unless you get lucky and find a gem for the price. When you know what to look for like frets, pickups, woods and so on, it makes it a little easier to make an educated decision on what to buy for your needs, whether it be Rock and Roll, Folk, or Jazz, you now have a better understanding of what types of electric guitars are good for what types of music