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An iconic instrument that everyone knows and admires is the electric guitar. An important part of so many genres such as Pop, Rock, Metal, Motown, Blues, Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, Alternative Rock and so many more. An electric guitar by definition a solid wood guitar with one or more pickups that receive and amplify the vibrations of the guitar strings with the help of an amplifier. Some of the best guitarists are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Keith Richards and many more. So if you want to play a diverse instrument that can play multiple genres and change its sound to however bright or gruff you want, then the electric guitar is certainly a valid choice.
We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting an electric guitar. It'll help you:
Choose the right type of electric guitar,
See useful tips about that type of electric guitar,
Select the right brand of electric guitar,
Types of Electric Guitars:
Solid Body Guitars:
A solid body electric guitar means that the guitar is made from solid wood, it has no resonating, air space within the body.
Types of solid body electric guitar bodies:
Hollow Body Guitars:
Hollow body guitars are exactly what they sound like, meaning that it has a hollow body allowing for same resonance as an acoustic guitar whilst also having pickups to amplify the sound of the music.
Semi-hollow Body Guitars:
The semi-hollow guitar is based around the fact that it has a tone block running down the middle of the body, meaning that while it still has woody tones, it has less chance for feedback.
Items that Can be Used with Your Electric Guitar:
Electric Guitar Bags:
This is a specially designed bag to store your guitar in and transport it that is not as heavy as an electric guitar case but it is softer and can’t prevent damage from rough handling.
Electric Guitar Cases:
This is a specially designed case to store your guitar in and transport it and any accessories safely.
These are small triangular pieces of plastic that come with varying thicknesses, that is used to pick or strum the string on your guitar.
This is a strap that you connect to the guitar and use to help you play when standing up or moving
This is a cable that you use to connect your guitar to your amplifier and get more volume.
This is a small device that you clip to your guitar and use to help you tune your strings to the appropriate pitch.
Electric Guitar Strings:
After a lot of playing, strings tend to break and it is therefore wise to purchase and keep spare strings handy for any emergencies.
This is a specially designed stand for you to place your guitar on when you are not playing or when you don't need to place it in a case.
This is a clamp that one can use on the neck of the guitar to transpose the notes or to avoid using bar chords.
This is a cloth that you use to keep your guitar clean and pristine with no smudges or dust on it.
This is a pedal you can connect to your guitar using an amplifier, which allows you to use certain effects such as distortion, mirroring, reverb and more.
This is a type of speaker that you plug instruments into amplifying their volume and in some cases change the treble and bass elements of the instrument.
Tips for Consumers:
Different Types of Pickups
Even though electric guitars can have different body types, that doesn't really affect their sound, however, the type of pickup you use does affect the sound of your guitar. It is therefore important to choose a guitar with the right type of pickup.
Single Coil Pickup:
This type of pickup uses a single magnet.
They have a lower output compared to humbucking pickups, and so don’t produce such a distorted sound.
Single coil pickups have a rich melodic tone when played with a lower amount of gain.
Single coil pickups look long and thin, about the same width and length as a tube of lipstick.
Humbucking pickups have two magnets, one for receiving the vibration of the strings and the other to cancel out the 60 cycle hum, which is a sound that comes from your guitar when alternating currents of electricity making a sound of about 60 Hertz.
A humbucking pickup sounds better when playing under high levels of distortion, due to its darker voice and higher output.
Other than the obvious genre choice of rock or heavy metal, this pickup is also good for playing jazz due to its darker tone.
The P90 pickup is seen as the median between the single coil pickup and the humbucking pickup as its output falls between that of a single coil pickup and a humbucking pickup.
The P90 pickup also produces a brighter tone than the humbucking pickup but is still more subdued than the single coil pickup.
The P90 pickup is slightly bigger than a tube of lipstick and has six dots on its face.
Parts of an electric guitar:
This is a button that one can attach a strap to in order to play easier whilst moving about or standing up.
The tremolo arm makes it easier for the guitarist to achieve the effect of bending the string whilst playing, sliding the note to make it sharp or flat.
This is a button on the electric guitar that allows you to change the tone of your playing by adding less or more treble and/or bass.
This is a button that allows you to control the volume of your electric guitar without having to change it on your amplifier.
Pickup Selector Switch:
Some guitars have multiple pickups and allow you to choose the number of pickups and which ones you would want to use based on what sound you want.
A scratchplate is a hard slab of material that is used to protect the wood of the top of the guitar from being scratched by your pick when playing.
Frets are the raised lines on the neck of the guitar are that indicate where you should play the chords to achieve a certain pitch.
This refers to the knobs on the top end of the neck of the guitar, that a guitarist can use to tune the guitar and make sure all strings are in tune.
Headstock refers to the piece wood on the end of the neck of the guitar, to which the tuning keys are attached.
A nut is a line that separates the headstock and the neck of the guitar.
An electric guitars neck is usually listed as between 572mm and 648mm, this means the frets above the body of the guitar. The more frets there are, the longer the neck and the harder it'll be to reach.
This refers to the gap between the frets on which you place your fingers to play certain notes or chords.
The body of the guitar is the entire section below the neck of the guitar.
As previously mentioned there are three types of pickups for electric guitars, the single coil pickup, humbucking pickup and the P90 pickup.
This is the small raised rectangle on the body of the guitar, to which the strings are attached.
It is important to make sure that your bridge is adjusted and set properly for proper playing, this can be done personally through online tutorials or through a professional at a musical instrument store.
Different Brands of Electric Guitars:
G&L guitar was founded by Leo Fender, an admired revolutionist in the world musical instrument design. G&L is currently run by John C. McLaren and is run on the bases of what would Leo want. G&L can be found currently in Fullerton, California.
Rickenbacker was founded in 1931 by Francis C. Hall, from a company he purchased called Electro String. Rickenbacker revolutionized the use of pickups on electric guitars and the electronics used on electronic guitars. Rickenbacker Headquarters can be found in Santa Ana, California.
Ibanez is a Japanese guitar company that is owned by Hoshino Gakki. Starting off as a company importing guitars to one of the biggest guitar producers in the world. Ibanez is currently found in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan and ships to countries all over the globe.
Epiphone has been making musical instruments for any genre since 1873. Going from a small family instrument repair shop to a large worldwide organization, Epiphone is a massive success. With a slogan of “Performance is our passion”, how can it be denied that this company produces fine quality instruments. Their headquarters are currently located in Nashville, Tennessee.