Beginners Guide to Guitar

martin acoustic guitar.jpg

Basic guitar terms:

Action - The height of the string above the fretboard. Can be adjusted by adjusting the bridge height.

Body - The main bulk of the guitar, usually made of solid wood for electric guitars and hollow wood for acoustic guitars.

Bridge - The part on the body of the guitar where the strings are attached. Usually made of plastic on acoustic guitars, metal on electric guitars. On electric guitars the bridge may be adjustable to adjust intonation and may include a tremolo function (allowing the bridge to move in order to give a vibrato effect)

Bridge Pin - A tapered pin, usually made of plastic, that holds the string in place at the bridge, trapping the string's ball end. The Bridge pin normally has a slot, through which the string passes.

Frets - The frets are metal wires inset into the fretboard on the neck at the correct intervals to produce the desired notes on the scale.

Fretboard - Also known as fingerboard, this is the flat part of the neck, against which the strings are pressed.

Head - The part of the guitar at the end of the neck, where the tuning pegs are affixed.

Nut - The part of the guitar that the strings pass through at the 'top' end of the neck. It comprises a plastic (or bone) piece with carefully cut slots for each string.

Scratchplate - A thin plastic piece that protects the body from scratches and wear when playing.

Soundhole - On acoustic guitars, a hole under the strings near the bridge that is used to project sound from the body of the guitar.

Truss Rod - A hidden steel rod that passes through the neck of the guitar to strengthen it and stop it bending under the tension of the guitar strings. Usually adjustable with a hex key or similar, at either one of the neck.

Tuning Pegs - The tuning pegs are the flat piece of the machine heads that are turned in order to tune each string by changing its tension. A 'peg winder' (a crank tool that fits over the tuning peg) can be used to make string changes easier.

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