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An Introduction to the Types of Guitar

Written By: Ian Williamson

The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments today. There are different kinds of guitars that are available out for different guitar players. Guitars are different in terms of playability, overall appearance and sound quality.

Here are some of the types of guitars that guitar players or aspiring guitar players can choose from:


If you want go get into the guitar world, you can start learning with an acoustic guitar.

Acoustic guitars are dependent on their structures and body shapes for resonating sounds. Unlike the more modern electric guitars, they don't rely on other external devices to enhance sounds. The natural vibrations of the strings are resonated by the body of the guitar.

Acoustic guitars are generally made out of wood. The neck is usually made from mahogany and the fret board is made of maple or rosewood. There are many kinds of acoustic guitars, here are some of them:

1) Classical

Classical guitars are very popular and are usually the choice guitar for beginners. The strings are usually made from nylon. They are usually played in a standard sitting position and used in playing classical music. Classical guitars produce whole sounds which are very pleasing to the ear.

Flamenco guitars are similar to classical guitars, however, they produce crisper and thinner sounds than the other classical guitars.

2) Steel-top

Steel-top guitars are much similar than the classical guitar but are constructed to be more resilient. The parts of the steel-top guitar are reinforced and their bodies are significantly larger than the classical guitars. They also produce a warmer tone than the classical guitar.

3) 12-String guitar

A normal guitar usually has 6 strings, but the 12-string guitar, as its name implies, has 12 strings. Each string is accompanied by another string with the same note but is usually tuned in a higher octave. This guitar produces a semi-chorus effect which is very pleasant to the ear.

4) Resonator

This type of guitar is similar to the steel-top guitar, but the steel in the middle of the soundboard is used to amplify the sound from the vibration of the guitar strings to produce a very thin and distinct sound. These guitars are generally used when playing the blues. There are also variations of the resonator guitar: the square-neck resonator guitar is played on the lap like a piano or organ; and the round neck resonator guitar is played like a common guitar. Resonator guitars work very well with glass or metal slides.

5) Archtop

The archtop guitar was inspired by other instruments such as the violin and the cello. An archtop guitar usually has the f-hole design. Jazz players prefer archtop guitars. Some archtop guitars can command a price of about $25,000.

6) Acoustic Bass

Acoustic bass guitars are bass guitars without electronic pick-ups. The body of the guitar is used to produce the sound. They are usually 4-stringed guitars but there are acoustic bass guitars which have 5 or 6 strings.


Electric guitars make use of electronic pick-ups to amplify the vibrations of the guitar strings. They are usually connected to electric amplifiers. Electric guitars have a solid or semi-solid body type and they don't use the body for sound resonance so usually make very little or no sound when played without an amplifier. The concept used by electric guitars is that the energy of the strings is diverted into electrical impulses and not directly into sound so that they are able to achieve an amplified sound.

Electric guitars usually have control knobs for changing the volume or the tone of the guitar. There are also pick-up selectors in electric guitars and many electric guitars use multiple pick-ups to achieve the best guitar sounds. These pick-ups gather and produce different tones from the guitar. The tone knobs are used to shift from a bass-intensive sound to a treble-intensive sound or vice versa.

Some electric guitars also have whammy bars. These bars are attached to the guitar to shift notes without changing the finger positions on the fret board. Whammy bars are used to produce "crying" guitar sounds and are a very useful tool when performing rock and roll songs or even ballads. The use of the whammy bar in less expensive guitars is not advised because it may cause the strings to go out of tune.

These are some of the basic types of guitars that are available for everyone. Guitars are made to fit the preferences of the player in terms of playability and sound. Choose the guitar that best fits your preference.

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