A guitar is a string instrument that appeared in Europe in the 12-th century, although images of instruments resembling guitars can be found even on 3000-year-old stone carvings. Nowadays, there are many different types of guitars. Each type has its own unique characteristics that distinguish it from others. Knowing what makes each variation of guitars special can help a beginner guitarist choose the best musical instrument.
An acoustic guitar is a term that refers to any type of non-electric guitars. They have various shapes to change the volume of the sound and the tone. Strings can be made of steel, nylon, or another kind of material. The thing all acoustic guitars have in common is a hollow soundbox, which is the body of the instrument that amplifies its sound.
Electric guitars use an external amplifier to increase the volume of the sound. The vibration of the strings is captured and converted into electric signals which are then reproduced by loudspeakers. Electric guitars can have different shapes, numbers of strings, sizes, etc.
The Different Types of Electric Guitars
At first, electric guitars were just acoustic guitars with an amplifier. But soon people understood that the hollow body is not necessary anymore. So the guitars became smaller, relying only on electric pickups and the amplifier to increase the sound. As a result, solid-body guitars appeared, causing changes in the set of techniques used to play the instrument.
This is an acoustic guitar, but it has a microphone or a pickup to make it sound louder. These guitars are used in big concerts where an ordinary acoustic guitar would be too quiet. But they still belong in the line of acoustic guitars due to the way they sound.
These guitars are electric guitars with a big soundbox. This means they are bigger than a typical electric guitar due to a hollow body or a semi-hollow body. They are also a little louder, but not as loud as acoustic guitars, which makes them a good practice instrument. The quality of the sound is mostly that of an electric guitar but with partial traditional amplification of a wooden body.
This instrument is used for playing classical music. These guitars were originally made of wood, and their strings were made of gut. This is one of the oldest types of guitars. The modern classical guitar is also known as the Spanish guitar.
Lap Steel Guitar
It is a type of guitar made of steel and put across the musician’s lap to be played horizontally. It came from Hawaii, and so it has a second name Hawaiian guitar. Originally, the performers just used the technique of sliding a piece of metal on the strings of a traditional guitar. But the invention of electric guitars changed the shape of the lap steel guitar and gave it its recognizable sound.
The Bass guitar has the lowest sound. It is an electric guitar with a longer neck and four thick strings.
A resonator guitar is a particular type of acoustic guitars. The resonator is a steel cone inserted into the body of the guitar. It helps to increase the volume of the sound but also gives the guitar its specific tone. This instrument is especially popular among musicians who play blues and bluegrass music.
Finding the Guitar for You
Before you buy your perfect guitar, it is a good idea to listen to professionals playing several types of the instrument. Think about what sound you like most and probably what genres of songs you are going to play. Do you need a loud volume? Do you plan to take the guitar on a camping trip? Answering all these questions will help you make the choice.