First some history: the electric guitar aboriginal appeared in the 1930s out of a charge to break some of the problems that dejection and applesauce guitarists were accepting at the time. Guitarists were generally allotment of big bands and added abounding apparel generally absolute drums, piano, brass, and even strings, so it was, of course, absolutely difficult for them to accomplish themselves heard, and, often, even to apprehend themselves! They were, therefore, searching for a way to play louder and that’s how the abstraction of the amplifier came along, acknowledgment aswell to the advance fabricated in pickups. It was Rickenbacker that fabricated the aboriginal electric guitar prototypes, which acclimated tungsten pickups. They were on the appropriate track, but acknowledgment was still a above affair due to the actuality that all guitars were alveolate bodied at the time.
It was in the 40s that Les Paul, alive at the time with Epiphone guitars, came up with the abstraction of architecture a guitar that didn’t accept a complete chamber, so as to abstain acknowledgment issues: The solid physique was born! It was a abolitionist abandonment from acceptable alveolate physique guitars, but afterward the electric guitar was now a achievable idea. It was through the plan of Leo Fender that the electric guitar absolutely came into its own. In 1950, Leo put his finishing touches on the Telecaster followed in 1954 by the Stratocaster model. Meantime, Gibson came out with its acclaimed Les Paul model. In just 4 years the above attempt of electric guitar architecture were established; attempt that are still acclimated to this day.
Choosing the appearance of your electric guitar
In accepted the best of shapes and finishes for an electric guitar are abundant beyond than for acoustic guitars. In the endure 60 years, manufacturers accept experimented with just about all accessible shapes and sizes, so its basically down to the player’s claimed taste. There are, however, assertive archetypal shapes (like the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul) and their endless circuit offs and variants. Putting aftertaste aside, what absolutely makes the aberration amid electric guitars is what they are fabricated of and whether they be solid or hollow.
Solid Physique Guitars
Solid physique guitars are just that: solid body. They are the avant-garde adaptation of the electric guitar and by far the a lot of common. The absence of a complete alcove enables these guitars to abide acknowledgment absolutely calmly while acceptance the architect absolute abandon if designing its shape. But you accept to consistently accumulate in apperception how a specific appearance will feel while getting played in altered situations: a Gibson Flying V, for instance, isn’t the easiest guitar to play sitting down, which is not the case with a Les Paul: just something you should to anticipate about…
Hollow Bodies Guitars
This class consists for the a lot of allotment of applesauce and retro-looking guitars, and are usually aggregate into either alveolate or semi-hollow. The thinner they are, the beneath acoustic complete they produce, and accordingly the beneath acceptable they are to feedback. One accept to aswell accumulate in apperception that a guitar can accept a hollow/ semi-hollow physique after there getting any arresting holes in the complete lath (BB King’s acclaimed Gibson Lucille guitar is a prime example). Semi-Hollow guitars accept a solid centermost block, that runs the breadth and abyss of the body, which stabilizes the soundboard, authoritative the guitar beneath decumbent to acknowledgment (a constant botheration afflictive all alveolate physique guitars).
Electric guitars with alveolate bodies / complete boxes
Some electric guitars accept one or added accommodation (sound boxes) carved into the body, which can be arresting or not from the outside. There are, of course, a thousand abstract opinions about how these accommodation aftereffect the complete of an contrarily solid physique guitar which can ambit from “woodier” to “more airy”, but, ultimately, one accept to coin their own opinion.
Choice of wood
As with acoustic guitars, solid copse is the best way to go aback it has above resonance and ages abundant better, but aswell of advance added expensive.
Wood for the Body
Contrary to what some novices ability say, the physique of the guitar has a axiological aftereffect on its sound. In fact, (to simplify) the pickups alone amplify the beating of the strings, and this beating depends abundantly on the resonance of the string-body-neck-hardware ensemble. As a accepted rule, the added the wood, the added it sustains, but the complete will be beneath bright.
This abundant copse assures abounding sustain and a balmy tone. On the added hand, the arresting will accept the addiction to be beneath bright, abnormally if application distortion.
Typical Examples: Gibson LP, Gibson SG, Lag Roxanne. For entry-level guitars, amber is replaced by beneath big-ticket varieties.
This copse has a physique and acknowledgment agnate to mahogany, but beneath balmy and hardly brighter. It provides able-bodied counterbalanced acknowledgment beyond the sonic spectrum, and admitting not actual close it provides beating accent with accomplished sustain. It accordingly comes as no abruptness that fender uses alder for its acclaimed Stratocaster model.
Typical Examples: Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster.
Existing in abounding varieties (curly, birdseye, dabble back…) and altered prices, this harder copse (with a physique of 540 to 700 kg/m3 ) tends accept a ablaze and biting complete . It is generally acclimated for soundboards which are in about-face placed on amber bodies to accord the complete of the guitar added accuracy and accuracy as, for instance, on the Gibson Les Paul.
Typical Examples: Gibson LP, Lag Roxanne Prestige
This copse is added than Alder (density of 580 to 690kg/m3 ), and is advantaged for giving abounding sustain and accepting a ablaze and biting sound. It is accordingly generally acclimated for the physique of the guitar. Swamp ash, a array of ash, gives us the best of both worlds: abundant sustain , and it’s actual ablaze attributable to its actual big accessible pores. Of advance it’s added expensive.
Typical examples: Fender Telecaster, Yamaha signature Mike Stern.
Wood for Necks and Fingerboards/Fretboards
As for acoustic guitars, there are two capital dupe for guitar necks. Amber necks (rounder and added mediums), Maple necks (brighter). For the fingerboard/fretboard, a close and harder copse is favored. The choices are the aforementioned as for acoustic guitars.
Atramentous : a actual aphotic and harder copse that can be begin on high-level guitars. This actual close copse (1000 to 1200 kg/m3) gives absolute accentuation and reinforces the neck’s rigidity.
Rosewood : a rather harder wood(850 kg/m3) that gives a softer, beneath ablaze sound, but ideal for assertive styles (blues, etc…). Brazilian Rosewood has become a deficient article and accordingly is absolutely expensive, so indian rosewood is now generally acclimated in its place. Brazilian rosewood has the acceptability of accepting added accuracy in lows and a bell-like accent in the trebles.
Maple : This copse has a drier complete than either rosewood or atramentous and is mainly begin on maple necks. On assertive maple necks, there isn’t even a fingerboard.
There’s no question: closed enclosures with abiding lubrication are best. They assure simple and absolute tuning..
Bridges and Tremolos/Vibratos
Bridges can be anchored (hard tail), like on a Gibson Les Paul or Fender Telecaster, but they can aswell be allotment of a tremolo/vibrato bureaucracy (a batten absorbed to the arch which can briefly allay the strings and thereby change the pitch).
Bigsby tremolos, which date from the 40s, change the angle about 1 to 2 half-steps. They can be begin on Gretsch and Gibson alveolate bodied guitars, amidst others, and are the vibrato of best for abounding Country, Rockabilly, and Rock’n’roll players. If akin with a acceptable arch that’s accurately calibrated, it will usually break in tune.
A Fender (synchronized) tremolo is partly congenital beneath the arch and offers a greater angle change acknowledgment to a angle carved into the physique acceptance for added leverage. The botheration with this blazon of vibrato is that the guitar has a addiction to go out of tune.
The Floyd Rose tremolo( or locking tremolo) , affected by Eddie Van Halen through such works as Eruption, acquired out of the Fender tremolo. The abstraction was to accomplish a tremolo that would acquiesce guitarists to acutely change the angle of the strings after accepting affability problems. In adjustment to accomplish this, it uses two cord blocking devices, one at the arch and the added at the nut. While this bureaucracy works actual well, it is nonetheless absolutely awkward for alteration strings, so beginners should be advised.
There are so abounding altered types of pickups that it is difficult to get a absolute overview. We’ll focus on the two types a lot of generally begin on guitars:
Individual coil: Historically, they were the aboriginal pickups invented for guitar. Admitting actual acute to electrostatic noises, these pickups accept about played a acute role in the history of rock-n-roll, alarm and soul. They accept a complete ambit that goes from a aphotic and fat midrange begin in P-90s to the ablaze and bright Fender Stratocaster sound. Thus, there is a acumen fabricated amid accepted single-coil pickups and P-90 blazon single-coils, which are warmer and added able (Typical Examples : Fender Telecaster, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson LP Junior).
Humbuckers (Dual coil): Invented in adjustment to abate noise(hum), they action added ability and roundness. For all types of avant-garde music (jazz, rock, hard-rock, metal…). Humbuckers can be breach ( Alone one of the two coils is acclimated to accord a single-coil sound) on some guitars. Typical Examples: Gibson SG, Gibson LP…
Humbuckers can be split. In this case, alone one of the two coils is used, in adjustment to get a complete actual agnate to a individual coil.
Note that pickups can be paired, in alternation or parallel, in appearance or out of phase, depending on the guitar’s congenital in circuitry. Thus one can actualize added complete combinations and possibilities.
In contempo years, bridges that affection piezo-electric pickups (those begin on acoustic-electric guitars) accept become added common. These can be accumulated with the accepted pickups on the guitar.
A final note: the attendance of a truss-rod is basal for the accomplished affability of your instrument, such as if alteration the cord gauge.