What Types Of Guitars Are There?
We all know what the guitar is, don’t we? But then again, when we watch the musicians play, we can often see some weird-looking guitars in their hands. Or are those guitars?
Well, there are most certainly many different types of guitars out there, and I am going to tell you all about them.
1. Acoustic guitars
There are two types of acoustic guitars. We have classical guitars (aka Spanish guitars) and steel-string acoustic guitars.
They feature nylon strings, and they are meant to be plucked with the fingers. The classical guitars are played in a seating position, and they can be used for many different music styles, but they are made mainly for classical music.
These guitars have wider necks that allow you to play arpeggios, scales, and chords easier than on other types of guitars. There is also a flamenco guitar which is very similar to the classical guitar, but it’s a bit lighter, and it features the spruce top and cypress body.
The main characteristic of the flamenco guitar is the tapping plate on the table. This plate is there to protect the wood against the damage that can be caused by tapping with fingernails, which is the essential part of flamenco music.
Steel-string guitars (aka Flat-top Guitars)
They are quite similar to the classical guitars, but these usually have a much larger body and thinner neck with reinforcements. Steel-string guitars have a much stronger structure than classical guitars.
They produce a brighter tone and usually are louder. The steel-string acoustic guitars are used for many different genres of music including blues, country, folk, pop, and jazz.
There are many variations in shape and size, from classic OO shape to large Dreadnought, but the most popular nowadays is the modern variation that has molded rounded backside made of artificial materials.
If you are still confused about these guitars, this post will help you out: Classical Guitars vs. Acoustic Guitars
Or read this buying guide for Acoustic Guitars.
And if you want to learn more about acoustic guitars check out this amazing website.
2. Electric guitars
Electric guitars are the guitars with solid bodies that are made to be played over an amplifier. The invention of electric guitar revolutionized the sound of jazz, blues, but most of all the sound of rock’n’roll.
The sound of the amplified electric guitar is kind of metallic with a long sustain. The electric guitars do not require the acoustic chamber which made it possible to make the thinner bodies in many different and creative shapes.
The most popular and iconic designs are the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster.
The electric guitars use much thinner strings than an acoustic guitar, and the action is much lower. This makes them much more comfortable to play because much less force is required to push the strings.
On electric guitar you can bend strings much easier, you have clear access to the frets above the 12th, a whammy bar, and ability to manipulate the switches and pots. This made the development of the lead guitar style that cannot be replicated on the acoustic guitar possible.
Additionally, the low action, long sustains, and sensitive pickups made this guitar perfect for fret-tapping.
Make sure you check out the buying guide for electric guitars.
3. Electric-acoustic guitar
Also known as the semi-acoustic guitars, these guitars are basically the acoustic guitars with pickups. But the pickups on these guitars are not the same as the ones on the electric guitars.
The pickups for semi-acoustic guitars are made to reproduce the acoustic sound when you plug the guitar into an amplifier.
The Ovation uses the piezo pickups and bowl-back design on their semi-acoustic guitars. They were the first company that provided an onboard EQ which became the standard for most of the semi-acoustic guitars.
Another great semi-acoustic brand is the Taylor. They use the classical al-wood design, and their guitars have the reputation of superb comfort and playability.
4. 12 String Guitars
This is just a simple variation of the traditional 6-string guitar. These guitars have a regular set of 6 strings plus another set of thinner strings. The strings are put in pairs, and each thinner string corresponds to the note of the regular string. The guitar is played same as the regular.
These guitars have much brighter sound than the regular ones. The guitarists usually use them for chord progressions. They are mainly used for rhythm because it is quite difficult to play a solo on paired strings. The 12-string guitars are a bit more expensive than the 6-string versions of the same model.
5. Archtop Guitars
These guitars are the steel-string guitars with the top and the back carved from a solid piece of wood, and the shape is not flat but curved. This kind of construction is used for violins, and the credit for implementing the design into the guitars goes to Orville Gibson.
Lloyd Loar from the Gibson Company then introduced the f-hole inspired by the violin design which is now a signature look of the archtop guitars.
These guitars have a large and hollow body similar to bodies of violins and mandolins. Most of the modern archtop guitars feature pickups, making them both acoustic and electric guitars. This type of the guitars gained immediate popularity amongst the country and jazz musicians.
6. Resonator Guitars
The Acoustic Resonator Guitars don’t have a regular sound hole but rather a big round plate that conceals the cone of the resonator. This cone is very similar to a loudspeaker, and it is usually made of aluminum. The bridge is connected to the cone, generally in the central area.
This way the cone amplifies the vibrations and projects them through the holes in the plate on the top of the guitar. The original resonator guitars had 3 cones, but nowadays most of them have only one.
These guitars have a very bright and loud sound, and they can be easily played in a large rooms or outdoor without any amplification. They produce an amazing sound when played with metal or glass slide which made them very popular amongst blues and country musicians.
Some of the acoustic resonator guitars have metal bodies. These guitars are called steel guitars. This may be a bit confusing because there is also a Hawaiian steel guitar, but the Hawaiian steel guitar is a completely different instrument, and it’s called “steel guitar” because of the steel plate used for playing.
7. Bass Guitars
Bass guitars have lush strings and long neck. They are a range of notes that is corresponding to the last four strings on the guitar but usually one octave lower. The bass takes the front role very rarely, and it is usually a part of the rhythm section, but there are some bass players who are virtuosos on the instrument.
There are acoustic bass guitars, but the electric ones are much more common. The standard basses have 4 strings, but there are some bass guitars with 5 or even 6 strings available, which gives you the ability to extend the range of your instrument.
Although the bass guitar and the upright bass are the bass instruments of two different string instrument families, the similar roles of the instruments make the bass players interested in both instruments.
If you are interested in playing the bass guitar, check out this amazing guide that will help you think like a bassist.
8. Double Neck Guitars
In this case, the two different guitars are sharing the same body. This way the player can switch between guitars in a matter of seconds.
These guitars usually have one standard neck with six strings and one 12-string neck. Of course, there are other combinations, such as six-string/fretless neck or six-string/bass guitar.
These guitars were available during the ‘50s and ‘60s, but they became extremely popular in the ‘70s thanks to the Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page.
The double neck guitars are extremely convenient for live performances because the guitar player can easily recreate something that was recorded on multiple tracks.
As a guitar player, I really enjoyed writing an article about my all-time favorite instrument, and I hope that you enjoyed reading it. The guitar is such a beautiful instrument, and I personally love every single type of the guitar.
Please share this article if you liked it so that more people can learn about this beautiful instrument and let me know what you think in the comment section.