The Parts of the Guitar

Thursday, November 23, 2006

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Before discussing the types of guitars available, it’s important to understand the commonnames for the various parts of the guitar. The accompanying diagram shows these partsclearly, along with names for the fingers of each hand.

The peg head is found at the top of the neck of the guitar and holds the tuning machines orgears that are used to tune the strings. On classical guitars, this peg head is usually slotted; onacoustic, jazz, and rock guitars, it is usually solid. No matter—it performs the same function.

The nut is found at the bottom of the peg head and top of the guitar neck. It is made of boneand holds the strings in their proper position. The height of the nut also helps determine thestring height or action of the guitar; classical players generally go for a higher action, whileelectric and jazz players like it lower.

The neck of the guitar contains the fingerboard. Across the fingerboardrun frets. By placing a finger against a fret, the player is able to raise thepitch of a string to play individual notes or chords.

The back of the neck, where it joins the body of the guitar, is called theheel. This may appear in a variety of shapes, and on very fancy guitars itmay be carved with animals or human faces. It simply hides the jointbetween the neck and the guitar.

The front of the guitar is called the face or top. Around the edge of theface, there is usually purfling (often called binding) that hides the jointbetween the face and sides; similar binding appears around the back of the guitar. The face of the guitar usually features a round or oval sound hole (on acousticinstruments); sometimes f-shaped holes are used on jazz guitars. On some guitars, a fancyinlay called a rosette surrounds the sound hole for decorative purposes.

After the strings pass over the sound hole, they cross a slotted bridge bone, which directs thestrings down to where they are fastened on the guitar’s bridge.

While different types of guitars may have different features, these are the basic componentsyou will find on most of them.