There is a huge amount of different guitars available. The main differences when it comes to , is if you play left handed, or right handed.
The Left Hand
The left hand plays the notes on the finger board of the guitar. By pressing a finger down on the string just before a fret, the length of the string that vibrates is shortened to play a note. The left hand can play full chords by pressing down a number of strings while the right hand strums the guitar.
The Right Hand
The right hand plucks the strings. With classical guitars the guitarist uses their fingernails, but with many modern day guitar styles, the guitarist uses a pick. Individual strings can be played or all the strings can be strummed at once together to play a chord. There are also all sorts of picking styles and patterns where a number of strings are played in a repeating pattern.
The right hand also sets the rhythm. The left hand may just change between a few chords while the right hand strums in different rhythms to the beat of the song.
Names of the Guitar Strings
The typical guitar has 6 strings. They are called
- E (sixth)
- A (fifth)
- D (fourth)
- G (third)
- B (second)
- E (first)
It’s a good idea when playing the guitar to know the names of the notes that each string represents. The lowest note is the first E in our list. It’s the string closest to at the top of the guitar. It’s also called the 6th string. From there each string is in order down the guitar with the first string also being an E. This is the thinnest string, plays the highest pitched notes, and is furthest away from you when you play.
Playing the Frets
When you play a note with your left hand, you press down on the string with the tip of your finger. You press on the string between the frets. Not right on top of the fret, but in the middle area between the frets. If you press just right, you should hear a clear note when you pluck the string with your right hand. If you press too soft you will hear a buzzing. This takes some practice at first, but don’t get discouraged, with practice it will become much easier.
Electric vs. Acoustic
Playing an electric guitar is pretty much just like playing an acoustic. Some people think that playing an electric is slightly easier because the strings are closer together and are often easier to push down. It really just depends on your style of play, but if you can play one, you can play the other.
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Parts of the Guitar
- Body – The main part of the guitar. The body is large and hollow on an acoustic to amplify the sound. It can be solid and smaller on an electric guitar.
- Neck – The neck sticks out from the body and connects to the headstock. The neck holds the frets and the fingerboard.
- Headstock – The top of the guitar where the tuning pegs sit. Connects to the end of the neck.
- Strings – The standard guitar has six strings. They are typically steel for electric and acoustic. They are nylon for classical guitars.
- Frets – Hard metal strips that are installed into the fingerboard on top of the neck. The frets provide a place for the string to end when pressing down with the finger. Each fret and string represent a musical note.
- Pegs/tuners – The pegs, or tuners, sit in the headstock and hold one end of a string. By turning the pegs, the tightness of the string can be adjusted and the guitar can be tuned.
- Nut – The nut sits at the end of the neck. It provides an ending point for the vibration of the string so open notes can be played.
- Fingerboard – The fingerboard is on top of the neck. The frets are installed into the fingerboard. This is where the strings are pressed down to create notes.
- Bridge – The bridge sits on the sound board and is where the other end of the strings are attached. The bridge helps to translate the vibration from the strings down to the soundboard.
- Pickguard – Helps to protect the soundboard from getting scratched when playing
Having the information you have seen here will make the job of selecting a guitar an easier task.
When choosing a guitar, it should be fairly simple to decide between an acoustic or an electric guitar because the music you want to play will only sound authentic by being played on one or the other.
You will know if you are going to play left handed or right handed, the guitar simply won’t feel comfortable in the wrong hand.