An electric guitar is a great instrument to use when you are rocking out, playing some country music, or jamming to the blues. The electric sound is created when pickups are used to convert the vibration of the steel strings into an electrical current, thus giving you that raw sound. An amplifier and distortion pedal are used to alter or enhance music coming out your instrument, and the big sound lets this instrument be heard no matter what type of band you are playing in.
Guitar necks can come in either a single piece or two or more pieces laminated together, which makes a stronger neck. When consideration what type to buy, it is important to consider the "hardness" of the wood, that is, the tightness of the grain and the weight, which is important for balancing the instrument. Some common woods used in guitar necks are listed below.
* '''Mahogany''': Used in the original Fender Telecaster, mahogany is a medium-weight, medium-hard wood.
* '''Maple''': This is a lighter, more flexible wood than maple and is traditionally used in acoustic guitars.
* '''Rosewood''': A tight-grained, heavy wood that's also used in fret boards for its smooth, hard surface.
* '''Pau Ferro''': An "iron wood," Pau Ferro is a heavy, non-porous wood that has an easy finish and makes a good fretboard.
* '''Basswood''': This is a relatively wider grain wood, giving it a softer feel. It's been used in less expensive acoustics as well as higher-end electrics.
* '''Sitka Spruce''': This wood has a high stiffness combined with lightweight characteristics. It has a high sound velocity and is a great choice for a topwood that gives a robust, meaty tone.
'It's important to note the way the neck is attached to the guitar body because this joint will affect the overall tone of the instrument. The joint also has to withstand the pressure of the strings and of rigorous playing. There are three ways a guitar neck is attached to the body:
* '''Set-In''': The neck is glued into the body of the guitar and the joint is cut so that the neck and body ends dovetail and form a tight-fitting seal.This is used almost exclusively in acoustic guitars.
* '''Bolt-On''': Used mainly in solid-body electrics and on the original Fender Telecaster.
* '''Neck-Through''': Used only on solid-body electrics. This method incorporates a neck that extends the entire length of the instrument and is an integral part of the body.
Before deciding on the shape, ask yourself if the neck fits in your hand, and whether you want a wide, regular or narrow neck. Then check out the shapes below to see which is best for you.
Scale length is the vibrating length of the string. It is determined by the distance between the bridge saddle and nut. Longer scales have more distance between frets. Most electric guitars come with 22 frets, but if you like to play in the high register, a 24-fret neck will give you a full octave above the 12th fret. See some guitar models below to decide the amount of frets you need for your guitar.
The bridge on the guitar is the device that supports the strings and transmits the vibration of those strings to a larger surface area that will amplify the sound.
* '''Tremolo Bridge''' aka Whammy Bar
** Can bend ('dive') all strings at once.
** Good for Metal music styles.
** If you dive the strings too much it can throw them out of tune.
* '''Hardtail Bridge'''
** More stable for tuning because the bridge is fixed into the body.
** Provide no control over the pitch or tension of the strings.
* '''Single coil pickups'''
** Only one coil of wire.
** Single-coil pickups are susceptible to hum.
** Thin, clean and transparent sound.
** Usually about 3/4th of an inch wide and 2-1/2 inches long.
** Common on Fender guitars such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster.
* '''Humbucker pickups'''
** Uses two coils and either two magnets or pole pieces at opposite ends of a single magnet.
** Coils are wound with opposing electrical polarity.
** Produces a thick, meaty sound.
* '''Combination pickups'''
** Many guitars have both single and '''double coil pickups'''.
** It is not uncommon to have a switch that will turn one of the coils off to give the player a choice between single and double coil.
** 3-position switch allows you to choose between pickups or blend them.
** 5-position switch blends the pickups and changes their phase relationship to produce glassy tones. A middle pickup allows more blending options.
Don't forget to pick up a few more important items for storing and carrying around your guitar.