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Your Guide to Guitars: Acoustic, Electric, and Bass

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

The world of guitars is rich, exciting, and knows no boundaries. Musicians are drawn to the instrument due to its diversity and adaptability. Guitars come in all shapes and sizes, and are found in nearly every genre of music.

For beginners, navigating the wide range of guitar options can be overwhelming and confusing, but don’t let that deter you! We have put together this helpful guide to take you through three of the most popular types of guitars, their histories, and their uses. So, strum along with us to learn more about this fantastic instrument!

An Overview of Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars use steel strings, have the appearance of a neck attached to a body, and are hollow and wide. The space inside a guitar is called the soundbox, and the guitar’s shape creates a vibration that amplifies the volume of plucked strings. The sound that is produced is directly related to the dimensions and body wood of a guitar.

The most prominent acoustic guitar design is the dreadnought. Created by Martin Guitars in 1916, it has been the basis for most acoustic guitar designs ever since. These are great all-purpose guitars, and the wonderful strumming sound they produce makes them suitable for folk, rock, bluegrass, and many other genres.

Most of today’s acoustic guitars boast a spruce top paired with different side and back timbers, such as mahogany or rosewood. Solid woods will mature tonally with age and are typically at a higher price point. Laminate woods are more affordable, but don’t offer the same tone development. As with any musical instrument, the best way to determine which acoustic guitar is right for you is to try as many as possible.

An Overview of Electric Guitars

For many, the electric guitar sparks an immediate image of a rock band jamming on stage to a crowd going wild. Electric guitars were invented in the 1930s, and since then, different music companies have produced a diverse range of models and shapes.

Electric guitars are not hollow like acoustic guitars, meaning the instrument does not have the same sound projection capabilities. Electric guitars are plucked with a pick and are a popular choice for beginners because of their diversity.

Electric guitars have magnetic pickups on the body underneath the guitar strings. This facilitates the conversion of string vibrations into an electrical signal, sent to an amplifier that increases and produces the sound we all hear. The range of sounds that can be produced with an electric guitar combined with pedals makes them attractive for the pop, jazz, blues, metal, and rock and roll genres.

An Overview of Bass Guitars

Bass guitars are played in the same manner as electric and acoustic guitars, by plucking the strings, but there are a handful of differences. Bass guitars produce a sound that is an octave lower than guitars and they typically only have four strings. To make the lower sound, the strings are larger. Most bass guitars are electric instruments, but there are acoustic bass guitars too.

The first bass guitar was made in the 1930s, but it was a 1950s version developed by Precision Bass that became immensely popular and has been offered in guitar stores worldwide since. The bass guitar connects melody and rhythm, and is found in all types of music, both modern and classical.

If you are interested in exploring the worlds of guitars and music, Allegro Music School offers classes and resources to help. We have been offering music lessons and inspiration for 35 years, and we specialize in in-person and online guitar lessons.

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