What Are The Different Kinds of Guitars?

 An Introduction to Guitar Types

The guitar has been growing in popularity for centuries. Today it has reached a status of one of the most played instruments of our time. Part of the explanation for its popularity is perhaps its versatility. There is a wide array of guitars available to players from all different ages and musical backgrounds. Guitars range in sound quality, appearance and structure, and play-ability.

Here is a list of the types of guitars available to guitar players and beginners alike:

Acoustic Guitars Types

An acoustic guitar is a great place to start learning how to play the guitar.

Acoustic guitars, unlike other kinds of guitars, depend on the shape and structure of the body for its sound. All sound produced from the body of the acoustic guitar has been originated in the guitar itself and the instrument doesn’t use any effects to produce other sounds besides the natural vibrations of the guitar and the sounds guitar is already capable in making.

Usually acoustic guitars are made of wood. The neck in turn is made from mahogany, lastly the fret is made of maple or rosewood. There are a variety of acoustic guitars and some are listed below:

1) Classical

classical guitarClassical guitars are a good place to start for beginner guitar players. They are also always popular among experienced players as well because it’s the classic look and style of the modern guitar. The strings are most commonly made of nylon. The combination of the nylon strings and the structure of the guitar creates whole, hearty sounds. The sounds feel warm, inviting, and comfortable. This type of guitar is usually played in a sitting position.

2) Flamenco guitars

Flamenco guitarSimilar to the classical guitars, flamenco guitars are classic but produce slightly different sounds. The sounds are typically thinner and crisper than the classic acoustic style sound.

3) Steel-top

Steel-top guitars are similar to classical guitars in their sound, but have a much larger body. Keeping in mind that they are topped in steel, it is no surprise to learn that this type of guitar is more resilient and durable. The sound quality is nice and creates an even warmer tone than its classical guitar relative.

4) 12-String guitar

12 string guitarThe most notable difference between this guitar and others is of course that it has 12 strings instead of the six. Each string has another string next to it which allows the player to reach the octave above the one of the previous string. The 12-string guitar offers a different sound in that it can produce a something that sounds like more than just one guitar.

5) Resonator

The Resonator type of guitar, similar to that of the steel-top guitar, uses steel to resonate the sound more than it would with other material. The sound of this method creates a then and distinct sound. Resonator guitars are commonly played in music that evokes a lot of feeling and emotion such as blues music. Within the Resonator guitar category there are even more variations. For example, there is the square-neck resonator which is played on the lap. The round neck resonator guitar is held like that of a common guitar. Also, glass or metal slides can be a really nice addition to the sound of resonator guitars.

6) Archtop

Archtop guitars can be a particularly pricey choice in guitar. Some archtop guitars sell for upwards of $25,000 USD. Jazz players like this type of guitar because it can give a deeper tone. Archtop guitars commonly have an f-hole design which allows for that deeper sound quality.

7) Acoustic Bass

acoustic bass guitarAcoustic Bass guitars are a mix between the modern electric guitar and that of the acoustic guitar. The Acoustic Bass guitars do not use electronic pick-ups and instead, like the classic acoustic guitar, utilize the body of the guitar to create the sound. This type of guitar typically have four string, while sometimes you can find Acoustic Bass guitars sporting five or six strings.

Electric Guitar Types

Electric guitars take the vibrations from the body of the guitar to create electronic pick-ups which amplify them. Electronic guitars typically are connected to amplifiers or “amps” which is how they are commonly referred to in the guitar world. This type of guitar usually has a solid or semi-solid body type.

Because the amplification is the point of the electric guitar, without connection to an amp, the guitar produces a very weak sound. With every strum and vibration, the energy is converted into electrical impulses which are in turn amplified by the amp.

Electric Guitar Control Knobs

Furthermore, this type of guitar usually comes equipped with control knobs which can change the tone and volume of the guitar. There also isn’t just one kind of pick-up and the guitar player must choose from the pick-up selectors which one he or she prefers. Sometimes players will even choose multiple pick-ups in order to get the sound desired or the best quality sound for each guitar. The knobs that control the pick-ups are usually used for the purpose of shifting from a bass sound to a treble sound or the other way around.

Whammy bars sometimes accompany electric guitars

Guitar whammy barWhammy bars are attached to the guitar so that the player can manipulate and shift the note sound without switching finger placement on the frets. Some people refer to the sound created by whammy bars as a “crying” sound. This can be a very helpful sound to add to both rock songs and even ballads. The crying sound creates more emotion which can really round the pieces off quite nicely.

Whammy bars are usually only a part of more expensive guitars because in cheaper alternatives, it has been known to force the strings out of tune.

The idea is for whammy bars to enhance the sound, not to take away from it.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of guitars to choose from and there is pretty much something for everyone. Depending on your preference and style of music along with your level and ability you are sure to find the perfect guitar fit for you.

When you’re ready to start learning guitar, be sure to check out our comparison table of the best online guitar lessons on the front page.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives a finders-fee from the companies whose products we link to. This doesn’t cost you anything extra. These commissions help to keep the rest of our content free, so thank you!