Music is the food of the soul. As music is universal and is available in profound variety thus, everyone has individual likes and dislikes for specific kind of music. When you decide to learn music, the choice is as personal as your dress sense. There are various instruments to choose from. Furthermore, there are various categories in the same instrument to choose from as well. For those who are fond of guitar, here is a guide on “What to look for while buying an electric guitar.”
For a novice the look of each guitar is quite similar. In general, guitars are attractive, but for a music student and a music expert, the shape, size, make and feel of each guitar is depiction of the type of music that particular instrument is able to produces.
For a beginner: Largely electric guitars can be classified in three main categories.
1. Classical: Classical instrument has nylon strings and is best for beginners. This instrument generates classical, Bossa Nova and Jazz, etc. Yngwie Malmsteen uses a Fender electric guitar that is classical and has 2000 nylon strings and a nine volt brass hard board battery.
2. Acoustic: Acoustic instrument has steel strings and is used to produce Acoustic Rock, Bluegrass, Jazz, Country, Blues and Folk music, etc. John Doyle, the great musician from the US is a fan of Acoustic guitar. Some fabulous acoustic instruments are categorized as Fender electric guitars. Musician Alvino Rey used this musical instrument in front of an extensive group of spectators in a huge orchestral set and later he crafted the first pedal steel guitar for Gibson electric guitars as well.
3. Bass: This is a professional guitarist’s choice as it produces Blues, Country, Jazz, Heavy Metal and Rock music. If you picture yourself as Bryan Adams, his pick was bass guitar. Musician Jimmy Page used a double-neck instrument that was custom-made by Gibson electric guitar to perform “Stairway to Heaven” and he recorded the classic song using Fender electric guitar with twelve strings.
Out of the various factors that we need to consider while buying a guitar, one important factor is the type of sound it produces and which we wish to master.
For beginners as well as professional musicians, the other details we must consider include “body type” of the guitar which is typically made of hard board. Some truly wonderful qualities of hard boards such as rosemary, maple, ash, alder and/or mahogany are used to make this musical instrument. Each hard board has a very unique grain, color and density. Thus each one gives a different kind of look to the guitar and each hard board type creates a unique type of tone as well.
The body type of a guitar: This can be classified into four main types.
1. Solid Body Type: This is the standard type of guitar body and is used in the most number of guitars. As the name suggests, the solid body is absolutely solid (filled) except the space that is occupied by the cavities that hold the guitar’s electronic mechanism together.
2. Chambered Body Type: A chambered body of guitar has several different sections that are designed to reduce its weight while augmenting its sustainability and resonance.
3. Semi-Hollow Body Type: A Semi-Hollow Body is a hybrid mix of hollow body and solid body guitar where both the sides of the guitar’s body are hollow but the center is made of solid hard board.
4. Hollow Body Type: As the name suggests, this type of guitar’s body is fully hollow and it helps the acoustic musicians fabricate the better sound effect.
The Neck: The next aspect worth considering is the “Neck” of the guitar. The neck of the guitar is made of hard board as well. Famously the mahogany, rosewood, maple or basswood is used for crafting necks. The length of the neck decides the spacing between the frets.
While a few standard models of Fender electric guitars as well as Gibson electric guitars can be found in 22 frets, a majority of the artists prefer a 24-fret neck that generates a higher register. Typically a Fender electric guitar measures 25.5 inch a scale, while Gibson electric guitars employ 24.75 inches as the scale length. Most of the other brands such as Paul Reed Smith prefer to design 25 inches as scale length.
One more aspect of the neck of a guitar worth considering is the way the neck is connected to the body of the guitar.
1. Set in Neck: The neck and the body of the guitar are crafted separately and the neck piece is set in the body using some good glue so that they appear to be a single piece of hard board. The set-in neck gives a good sustain and great resonance to the guitar.
2. Bolt-On Neck: Here the neck attachment is visible as it is attached to the body using bolts and it gives flexibility of adjusting the neck for the convenience of the musician.
3. Neck-Through-Body: The semi-hollow and solid body guitars are crafted with the neck through the body since it is a single-piece hard board that is used to make the entire center piece from the top of the neck to the bottom of the body. This make has the best amount of sustainability.
Consider the following as well while buying a guitar:
Strings: Ranging from four strings to 20 strings, from nylon to steal, the variety is extensive. Though beginners are advised to take classical guitars with nylon strings, professional musicians have their own style and preference to suit the kind of music they want to produce.
Pick-ups: They are used to set the tone right and usually there are two pick-up sets in a guitar. There can be more number of pick-ups as well. A single-coil pick-up has a really pleasing sound but “hum bucker” types of pick-ups are preferred by guitarists who play at music concerts.
Control Switch: A switch is one more feature to look for in a guitar as it gives us control over volume as well as tone to be set for each pick-up. You can blend in or separate the pick-ups through the control switch.
Bridges: Bridges let the player adjust the height and length of the strings. There are three types of bridges – standard, string-through, and a bridge with a tailpiece combined that offer their own unique ways to adjust the string.
Apart from the type of electric guitar a few more points to ponder upon are:
Venue of the performance: If we are going to be performing at home or at our learning academy, we can safely go with a standard Fender electric guitar or standard Gibson electric guitar. While performing in front of an audience with the help of a mike, an acoustic Fender electric guitar or acoustic Gibson electric guitar is preferable.
Price: Invest in a good quality electric guitar as:
1. It is a passionate investment.
2. Investing in brands such as Fender electric guitar or Gibson electric guitar offers great amount of peace of mind as the quality of hard board used is the best and the sound produced improves as it ages.
3. Brands such as Fender electric guitar or Gibson electric guitar have some of the finest guitarists crafting these instruments for them.
4. The maintenance is easy and the accessories can be bought as easily, even through online stores.
If we need to get a customized guitar, it is possible with some good brands and we should take advice from the store managers and our seniors from the industry before taking a final decision. Whichever type of guitar we choose, we need to make sure it suits our needs.