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Electric Guitar Buying Guide

May 14, 2008
No matter whether you've been playing guitar your entire life or you are yet to pick up a guitar for the very first time, it can be difficult to decide on a guitar which is right for you. Even the pros stare blankly at that wall of guitars in the shop sometimes; it's a tough choice to make. The right electric guitar is a wonderful thing though, little can compare to it.

A guitar has five basic components; any electric model will have all of these parts:

1. A body 2. A neck 3. A head stock piece 4. Electrical pick ups 5. A bridge

An electric guitar requires an amplifier to be audible to anyone but the guitarist (and in a quiet room, at that). Just as in an acoustic guitar, sound is generated but plucking or strumming the strings, the difference being that the vibrations of the strings are "picked up" by the pickups and then transmitted to the amplifier.

The top two things most people look for when shopping for a guitar are price and sound quality.

Electric guitars can run as low as $99 up to as much as $20,000. Quite a price spread, isn't it? The differences are material, construction and pick up quality. Beginners can get starter kits that include the guitar, an amplifier, picks, and a strap and most even include some type of instruction booklets.

Typically, an electric guitar has a wood body that is solid. This is why the sound is electrically generated via the pickups. The amp serves to increase or decrease the volume. Solid body guitars are most popular among beginners and prices range upwards from $99.

The neck joint is an important part of the guitar and has some bearing on the sound of the instrument (more on this in a minute).

The visual appeal of the instrument is also a prime factor - after all, you are more likely to enjoy playing the guitar if it is an instrument which is pleasant to look at. The most popular looks (and indeed, brands) are the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster. Another large manufacturer is B.C. Rich, which is known for offering electric guitars in unconventional shapes and colors, as well as being slightly less expensive than Gibson or Fender guitars. However, even the biggest names need not be too expensive as these manufacturers offer lower priced models in addition to their flagship products - a Fender or Gibson guitar can be yours for $300 or a little less.

Back to the neck joint: this is the way the neck and body of the guitar are joined together. The cheapest type is bolt on, which is easy enough to understand - the neck is literally bolted on to the body of the instrument. This is the most common style of neck joint.

The set neck is set into the body of the guitar by means of a tongue set into a groove in the body of the guitar and secured by glue. These are a little more expensive, but give the guitarist more sustain and resonance.

Neck through is exactly what it sounds like - the neck is all one piece which extends the entire length of the instrument. This is the most expensive type of neck joint, but these guitars have a great sound.

Do your homework before you buy an electric guitar - there are so many different makes and models that you'll want to try many out before you decide (but trust me, you will know when you've found the right one). Visit guitar stores, try out guitars and most importantly, ask questions! Happy playing!

Happy playing!
About the Author
Now that you got a guitar, why not play along with some Guitar Tabs. Need help? Ask a question about Guitar Tabs
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