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Types Of Guitar: Electric, Acoustic And Classical

Dec 17, 2007
A guitar, which is a hollow-bodied stringed instrument with a neck, produces sound when the strings' vibrations resonate through its body.

There are three basic types of guitar: the electric guitar, the acoustic guitar, and the classical guitar.

The electric guitar converts the sound of the vibrating strings into electronic current. These electronic signals are then altered and produce the desired pitch and vibration before they are fed to amplifiers. Because an electric guitar uses these "pickups," the body does not need to be resonant as it does with the other types of guitar. An electric guitar is used for all different kinds of music, such as country, pop, jazz, rock and roll, and heavy metal.

The acoustic guitar is shaped much like the classical guitar (described below) in terms of its appearance and shape. This type of guitar does not use amplifiers for its sound traditionally, although they can be added. An acoustic guitar uses steel strings for a louder and brighter sound than the nylon strings of the classical guitar. The acoustic guitar also uses heavier woods than does the classical guitar, including maple, mahogany, and spruce. This is because the steel strings on the acoustic guitar produce more tension than the nylon strings of the classical guitar do. This type of guitar is usually used in country, folk and blues music. It can also be used in different types of rock music. Oftentimes, acoustic guitars can also have built-in electronics so that their sound can be amplified louder than they would have been traditionally.

Finally, the classical guitar is also known as the "Spanish guitar." It's the most common of the three types of guitar. Its body is hollow, as with the acoustic guitar. The hole in the center acts to resonate the sound produced by the strings when they are plucked and strummed. It uses six strings, which are usually made of nylon. They are less taut than are the steel strings of the acoustic guitar. Usually, this type of guitar is played without amplifiers. The sound can be "amplified" simply, however, by just placing the guitar in front of a microphone. The classical guitar is usually used in Latin, flamenco and classical music.

All three types of guitars (classical, acoustic and electric) can be used by one person alone or by playing with other guitar players. However, electric guitars are much louder than classical or acoustic guitars, and are generally not mixed with acoustic or classical guitars. However, it's often true that rock bands, for example, play electric guitars with accompaniment such as drums, trumpets or other louder instrumentation that can't be easily overpowered by the electric guitar's volume.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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