It’s essential for anyone who wants to learn how to play the guitar to know the different parts of an acoustic guitar and their duties. It seems simple, but it is so important. An acoustic guitar is slightly more simple than it’s electric and bass counterparts since it doesn’t have the electronics the other two do.
This fact is also important though, since if you buy a poor instrument there is no amp, pickups, or control knobs to improve the instrument!
The main parts of your acoustic guitar are very similar to those of acoustic-electrics and electrics, but the acoustic has a classic simplicity that is difficult to compete with. Thanks to the lack of electronics, the acoustic guitar parts are fairly straight-forward!
Major Parts of an Acoustic Guitar
The Guitar Head
The guitar head is the flat platform area located at the end of your guitar neck. It’s used as the placement area for the tuners, and the shape of your guitar head affects the tone of your guitar because, just like the other woods on your guitar, the guitar head vibrates.
How long your note sounds is fully determined by the angle at which the head is attached to the guitar neck.
Many brands will stick their name on the headstock as it’s one of the most visible parts of your acoustic. It’s also popular to design a particular shape to distinguish a brand from others.
These are small metal pieces that twist and are responsible for tightening the strings, thus tuning your guitar. You can get different designs of tuners, and the better and high quality the tuner is, the better the tone of your guitar.
The flat key is attached to the peg which the string winds around.
Your guitar nut is that hard black or white material with a slot found at the point where the guitar neck and the headstock join with the strings. It usually sits on the fretboard and the head.
It functions as a guide for the strings and helps to control the guitar tones and at the same time it transmits and anchors the vibration to the guitar neck. A high-quality bone nut on acoustic guitar sounds magnificent.
The Guitar Neck
The neck is one long thin bit of wood found between the body and head. The frets, fretboard, nut, head and are all attached to the neck. Your guitar neck shape can affect the ease of play.
Today Acoustic guitars are equiped with metal strings, and the composition plus thickness of the strings results in a huge difference in sound.
The entire structure and design of your guitar is to help the strings sound their best.
Strings, Frets, Position Markers, and Fretboard all mounted on the Neck
The fretboard is a long wooden piece that is mounted on top of the neck. The frets and position markers are attached to the fretboard and while playing the strings are pressed into the fretboard.
The frets are metal strips that run perpendicular to the strings across your guitar fretboard. The frets have smooth and level edges to prevent the guitar strings from cutting your fingers and reduce buzzing sounds.
The notes that you play are determined by where you place your fingers in these frets. So, when you press a string down in between frets, you produce a location dependent note. Check out more details in our article about learning guitar notes!
Otherwise known as inlays, these markers quickly identify your location on the fretboard. In fact, position markers are one of the few pieces of your guitar that have no affect on sound. The standard location for these markers is the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th fret.
The body gives your acoustic guitar its shape. The type of your guitar body design, craftsmanship and wood make a significant difference to the final sound that is produced.
The resonance chamber helps the sound to bounce and then is released from the sound hole. A nicely designed body contributes to amplify and clarify the sounds of your guitar.
The Sound Hole
The sound hole of your guitar is where the sounds that resonate in the body are released. It’s also a place that will swallow many picks as you learn to strum.
The Bridge is the opposite of the Nut and serves much the same function. The vibration of the strings is transferred through the guitar bridge into the body. The bridge also plays a key role in the height of the strings over the fretboard.
The bridge pins anchor the strings and secure them to the body.
The saddle helps to hold the strings into its right position but on the bottom and it’s a white strip material. The guitar saddle is there to keep your strings tight and to support them when you are playing hence producing a crisp and dynamic sound.
The pickguard is that protective plate that is made of various plastic materials that resides next to the guitar sound hole. The pickguard tends to take a lot of abuse and can be changed out independent of the body.
They are simply the metal studs that you use to attach your guitar strap. They are usually made of metal and if you’re acoustic does not have one you can quickly tie the strap at the top of the headstock.
The Final Note
For more details on the build of Acoustic Guitars, check out this article on GuitarSkillBuilder and the difference between Acoustics and Electrics at GuitarLessonWorld.
If you have an questions or would like to know more about specific parts of an acoustic guitar, leave your comments below!