Lesson 1.2 – Parts of the Guitar
The Electric Guitar
Before learning how to play guitar, it is important to understand all the parts and how they
function. First, let’s go over the parts of the two main types of electric guitars.
Okay, before we get started, I want to talk about some of the basic components on the guitar. Let’s start with this Strat-style guitar right here, and we’re going to start from the bottom and work our way up to the top. The first thing, here, we have the strap button. The strap button can be found at the back and at the top horn of the guitar. Right here, we have the tremolo system. The tremolo system also has saddles which the string goes over the top of, as it heads up towards the tuners. Okay, and as you can see it has a tremolo bar right here which can be pushed down or pulled back up. And so that would be a floating tremolo. If you have a fixed tremolo, it will only be able to be pressed downwards. Right here, you have the input for your guitar, that’s where you’re going to plug in. You have the volume and two tones. You have the pickup selector. The pick-up selector works like this: position one, would be the neck pickup; position two, would be the neck and the middle pickup; position three, the middle pickup; position four, would be the middle and the bridge pickup; and, the fifth position, would be the bridge pickup alone. Okay. Now, of course we have the neck of the guitar, which would be this whole piece right here, and this top part, which would be the fingerboard. Okay, on the fingerboard, there are frets, which are these metal things that are going downwards like that. Up here, we have the nut. And then we have the tuners here. You may notice, or you may not have noticed, that these tuners are locking tuners. You can see that they have gears right here that you can tighten, okay, which means that there’s not really a winding around the post of the tuner itself. You just pull the string all the way through, you lock it, and then you’re ready to play. And that’s a great setup to have with a floating tremolo. Okay, now, you might have a Strat with a different pickup selection that might look like this: this pickup in the back, you can see is fatter. This is a humbucker pickup, okay, this is a Tyler-style Strat, and that means that when the pickup selector is the four position, I’m using – and this is probably with most guitars that have humbuckers in the rear; most Strat-style guitars that have humbuckers in the rear – it uses the middle pickup, and the rear coil. It might be using the front coil, too, it just depends upon how the guitar is wired. And, when you put the guitar into the five position, it’s using this entire humbucker itself. Okay, so, now, if you happen to be playing a Telecaster, it’s all the same parts. We have the bridge, right here. And now, you’re going to notice a different in this bridge if you do not have a G-bender on the guitar. This guitar has a little mechanical trick device here, which is great for bending the G string. You can see on the backside that that’s where you put your strap into. Okay, there’s a little strap lock that goes here, which allows me, when I pull the guitar down like this, it bends by pulling the string backwards, and you can even, maybe, even hear it with the microphone. So, it bends it up a whole step. That’s why this bridge might look different from the one you have. You’re going to probably have a three-way or four-way selector. This is a four-way selector. Okay, the three-way selector, which is much more standard, which is probably the one that you have, which would be the neck pickup, and in the center it would be both pickups, and in the rear, it would be the rear pickup alone. Okay, so, that would be, oh, and then of course you have volume and tone. Right here, by the way, you have what’s called a string tree, and these keep the strings quiet above the nut. And usually you have the first – the E and the B – the first and second string, underneath the string tree. And again, you can see, I have locking tuners here. Okay? So, if you happen to have a Les Paul-style guitar, you’ll notice that you have a volume – a well-worn volume – and two-tones, okay? You have a tailpiece, which is where you thread the strings through, and you have a bridge – the strings ride over the bridge, go over the top of the bridge – and you have two humbucker pickups: humbucking means it bucks the hum, in other words, they don’t hum, much like many of the single pickups do. And you have a pickup selector switch. Now, the pickup selector switch, if it’s in the neck position, or rhythm, it’s the neck position. In the middle, both pickups. In the treble position, or lead position, it would be the bridge pickup. Again, the neck, the frets, and as you can see with this, no locking tuners, just regular standard tuners. And, with this one, as opposed to the Strat, the obvious, you know, three bass strings, and then three treble strings. Okay? And that pretty much covers the Les Paul. So, there you have it. You have the components of the guitar. Now you understand what you’re doing. I’ll see you in the lessons to come.