Parts of the Guitar
In order to speak intelligently about the guitar, one needs to know the names of the various parts of the guitar. The guitar is modeled somewhat after the human body. the guitar has a head (headstock), neck, body and ribs (no arms or legs).
The headstock is at the top of the guitar where the tuning pegs are.
Then we have the nut and the beginning of the neck, The nut can be made from a variety of materials including; plastic, bone, brass and graphite. Bone is perhaps the first choice of many guitarists. the nut keeps the strings evenly spaced across the fretboard and lifts them above the frets. Quite often the nut elevates the strings too much. On many guitars, it is necessary to have the nut adjusted to lower the string action (the height of the strings from the fretboard)
The frets are embedded into the fretboard which is glued to the neck.
The fret board is usually made of a hardwood like ebony. The frets are embedded into the fretboard. The fretboard is glued to the neck. Click here to see a guitar neck being constructed.
The body of the guitar is composed of a number of parts including the soundboard, ribs (or sides of the guitar), back, bridge and saddle.
The soundboard is what is responsible for most of the tone of the guitar. The string vibrations are tranferred to the soundboard via the bridge and saddle.
Traditional woods for the soundboard are spruce or cedar. Click here to see a soundboard being built.
The rosette is a decorative decal that surrounds the sound hole. In handmade guitars the rosette is made from tiny pieces of wood. Click here to see a traditional rossette being constucted.
Guitar bracing refers to the system of wooden struts which support and reinforce the soundboard and back of the instrument. First perfected by Antonio Torres Jurado in the 19th century, all acoustic guitars use some kind of bracing.
Guitar bracing performs two different functions: strengthen the top of the guitar while allowing it to vibrate sufficiently to produce a warm and resonant tone. As well, bracing plays a major role in determining the tone of a guitar.
The pickguard prevents the pick from damaging the top or soundboard of the guitar.
A truss rod is a guitar part used to stabilize and adjust the lengthwise forward curvature (also called relief), of the neck. Usually it is a steel rod that runs inside the neck and has a bolt that can be used to adjust its tension.
When the truss rod is loosened (i.e. moved towards the guitar’s body), it allows the neck to bend slightly in response to the tension of the strings. Similarly, when tightened (i.e. moved towards the guitar’s headstock) the truss rod straightens the neck by resisting the tension of the strings.
The guitar comes in various body sizes and shapes. The most common and popular shape is the dreadnought. Dreadnought is a type of acoustic guitar body developed by guitar manufacturers C.F. Martin & Company. The Dreadnought style has since been copied by other guitar manufacturers and is now a common style of guitar body. It’s shape is somewhat rectangular.
You can see the final assembly of a guitar by clicking here.