3.1 Anatomy Of The Guitar

Andy | August 17, 2015 | 11 Comments

Whatever you do, it is important to know and understand the tools you are working with, in this case the component parts of your guitar.

By increasing your understanding it will allow you to integrate with your “axe” appreciate what makes up the sound and, perhaps more importantly, identify any shortcomings should, god forbid, anything go awry. You could even relate this to your partner… so welcome to the Guitar Coach Relationship Advisory Service!!!!

Anyway, we digress; have a look at the video for a detailed explanation and demonstration, but here is a snapshot of those guitar components.



1. The Head Stock. This is the anchor for the strings at the end of the neck.

2. The Tuning Keys (and Machine Heads). These are used to tighten or loosen the strings so the guitar can be tuned by winding them around a small post.

3. String pegs. Used to hold the strings in place

4. The Nut.  Made of plastic or bone, it’s function is to direct the strings perfectly toward the bridge.

5. The Fretboard – This is, essentially, the neck of the guitar where the fret wires and fret markers are

6. Fret Wires. (Generically known as frets). These are the metal bars that mark off specific notes along the fretboard.  The frets allow us a greater margin of error in finger placement.

7. Fret Markers remind us where we are along the fretboard (neck) and help us to know what note we are playing without counting frets from the nut.

The Pick Guard (not on this guitar) protects the Body from the wearing effects of constant strumming.

8. The Bridge is the anchor for the strings in the Body.

9. The Saddle and The Nut must be aligned just right to make sure that the Action (the height of the strings from the fretboard) is not too close to make sound, or too far to press down.

On an electric guitar, the strings often connect directly to the Bridge. On an acoustic guitar, the Bridge Pins hold them in place.

On an electric guitar, the Pickups are where the electrical signal is created that travels through the input jack, through the guitar cable and into the Amplifier (or Amp.)

10. Body. These are the convex and converse curves that should “fit” your own body size

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Comments (11)

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  1. Colin Bowling says:

    I think it would be good to show a photograph of an acoustic with a pick guard to show beginners what it looks like and maybe an electric too so they can see the pickups and controls.

  2. jim crossland says:

    Best way keep it simple dont digress too much on differing guitars and they are all made in a similar way

  3. Gary Stout says:

    3.1 Anatomy of a guitar – most guitars have fret markers, but not all. Might make neophyte worry about their non-marked guitars. Also might mention, briefly, that there are many different styles of guitars, both acoustic and electric and each gives a different sound and tone, but all the concepts are the same across all makes and models. Might also mention, again briefly, that some guitars have more frets than others which allows a slightly wider range of notes to be played. Also some have cutouts allowing access to higher frets. You and I know all of this, but all these options can be overwhelming to a beginner who isn’t sure what guitar to buy in the beginning.

  4. Jack Runnels says:

    good introduction to the parts of a guitar
    things a beginner should know when talking about guitar

  5. Ronnie Holderfield says:

    I really like this video, it is simple but complete, in all the beginner player needs to know. You never need to start with a place that the younger kids would ever even care about.

  6. Ken Hammond says:

    Comprehensive enough to give a good understanding and kept simple.

  7. Robin Haynes says:

    In the US at any rate, we call the bridge and saddle the reverse of the way you describe them. The bridge is the wooden piece that’s glued to the top, and the saddle is the bone or plastic piece that the strings actually sit on.

    I’m enjoying the beginner course. It’s fascinating to try to put myself into that mental place and think about what I need to know.

    • Anthony Mucci says:

      10) consider touching on flat vs arch-tops

      Your American audience will not recognize ‘converse’. consider ‘converse or concave’ or convex is domed while concave/verse is dished. Maybe add upper/lower bouts, sound-holes, binding, rosettes, truss rods (for qualified technicians only)
      Why frets are spaced differently. 12th fret is 1/2 distance from saddle to nut.
      Show a ‘tune-a-matic’ style and explain that they are individually adjustable to compensate for the string diameter differences particularly on steel strung instruments

  8. Richard McKay says:

    I would have a couple of sidebars. “If you’re really interested here’s the physics of how a guitar makes sound” and “If you are really interested, here’s the anatomy of an electric guitar.”, and “etc.”

    These enrich the content. Explain that they aren’t on the critical path, just extras. Adds value to the product.

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