What are the parts of a guitar, of an electric guitar?

What are the parts of a guitar?

Although it's not totally necessary to learn the parts of the guitar when you learning, there is no harm in it either. Perhaps knowing the parts of your  guitar in detail would help you get more engaged with the instrument. This post will go over all of the parts of a guitar, if your guitar is an electric guitar.

The Body

The body of the guitar is the part that has the most weight. This is the body of a Fender Telecaster:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Pickups

Every electric guitar has pickups on it's body. What are pickups? In the most basic sense, they are small magnets and coils that sense vibrations in a string when plucked or strummed. This vibration is "picked up" and transferred via a guitar cable to an amp, and "amplified." Pickups can come as either humbuckers,

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

or single coils.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

 

Pickup switches

If an electric guitar has more than one pickup, you'll be able to switch between the pickups easily. This switch is located very close to the volume and tone knobs on a Fender Telecaster:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

On a Telecaster, I have the choice between three different pickup selections. The first selects the bridge pickup (a generally brighter and pluckier sound):

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

This opposite position goes to the neck pickup (a generally warmer and more tasty sound):

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

The middle position gets a combination of sounds from the two pickups:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Volume knob

Most electric guitars have a volume knob, and it does what you think it does: It simply adjusts the volume:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Tone knob

Tone knobs give you a bit more control over the sound coming directly from your guitar, like how defined you want your guitar's tone to be: 

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Jazz guitarists often turn this down so it can be a little more mellow, while lead country players leave this most, if not all, the way up.

Pick guard

Some guitarists use their picks like weapons to strike at the guitar strings. The first thing to get hit is the pick guard, and it's there as a safety measure. It's usually located just underneath the strings:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

This Gibson L4 has a pickguard that isn't directly beneith the strings:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Strap holders, or strap nooks

The nooks that you find on the body of the guitar are used to put a strap on the guitar:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Bridge

The bridge holds the ball-end of the strings to the body of the electric guitar:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

The Neck

The neck is the other part of the guitar. It's the part where the frets are:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Frets and fretboard

The metal bumps below the strings are called frets:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

The board where all of the frets are is called the fretboard:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Nut

The nut is the 1-3mm wide plastic piece that separates the strings between the fretboard and the headstock. The nut holds the strings exactly in place so they don't carelessly swivel around:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Headstock

The headstock is where the tuning pegs are:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Tuning pegs

The tuning pegs are what you use to tune the guitar. As long as the strings are threaded tightly into the pegs, you can easily use them to tune your guitar:

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Dave Wirth. All Rights Reserved.


All photos on this post aside from the backdrop at the top are Copyright 2017 Dave Wirth, all rights reserved.

Photo backdrop cred: Les Paul "The Log" 4x4 electric guitar by shannonpatrick17, Attribution 2.0 Generic