Outline of guitars

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A variety of guitars. Musee-de-la-musique-6.jpg
A variety of guitars.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars:


A guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Most guitar necks have metal frets attached (the exception is fretless bass guitars). Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with either nylon or steel strings. Some modern 2010-era guitars are made of polycarbonate materials. Guitars are made and repaired by luthiers. There are two primary families of guitars: acoustic and electric. An acoustic guitar has a wooden top and a hollow body. An electric guitar may be a solid-body or hollow body instrument, which is made louder by using a pickup and plugging it into a guitar amplifier and speaker. Another type of guitar is the low-pitched bass guitar.

What type of instrument is a guitar?

A guitar can be described as all of the following:

Types and varieties of guitars

Standard guitar variations

Pitch-based variations

Steel guitars


Extra strings

Fewer strings




Acoustic guitar models

Semi-acoustic models

Solid body electric models

Bass guitars

Bass guitars are also called "electric basses".


An Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar E-Gitarre.jpg
An Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar

Guitar accessories


Guitar amplifiers

Guitar amplifier

Guitar effects

Effects unit (also known as "Stomp Box")

Guitar software

Guitar use

Guitar music

Guitar tunings

See Guitar tunings and List of guitar tunings.

Guitar playing styles

The difference between guitar playing styles and guitar techniques (below) is that a style is a collection of techniques

Guitar technique

Main Category: Category:Guitar performance techniques

Fretting hand technique

Bridge (Right) hand techniques

See also the following from List of musical terminology: sul porticello (plucking/strumming near the bridge), sul tasto (plucking/strumming above the fingerboard)

Flat picking (single picking, plectrum picking)
Finger picking (multiple picking)
Percussive techniques

Head (Left) hand techniques

Legato techniques
Harmonic techniques

Guitar harmonic

Extended techniques

History of guitars

Guitar makers

Guitar manufacturers

Guitar magazines

Guitar music

Guitar festivals

Guitar community

Significant guitarists

Guitar methodologies

See also

Related Research Articles

The bass guitar, electric bass, or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses. Since the mid-1950s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music.

Classical guitar acoustic wooden guitar with wide neck, strings made of nylon

The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the modern acoustic and electric guitars, both of which use metal strings. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.

Electric guitar Electrical string instrument

An electric guitar is a guitar that requires external amplification in order to be heard at typical performance volumes. It uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals, which ultimately are reproduced as sound by loudspeakers. The sound can be shaped or electronically altered to achieve different timbres or tonal qualities, making it quite different than an acoustic guitar. Often, this is done through the use of effects such as reverb, distortion and "overdrive"; the latter is considered to be a key element of electric blues guitar music and rock guitar playing.

Guitar Fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the fingers/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

String instrument Class of musical instruments with vibrating strings

String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when the performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.

Twelve-string guitar steel-string guitar with six double courses

The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar with 12 strings in six courses, which produces a thicker, more ringing tone than a standard six-string guitar. Typically, the strings of the lower four courses are tuned in octaves, with those of the upper two courses tuned in unison. The gap between the strings within each dual-string course is narrow, and the strings of each course are fretted and plucked as a single unit. The neck is wider, to accommodate the extra strings, and is similar to the width of a classical guitar neck. The sound, particularly on acoustic instruments, is fuller and more harmonically resonant than six-string instruments.

Acoustic bass guitar type of acoustic instrument

The acoustic bass guitar is a bass instrument with a hollow wooden body similar to, though usually larger than a steel-string acoustic guitar. Like the traditional electric bass guitar and the double bass, the acoustic bass guitar commonly has four strings, which are normally tuned E-A-D-G, an octave below the lowest four strings of the 6-string guitar, which is the same tuning pitch as an electric bass guitar.

The fingerboard is an important component of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument. The strings run over the fingerboard, between the nut and bridge. To play the instrument, a musician presses strings down to the fingerboard to change the vibrating length, changing the pitch. This is called stopping the strings. Depending on the instrument and the style of music, the musician may pluck, strum or bow one or more strings with the hand that is not fretting the notes. On some instruments, notes can be sounded by the fretting hand alone, such as with hammer ons, an electric guitar technique.

Jazz bass musical technique; use of the double bass or bass guitar to improvise accompaniment ("comping") basslines and solos in a jazz or jazz fusion style

Jazz bass is the use of the double bass or bass guitar to improvise accompaniment ("comping") basslines and solos in a jazz or jazz fusion style. Players began using the double bass in jazz in the 1890s to supply the low-pitched walking basslines that outlined the chord progressions of the songs. From the 1920s and 1930s Swing and big band era, through 1940s Bebop and 1950s Hard Bop, to the 1960s-era "free jazz" movement, the resonant, woody sound of the double bass anchored everything from small jazz combos to large jazz big bands.

Fingerstyle guitar technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips

Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar or bass guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flatpicking. The term "fingerstyle" is something of a misnomer, since it is present in several different genres and styles of music—but mostly, because it involves a completely different technique, not just a "style" of playing, especially for the guitarist's picking/plucking hand. The term is often used synonymously with fingerpicking except in classical guitar circles, although fingerpicking can also refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues and country guitar playing in the US. The terms "fingerstyle" and "fingerpicking" also applied to similar string instruments such as the banjo.

Pickup (music technology) transducer that captures or senses mechanical vibrations produced by musical instruments

A pickup is a transducer that captures or senses mechanical vibrations produced by musical instruments, particularly stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, and converts these to an electrical signal that is amplified using an instrument amplifier to produce musical sounds through a loudspeaker in a speaker enclosure. The signal from a pickup can also be recorded directly.


A pickguard is a piece of plastic or other material that is placed on the body of a guitar, mandolin or similar plucked string instrument. The main purpose of the pickguard is to protect the guitar's finish from being scratched by the guitar pick.

A solid-body musical instrument is a string instrument such as a guitar, bass or violin built without its normal sound box and relying on an electromagnetic pickup system to directly detect the vibrations of the strings; these instruments are usually plugged into an instrument amplifier and loudspeaker to be heard. Solid-body instruments are preferred in situations where acoustic feedback may otherwise be a problem and are inherently both less expensive to build and more rugged than acoustic electric instruments.

Classical guitar technique guitar technique used by classical guitarists

In classical guitar, the right hand is developed in such a way that it can sustain two, three, and four voice harmonies while also paying special attention to tone production. The index (i), middle (m), and ring (a) fingers are generally used to play the melody, while the thumb (p) accompanies in the bass register adding harmony, and produces a comparable texture and effect to that of the piano. The classical guitar is a solo polyphonic instrument, and it is difficult to master.

Flamenco guitar Acoustic guitar used in Flamenco music

A flamenco guitar is a guitar similar to a classical guitar but with thinner tops and less internal bracing. It usually has nylon strings, as opposed to steel. Usually, it has a livelier sound compared to the classical guitar. It is used in toque, the guitar-playing part of the art of flamenco.

Acoustic guitar guitar which does not require external amplification

An acoustic guitar is a musical instrument in the guitar family. Its strings vibrate a sound board on a resonant body to project a sound wave through the air. The original, general term for this stringed instrument is guitar, and the retronym 'acoustic guitar' distinguishes it from an electric guitar, which relies on electronic amplification. Typically, a guitar's body is a sound box, of which the top side serves as a sound board that enhances the vibration sounds of the strings. In standard tuning the guitar's six strings are tuned (low to high) E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4.

Guitar synthesizer music instrument

A guitar synthesizer is any one of a number of musical instrument systems that allow a guitarist to access synthesizer capabilities.

Electric guitar design is a type of industrial design where the looks and efficiency of the shape as well as the acoustical aspects of the guitar are important factors. In the past many guitars have been designed with all kinds of odd shapes as well as very practical and convenient solutions to improve the usability of the object.

3rd bridge

The 3rd bridge is an extended playing technique used on the electric guitar and other string instruments that allows a musician to produce distinctive timbres and overtones that are unavailable on a conventional string instrument with two bridges. The timbre created with this technique is close to that of gamelan instruments like the bonang and similar Indonesian types of pitched gongs.

A third bridge can be devised by inserting a rigid preparation object between the strings and the body or neck of the instrument, effectively diving the string into distinct vibrating segments.

Guitar picking

Guitar picking is a group of hand and finger techniques a guitarist uses to set guitar strings in motion to produce audible notes. These techniques involve plucking, strumming, brushing, etc. Picking can be done with: