Why Are There So Many Types of Guitars?

If you listen to a lot of music, you know what a difference the type of guitar can make. From loudly rocking out in a metal band to the mellow sounds of an acoustic guitar gently plunking in the background, guitar music comes in many different formats.

You may wonder why there’s a need for so many guitar types. Isn’t one or two enough? Let’s explore the reasons behind the evolution of the many kinds of guitars and which one may best suit your needs.

Different Types of Guitars

There are three main types of guitars — acoustic, bass, and electric. The kind you want depends on the music you prefer and your overall comfort level and music knowledge.

Types of Acoustic Guitars

Everyone recognizes the acoustic guitar. You have probably seen them in guitar stores or music videos. The guitar traces its roots back to the early 1900s, when Martin Guitars created the instrument for the Oliver Ditson Company. Most have six strings and are made from wood. You can find acoustics with symmetrical and cut-away designs.

The sound from an acoustic guitar differentiates according to the body wood and the size. Consider these elements when playing an acoustic guitar:

  • Fingerpicking: You can get the best sound from a guitar with a medium-sized neck and a small chassis. Or enjoy better note separation with smaller guitars.
  • Wood: A solid-wood guitar generates a sound that matures with age. A laminate wood has less tonal development, and the tone isn’t as rich.
  • Big noise: A jumbo guitar produces a big sound, which differs from smaller guitars. Depending on your needs, you can experiment with size to find the one that works best.
  • String type: Guitars with nylon strings generally lend the best sound for classical music, while steel strings work best for rock and country.

You can also find semi-acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars, which have a slightly different sound and offer musicians greater versatility.

Types of Electric Guitars

Electric guitars use pedals and gizmos to generate sound. You need an amp to play an electric guitar, but they are similar to acoustic in that they are usually made from wood and have six strings — though some have 12 strings. Electric guitars produce a robust sound that sustains louder and longer than an acoustic guitar. You enjoy greater versatility because you can make so many different sounds. Experimenting can take hours with an electric guitar thanks to all the elements the pedals can change.

You usually find electric guitars used with metal or rock. Some types of music, such as folk, refuse to use electric guitars, but they can provide an exciting variance to traditional sounds, even in classical music.

Solidbody electric guitars are most popular for rock and most other uses of electric. Dating back to the 1950s, they are easy to play and portable, and they have small variables that can influence the sound and comfort level of the musician, such as neck size and weight. You can also choose from single coil or humbucker. Other variables include:

  • String tension
  • Baritone
  • Feedback

No matter which type of electric guitar appeals to you, solid-body or semi-hollow, you will generally take center stage in a band if you play electric guitar.

Types of Bass Guitars

The traditional bass was a big instrument that added a fantastic element to any type of sound. But traditional basses weren’t easy to transport, so Fender created a bass guitar that ticked the right boxes while offering easy transport around a stage.

The bass has fewer strings than other guitars — just four — and is designed to make a deeper sound. The thick strings produce low sounds that often echo in the background of a song. While the electric guitar will provide the more melodic tones of a piece, the bass supports that melody in the background.

You can find electric as well as acoustic or semi-acoustic basses. They work best for people who like the rhythm of music and are happy staying in the background. If you have always dreamed of taking on a solo in a rock band, then the bass is not for you. Bass players provide the accompaniment that deepens the listening experience.

Find Your Next Guitar at Record Head

Are you looking for a guitar to add to your collection? Whether you want an acoustic or bass guitar, new or used, you can find the one you want at Record Head. Contact us or stop by to learn more about our musical instruments.