Guitar Basics.pdf - Shred-A-Riff by xiaopangnv


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     MORE PARTS...

    the body contains

    the neck contains

    the headstock contains

               other bits and pieces...


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                             The Basics 


                                  Types of Guitar


Guitars can broken down into 3 basic subcategories:

1. Acoustic Guitars

       2. Electric Guitars
      3. Spanish Guitars










                                 Choosing a Guitar


When it comes to beginners choosing a guitar - Acoustic, Electric or Classical1, there are

several factors to keep in mind... 


    Beautiful clear sound                      Strings tend to be harder

    Lightweight                                Large size is usually harder for
                                               children to learn with

1   a.k.a Spanish or Flamenco
     *applies to most acoustics - more on amplifiers later.
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    No need for an amplifier*                     Only 1 tone/sound


    Pros                                         Cons
    Softer strings than Acoustic Guitars         Tend to be heavier than Acoustic or
                                                 Spanish Guitars
    Wider variety of tones/sound effects         Needs Amplification
    made possible
    Smaller in size than Acoustic and            Requires a larger amount of
    Spanish Guitars                              knowledge for maintenance (due to
                                                 the electrical components)


    Pros                                         Cons
    Softer strings                               Generally wider and shorter neck
    Better for classical musicians               Tend to be harder to string than
                                                 Electric or Acoustic Guitars
    Beautiful Flamenco tone                      Limited styles of playing

So thats the main points to watch out for when choosing a guitar which is right for you but
please keep in mind there are exceptions to every rule which can throw off some of the
points i've made above so just a few more pointers below.

    Choose lighter gauge2 strings to begin with as they will be softer on your fingers.


•   Try out some guitars at a store to get the feel of whats right for you.

    Some Acoustics need amplification if the have a built in pickup3.


•   Generally Spanish guitars will be the cheapest option.

•   All guitars can usually be bought in starter packs which include all related items you
    need (plectrums/picks, straps, tuners) etc.

2 Gauge = thickness of strings. .8's (point eights) are generally thinnest and therefore
easiest on your finger however this comes at the cost of tuning instability. I would
recommend at least .9's if you can handle them and .10's are my personal preference. You
can go up to .13's I believe, this is common amongst jazz players but not for the faint
3Pickup = electrical device in electric and semi-acoustic guitars which acts like a
microphone to pickup/receive the guitars sound which is then outputted by an amplifier.
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• Electric starter packs can sometimes come with small amps included. If you don't get an
  amp deal this will be an extra cost to consider

• If you take the second hand option it would be advisable to bring someone with you who
  knows what to look out for. As you would with a second hand car there can be problems
  you can't see which will only reveal themselves over time...

                       A word for left-handed people:

If you are, like me, part of that 1/10th of the worlds population who happen to
use the correct hand to write with you should know the following:

Besides the fact that we're awesome we also live in a world where everything is made for
right handed people, so before you go into a store looking for a left handed guitar do the
following test on yourself.

• Pick up a guitar, do you hold it with the neck in your left or right hand? 

• If the neck is in your left hand you have been lucky in the sense that you may write left
  handed but you play guitar right handed (like me), and things have just become a bit
  easier for you.

• If the neck is in your right hand then you are indeed a fully fledged southpaw and will
  need a left handed guitar, which can be more expensive and hard to find a particular
  model you might be longing for... or you could do like the great Jimi Hendrix and pick up
  a right handed guitar flip it over and put the strings on 'upside down' and away you go.
  And If it's good enough for Jimi...

                     Final thoughts on buying a Guitar


Sometimes its best to trust your instincts and go with what suits you best. 

If you're into singer-songwriters - Go Acoustic!

If you're a classically influenced - Go Classical!

If you want to rock out - Go Electric!

But if you're still undecided and needed to know the most versatile and trouble free option
to go for beginners I would tell you to...

Go Acoustic! In MY opinion acoustic guitars can cover the most musical styles, no amps or
leads needed... 

                   Getting to know your Guitar


First off congrats on buying a guitar I hope it gives you years of entertainment, or if you,re
just here for some learning before your guitar arrives Good For You! The more you know

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now will make it all the better an experience for the day you get your hands on a 6 string
(or 7 string or maybe 12 string)...

                                 THE PARTS

    Here you are going to get familiar with the names and functions of
                  the parts on your guitar starting with:



                                The Body


                                This is the all encompassing lower half of your guitar.













                                                                                    The Neck

                                  The part with which you create notes and chords. Simple.












                                    The Head or Headstock


                                    The part that holds and tunes your strings. Thats it.





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                                         More parts...


                                 The Body contains:

                                 SCRATCH PLATE - The whole black section here is the


                                 Scratch Plates do what the name says, also in electric
                                 guitars they house the Pickups, Pickup selector switch
                                 and tone/volume potentiometers (pots).











                                     PICKUPS4 - These are

                                     like small microphones
                                     that receive the sound
                                     from your guitars strings
                                     and sends it out through
                                     an Amplifier.


                                     This guitar has 3

                                     Top - DOUBLE-COIL/HUM-BUCKER5 (H)


Middle - SINGLE-COIL (S)


Pickups can come in many combinations on guitars such as 3 single coils or 2 hum-
buckers etc. 

4Pickups consist of copper wire wrapped or coiled around a magnet. Single coils consist
of 1 magnet + coil combination, double coil consist of 2... enough said.
5Double-coil also called a HUM-BUCKER or HUM CANCELLING pickup. Single coil pups
emit what is called 60 cycle/60hertz hum while 2 single coils together solves this problem.
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      The majority of pickups are PASSIVE but they can also come in ACTIVE varieties which
                                                                     are battery powered.


    Image of a battery cavity for active pickups.

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                                  PICKUP SELECTOR SWITCH - This switch selects
                                  which pickup or combination of pickups is active.


                                  Depending on the number of pickups on a guitar you
                                  can have either a 3-way or 5-way selector switch.


                                  This guitar has a 5-way switch and it can select the
                                  following 5 pickup combinations:









                   Bridge Position: selects the bridge hum-bucker only









                       Bridge-Middle position: selects BOTH the bridge
                              hum-bucker and middle single-coil pups.






                   Middle position: selects the middle single-coil only.






    Middle-Neck position: selects BOTH the middle single-coil and neck





                   Neck position: selects the neck hum-bucker only.

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                                      VOLUME/TONE POTS (POTENTIOMETERS) - These
                                     control the level of volume and the depth of tone from
                                     your guitar.


                                     This model has 1 volume and 2 tone6, some models

                                     have 2 volume and 2 tone7














                                         BRIDGE - The bridge supports the strings of your
                                         guitar. On acoustic guitars they are fixed into place
                                         and cannot be moved. Electric guitar bridges come in
                                         HARD-TAIL,8 TREMOLO9 and FLOATING10 varieties.



                                                                       The acoustic bridge seen
                                                                       here contains a SADDLE
                                                                       onto which the strings rest.
                                                                       Also you can see the strings
                                                                       are held into place with









6Volume controls overall pickup output and the neck-middle pickup share 1 tone and the
middle-bridge pickups share the other.
7   These models usually have 2 pickups, each with their own volume and tone controls.
8   Hard-tail = fixed position bridges.
9Tremolo bridges are movable bridges which are controlled with a WHAMMY bar to
Lower the string pitch.
10Floating bridges are similar to tremolo bridges but the can both raise and lower the
guitar pitch.
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                                   THE NECK CONTAINS:

                                   FRETS - The horizontal steel bars seen here are frets.

                                   Each fret is equal to 1 semi-tone11 and there are usually

                                   between 19 and 24 frets on a guitar.


                                   FRET MARKERS - The black dots seen in the image
                                   are fret markers. They are used as a helpful guide to
                                   find your position on the neck. They are usually located
                                   at the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st and 24th









                                   THE HEADSTOCK CONTAINS:

                                   MACHINE HEADS - The silver pegs that secure your
                                   strings at the head. They are connected to the TUNING
                                   PEGS which, when turned will either raise or lower the
                                   pitch of its corresponding string.


                                                       NUT - Technically could be part of
                                                       the neck but hey... The nut is the
                                                       white thin horizontal bar in the
                                                       image. It has 6 slots for the strings
                                                       to sit into.


                                                       Also note the hole by the bottom of
                                                       the head. This allows access to your
                                                       guitars TRUSS ROD.12



11   More on semi tones later
12 A truss rod is a steel bar which runs internally down the length of the neck. It offers
support to counter act the tension applied to the neck from the strings. Also from time to
time a bend or bow can appear in a guitar neck, in which case the truss rod can be
adjusted to remedy this.
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                   OTHER BITS AND PIECES...



                        These holes at the back of the guitar are where the strings
                        pass through when being put onto your guitar. This is
                        known as a THRU-BODY system.


                                            Exiting the front of the body.



                                                                An acoustic guitars
                                                                sound hole









                       FLOYD-ROSE - This is a FLOATING bridge system with
                       which the pitch can be raised and lowered. Also the strings
                       are locked into place at the nut to help stabilise tuning.


                                               LOCKING NUT - The 3 screws are
                                               tightened into place which secures
                                               the strings, resulting in less tuning
                                               issues resulting from whammy bar










                       INPUT - Where you plug in your guitar.



                                             STRAP PEG - Hang your strap on
                                             these and get rocking.









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Please keep in mind this is just a basic guide for the parts of a guitar and their functions, a
whole book alone could be wrote on this subject and that there is a whole world of
information and in depth scientific analysis on bridges, pickups, pots and everything else. 

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