The lute, a guitar-like instrument, has been traced back to 3100 BCE, making it one of the earliest musical instruments. The guitar had seen numerous modifications since its inception all those years ago. For each person, the term “guitar” has a different meaning. It might be the resonant strum of a steel-string acoustic over a campfire, or the thunder of a Les Paul electric through a Marshall guitar amp, or the delicate fingerpicking of a seasoned classical guitarist.
Yes, the world of guitar is vast and diverse, encompassing a wide range of instruments in various genres and timbres.
So, if this is your first time learning to play the guitar, welcome! This book will introduce you to the various varieties of guitars that have evolved and assist you in choosing which instrument you want to play.
Choosing The Right Type Of Guitar
The perfect guitar for you is determined by the sort of music you want to play, the sounds you want your guitar to produce, and the appearance and feel you want. As a guitar instructor, the worst advice I get about what sort of guitar beginners should purchase is “get a nylon string acoustic because it’s easier on your fingertips.”
This is the worst piece of advice for a variety of reasons. The main reason it’s the worst advice that it doesn’t consider the sort of music you wish to listen to. Assume you want to learn how to play electric guitar so you can shred some solos and play strong chords with thick distortion. If that’s your aim, a classical acoustic guitar is the worst guitar you could buy.
The best guitar for you is one that is compatible with the music you wish to play. Get an electric guitar if you wish to perform severely damaged songs. Get an acoustic guitar if you wish to fingerpick chords to accompany your singing. Consider each type of guitar as you go through this guide to see whether it matches the sort of music you wish to perform.
While certain guitars are more difficult to play than others, there’s nothing worse than learning to play on the incorrect instrument.
What Guitar Styles are There?
We spoke about the various guitars available today (including some very strange and esoteric ones), but what about the various forms of guitar music?
First and foremost, there’s slide guitar. Playing slide guitar is similar to playing steel guitar in that it involves plucking and sliding up and down the fretboard with a physical slide to alter the pitch.
The blues is another popular genre. Blues music is sluggish and unhappy, and if you were to categorize it, it would be categorized as “sad.” Of course, not all blues music is depressing, but most people would answer so if asked to describe it in a single word.
Another intriguing guitar style is bluegrass, which has a rapid tempo and rich American origins. You’ll see that we include bluegrass on the list above if you glance up at our resonating guitar. This is because bluegrass walking bass lines are frequently played on resonant guitars.
There’s also a fingerstyle guitar to consider. Fingerstyle guitar is played by plucking the strings one by one with your plucking hand while changing chords/notes with your fretting hand simultaneously. A talented fingerpicking can blend the bottom line with the main melody and reproduce music sections with amazing precision when done correctly.
Those are only a few styles commonly played on guitar.
Flamenco, Folk, Jazz, Rhythm, Rock, Country, R&B, and Funk are additional styles you may be familiar with.
Playing It The Classic Way
The origins of this guitar may be traced back to Spain, and it was the only instrument available at the time for playing traditional music with a classical foundation. This falls within the category of beginning guitars.
The major feature of the guitar is that it is made of wood, and a large soundbox is located in the lower half of the instrument, which is shaped like a female torso. The soundbox is hollow, and the string above it used to be gut-stringed. Nylon strings, on the other hand, have become popular as musical technology has advanced. They make a distinct, more soothing sound that is also slightly muffled. The music is pleasant and well-suited to the classical genre. A word of caution, though: metal strings should never be used on a Spanish guitar.
Different Types of Guitar Names With Pictures
When it comes to the guitar, there are many different types of guitars. Acoustic guitars, electric guitars, classical guitars, and bass guitars are all unique experiences. Here is the latest list of all types of guitar names with pictures and images that you should know about.
1. Acoustic-Electric Guitar
It’s not only a catchy moniker. An acoustic-electric (also known as electro-acoustic) guitar is an acoustic guitar that can be plugged into an amplifier. Once upon a time, you’d buy a cheap magnetic pickup and clamp it into your acoustic guitar’s large gaping hole. Things are a little more complex these days. Fishman and L.R. Baggs, for example, make systems that perfectly duplicate the tone of your acoustic guitar via an amp. A piezo strip buried behind the bridge saddle, a sensor attached to the underside of the guitar’s top, or a tiny microphone pointed at the strings from within the instrument’s body are all examples of pickup types.
Some manufacturers, such as Yamaha, provide all three choices in a single guitar. When amplified, these may be mixed to create an authentic-sounding acoustic tone. The pickups are only the beginning of the amplifying process. Most contemporary electro-acoustics feature a preamp that enhances the signal from any pickup type. It will be battery-operated, with volume and EQ settings as well as an inbuilt tuner.
Keep an eye out for a phase flip as well. This ingenious device combats undesired feedback, the obnoxious electrical scream that drives audiences insane. You’ll also notice that a lot of electro-acoustics have a body cutaway. This gives all-you showboaters easier access to the guitar’s top frets.
2. Nylon-String Classical Guitar
The Spanish or classical guitar is a small-bodied acoustic instrument with nylon strings popular with campfire singsongs and mariachi ensembles. Most, if not all, guitarists began their careers learning classical music. They’re great for learning because they’re cheap and available in 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4 sizes, meaning full-size, um, sizes. The low-tension nylon strings are more comfortable on the fingertips than the calloused steel strings found on acoustic and electric guitars.
Nylon-strung guitars, on the other hand, aren’t only for greasy youngsters. Genuine classical performers like Segovia and Julian Bream are linked with these topics. In their case, full-size, really costly ones. They may also be quite cool. Country music’s indomitable Willie Nelson and late great guitar genius and actor Jerry Reed are two of the finest nylon-string wranglers.
Listen to Willie solo on his beat-up old Martin N-20 Trigger’ for a lovely nylon-string tone on the City Of New Orleans. On Elvis Presley’s Guitar Man and US Male, look for Jerry in the beginning. On his instrumental masterpiece The Claw, his virtuosity is on full display.
3. Resonator Guitar
Imagine an acoustic guitar created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, or any other steampunk authors. It would most likely resemble a resonator in appearance. These objects are certainly cool, but what makes them unique is what’s on the inside—first, some background information. The acoustic guitar was becoming more popular as a rhythm instrument in huge ensembles and orchestras in the 1920s. The difficulty was that this new steel-strung machine couldn’t match the horn players’ abilities. There was no amplification available to guitarists back then.
The answer to the lack of output turned out to be a mechanical speaker with a spinning aluminum cone. At the request of steel guitarist George Beauchamp, John Dopyera created the concept. Dopyera discovered that the traditional method of producing acoustic volume, a vibrating top (also known as a soundboard), wasn’t powerful enough. Instead, he used three tiny metal cones to guide the strings’ vibrations, resulting in a significantly louder instrument.
Dopyera was a key figure in creating two of the most well-known resonator guitar brands, National and Dobro. Even though these guitars were originally designed for big band jazz, they became more popular as bluegrass and folk-blues instruments. You may purchase one with a single giant cone or three smaller cones these days. They are available with wood or metal bodies and square or round necks. With a slide or tone bar, square necks are played face-up in your lap. Round necks are played in the same way as traditional acoustic guitars. Make certain you get the correct one.
4. Hollowbody Guitar
Almost every guitarist of the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s played a large hollow body jazz guitar. Manufacturers such as Gibson, Epiphone, and D’Angelico created these guitars, which were distinguished by their arched tops and f-shaped soundholes. Originally, all of these guitars were acoustic. Charlie Christian, the guitarist for Benny Goodman, was the first to employ amplification on his Epiphone and Gibson guitars in the 1930s and 1940s.
Charlie is also known as the father of the guitar solo and has a Gibson pickup named after him. Jazz guitarists began to use pickups on their guitars in the 1950s, most notably the Gibson P-90 single-coil and the later Seth Lover-developed humbucker. A new generation of Thinline hollow body guitars became available in the 1960s. The Epiphone Casino, made famous by Beatle John Lennon, is the most well-known of them.
5. Semi-Acoustic/Semi-Hollow Guitar
Although Hollowbody guitars look and sound fantastic, they do have one drawback that solid bodies do not. Because of their hollowness, they are susceptible to electrical feedback. Now, if the feedback is done deliberately, it may sound really nice. Consider The Who’s Pete Townshend or Jimi Hendrix performing live at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Unwanted feedback is a different story. In an attempt to quiet the screaming beast, hollow body electric owners would load their guitars with newspaper, cotton wool, packing peanuts, and everything else they could think of.
Ted McCarty, a Gibson icon, came up with a better approach. He introduced the now-iconic ES-335 model in 1958. A block runs through the body of this semi-hollow guitar. Yes, it added weight to the guitar. It also enhanced the feedback situation significantly, as well as the tone and sustained. Ted’s clever idea has impacted a slew of guitars today, including the Epiphone Sheraton and Gretsch Centre-Block things.
6. Solid Body Guitar
We’d all be playing banjos right now if it weren’t for the solid-body electric guitar. Allow it to settle in for a moment. Yes, the world in the early 1950s was a very bleak place. Cardigans and traditional jazz were the order of the day. Then things started to happen. Elvis Presley, hot rods, and Marilyn Monroe are just a few examples. Leo Fender introduced the Esquire, a single-pickup guitar, in 1950. The next instrument was the Broadcaster, a twin-pickup guitar that was eventually called the Telecaster. Gibson responded in 1952 with the Les Paul, a guitar named after the hit creator and inventor of the same name. In 1953, the Gretsch Duo Jet made its debut. A year later, the Fender Stratocaster was released.
Gibson had created numerous Les Paul models (Standard, Custom, Junior, Special), as well as the ES-335, the Flying V, and the Explorer by the end of the 1950s. It would reveal the SG, the coolest electric guitar of all time, in 1961, even if it was known as the Les Paul until 1963. Solidbody guitars are durable, portable, and enjoyable to play. With effects, you may customize their sounds to your heart’s delight. Even if you’re not cool, a nice-looking guitar may make you look like one.
You may choose from a huge selection of solid body guitars. Your goal is to attempt as many as possible. That’s how you figure out if you want a thick, thin, or medium neck; single coils or humbuckers, and if you prefer a light or heavy bodyweight. Perhaps you like the tighter string tension of a 25.5″ scale Fender or the ease with which you can bend a 24.75″ scale Gibson guitar. A baritone’s larger scale and rich twang may even appeal to you. Just because a guitar is more costly does not mean it is the greatest. Many guitarists have had the “eureka” moment when they discover a low-cost instrument that blows them away.
7. Classical Guitar
The classical guitar, often known as the Spanish guitar, was designed to perform classical or flamenco music, but it may today be used to play any style of music that the musician wishes. Nylon strings are used on classical guitars because they are softer on the fingers and provide a mellower tone than steel strings. Classical guitars come in various sizes (find out what size guitar you need here), making them an excellent choice for young musicians. The classical guitar is the most popular among beginners due to its tone, the frequently lower price, and the range of sizes offered.
8. Acoustic Guitar
The acoustic guitar is similar to the classical guitar, except instead of nylon strings, steel strings are used, resulting in a significantly louder sound. You may play a variety of acoustic guitars, including the dreadnought and twelve-string guitars.
9. Electro-Acoustic Guitar
The electro-acoustic guitar is similar to an acoustic guitar with the ability to enhance the sound by connecting it into amplifiers. Electro-acoustic guitars are also popular for recording and using sound effect pedals.
10. Electric Guitar
Electric guitars are distinguished from regular guitars in that they create sound by translating string vibrations into electric impulses. That is, unlike other guitar varieties, an electric guitar cannot be picked up and played. To get a sound, you’ll need to connect the electric guitar to an amplifier.
11. Bass Guitar
The bass guitar is built to generate a tone that is far lower than the other instruments. Although some bass guitars have five or six strings, most current bass guitars are electronic and have four strings.
12. Twelve-String Guitar
The category of twelve-string is the next on this list. This isn’t the standard six-string model you’ll find on the market. The first strings, which are odd numbers, are generally different, whereas the second through twelfth strings, which are even numbers, sound like the six-string model equivalent. The strings are played in pairs rather than individually in this scenario, as in a six-string guitar. As a result, the tone generated is brighter and clearer in the end. To play this guitar correctly, the chord progressions must be thickened and practiced.
13. Touch Guitar
The first Touch Guitar Invention began in 1959 with the submission of patent #2,989,884 for the first touch tapping guitar that could be played on two different necks, which was issued in 1961. Simultaneously, by muting the strings at the neck’s distal end, as well as a slew of additional claims. It was known as the DuoLectar until 1974 when it was renamed the “Touch Guitar” thanks to a new patent.
It’s held over the shoulder in the usual manner, with the left hand playing the lower bass neck and the right hand playing over the top on a neck with a larger string spacing, allowing the hand to be employed at both vertical and horizontal angles the strings. Until it is touched or plucked, it is completely off.
14. Archtop Guitar
A semi-hollow steel-string guitar is the type of guitar on this list. To be clear, this is a favorite among jazz guitarists all around the world. While the acoustic and electric archtop guitars have a similar appearance, they are not the same on the inside. An interior electromagnetic pickup is included in the design. It also has a pot, which isn’t seen on an acoustic guitar. Full-bodied archtop guitars and thin-line archtop guitars are the two most common kinds.
You’ll notice that archtop guitars are on the medium-priced side, so if the jazz genre appeals to you, don’t settle for a low-cost model. This is a simple buy.
15. Harp Guitar
This is one of those guitar kinds that few people are aware of. Harp guitars are made out of a normal guitar neck with fretted strings and a side section with several open unstopped strings.
The Gibson Style U shown above has ten harp strings to the left of the regular guitar neck that may be plucked and/or strummed like a harp – quite cool if you ask me!
According to the official definition, the number of open unstopped strings defines whether a guitar is a “harp guitar.” You can make a harp guitar by adding even one extra unstopped string to the side of a normal guitar.
16. Upright Bass Guitar
Electric upright bass guitars (also known as amplified double basses) feature a thin, minimal body that makes them easier to transport and much lighter than their acoustic counterparts.
For the time being, we’ll solely be talking about electric upright bass guitars because of their unique streamlined style and thin shape.
Upright basses, like most other guitars, are available in solid-body and hollow-body versions. As the name implies, solid-body upright bass guitars do not have a hollow enclosure. As a result, they produce no acoustic sound and rely on an amplifier to rehearse and play.
On the other hand, hollow-body guitars have a tiny wooden cage that can generate an acoustic tone. You may practice on your hollow-body upright bass without needing to plug it into an amplifier, which is convenient for practicing. However, if you need to perform or play louder, you’ll need to connect your hollow body to an amplifier to prevent being overwhelmed by extraneous noise.
Overall, upright bass guitars are fantastic instruments with a distinct playing style.
17. Steel Guitar
These guitars, which originated in Hawaii, are not the same as electric guitars. This is a heavier guitar brand that comes in two varieties. This guitar features pedal steel, which is a mechanical technique similar to that of a harp, and is placed horizontally on the player’s knees, crossways. The pedals are frequently used to change the pitch of each individual string. This allows the player to grasp the entire chromatic scale.
This concludes our discussion of one of the steel guitars. The second sort of steel guitar must be held in your lap and played with a sturdy still bar on the horizontally laid down neck. As a result, the second variant is sometimes referred to as a lap steel guitar.
18. The Electrifying Bass Guitar
The bass guitar is a timeless instrument that is as popular as it gets. These guitars are distinguished by their long scale length and thick strings. Of course, this isn’t for no purpose at all. The guitar sound has a pattern of providing the player with a range of sounds that all happen to fit the lowest four strings. This is true even when the guitar is tuned down an octave. Electric bass guitars and traditional acoustic bass guitars are the two varieties of bass guitars. The standard guitar has four strings. However, the fifth and sixth strings are also available.
19. Double-Neck Guitar
This guitar does not resemble any of the others on this list. It has two distinct guitars housed in the same body. There is a six-string traditional neck and a twelve-string alternative neck. The combinations are also unique, and in this case, the same body functions as a resonating center. When you need to change notes often, and a single guitar can’t do it, the guitar comes in handy. This is a popular choice among rock guitarists for live performances or when they need to work on a multi-guitar track at the same time in a studio.
20. Ukulele Guitar
Ukuleles were developed in the 19th century as a modification of the Portuguese machete, a tiny instrument with four metal strings. When Portuguese immigrants arrived in Hawaii, they carried with them these tiny instruments that looked like miniature guitars.
Ukuleles are unique in that they are also members of the lute family, and they are usually strung with softer strings composed of gut (animal intestine) or nylon. Despite the fact that they generally contain four strings, it’s more accurate to call them four “courses” of strings. Each course might have two or even three strings attached to it.
21. Flamenco Guitar
The primary difference between a Flamenco guitar and a classical Spanish guitar that you may buy in a store is that a Flamenco guitar has a bigger fretboard. That’s where the distinction stops. The guitar is mostly used by country musicians who need to practice a wide range of notes and is intended for advanced students.
22. Multi-Neck Guitar
Multi-neck guitars are very remarkable. While the most popular form of “multi-neck” guitar is the double neck, triple, quad, and even five neck guitars are available.
23. Red Neck Guitar
The redneck guitar is a type of guitar that has two distinct necks that join together to form a single body. This configuration provides adaptability while also bringing the model closer to the double-neck guitar. In addition to the six and twelve strings found on the double-neck guitar. If you ask for it, there is also a bass neck and a fretless neck in this case. This guitar is intended to provide the musician more versatility, especially while performing solo.
24. Hollow Body Electric Guitar
This guitar has a resonating chamber in the body, and jazz performers most commonly use it. The body is solidly built and elegant, making it easy to transport. If necessary, an amplifier can be kept on hand.
25. Dobro Guitar
Dobro was formerly a guitar manufacturer in the 1930s, but it is now more of a lap steel and resonator guitar combo. This is a unique guitar that is practically unheard of. Now that you’ve learned about the many types of guitars available, it’s important to rank yourself as a beginner, intermediate, or expert learner to assist you in making the best decision. The many types and brands of guitars created are the ones that are in continual use and have shown their value. While purchasing some of them may be difficult, there are some sorts of guitars that simply must be avoided.
26. Lap Steel Guitar
With a soundbar or slide, these guitars are played with the body flat on your lap (or on a stand). A guitarist may learn to play a lap steel guitar using their fretboard expertise, but they will need to acquire new techniques and a different approach to music. The term “Hawaiian steel guitar” should give you a decent sense of the sort of music that these instruments are used to perform.
A lap steel guitar and a normal guitar are not the same things. While an electric guitarist can immediately switch from an acoustic to an electric guitar (and vice versa), the same cannot be said with the lap steel. Beginners may certainly learn to play the lap steel guitar, but keep in mind that they will be learning an entirely new instrument.
Banjos are fascinating instruments to play. Depending on the model, they are generally available in three string variants, with four, five, or six strings.
The very thin membrane pushed across the primary resonator cavity is the secret to the Banjo’s sound. You can see a white piece of plastic being utilized as the resonator in the image above.
They pulled a thin covering of animal skin over the resonator chamber in the past ages instead of utilizing a thin manufactured sheet of plastic as we do now. This gave the Banjo its distinct tone and allowed the performer to express himself throughout the fretboard.
28. Mandolin Guitar
A mandolin is a type of guitar that belongs to the lute family and is usually played with a pick. There are usually eight strings on a standard mandolin, each of which is tuned in unison (there are four “courses” of strings). There are additional mandolins with ten strings (5 courses) and 12 strings (6 courses).
Prior to the invention of mandolins, players would have to make do with lute-like instruments with six courses of strings constructed from animal parts (i.e., intestines). The music generated by these weaker strings was not particularly loud; you wouldn’t be able to hear one of these lutes from a long distance.
Steel-stringed mandolins were born out of this need. Mandolins are significantly louder than their earlier “gut-string” cousins because they are played with a pick and have steel strings that retain tremendous tension.
Furthermore, the soundboard of a mandolin is strengthened to withstand the stress of many steel strings. If you tried to string an older instrument with steel, it would quickly break.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)
Here are some often asked questions by beginners regarding the many varieties of guitars available.
What are the Different Varieties of Guitars?
Acoustic and electric guitars are the two wide varieties of guitars. Each of these guitar varieties may be subdivided into various sub-types based on body forms, hardware characteristics, and the number of strings.
Steel-string and nylon-string acoustic guitars are the two major kinds (classical). Steel-string acoustic guitars come in various styles, whereas nylon-string acoustics tend to follow the conventional classical style.
Electric guitars may also be classified into a variety of categories. New varieties of electric guitars are continuously being developed based on various styles and features.
What is the Best Guitar for a Beginner?
The sort of guitar that you like playing is ideal for beginners. Get an acoustic guitar if you wish to perform music that sounds excellent on an acoustic guitar. Get an electric guitar if you wish to perform music that sounds best on an electric guitar.
As mentioned at the start of this tutorial, there is a lot of incorrect advice about what sort of guitars beginners should purchase. To discover more about the sort of guitar you should start studying on, go back to the beginning of this book.
What is a Normal Guitar Called?
A classical guitarist might refer to a standard guitar as a classical or nylon string guitar. A steel-string acoustic guitar is what a folk or country guitarist would call a regular guitar. A regular guitar might be referred to as an electric guitar by a rock or metal guitarist.
As this page explains, there are many distinct varieties of guitars, all considered “normal” by some guitarists. It all depends on the sort of noises you want to make and the music you want to play.
Which Type of Guitar is Easiest to Learn?
Nylon string guitars are widely regarded as the most straightforward to learn to play. It’s easy on your fingertips because of the nylon strings and low string tension. For similar reasons, electric guitars may be quite simple to learn.
However, asking which sort of guitar is the simplest to learn is incorrect. “What sort of music do I want to play?” is the true question you should be asking. Choose a guitar that is appropriate for the style of music you wish to perform.
What is The Name of a Four-String Guitar?
It’s most likely a bass if you see anything that looks like a guitar with four thick strings. Basses typically have four strings, whereas guitars often have six. Four-string guitars (known as tenor guitars) do exist, but they are uncommon.