The picture above shows the parts of the electric guitar.
This explanation of the parts of the electric guitar gives you the basic knowledge you need before you start playing. The production, amplification and distortion of the sound made by the electric guitar is an art in itself, but the basic principles are easy to understand.
The guitar in the picture is a solid body electric called a Stratocaster. The guitarist picks or strums the strings, and the pickups – microphones situated near the bridge – transfer the sound to an amplifier.
The BODY of the guitar is made of wood, and is much heavier than an acoustic guitar. There are electric guitars with hollow chambers which makes the instruments much lighter. In the early stages of development of the electric guitar, feedback was a problem when pickups were fitted to hollow body guitars. The solid body eliminated this problem.
The guitar PICKUPS are situated just above the bridge. There are usually three pickups which can be used together or independently. When the strings vibrate, a current is created in the pickup which creates the sound in the amplifier.
The guitar is connected to the amplifier by a cable plugged into the JACK.
The PICKGUARD is a piece of plastic which covers part of the top of the guitar body to protect it from wear and tear during playing.
The BRIDGE is located towards the lower end of the body. The original purpose of the bridge was to anchor the strings to the body. On electric guitars, some bridges allow the individual strings to be raised or lowered to suit the preferences of the guitarist.
The TREMOLO ARM – or “whammy bar” – is screwed into the bridge of some electric guitars. Manipulating the tremolo arm can prolong a note by giving it vibrato. The pitch of the strings can also be changed up and down quite drastically if the player so desires.
The NECK can be attached to the body in one of two ways. The neck can be glued to the body or secured by bolts. Many solid body electrics have the headstock, neck and middle of the body made from a single piece of wood.
At the top of the neck is the HEADSTOCK which holds the MACHINE HEADS which hold the ends of the strings. The machine heads are metal pegs that can be turned to change the tension of the strings to alter the pitch.
At the top of the neck, below the headstock, is the NUT. The nut is a metal, plastic or bone strip that has grooves cut into it to hold the strings.
The neck also holds the FRETBOARD which is a piece of wood – mostly ebony, maple or rosewood – that holds the frets.
The FRETS are strips of metal that are embedded in the fretboard. The frets are positioned at particular points along the fretboard to produce the musical notes.
At the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th and 24th frets are POSITION MARKERS which are supposed to make it easier to navigate the fretboard. The position markers are usually dots inlaid in the fretboard.