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The 12 Types of Guitars

If you want to play guitar then it can help to examine all the different types of guitars that are available to you.

That way you can choose something that suits the music that you want to play and your own personal playing style.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the most common types of guitar.

Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is the classic guitar that almost everyone has in mind when they picture a guitar in their head.

Acoustic guitars are fairly simple types of guitars that are all fashioned so that as you pluck the strings, they vibrate and the vibration is passed through the bridge into the body of the guitar which makes the air inside produce a sound.

Your average acoustic guitar is made out of a “tonewood” with the material being chosen based on the sound that it makes. There are many types of acoustic guitars though and they can vary quite a lot.

Electric Guitar

If you really want to play electric guitars and create a unique sound check out Otis Rush one of the world’s top left-handed guitarists for a unique idea on what to do with the strings.

However, after acoustic guitars, the electric guitar is the most famous of the types of guitar, and everyone from Hendrix to Hetfield has used one at some point.

There is no need for a resonator box on an electric guitar and so unlike acoustic guitars they use a pickup system that monitors the strong vibrations and turns them into an electric current that can be played by a loudspeaker as a sound.

There are almost an infinite number of types of electric guitars to choose from too.

Twelve-String Guitar

This type of guitar is very similar to the style of acoustic guitars but it has twelve strings rather than six.

This means that twelve-string guitars produce a more powerful sound than their acoustic equivalents.

Resonator Guitars

A resonator guitar is not a steel-string acoustic but rather a guitar that uses a spun-metal cone to help conduct string vibrations.

This produces a very loud tone that is extremely easy to recognize when you hear it.

They are played in lap steel guitar style though which is why they are mistaken for steel-string acoustic guitars.

Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitars

These electric guitars are used mainly by jazz musicians. They use an archtop guitar style but with a hollow center in the block of wood.

This creates a slightly odd tone but with a much higher level of sustain than an archtop. This type of guitar is thus, mainly used by specialist musicians that need this particular feature.

Pocket Guitar

A pocket guitar is nothing like the ordinary string guitar as it consists of just a neck and nothing more. There’s no body and they don’t make any sound.

So, what are they for? Well, string guitars are not always convenient to pack in your luggage, so if you can’t carry your usual guitar but you want to practice? You take a pocket guitar instead.

Classical Guitar

The classical guitar is a hat tip to the long and exciting history of guitars.

Classical guitars always use a nylon string in contracts to a steel-string acoustic guitar and this makes the tone more mellow and soft.

You should also note that the frets tend to be wider on classical guitars which allows for a wider range of guitar finger techniques too.

As with regular acoustic guitars, the classical guitar is made of tonewood.

Electro-Acoustic Guitars

An acoustic-electric guitar or electro-acoustic guitar is a compromise between the two types of guitar.

The design is often the same as an acoustic but it will also feature pickups and this allows the guitar to be connected to speakers and to produce a louder, more vibrant sound.

However, be warned if you like to use electronic distortion, these guitars sound terrible as the hollow body generates a ton of electric feedback in the circuit.

Bass Guitar

You can find your bass guitar in both acoustic and electric formats, and standard bass guitars have four strings.

However, you can also find bass guitars with 5 and 6 strings if you want to stand out from the crowd.

These guitars have a longer neck, that allows them to use a thicker string, that delivers a deeper “bassier” sound than a regular guitar can.

Archtop Guitars

You don’t see as many archtop guitars now because they’ve been replaced by semi-hollow and solid-body designs.

This is because it’s cheaper to make electric guitars in these styles but if you can afford them, they’re still considered to be the most versatile of the electric guitars and you will find the world’s top jazz players love these kinds of guitars.

Multi-Neck Guitar

Yes! You can add two or even more necks to a guitar and that makes for a multi-neck guitar (which probably comes as a relief if you thought it might take more than one neck on your body to play one).

The most popular versions have a pair of necks and are in 6 or 12-string configurations. But there is no end to the variations that you can choose from and there are also multi-neck bass guitars out there too!

Harp Guitar

This is an odd-looking instrument that has guitar strings, which are played as you play any other guitar, but also unstopped harp strings, and they are played in the same way as a harp is played.

This is a very skillful instrument to play and it’s not recommended for beginners but if you have the talent? Then it’s a lot more flexible than a standard guitar too and you can create truly unique sounds on a harp guitar.

We’d recommend that if you do, you use a decent laptop and a digital audio workstation to record yourself as we’d love to hear you play.

Final Notes

The guitar is a really exciting instrument to play and there are so many options to choose from that everyone can find a member of the guitar family that suits their musical tastes.

From bass to steel guitars to a regular acoustic guitar there’s something for you that will sound amazing!