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The acoustic guitar

The acoustic guitar is essentially a descendent of the classical guitar, which, in its current form, has been around for over 100 years. The main difference between the classical and acoustic guitars is one is strung with nylon strings, while the other is strung with steel strings. Since the acoustic guitar is strung with steel strings, it has a louder, brighter sound that is appealing to folk and blues players.

Another difference is the acoustic guitar has a bigger body size, stronger structure, and a narrower neck. The structure of the acoustic guitar is stronger so that it can withstand the immense tension placed on it by the heavier steel strings.

The bodies of cheap acoustic guitars are typically made from laminated tonewood. More expensive acoustics are made from higher cuts of solid spruce top wood. The material that the body is made from really matters, so those looking for a rich sound will want to choose a guitar with the more expensive spruce top wood. Many players (luthiers) feel a well-made guitar’s tone improves over time.

The neck of the guitar is usually made from maple, mahogany, or rosewood. However, some necks are comprised of different woods. Again, the quality of wood does matter. Generally speaking, acoustic guitars with necks made of a high quality maple or mahogany and bodies made with solid spruce top are quality guitars with great tone. These guitars usually cost $300 plus.

The vibration of the strings is amplified by the soundhole of the guitar. This is where all sound that you hear comes from. If you look inside the soundhole you will see the construction of the body. There are braces and linings, all essential to keeping the guitar intact and playable. X-bracing – a strong, durable bracing – is typically used because it is heavy and strong enough to withstand the pressure of steel strings.

On the body of the guitar is the bridge. This is where one end of the strings goes. The strings are inserted into the little holes and the bridge pegs hold them there.

On the neck of the guitar is the fretboard. Most fretboards are made of rosewood or ebony and higher quality woods are often found on the most expensive models.

The headstock features six tuning pegs (three on each side of the headstock) and six tuners (three on each side of the headstock). Good Acoustic guitars will have die-cast Grover tuners that usually stay in tune longer than other
brands of tuners.

Like their electric counterparts, acoustic guitars are tuned in the standard E A D G B E tuning. Most have six strings, while some have twelve that have an additional, doubl

ing string for each of the traditional six strings. Artists such as Lead Belly, Pete Seeger and Leo Kottke made these guitars famous.

The acoustic guitar still remains a very popular instrument. It is used in virtually every style of music including rock, pop, country, blues and folk. They are commonly referred to as “flattop” guitars. However there are others:-

A guitar maker named Lloyd Loar, who based the shape and characteristics of the archtop on a mandolin, invented the archtop guitar. Archtops are primarily steel-stringed guitars, which separates them from guitars that utilize nylon-type strings. Additionally, archtops generally have a hollow body type, and they tend to mimic violins or other classical stringed instruments in style. Perhaps the most obvious telltale sign of an archtop is their f-hole, which resembles the traditional f-holes found on violins. These guitars are most commonly used by swing and jazz players and often incorporate electronics in the form of a pickup.

The “Selmer-Maccaferri guitar” (usually played by those who follow the style of Django Reinhardt) is an unusual-looking instrument, distinguished by a fairly large body with square bouts, and either a “D”- shaped or longitudinal oval soundhole. The strings are gathered at the tail like an archtop guitar, but the top is flatter. It also has a wide fingerboard and slotted head. It has a loud volume and penetrating tone that makes it suitable for single-note soloing, and it is frequently employed as a lead instrument in gypsy swing. The “D”-shaped soundhole model was originally designed to have an internal resonator but the guitar worked better without it. The later Selmer model, with the small vertical oval soundhole, never had a resonator; in fact, it was a design repudiation of the resonator model. Around late 1933, after a handful of transitional models, it was offered with the longer 670mm (26.4”) scale. Once it was available, this was the model that Django really played. Almost all Selmers ever made are this model.

Resonator guitars were originally designed to be louder than conventional acoustic guitars, which were overwhelmed by horns and percussion instruments in dance orchestras. They are used today mainly for bluegrass and blues.

Acoustic-electric guitars have the ability to be both plugged into an amp and played unplugged, have been around for roughly 80 years.


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