You are probably already familiar what an electric guitar is but let’s still cover the basics. An electric guitar is a guitar that requires external amplification in order to be heard at typical performance volumes. It uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals, which ultimately are reproduced as sound by loudspeakers. With the electric guitar you have the option to shape or electronically alter the sound to achieve different timbres or tonal qualities, which is a significant difference to an acoustic guitar.
Electric guitar design and construction varies greatly in the shape of the body and the configuration of the neck, bridge, and pickups. In order to make the best decision when picking up an electric guitar, it is good to know a thing or two about the different types of electric guitars. There are several ways to distinguish them. According to the body is one of the most useful ones, so in this article we will take a look at that classification.
Strat (comes from Stratocaster)
Chances are, that the first image which pops in your head when you hear “eclectric guitar” is a Fender Stratocaster – since it is probably the most widely recognized model of electric guitar. It features distinctive cutaway “horns” that allow the player to access the higher frets and the back of its body is contoured for comfort. In the standard configuration, Stratocasters have three single-coil pickups and a tremolo bar. A tremolo is a device that allows you to change the pitch of a guitar by moving the arm up (raising pitch) or down (lowering pitch).
The Strat is a versatile guitar, and can be used to play in a huge variety of genres (country, rock, pop, folk, soul, blues, R&B etc), so it is a great companion if you want a guitar that you can rely on for several types of music.
Tele (comes from Telecaster)
The Fender Telecaster is another instantly recognizable guitar. Its design is simpler than that of a Stratocaster, featuring a single cutaway, two single coil pickups, and lacking a tremolo bar and contoured body. Instead of a Tremolo bridge, the Telecaster has what is called an “ashtray” bridge (the name came about from the original metal covering over the bridge that players decided to remove and use as an ashtray). Instead of six saddles, the original ashtray bridges had three that in conjunction with its single coil pickup and larger metal surface, created a sound perfect for any country music.
While the guitar is generally associated with country, the Telecaster is actually a pretty versatile instrument and can fit to any genre with the exception of harder varieties of rock, unless fitted with the right combination of pickups.
The Gibson Les Paul is a heavyweight electric guitar known for its thick sound and high sustain. And yes, the Les Paul is a signature model for the great guitarist Les Paul who used this model extensively in his career. Like the Stratocaster, it’s hard to say that the Les Paul has a single tone which defines the instrument. The Les Paul can cover just about every genre – it has been widely used in jazz, metal, R&B, countless varieties of rock, and even punk. While it is arguably best for rock and some variants of jazz, the only genre it is not suitable for is country.
The original Les Paul featured two P-90 single-coil pickups and the distinctive single-cutaway shape. While many variants are produced, the double humbuckers put the Les Paul in a league of its own, separate from the offerings of Fender’s Telecaster and Stratocaster. Other defining features include its 3 on a side tuners on a painted headstock, a bound neck and body with trapezoid or block inlays on rosewood or ebony, and its Tune-O-Matic bridge with the Stop Bar tailpiece.
The SG stands for “Solid Guitar,” and it is indeed not only quite solid but also famous all over the world. The Gibson SG features a twin-horn, long-neck design and is a lighter guitar than a Les Paul. In its standard configuration it is equipped with neck and bridge humbucker pickups, both of which have their own tone and volume controls. The double cutaway body and its higher fret access made the SG become the perfect axe for the slide guitarist.
SGs produce a reasonably powerful, thick sound that is suitable for blues and metal. While their long necks mean that they don’t feel quite as ‘balanced’ as other guitars and that takes a bit of getting used to, the SG is a simple but versatile guitar, currently enjoying a wave of popularity with rock and indie players.
The Custom 24 is the definitive guitar from the PRS (Paul Reed Smith) Guitar brand. Distinctive for its flying bird fingerboard inlays, dual humbuckers, carved Flamed Maple top, 24 frets and ergonomic contours, the Custom 24 is considered a modern classic among guitarists. It features a tremolo systems and also locking tuners that ensure greater tuning stability. Many cite the Custom 24 as a Les Paul/Stratocaster hybrid of sorts, in terms of its sound, playability and looks.
This instrument is acclaimed for its versatility and has been used by countless high-profile artists over the years, including internationally touring artists, gigging musicians, and aspiring players.
Part 2 with even more guitar body shapes is coming soon! You can always also ask your questions, if something is still unclear, in the group of Neli’s Guitar Family. Become a part of it HERE and share which body type is your favorite.