Choosing the perfect guitar is a big decision. Whether you're buying your first guitar or adding another instrument to your collection, we're here to help you navigate the vast array of choices you'll find on these pages. Along the way, we'll show you informative buying guides that explain the finer points of guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals. To get you started, here are a few points you might want to consider when choosing your ideal guitar.
Modern guitars can be acoustic, with steel or nylon strings, or electric. Most have six strings, but there are 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, as well as some contemporary 7-string and 8-string instruments. The ukulele, a small four-string instrument commonly associated with the Hawaiian islands, even falls in this category.
Electric guitars feature pickups and electronics that turn the vibration of the strings into an electrical signal that is then sent to an amplifier. They can be solidbody, semi-hollowbody, or hollowbody guitars. Electric guitars are used in many styles of music including rock, blues, country, jazz, funk, and more.
Acoustic guitars produce their sound naturally using the vibration of the strings and resonance of the body to create sound in the air. The guitar top, or soundboard, is a finely crafted and engineered element often made of spruce, cedar, or mahogany. The back and sides are typically made from mahogany, sapele, rosewood, or maple. Some acoustic guitars have pickups and electronics in case you need to plug into an amp or PA to get more volume or want to add effects with pedals.
A guitar amp is an amplifier optimized for reproducing electric guitar signals. There are two primary formats of guitar amps: heads and combos. Heads are just amplifiers and need to be connected to a separate speaker cabinet; whereas, combos are amplifiers with speakers built in. Amplifiers usually fall into three types: tube, solid state, or hybrid.
Guitar effects pedals can help you create and sculpt your perfect tone. Add distortion for big rock tones, and create cool nuances with delays, reverbs, wah, and more. You can purchase separate pedals for each effect or multi-effects units that house many effects.
Many people overlook the importance and vital role of guitar strings. They help your guitar sound, play, and even feel better. Old strings can cause intonation and tuning problems, while new strings can breathe new life into your guitar's sound and playability, keeping your guitar sounding its best. Some guitar strings are coated to resist the buildup of oil and dirt, prolonging the strings' useful life.
The ukulele is a small four-string instrument commonly associated with the Hawaiian Islands. The word ukulele actually translates to "leaping flea" in Hawaiian. Many ukuleles are built from the wood of the koa tree, which is found only in Hawaii and has a beautiful three-dimensional grain pattern. Ukes come in four sizes (from smallest to largest): soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
Armed with important guitar knowledge, you may have more questions about your specific needs. Give our Sweetwater Sales Engineers a call; they would love to help you learn more about your instrument.