Electric guitar and pick

Electric Guitar Basics – Everything You Need to Know

Last update 7/11/2023

Our electric guitar basics guide will help you choose the best electric guitar that is the right one for you. This guide is for anyone from beginners to experienced players. Choosing an electric guitar is much easier if you know how to make an informed decision. You will be ready to purchase once you understand the differences and variations between various manufacturers’ vast selection of electric guitar types. Hang on to your hat tightly; we will now begin. Get ready for first things first.

The electric guitar, an instrument that has defined the sound of modern music for decades, holds a special place in the hearts of artists and those who like to play guitar at home. This article is your comprehensive guide to Electric Guitar Basics for anyone new to the electric guitar.

Electric guitar components
Electric guitar components

While we won’t delve into the specifics of playing the electric guitar in this article, we’ll equip you with the essential knowledge so that you have a good understanding of the instrument. If you are new to guitars or an acoustic player considering playing electric guitar, this article will give you the heads up for the electric guitar.

We will talk about all the essential components of an electric guitar, such as pickups and amps, and how these components collectively influence the unique sonic character of an electric guitar. We’ll also check out a few effects and accessories, including distortion pedals, wah-wah pedals, and many other cool creative gear.

The electric guitar’s acoustic origins to its central role in shaping music genres such as blues, jazz, rock, and metal. By grasping the cultural and musical impact of the electric guitar, you’ll develop a deeper appreciation for the music it helps create.

Other essential gear

In addition to an electric guitar, you will need a few other pieces of gear to get started, such as an amplifier, a cable, and a tuner. An amplifier is necessary to amplify the signal from the guitar to be heard. A cable is used to connect the guitar to the amplifier.

Which is the best electric guitar for you?

Your budget is the first consideration above all others. With this in mind, we recommend buying the best electric guitar you can afford. Indeed, a high-quality electric guitar will inspire you to play and maintain your enthusiasm to keep playing. However, know that an inferior ( not cheap) guitar will not inspire you; this is especially true if you are a beginner.

The workings of an electric guitar

You do not need to understand how an electric guitar works to play one. However, it’s most definitely helpful to have a basic concept about the workings of electric guitar components when shopping for one.

Guitar pickups simplified

Electric guitars use one or more pickups fixed to the guitar body. In its simplest form is an inductive sensor. An inductive sensor is a wire wrapped around permanent magnetic pole pieces or pole pieces.

How electric guitar pickups work
How electric guitar pickups work

Guitar strings are near the pickups. A string or strings vibrate when plucked. Vibration from the strings generates an electric signal within the pickup. Furthermore, the signal is sent to the amplifier via a cable. The amplifier boosts the signal and creates the sound of the guitar.

The construction of electric guitars varies; the components of an electric guitar often differ from different manufacturers and their guitar models and types. Furthermore, we will discuss all the variables found in electric guitars to grasp them well.

Construction of an electric guitar

Electric guitar parts
Electric guitar parts

Understanding the differences between the construction types of electric guitars is essential. However, each style has its quirks.

Types of electric guitars | Body Shapes & Sizes

The most common types of electric guitars are the following types.

Hollow Body | Semi-Hollow Body | Solid Body

Hollow Body

Guitar Types - Electric Hollow Body Guitar
Electric Hollow Body Guitar

Often used for playing Jazz.

Semi-Hollow Body

British Rock, Classic Rock, Low Gain Blues


Guitar Types - Electric Solid-body guitar
Guitar Types – Electric Solidbody guitar

Fender Telecasters, Fender Stratocasters,

Cheap, Inferior Electric Guitars

The first thing to be said about cheap or budget guitars is that they are not all bad. In fact, there are some fantastic electric guitars to be had for not too much money. Squire guitars come to mind right away. Squires are very affordable, yet the build quality is very good. However, when talking about inferior guitars, they are generally built with inferior components and poor build quality.

Inferior guitars are hard to play and are notorious for consistently going out of tune. Furthermore, those are disincentives for any guitar player, beginner or experienced.

Consider your budget for your new electric guitar and any accessories you may require for the guitar. The obvious one will be amplification.

Amplification is not needed to play an electric guitar. However, it will not be tough to hear. We will cover amplification and accessories later in this guide.

Squier Guitars – The Affordable Way to Play Like a Pro

Squier guitars are an excellent choice for beginners and experienced players alike. They offer the classic Fender look and sound at a fraction of the price.

Squier guitars are made with high-quality materials and a high build quality, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that the guitar will last for years to come.

If you have your heart set on a Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, or Mustang, Squier has a matching model, too. Furthermore, they also offer other models, including the Paranormal series, with unique and innovative designs.

If you are on a tight budget, check out the Squire range. It is sure to have a comparable guitar that’s perfect for you.

Here is why I am recommending a Squier guitar

Affordable price: Squier offers some of the most affordable high-quality on the market, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

High quality: Squier guitars are made with high-quality materials and construction; care for the guitar, which will last for years.

Classic Fender sound: Squier guitars offer the classic Fender look and decent sounds.

Various models: Squier offers plenty of models, so you should find the one that will suit your needs.

Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster: The Affinity Series Stratocaster is the perfect guitar for beginners. It’s affordable, well-made, and has the classic Strat sound.

Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster

Squier Classic Vibe '50s Telecaster
Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster

The Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is an excellent choice for players who want a vintage-style Telecaster without the vintage price tag. This is a very popular model and is well thought of.

The Squire Vibe

Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster
Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster

It’s a premium-quality electric guitar with a vintage vibe. It features a solid mahogany body, a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, and two vintage-style single-coil pickups. The Squire Vibe also has a unique vibrato system that produces a smooth, very nice shimmering tone.

Squier Paranormal Jazzmaster

The Paranormal Jazzmaster is a unique and innovative guitar that offers a wide range of tones. It’s perfect for players who want something different from the standard Strat or Tele.

Squier Mini Stratocaster

Squier Mini Stratocaster
Squier Mini Stratocaster

The Mini Stratocaster is an excellent choice for smaller players or anyone who wants a more compact guitar. It has the same classic Strat sound but in a smaller size.

If you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality guitar with the classic Fender sound, Squier is the brand for you.

Woods used | Electric Guitars

The choice of wood is essential for all guitars, including electric guitars. The option of woods for electric guitars is arguably not as important a consideration as it is for acoustic guitars. We will now discuss the most popular wood choices for electric guitars.


Guitar Types - Electric Solid-body guitar
Solid-body electric guitar

Alder is a medium-lightweight wood similar to Basswood. Both kinds of wood are often compared. Alder features large swirling patterns in its grain. Fender guitars use Alder extensively.

Alder is clear and robust; it produces full-bodied sounds with firm mids, excellent lows, and decent sustain. Its natural color is light brown, and is often used under opaque finishes.

Ash, as is the case with Alder, Ash is a popular wood. Fender often used them for the Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars.

However, due to shortages of Ash, Fender is only using Ash in its high-end electric guitars and Alder in its other models.

Ash has a beautiful grain and is often used with a translucent finish. The tones are bright, sweet, twangy, and airy, with a slightly scooped midrange, very nice clear highs, and good sustain.

More woods

Basswood is an inexpensive, softwood, lightweight wood; it features a tight, minimal grain light in color. It is often associated with affordable to midrange guitars; do not mistake Basswood for inferior wood.

Solid basswood bodies with flat, well-balanced tones and solid dynamics.

Mahogany is a prevalent wood often used to construct acoustic and electric guitars. The wood is an attractive hardwood used in guitar bodies and guitar necks.

It features a light color with minimal grain. When used alone, Mahogany has an impressive depth and a warm, soft sound.

Maple is often used to construct a guitar’s Body and or neck. Maple offers a bright but tight tone and is often used where a light wood color is desired. It is often favored for constructing semi-hollow electric guitars for clarity and brightness.

Mahogany/Maple is a prevalent combination of woods favored for constructing laminated guitar bodies. The combination of Maple and mahogany features impressive sustain with a warm and rich look.

In addition, clarity and definition are added to the Maple cap’s use.

Rosewood is a popular choice for fretboards; it is a heavy wood with a warm sound. It’s rarely used for the Body of the guitar. One notable exception is George Harrison from the Beatles Fender Telecaster.

Walnut has a tone touted to be a little warmer than Maple. It features decent sustain and looks very attractive with an oil finish.

Fretboard Woods


It is a very dark wood that offers excellent sustain and a bright attack compared to Rosewood. Ebony is far cheaper than Rosewood.


Maple is a prevalent choice for the fretboard and the neck. It is favored because of its lighter color and beautiful grain.


It is a very common wood for the guitar fretboard.

Every day suitable playing situations for the electric guitar

Common Musical Genres for electrics?

Most electrics are capable of playing almost any musical style or genre. You may be interested in choosing a well-known guitar for a particular genre.

The Position Markers

Fretboard Position Markers
Fretboard Position Markers

The position markers or fret markers are inlays located within the fingerboard, AKA the fretboard. They aid the guitar player by providing a visual reference for frets.

Using elaborate designs and materials, the markers can be as simple as a dot or more decorative. They are most commonly found on the following frets of an electric guitar. The 3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th, 15th, 17th, and 19th frets.

The fingerboard or fretboard

It is made from various types of would, typically Rosewood, Ebony, or Maple. Grooves are cut into the fretboard, and the frets are located within the tracks.

The frets

The frets are made from wire and located in the fretboard. The guitar strings are pushed down by the player’s fingers behind the unrest, effectively shortening the string and sounding a musical note.

The headstock

Fender American Professional Telecaster headstock
Fender American Professional Telecaster headstock

The headstock is located at the top of the neck of the guitar. The string tuners and tuning keys are fixed to the headstock. As a consequence, most manufacturers attach their logos to the headstock.

Tuning keys

The tuning keys allow each guitar string to be individually tensioned to the correct pitch.

The Nut

Fender American Professional bone nut
Bone nut

The nut is cut into the fretboard where the headstock and fretboard meet. The nut is fixed into a groove, which spaces the guitar strings evenly across the fretboard.

The Bridge

Gibson Tone Pro Bridge
Gibson Tone Pro Bridge

The guitar has a fixed bridge on the Body of the guitar.

The saddle

It locates each guitar string into a groove and spaces the strings evenly.

The pickups

Electric guitar low output pickups
Electric guitar low-output pickups

The pickups convert the vibration from each guitar string into a signal that can be processed into sound.

Electric Guitar Basics | Important Considerations

The neck

The neck is an essential guitar component; its size and type must be carefully considered. Guitar necks vary substantially; they are not one size fits all.

Chunky vs. Slim

One of the most important considerations for the neck is its overall size and girth. Additionally, chunky vs. slim refers to the neck’s size and how it fits the guitar player’s hand. Although preferences vary between players, some prefer a chunky neck, while others prefer a slimmer contour.

Guitar neck thickness
Neck thickness – chunky vs. Slim.

Incidentally, the right neck will feel right in the player’s hand. As a rule, every guitar player has a preference. Be sure to try as many guitars as possible to find your personal choice for the type of neck that works best for you.

Width of the neck

Moreover, another variable concerning the guitar’s neck is that the width can be wide or narrow. However, Classical guitars are generally wide. Again, try as many different sizes as you can.

The guitar’s action

Furthermore, guitars are tuned to suit the player. The procedure is usually referred to as a guitar setup. Also, a guitar setup is generally done by a guitar tech or a skilled player.

The guitar’s intonation

A guitar’s intonation refers to the guitar’s ability to play a note accurately at every fretted position on the fretboard.

Scale length

The scale length for a guitar is usually long or short. The distance from the nut to the bridge is the scale length. Scale length affects the string tension and will affect the guitar’s playability.

Guitar Scale-Length
Guitar Scale-Length

In consequence, a short-scale length is easier to play.

However, a long scale is difficult to play with when all other things are equal.

Electric guitar accessories

Top guitar accessories
Top guitar accessories
  • A capo
  • Spare strings
  • Guitar picks
  • A guitar strap
  • An electronic guitar tuner
  • A high-quality guitar stand
  • A high-quality hard case or gig bag.
  • Maintenance products
  • Cables
  • Effect pedals.

Going Shopping: Store vs. Online

Finding a store is the best option if they have a range of guitars that interest you and are willing to give you a good deal. However, no two guitars are identical, so the rule is to try before buying.

Guitars online store

Buying your electric guitar online is an excellent solution if you can’t visit a guitar store for whatever reason. Also, before pulling the trigger, be sure to check the store’s return policy.

Guitar service and support

Make sure you check the electric guitar manufacturer’s policy for service and report. Also, you should make sure you will get it in writing. Furthermore, reputable manufacturers will back up their products with assistance and support.

Financing your new electric guitar

If you need to finance your new electric guitars, be sure to only deal with reputable finance companies. Also, please read all the literature and be sure you understand what you are signing up for.

Tips for Test driving Electric Guitars

Play the guitars that interest you. However, that’s not always possible. Check the guitar vendor’s return policy if you buy online and need to return it.

Plug it in

Also, try to plug into an amp that is the same or similar to your own. If this is your first electric guitar, you will need an amplifier of some descript.

Etiquette | In-store Do and donts

  • Treat the guitar with respect at all times.
  • Be sure the guitar to return the guitar to where you found it. Alternatively, put it into a locking stand if one is available.
  • If you finish evaluating it, give the guitar back to the salesperson.
  • Don’t play with a high volume in the middle of the store. Ideally, play in an acoustically padded guitar room if possible.
  • Make a list

You will need to consider a lot of information if you’re buying a new electric guitar for the first time. We believe in keeping notes to keep track of all the information you need to be mindful of as you search and try the electric guitars that fulfill all your criteria.

However, try to play some quality instruments when you have an opportunity to do so.

Last but not least, what will your new quality electric guitar be?


Finally, the market is confusing with such an extensive array of choices. Create a shortlist of possible contenders to fit your budget using our guide. If possible, find a store and try as many guitars as you can.

Read all the reviews you can find for the guitar types you are interested in. You may well benefit from the experiences of others.

Good luck on your quest to find the right electric guitar for you.

Transparency disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that I believe are helpful and valuable, and we never let the potential for a commission influence our recommendations.

Transparency disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that I believe are helpful and valuable, and we never let the potential for a commission influence our recommendations.

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