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Entry level acoustic guitar lessons for the beginner

Understanding the anatomy of the acoustic guitar as a foundation and buyer's n the previous article, we began sharing the importance of understanding the acoustic guitar anatomy, whether you are a player or a musician of another instrument.

Because the acoustic guitar market is saturated with manufacturers, brands and models, it is good to do adequate research before buying your next acoustic guitar. If you are a beginner or buying for a beginner, it is more important to be sure to buy the best entry level acoustic guitar to ensure the lowest barriers to practice, playability sound quality and success of the beginner or intermediate acoustic guitar player.

And on to the Neck of the acoustic guitar:

The neck or neck region of the acoustic guitar is usually crafted from 1 solid stock of a fairly hard, straight-grained wood that is continuous with the head or headstock. The main purpose of the neck is to maintain a rigid support for the stretching / tension of the guitar strings from the nut to the saddle (about 180 lbs. Average for a 6-string acoustic guitar with medium gauge strings), without compensating or flexing, which would affect the guitar's ability to stay in tune. The other, equally important purpose for the neck is to house the fretboard for the chording hand and fingers. While the nut and saddle string distances remain taut and constant, the fretboard is used to change the length of the particular string being chorded, thereby changing it's vibration frequency when strummed, plucked or picked.

The truss rod runs through the neck, and is included in nearly all quality guitar models. The truss rod does 2 basic things. Since the acoustic guitar neck is most commonly made from a hard wood, it can be subject to warping over time. The truss rod is usually made of a kind of steel to add rigidity and support for the neck wood. Additionally, older model guitars used to be non-adjustable once they were constructed. With the truss rod, a knowledgeable player or technician can adjust the curvature of the neck and thereby affect the string height from the fret board and the playability of the guitar. The truss rod can be used to set the action a little higher or lower depending on the direction it is cranked or wound. The truss rod should never be adjusted by a beginner, until he or she knows exactly what to do.

The fretboard- where the fingers fly

The fretboard rests on top of the neck, and is divided into spaces (called frets) by smooth fret bars. As you move from the nut to the saddle, the distance between frets becomes shorter and shorter, to accommodate the exact, scaled string lengths needed to keep the guitar strings in tune. Each step up or down the fretboard is a chromatic step upward or downward on the chromatic scale (½ step).

The fretboard is also commonly inlaid with fret markers, on specific frets depending on the number of frets for the particular fretboard. Most commonly, acoustic guitar fret boards are marked with dots, diamonds, trapezoids, or other decorative marks on frets 3, 9, 7, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21 and the 24th if the fretboard extends that far. An alternative fret marking pattering (and also less popular) is 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22 and 24. Additionally, sometimes the fretboard is also inlaid or marked with fine dots on the side of the fretboard facing the ceiling while playing. Fret markers are for the player's quick reference while playing and practicing, including but not limited to chords and scale references.

Fret boards (or fingerboards) are laminated onto the neck surface and are made with many different kinds of woods and materials, and the fretboard composition is not nearly as critical as the material used for the neck, head and body, yet it should provide a smooth feel for the chording fingers, while being able to take a lot of action and wear from the fingers and the oils in the fingers. It is always wise to play and practice with clean hands, as well as getting into the habit of cleaning and wiping down the guitar on a regular basis, but only with the recommended materials to protect the longevity of the instrument. Some common materials used for the fingerboard are ebony, rosewood, other hardwoods, maple, and sometimes carbon-fiber or polycarbonate materials. The neck and fretboard end at the body of the acoustic guitar, right at the neck joint and heel.

The amazing acoustic body (or sound box).

Here is where the sound of the acoustic guitar is enriched by the quality and kinds of tonewoods used, as well as the size, finish, and bracing structure. The acoustic guitar body is also sometimes called the “sound box” by technicians and luthiers. The body or sound box acts to amplify and enrich the vibrations of the strings, adding tonal qualities, overtones, and projection to the otherwise minimal sound of the strings. Instead of simply giving an overview of the particular parts of the acoustic guitar body, we will go through the process of sound making with the sound box, while including the anatomy in the details.

When someone strums, plucks, or picks a guitar string or strings, the strings vibrate. Those vibrations are transmitted through the hardened material that comprises the saddle, through the bridge, and to the top of the acoustic guitar body, otherwise called the sound board. The soundboard is often made of Sitka Spruce for the acoustic guitar, or another kind of Spruce, or straight, finely-grained tonewood. The top wood usually has a decent sound velocity, which is its measure of ability to transmit sound waves. Some luthiers / manufacturers argue that the top or sound board is the most important factor in the overall sound quality and projection of the acoustic guitar.

As the top vibrates in frequencies akin to the string vibrations, that sound is amplified by the top, resonated through the acoustic guitar body, picking up complex over tones and tones from the sides, back, and bracings, and projecting through the sound hole. The strings are strung over the saddle, through holes in the bridge, and secured by bridge pins. The sound projects through the sound hole that is often inlayed with a “rosette”, which can be made from a simple “ivoroid” polycarbonate material, other plastics, by decorative woods, precious materials and / or mother of pearl.

The top of the guitar is glued to the sides, and the sides to the back with internal bracings, edge purfling and interior kerfing, blocks and exterior edges known as bindings. Bindings can be made of many kinds of materials as well, including woods and plastics. As the player strums, just below the sound hole, they will encounter a pick guard on most guitars. Pick guards are made of many different kinds of thin plastic materials, and are used to protect the life of the sound board or top from wear and tear of the plectrum or pick. A few additional things to note about the body is that it usually has an end block at the bottom of the guitar sides, inside the guitar. The end pin is usually secured through the side bottom into this end block. Internally, there is also a neck block that adds a securing point for the sides, top, back, and neck joint.

This reference guide to the acoustic guitar was provided by StrumViews.com, a complete acoustic guitar reviews website devoted to reviewing the highest quality acoustic guitars at all price ranges and sizes. Before buying your first or next guitar, be sure to read more about how to buy an acoustic guitar at StrumViews.com.




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