TYPES OF GUITAR
The types of guitars in common use can be generally classified as acoustic, amplified, bass, or miscellaneous.
Flattop Spanish This type includes most flattop round-hole guitars using gut or nylon strings.
Classic The basic model. Classical guitarists for solo and ensemble playing use it. The currently popular models are somewhat larger than those of several hundred years ago are. Almost all have metal tuning machines. The better models are constructed largely of Brazilian rosewood, ebony, and spruce.
Flamenco Very similar to the classic model except that most models have a clear plastic tap plate beneath the sound hole. The tap plate accommodates the percussive effects that flamenco artists use when accompanying dancers. The trend is toward using machine heads but many flamenco guitars still have solid ebony or rosewood tuning pegs like a violin. The string height may be lower than that of the classic. The sides and back are often made of Spanish cypress instead of rosewood.
Steel String Country, folk, and blues artists generally play steel string guitars, whether flattop or archtop.
Flattop Looks much like a classic guitar but has substantial structural differences. The tuning machines are generally single, instead of in threes, and are stronger. The peghead has a simpler shape and many older models use slotted pegheads. The narrower neck allows the player to use his thumb to finger the frets.
Twelve-String Flattop Used primarily for folk music. It has a wider neck than the six-string with six additional tuning machines and bridge pins. The larger models are the most popular and the most useful. The top two sets of strings (E and B) are tuned in unison and the bottom four sets are tuned in octaves.
Archtop (plectrum) Now seldom used without amplification. Originally, it was used solely as a rhythm instrument, but most jazz artists use it today as a solo instrument, in its amplified version. The strong arch of the top and back, along with F holes, tends to make the instrument more closely resemble a violin. Additionally, it has a tailpiece to relieve the strain of the highly tensioned strings.
This is the class of guitar primarily used by Army bandsmen. The major types are the hollow body and the solid body.
Hollow-Body Usually of the arch top variety. Magnetic pickups are normally mounted in the top but pickups mounted on the pick guard allow a more acoustic guitar sound. Many hollow body guitars are thin, actually making them semi-acoustic.
Solid-Body Has little inherent resonance and is dependent on its pickups. The lack of resonance gives the solid body a clean, pure sound preferred by some rock and combo guitarists. The solid wood construction facilitates the addition of various accessories.
The third class of guitar includes the acoustic bass, the electric bass guitar, and the electric bass.
Acoustic Bass Rarely used except in certain Latin bands. It is a huge guitar having six strings and a range an octave lower than the normal six-string guitar.
Electric Bass Guitar Generally a solid body instrument. It is the best instrument for guitarists learning bass because the neck is about the same size as a guitar neck. It uses the bottom four strings of the guitar, sounding an octave lower.
Electric Bass Somewhat different from the bass guitar in that the neck is longer and narrower, requiring a different playing technique.