Electric guitars are the stringed musical instruments which have electric capabilities. They make use of the principle of electromagnetic induction. The string vibrations are converted into electric signals with the help of electromagnets present in the guitar system. The electric signals produced are weaker and hence are amplified using the amplifiers before they are fed to the loudspeaker.
How They Create Sound
Most are six stringed and fretted. They are made of solid bodies except for a few, which may have either hollow or semi-hollow bodies. Magnetic induction and amplification are both essential for the electric guitars to work. The sound produced by the magnetic pickups is being controlled by the knobs. The sound produced by striking the strings is almost inaudible when the guitar is not plugged in.
Electric guitars generally have longer necks which can be of two types i.e. set neck or a bolt-on neck. The top of the neck is called headstock. The headstock contains machine heads or tuners which when rotated change the string tension and hence help in tuning the guitar. Between the headstock and the neck are the nuts over which the strings of the guitar pass.
The guitar’s playing area is called fretboard or the fingerboard. They have frets positioned horizontally at intervals on the fingerboard. On striking the string, the frets stop the strings at certain point to produce appropriate tones. The control knobs of the electric guitars help in adjusting the volume of the tones produced. The tension on the neck can be adjusted by the truss rods.
Materials Of Construction
There are different materials and construction techniques used in making the electric guitars. The materials used in construction do have an impact on the sound produced. It is the hollow body electric guitars which are greatly influenced by the materials used, while the solid body guitars aren’t much affected. The most woods used in the construction of the guitar bodies are swamp ash, mahogany, alder, basswood and maple. For some, cardboard and plastic are also used for bodies. The soundboards are usually made of rosewood, koa and ebony and the necks are made of mahogany, basswood and maple.
The strings are not meant for producing louder tones. Therefore, the strings of electric guitars and those used for acoustic guitars are different. Stainless steel, pure nickel and nickel plated steel are commonly used in making the strings of electric guitar.
Electric guitars were not being widely used during the early years of production. But now, they have become a necessity of every musical show.