Music Industry

Types of Guitars: The Many Faces of a Six-Stringed Star


October 24 2023

Music Industry

Types of Guitars: The Many Faces of a Six-Stringed Star


October 24 2023

We’ve journeyed through the origin of music, the history of different musical instruments, as well as the different types of these instruments, such as the types of violin. Today, we venture into the world of the guitar.

This six-stringed wonder has carved a name for itself as one of the most versatile and beloved instruments. From the exhilarating riffs of the electric guitar to the warm tones of the classical guitar, this iconic instrument has undergone numerous transformations, giving rise to different types of guitar, each with its own unique voice. In this article, we walk you through the evolution of the guitar, as well as the parallels between its innovation and the creative spirit celebrated at the Soundstorm Festival.

The Classical Guitar: Timeless Elegance

Classical guitars, often called "Spanish guitars” (because of their origins), are a type of guitar typically strung with nylon strings, finger plucked, and played in a seated position. The classical guitar's wide, flat neck makes it easier to play scales, arpeggios, and certain chord forms than on other types of guitar since there is less interference from surrounding strings. 

This acoustic guitar influence resonates globally. Take Flamenco guitars, which are built similarly to classical guitars but are known for their distinctive, percussive sound. Meanwhile, steel-stringed versions of the same instrument play a significant role in fado music in Portugal. Choro artists in Brazil add a seventh string to the guitar (known there as a ‘violo’) to give it deeper bass notes. Popular in Mexico, mariachi bands feature a variety of guitars, from the tiny requinto to the guitarrón, a bass-register instrument larger than a cello. 

The Bass Guitar: The Unsung Hero

The lowest-pitched of the guitar family is the bass guitar - also referred to as the electric bass or just bass. Often overshadowed but never underestimated, the bass forms the rhythmic backbone of music with its deep, resonant tones that add depth and groove to songs across genres.

The bass features a larger neck and scale length than an electric or acoustic guitar, with four to six courses of strings. Typically, a four-string bass guitar will be tuned to the same notes as a double bass, an octave lower than the standard guitar's lowest four strings (E, A, D, and G). You can play it with your fingers, thumb, or a pick. Acoustic bass guitars don't need any extra amplification to be heard, while electric bass guitars do. 

The Electric Guitar: The Icon of Rock

The electric guitar is the driving force behind the world of rock and roll. With its magnetic pickups and amplified sound, this type of guitar revolutionized music, and legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page harnessed the electric guitar's power to create seismic shifts in music history. Its distortion and feedback transformed it into a symbol of rebellion and self-expression.

Electric guitars can have three different types of bodies: solid, semi-hollow, and hollow. In contrast to acoustic guitars, electric guitars use electromagnetic (and sometimes piezoelectric) pickups to send the signals made by the vibrations of the steel strings to an amplifier through a patch wire or radio transmitter. What changes the sound is either extra electrical devices (called "effects units"), the pre-amp in the amplifier, or the natural distortion of valves (also called "vacuum tubes").

Like the electric guitar's groundbreaking nature, MDLBEAST's Soundstorm Festival honors artists pushing musical limits. Like the evolution of the acoustic guitar into the electric, the festival blurs the lines between traditional musical genres by fusing electronic, hip-hop, and other sounds in a celebration of music, art, and technology.

The Acoustic-Electric Guitar: A Blend of Tradition and Innovation

Acoustic-electric guitars combine the organic sound of acoustic instruments with the power of electric guitar amps. Offering the best of both worlds, this hybrid instrument can be played acoustically or with an amplifier. Their use is widespread, particularly in live settings, where the volume of an acoustic guitar is needed but cannot be achieved naturally.

The acoustic-electric guitar bridges the gap between tradition and innovation, offering versatility and adaptability for various musical genres, whether performed in an intimate setting or on a vast stage.

The Guitar's Enduring Legacy

In conclusion, this instrument’s enduring legacy in the world of music is a testament to its dynamic nature. The electric guitar's pulsating presence, the bass guitar's deep rhythm, the classical guitar's ageless grace, and the acoustic-electric guitar's fusion of tradition and innovation; each type of guitar offers its own distinctive sound palette.

Much like the Soundstorm Festival, which celebrates innovation and music's boundless potential, The guitar's development from its acoustic roots to electric and beyond exemplifies the power of creativity and the ability to transcend limitations.

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