So, you want to get into the world of guitars. While the skill floor of learning guitars is certainly lower than other instruments, such as the piano, there’s still quite a bit you need to learn before you pick one up. With multiple different types of guitars out there, the type of guitar you pick can largely influence what music you’ll end up playing in the years to come.
The Classical Guitar
The classical guitar uses nylon strings to produce the sounds and chords that it is known for. Classical guitars are popular in Latin countries, and these guitars are largely reserved for solo performances. Due to the lack of modern acoustic features, classical guitars may seem to be out-of-date to some, but the unique sound that comes from their nylon strings, accompanied with a sense of nostalgia, is what maintains their popularity to this day.
Much like the classical guitar, the acoustic guitar has a hollow space where the sound comes from. The main difference from the classical guitar lies in the material used for the strings. Acoustic guitars use steel strings, and this metallic sound is what makes the acoustic sound so modern, despite being used in many older ballads and songs in the 20th century. Many acoustic guitars are fitted with amplifier support and other handy features that allow a musician to immediately connect to a nearby sound system with the right cables.
Twelve-string guitars are simply just regular guitars with double the amount of normal strings. The added strings introduce a new level of complexity to the instrument and is largely used as a rhythm instrument rather than a tool for melodies.
Now, we move onto the more modern types of guitars. Electric guitars by themselves do not produce sounds using a resonating body; rather, they make use of an amplifier to create the unique, metallic sound that we most commonly associate with rock and metal, among other genres of music.
Electric guitars can further be classified into different subtypes, depending on the range of notes that they can play. For example, bass guitars are a special type of electric guitar that specialize in playing exceptionally low notes. These notes form the bassline of many songs, and many songs are most commonly remembered for their unforgettable bassline.
Touch guitars are exactly what they sound like - guitars that play notes by touching strings instead of strumming them. This makes touch guitars more akin to a piano rather than a traditional guitar in this sense. Touch guitars play the unique metallic sound that modern guitars are known for, and are still classified as a string instrument. Touch guitars have seen use in music culture to this day, though they're admittedly not as popular as other electric guitar subtypes.
For the experienced guitarist, double-neck guitars are more of a convenience than a challenge. These special guitars are essentially two guitars connected together, allowing the guitarist to basically play two guitars at once whenever they feel like it. This leads to quite interesting performances, with the same guitarist playing different, varied notes throughout a single song.
Guitars are incredibly rewarding to play, and there are plenty of types of guitars to start learning with. Regardless of what type of guitar you choose to play with first, though, you’ll learn that the instrument has a lot more depth to it than just strumming and plucking.