Guitar Wood
Most guitar player makers believe that the top is the most important determining factor in 
the quality of a guitar's tone. 

Laminated VS Solid Top
The front, back and sides of acoustic guitars can be made from different combinations of Laminated or solid woods. The top material is generally considered to have the greatest effect on sound quality and so a solid topped guitar with laminated back and sides will sound better than an all laminated guitar. The quality of a guitar's sound increases the more solid its materials, and so guitar with solid top, back and sides should give rise to the best quality sounds. Solid bodies also last much longer and can even increase in sound quality as the woods mature with age.

Solid Top
These are made from two solid sheets of wood to form each half of the sound board ( You can usually see a line running down the middle of the face which is the join between the two )

Laminated Top
These consist of several pieces and layers of wood that have been laminated together to form the sheet. Because a solid top will have long continuous grain lines in its structure, solid-topped soundboards produce a clearer tone and will last much longer than a laminated top. A laminated  body has multiple grain layers running in different directions, which will not vibrate as well and will deteriorate over time as the layer loosen. 

The most commonly used material for the top of a guitar is Spruce. It has a rigidity that enhances the tonal clarity, especially when the guitar is played hard. There are different varieties of spruce with slightly different characteristics.

Sitka spruce
North American Solid Sitka Spruce produces a loud and balanced voice with a strong fundamental (lowest frequency harmonic). Sitka top guitars are sought after by players with a strong attack due to their crisp treble bite.

Engelmann Spruce
North American solid engelmann spruce is a beautiful rich, creamy soundboard wood, spruce enhances volume and has clear high-end articulation. Engelmann adds a brilliant complex overtone structure. Widely regarded as the best top a guitar can get.

Cedar has a darker coloration to spruce and can have a reddish tint. This wood is highly responsive to light playing and finger-styles, responding with volume to a softer attack, for this reason it is most commonly found in guitars with smaller bodies, classical guitars and folk guitars. Cedar is most notable for its response to open and lowered tuning.

Mahogany can help to enhance the tone and stability of a guitar in combination with a good quality solid top. Mahogany is generally used for the back and sides of guitars where its strength helps contribute more treble and bass to the overtones. The sturdiness of Mahogany makes it especially suitable for neck construction.

source from google

How to change your electric guitar strings

If you can't do it at the moment, and are taking it to your local store to get it done, now is the time to learn. Do be careful though, there is a lot of tension on guitar strings, and if they come loose or snap, they can do you some damage (especially your eyes). Also be careful to dispose of your old string carefully. Cats and dogs really like to chew on them, but they can go straight through their cheeks. So please dispose of them safely.

Step 1- Remove and replace. 

The first step is to totally remove the original string. 

This means taking any bits off the tuning peg, and taking out the "Ball" from the bridge end. There are two main types of electric guitar and two different types of bridge.

You must check that the ball has been removed from here. If you do not you might get two that wedge themselves in there and it is a real task to get them out. You can check by holding the guitar up to the light and you should be able to see if it is still there. If you have any difficulties getting it out then try using the new fat 6th string to poke it out from the front of the guitar. You might also like to try removing the plastic back plate to make it easier to see what you are doing. 

Step 2

Winding on the peg.

This part is the same for all types of guitars (except classical guitars). The most important part of this is getting the string on the right side of the peg, and here is how to do it. First of all line up the hole in the peg so it is facing straight down the neck. Put the string through the hole and pull it back so you have some slack. The amount of slack you need will vary, depending on the thickness of the string. The 6th string only needs about 7cm but the 1st string can take 10cm, or thereabouts. Now hold the string in place with your right hand, just hold the peg so the string cannot slip and then turn the peg ANTI-CLOCKWISE.

As you continue turning the peg the string will wrap around it. The first time round the string should go above the hole (and the slack poking out) and above the string and after 1 lap it should go under the string. This will make it lock onto the string as it gets tighter (it is OK for all the wraps to go under, it is just more secure if you get the lock). You should aim for a least 3 wraps on the 6th string and 5 wraps for the 1st string. More will not hurt, but less and the string may start to slip. Try not let the string overlap itself, as this may make it easier to break.

Step 3

Tuning up. 

The next step is to tune the string. I strongly recommend getting an electric tuner, as it is important to hear what the guitar should sound like when you are learning, and electric tuners are pretty cheap these days .If you have one then tune up using this, if not, tune to another string that you know is in tune. If this is not an option, then tune up to a keyboard, pitch pipes, or whatever is available. 

Step 4

Stretching in. 

And lastly, and quite often forgotten, is to stretch the string in. Just gently pull on the string with your right hand, using your left hand to hold the string in it's correct position in the nut. You should notice it going out of tune considerably, and will need to tune it again. Continue stretching until you no longer need to tune it up.

String Locking Systems
The other type is patentented by Floyd Rose, but are commonly known as Locking tremolo systems (found on most Ibanez type rock guitars and most metal style guitars). The idea of this system is to lock the string using small clamps so it cannot slip and go out of tune, even when the whammy bar is being thrashed. Tuning these is quite a skill and will have to be another lesson unto itself. The system is good, and stays in tune, but also has it's flaws (like if you break a string then all the strings go out of tune, and, they are quite hard to get in tune).

Pictures and info all credited to Google


Tips on how to take care of your steel guitar strings

Acid, oil, sweat and gunk from your hands would cause the strings or its 
coating to oxidize and rust.

So here are some tips on taking care of your guitar strings :

Wipe your strings with a clean dry cloth after each time you play.

Stick a little bag of desiccant on your strings while in storage to keep moisture out.

GHS Fast-Fret String Cleaner 
Cleans your musical instrument strings, brightens your sound, and 
prolongs fingerboard life while letting you play faster than you ever imagined! 
Convenient applicator and cloth. For all stringed instruments.


Kyser Dr. Stringfellow Lubricant/Cleaner
Lubricating and cleaning strings not only 
prolongs string life by protecting against skin acids 
and other wear, but makes for easier fingering. 
Kyser Dr. Stringfellow Lubricant/Cleaner is safe for any wood finish.
(RM 18)

How often you should change your strings even with all the 
cleaning and maintenance you're doing?

2 hours every day - 2 to 4 weeks
30 minutes to 1 hour a day - 1 month to 6 weeks
30 minutes to 1 hour 3 - 5 times a week - 6 weeks to 2 months
almost never or never - 2 to 3 months


How a pickup can influence 

your sound

Single-coil pickups

A single-coil pickup has only one coil of wire. It may have a single magnet, a single magnet with screws for adjustable pole pieces, or a separate magnet for each string. Regardless of the number and arrangement of magnets, it is still a single coil pickup if it has only one coil of wire.

The single-coil sound
Single-coil pickups have a thin, clean, and transparent sound. These pickups are usually about 3/4th of an inch wide and 2-1/2 inches long. Single-coil pickups are common on Fender guitars such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster, two guitars that are very common in rock, country, and pop. Some of the most notable users of the Fender Strat single-coil sound include Jimi HendrixEric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan

Humbucker pickups

A humbucker uses two coils and either two magnets (or sets of magnets), or pole pieces at opposite ends of a single magnet. In a humbucking pickup, the two coils are wound with opposing electrical polarity, but the magnetic polarity for each coil is also reversed. Without going into great technical detail, this means simply that each coil carries two signals; the string vibration signal, which is reinforced, producing a thick, meaty sound, and the noise signal, which is cancelled.

The double-coil sound

The warm, smooth, double-coil sound for rock, blues, pop, and jazz. 
The most famous players whose sound is associated with the double-coil "humbucker" sound include in Jimmy Page, Joe PerryJohn Lennon, BB KingWes Montgomery, and Chet AtkinsMany guitars have a combination of single- and double-coil pickups. It's also common for a double-coil pickup to have a switch that will turn one of the coils off to offer the player a choice between single- and double-coil.



Acoustic Guitar Guide

Before purchase an acoustic guitar, it's important to have some 
knowledge of the instruments's parts.

Body - The body consists of a back, sides, and top. Different body types, constructions, and woods have a major impact on the way the instruments sounds. The body of an acoustic guitar can also be looked at with regard to its upper and lower bouts and the waist.

Bridge - The bridge on an acoustic guitar anchors the strings to the body, and transfer vibration and energy from the string to the guitar's top.

Top - Perhaps the most important element in the way an acoustic guitar will sound. 
As the strings are strummed, the vibrations are transferred through the bridge to the top. Acoustic guitars tops are either solid, laminated, sometimes "flames" or "quilted".

Neck - Most acoustic guitars use a bolt-on neck. The neck is an important part of an acoustic guitar's feel and playability. 

Fretboard/Fingerboard - The fretboard is a long, thin piece of wood that is glued to the neck. Most common woods used for acoustic guitar fretboard are rosewood and ebony. 

Tuning key -  Located on the headstock, the tuners adjust the tension of each strings.

Action - The distance between the frets and the strings of an acoustic guitar.

Binding - Strips of wood, plastic, or other material used both to strengthen and enhance the look of an acoustic guitar's body, neck, and/or headstock.

Bout - The curved areas above and below the narrow waist of an acoustic guitar. The curves above the waist are called the upper bout and those below are called the lower bout.

Bracing - The internal wooden support structure inside an acoustic guitar that gives the instrument integrity. Well-designed top bracing maximizes the ability of the top to vibrate.

Bridge - On most acoustic guitars, the bridge is a piece of wood placed below the soundhole. It is used to anchor the strings and transfer their vibrations to the soundboard.

Bridge pins - Fit into the holes on the bridge where the strings go in to anchor them in place. Most often made of plastic; some are made of ebony.

Cutaway - A guitar body style with a contoured upper bout that allows the player to reach the upper frets of the guitar more easily.

Decay - The level of volume loss from a note's maximum volume to silence.

Dovetail - A type of interlocking joint used in guitar-making, most often to attach the neck to the body.

Dreadnought - A large-body acoustic guitar originally designed by the Martin guitar company in the early 20th century, named after the large dreadnought battleships of the day.

Fret markers - Fretboard inlays on an acoustic guitar that serve as a visual reference of the player's position.

Inlay - Designs on the fretboard, headstock, or body of an acoustic guitar. Typically the inlay design is carved into the wood, then filled with one of many materials such as mother-of-pearl, metal, abalone, or plastic. For purely aesthetic purposes.

Intonation - The relationship of tones on different parts of the fretboard. The note of each string on the 12th fret should match the note of the 12th fret harmonic on the same string. If not, the guitar's intonation should be adjusted.

Laminated - As opposed to a solid piece of wood used in acoustic guitar-making, a laminated surface is created by gluing several thin plies of wood together.

Pickguard - A thin plate located below the soundhole that protects the guitar's top from scratches that may occur as a result of picking or strumming the strings.

Pickup - An electronic device that senses the vibrations of the strings and converts it to an electrical signal for amplification.

Piezo pickup - A crystalline structure that senses changes in compression and converts them to an electrical signal. Often placed under an acoustic guitar's saddle, the piezo senses the changes in compression when the strings vibrate. The most common pickup used in acoustic-electric guitars.

Saddle  - Like the nut, the saddle spaces the strings at the bridge and, along with the bridge, transfers the vibration of the strings to the top.

Scale - The total length of the vibrating portion of a string.

Soundhole - The hole in an acoustic guitar's top that aids in projecting the instrument's sound.

source: musiciansfriend
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