Like an acoustic guitar, an electric is basically just strings that vibrate over wood, but with the addition of all kinds of confusing-looking selector switches and knobs.
Learning to identify the basic components of electric guitars can help demystify the process and help you focus on the most important parts.
- Pick-ups will be placed under the strings near when the guitar is plucked. There may be as few as one pick-up and as many as three or four, depending on the guitar. These are used to pick up the sound of the guitar, which vibrates an internal magnetic coil, producing an electric signal that travels through the amplifier.
- Volume knobs will be included, sometimes as many as three. These allow you to adjust the output volume of the guitar.
- Tone knobs are used to toggle between the high and low frequencies in the pick-up. There are usually different tone knobs for each pick-up in the guitar.
- Selector or cut-off switches are used to select between the individual pick-ups and activate them, or cut them off. On most guitars you can use some combination of different pick-ups.
- The output jack is usually on the back-end of the guitar, or the bottom lip, where the guitar is plugged in to the amplifier via quarter-inch cable.