Sure, your pickups pick up the sound, and your amp amplifies it, but even before they get to handle it, your precious tone has already been formed by the interaction of string and wood. Pluck a string, and you set into motion a transference of vibrational energy from the strings into the wood of the body and neck (via different coupling elements such as bridge saddles, nut, and frets). The spectrum of sounds kicked out by this acoustic interaction is the biggest determining factor at the heart of the sound that eventually reaches the listener’s ear, however you delay, spin, or distort it along the way. Let’s look at the characteristic voices of a few tone woods, and see how they contribute to our guitar’s sound.

The demand for amplified guitars began during the big band era; as orchestras increased in size, guitar players soon realized the necessity in guitar amplification & electrification.[14] The first electric guitars used in jazz were hollow archtop acoustic guitar bodies with electromagnetic transducers. Early electric guitar manufacturers include Rickenbacker in 1932; Dobro in 1933; National, AudioVox and Volu-tone in 1934; Vega, Epiphone (Electrophone and Electar), and Gibson in 1935 and many others by 1936.
Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide: This print guide, published by Vintage Guitar and Bass, is an annual guide that is re-published with updated information each year. The webpage above is handy because it shows links for all guides that have been published in one place and will continue adding links for future years. The link shown for each guide will take you to a store online where you can purchase the guide. It is known for being extremely thorough, and its latest edition, the 2017 guide, has appraisals for 2,000 brands of guitars, basses, amps, effects, mandolins, steels, lap steels, ukuleles and banjos.
Electric guitars are solid-bodied guitars that are designed to be plugged into an amplifier. The electric guitar when amplified produces a sound that is metallic with a lengthy decay. The shape of an electric guitar is not determined by the need for a deep resonating body and this had led to the development of contoured and thin bodied electric guitars. The two most popular designs are the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul.
My first recommendation is Epiphone. It is not just one of the best but it is the best guitar brand for beginners who are looking to buy a guitar to learn the ropes. I have included a few recommendations from this brand in this post. If you don’t know which one to buy and you are a beginner then buy one from this brand and you won’t go wrong for sure.
Many people think that electric guitars are going to be loud when they are plugged in... well they can be, but they do have a volume control, so you can control the volume. Also, be aware that you do not have to plug them in! I do probably half of my practice on an electric guitar without an amp at all. It's good to get the notes ringing out loud and clear without an amp, so as a beginner you might want to put all your money into getting a cool guitar and leave getting an amp until later (these days there are some awesome software products and even smart phone apps that sound great!).
If the wood is the foundation of the structure, of course it will contribute to how the guitar sounds. Most people who argue that wood doesn’t affect the tone say that the string cant be affected by the wood because it is suspended between the metal parts of the guitar. If this were entirely true, you wouldn’t feel vibration in the guitar body. If the body of the guitar is vibrating, then it is going to affect the vibration of the string. The foundation of a structure will affect how it reacts to vibration.

I had a Soundgear 5 string bass when they first came out and it was one of the worst basses I have ever owned. Crappy electronics, uncomfortable neck and the list goes on. I used it as a back up when I was touring 100+ shows per year and luckily my Tobias Killer B5 never had issues other than the occasional broken string. The best thing I can say about it is I lent it to a "colleague" and he ended up stealing it. Good riddance!
Having spent years developing the JDX 48 and Headload, it only made sense that Radial would develop a solution for guitarists who didn’t want to use an amp at all; hence, the JDX Direct-Drive™ was born! The Direct-Drive lets guitarists choose between three different amp voicings: “Combo”, “Stack” and “JDX 4×12”, with further controls to adjust the brightness of the amp. The guitarist simply plugs in their guitar through their pedals, into the JDX Direct-Drive and out to the board with an XLR cable. There are additional outputs for attaching to onstage amps or speakers as well for guitarists who are more comfortable having volume with them on stage. The engineer can then mic the amp and mix the two signals together to get the best tone out of the PA system.
Two and one half steps down from Drop D. This tuning is most often used by death metal or deathcore musicians, such as Suicide Silence or Whitechapel (both use seven-string guitars and tune down the seventh string a full step). Utilized by bands like Nile, Motograter, Thrice, Filter (on the songs "Columind" and "The Missing" from The Amalgamut and "Drug Boy" and "The Trouble with Angels" from the album of the same name), Dead by April, RED, Ill Niño (on Dead New World) and occasionally Slipknot, Crowbar, Amon Amarth, Five Finger Death Punch, and Parkway Drive. Trapt uses this tuning on their songs "Hollow Man" and "Waiting".
The Fender Stratocaster Squier is possibly the most recognizable shape in electric guitar history. The Fender Stratocaster design is mimicked by manufacturers all over the world. Fender produces its own line of budget “Strats” called the Squier series. If you want to start with an electric guitar, chances are you’ll buy something like this for around $130 USD.
Ultimately, you want to make the best purchase for the person who will be playing the guitar while staying within your budget. As we recommended in the beginning, it’s good to get an idea of what the player is looking for. Find out what styles they like, and his or her favorite music. Looks are important too! The right guitar in the right color could make all the difference.
Ibanez are one of the best known of the more contemporary style guitars with artists such as Satriani and Vai on their books. This particular model, the RG 450 Deluxe, boasts a layout which traditional Fender players will be familiar with, but it's a very different guitar. It is a more compact instrument than the Stratocaster and with two humbuckers separated by a single coil, the pick-up system allows you to create some thick tones. In fact if you play around with the five way selector you can get just about any tone you could want. The body shape is very sharp and clinical and with jagged bolt inlays and the traditional Ibanez pointed headstock the guitar is very recognisably Ibanez. It also features a quality tremolo unit and two full octaves on the fingerboard with wide cutaways for access. This is an excellent alternative to the Gibson or Fender style dichotomy that dominates the market. If you're searching for your own sound, somewhere between the two, it's worth checking out the Ibanez range.

Above all, enjoy playing guitar and enjoy the journey! Look forward to 3, 4, 5 years down the line when, if you've been persistent with your practice time (and allowed plenty of time for noodling), you'll have accomplished so much. This is all about freeing up your creativity, bit by bit, so you can express yourself on guitar as naturally as you can with speech. Doors will open all throughout your progress. Each new door that opens is like a new outlet for your creativity.


Every guitarist who bends or vibratoes a string to make it sing owes a debt to B.B. King. With influences as diverse as T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt, the late guitarist turned the blues world upside down in 1952 with “3 O’Clock Blues.” Almost overnight, the harmonica was supplanted as the primary solo instrument in blues, as guitarists scrambled to imitate B.B.’s soloing style, especially in Chicago.
A hard-tail guitar bridge anchors the strings at or directly behind the bridge and is fastened securely to the top of the instrument.[20] These are common on carved-top guitars, such as the Gibson Les Paul and the Paul Reed Smith models, and on slab-body guitars, such as the Music Man Albert Lee and Fender guitars that are not equipped with a vibrato arm.

Being a PODHD user for many years now, I am but one of the many who commend its balance of versatility and sound quality. Like many reviewers, it allows me to gig and record conveniently, often times plugging straight to PA with great results. I've also seen a number of professionals using PODHD500X's in their concerts, so it's not surprising that even experts at Music Radar were convinced, saying: "The modelling is excellent throughout, with authentic-sounding amps and quality effects".


‘Power' Chords are used in most styles of music but are particularly useful for rock guitar; they even sound cool on acoustic (check out Nirvana's Unplugged album for an awesome example). The basic idea is that you only have to learn one chord shape, and that one shape can move around the fingerboard to make other chords. It uses no open strings, and muting the unused open strings is a very important part of the technique.
The Kaman Corporation soon diversified, branching off into nuclear weapons testing, commercial helicopter flight, the development and testing of chemicals, and helicopter bearings production. But in the early 1960s, financial problems due to the failure of their commercial flight division forced them to consider expanding into new markets, such as entertainment and leisure. Charles Kaman, still an avid guitar player, became interested in the making of guitars.[2][6]
When Eric Clapton plugged his 1960 Les Paul into a Marshall Bluesbreaker in the mid 60’s (the set-up used to record Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, the “Beano album”) he created a new rock tone that immediately became a standard.[15] Clapton played a 1960 Standard as a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and in the early days of Cream. The guitar was said to have been stolen while Clapton was preparing for the first Cream tour in 1966, following the recording of Fresh Cream, and was long considered an iconic instrument by Clapton’s fans and Les Paul guitar admirers. Gibson announced production of the Clapton 1960 Standard, also nicknamed the “Beano Burst”, in 2010. Gibson says the instrument “accurately represents what Eric Clapton personally feels his 1960 Les Paul should be”, with Clapton consulting on the design of the guitar. Production is limited to 55 hand-aged instruments signed by Clapton (who was allowed to keep the first five of these instruments), another 95 hand-aged instruments, and 350 Vintage Original Spec instruments, but all five hundred instruments feature period-correct hardware, two Gibson reproduction PAF humbucking pickups, and subtly figured “antiquity burst” maple tops.
Squier Affinity Telecaster: The Tele features the same tonewoods as the Strat, with a slightly different single-cutaway body style. It also has two pickups instead of three, and a fixed bridge. Single-coil pickups have a thinner sound compared to humbuckers, and it case of the Telcaster they create the signature twang that put the guitar on the map.
The only guitars that I have been able to find pictures of that have the little curly thingie on the headstocks have been Kents, Kawais and some kind of no-name guitar that looks like the factory took a red Kent 820 and sprayed black around the edges to create a “redburst” finish. The example above appears to has started as a regular sunburst finish with more red and black added. The neck, headstock, pickups, and body are identical to the Kent 820 except the name ‘Kent’ doesn’t appear on the guitar anywhere. Note that the hardware on it is the same as on the 820 shown. That bridge and tailpiece configuration is a little unusual for Kent 820s. (the 820 there is mine) The bridge and tailpiece on the Kent 823 is the more common configuration.
The use of "full range, flat response" (FRFR) amplification systems by electric guitarists has received an extra impetus from modeling amplifiers. Before widespread availability of modeling, guitarists did not commonly plug electric guitars straight into PA systems or powered speakers, because most genres relied on the tonal coloration of a regular guitar amplifier setup—from the preamplifier, equalization filters, power amp, guitar speakers, and cabinet design. The FRFR approach assumes the tone is shaped by sound processors in the signal chain before the amplifier and speaker stage, so it strives to not add further coloration[20] or dedicated combo-style amplifiers with a broad frequency range.[21] Such processors can be traditional guitar effects, a modeling amplifier (without power amplifier), or a computer running tone-shaping software.[20] Using a modeling amp or a multi effects pedal used with line level output, a guitarist can plug in the guitar into a flat response mic input or into a keyboard amplifier.
Left Handed 1968 Fender Strat with an insanely rare Blonde Custom Color! This had to have been a special order guitar – has “Blond” written in the neck pickup cavity(see pic). I think I’ve seen one other factory left-handed Blonde Strat, but certainly not from the Hendrix era(both the white Woodstock and black Band of Gypsies Strats were from 1968).

I have been watching Marty, subscribe to many, but found Jonathan Kehew also a very good teacher with longer than most videos and a calm organized presentation . Would like to see what anyone thinks about Swift guitar lessons. I stated using his site as he allows downloads of pdfs of scales and other written material to accompany the videos. He also has three camera in camera closeups of chords and hand position. His appearance clothes, pale skin, open neck shirt, facial hair is a turn off but his content is good I think.

Admit it. You’ve slow danced to Stairway To Heaven before. Page’s playing have influenced so many guitar players of today, and Led Zeppelin revolutionized Rock and Roll blending acoustic guitars, banjos, and mandolins while still staying with the same gritty rock image. His guitar riffs are forever etched into Rock and Roll’s hall of fame. How influential was he? Step into a guitar store, and you’ll see. Thousands of 12 year old kids across the globe are playing the intro to Stairway. Now that’s how you know you’ve made it.
All this is to say that you don't need to worry about getting your hands on a large amp. Small amps perform better for the overall sound of your band in most venues, and any venue big enough for you to need more volume is going to mic your amp anyway, giving you all the juice you'd need. So, as you look at the amps on our list, you can evaluate them based on their EQ options, their effects, and, frankly, their look.
The Streamliner concept is simple: to create more affordable Gretsch guitars without losing their specific DNA. Two new Broad'Tron humbuckers are controlled in classic Gretsch style by a three-way toggle selector switch on the bass side shoulder, a master volume on the treble side horn, and then a trio of controls by the treble-side f-hole for individual-pickup volume and master tone. The G2622's construction gives a different response and resonance to other new releases from Gretsch and, with these pickups, moves further from the Gretsch sound. And while its construction gives it a more solid, or at least ES-335, character, it's a little more airy and less punchy with a softer, squashier tonality. The beefier pickups certainly don't nail a classic Gretsch tonality - although if that's what you want, the full-size pickups are easy to replace - but they do broaden the sonic potential, especially for more gained styles, while staying close to the classic iconography. If you want a great-value semi-hollow, this is among the best electric guitars for under $500.

It’s also worth noting that Fender guitars are typically available with a few different pickup combinations. I’d especially recommend checking out a HSS Stratocaster for rock music. The humbucker in the bridge position gives you a thicker, hotter sound, but you still have all that great Strat tone in the from the neck and middle pickups. I’ve played a Standard HSS Strat for over a decade and it’s one of my favorite guitars.


There are several good reasons why you might want to wire your Strat pickups in series. If you want more volume and midrange out of your pickups, the parallel/series switching may be the perfect option. As I mentioned, parallel wiring of two pickups is what you are used to hearing from a Strat. Parallel wiring adds transparency and clarity to the tone.
This guitar master started building guitars when he was 12 in the early '80s when Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstein guitar inspired him to create his own beautiful monstrosities. Since then, McCarthy worked at several music shops, doing repair work on the side, and learned from master luthiers working in their dungeons before finding a home at Dallas Repair Shop. Paul also does warranty work for Fender in its custom shop, which led to repairing Buddy Guy's guitar and Ted Nugent's. "Selling guitars at a guitar shop, you really have nothing to show for it," McCarthy says. "But here at the end of the day, I can see what I've done. Work with my hands, fix problems, and it pays pretty good, too."

Effects and effects units—stompboxes in particular—have been celebrated by pop and rock musicians in album titles, songs and band names. The Big Muff, a fuzzbox manufactured by Electro-Harmonix,[49] is commemorated by the Depeche Mode song "Big Muff" and the Mudhoney EP Superfuzz Bigmuff. Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, George Harrison, They Might Be Giants and Joy Division are among the many musicians who have referenced effects units in their music.[50]
Lastly, if what you're really asking is "Can I play my electric guitar without making any noise that would bother my neighbors/housemates?" Many amps and all direct in setups will allow you play with headphones. I plug headphones in a small tube amp. The sound is quite nice. I find this setup allows me to experiment even more than usual since I am not self conscious about anyone hearing what I am playing. I've seen little tube amps for as little as about $125 that have headphone jacks. At that price don't expect Fender, Dr Z, Vox, Marshall or Mesa Boogie quality sound, but they get the job done of basic tube drive and bypass the loudspeaker by driving the headphones.
One full step down from Drop D. Utilized by bands like A Day to Remember, Biffy Clyro, Swallow the Sun in all their albums, The Ocean Collective in the Heliocentric / Anthropocentric albums, Slo Burn, Bullet for My Valentine, Evanescence, Children of Bodom, Disciple, Demon Hunter (Only on Demon Hunter), Avenged Sevenfold in "Radiant Eclipse", As I Lay Dying, Asking Alexandria on Reckless and Relentless, Rammstein, August Burns Red, Mastodon (on some songs), Helmet (since the Size Matters era), Converge, System of a Down, What Great Fangs, Black Stone Cherry, Chimaira (since The Impossibility of Reason), P.O.D., Ill Niño, Killswitch Engage, Deftones (in their album White Pony), Disturbed, Gojira (mostly on The Way of All Flesh & L'Enfant Sauvage), Metallica's St. Anger album, (except for the songs "Invisible Kid", which has one guitar in Drop G#, "Dirty Window", which is in Drop C#, and "The Unnamed Feeling", which has one guitar tuned to Drop A#/Bb), Weissglut, Atreyu, Darkest Hour, Breaking Benjamin (on some songs), Mudvayne, Born of Osiris (when using 6 string guitar) Periphery along with some alternate tunings, Cancer Bats, Slipknot (on their demo Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat.), Zakk Wylde, Escape the Fate, and Skillet, Nirvana on their Bleach album, Porcupine Tree on the songs Anesthetize and Cheating the Polygraph.
Heres a few no one has brought up … very under rated or possibly not well enough known …. Jeff Beck , Steve Vai , BucketHead , Ry Cooder , Eric Johnson ,Gary Moore , Ritchie Blackmore , Andy Summers ,John Petrucci ,Vivian Campbell , Paul Gilbert , Uli John Roth ,Robert Fripp ,Akira Takasaki ,Steve Howe ,MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO ,CHRIS IMPELLITTERI ,ZAKK WYLDE , Vinnie Vincent , Stevie Stevens , and my choice for best overall would definetely be Randy Rhoads…
Regarding the PDF download, I have not done so yet, but all of this info is available on the web, in color, ad nauseum. I bought the book to have at my bench so I could refer to it while wiring guitars. I do not have a color printer. I find the thought that, in order to experience what the book OUGHT to look like, you have to download a file, presumptuous, at best. Annoying, at the least.
Lotus started with the elite league of Japanese craftsmen and initially made excellent Morris-branded guitars, but trying to keep up with the heavyweights such as Matsumoku Aria Pro II and Fuji-Gen Gakki Ibanez was difficult. Mismanagement and, especially, the inability to market their initial superb-quality guitars soon had Lotus' owners scrambling for cheaper labor, ending in India with poor quality and eventually no takers for their product, as Chinese and Indonesian guitar producers stepped up with instruments of comparable quality at similar prices.

With that said, it’s important to make a distinction between reverb pedals and echo pedals. These two are often time a source of major confusion. Here’s the deal. Reverb is similar to an echo in a sense that you are hearing the sound as it bounces off a surface. However, reverb is fairly quick and happens almost instantly. Echo effect, on the other hand, takes much longer to reach back to the user. One way to understand the difference is to yell in a smaller room, and then go out and yell in a canyon. Similar goes for delays. If you want to learn more about delay pedals, check out our dedicated guide here.


Placing a texture-based effect such as chorus before distortion basically means that the chorus effect will be distorted rather than the distorted tone getting some chorus. That may sound kind or original and appealing to some but trust me – you do not want to waste your distortion pedal effect by distorting an already subtle effect. This very concept is extremely important in determining the correct placement of your effects.
If the microphonic problem is not due to the cover, or is with a singlecoil pickup you have two options. First is to wax pot the pickup. The second is to pot the pickup in something else. Laquer was once commonly used, but it can cause a problem with some types of insulation (disolving it) and prevents future repair (other than full rewind). I have found a great alternative to both. It is vinyl sanding sealer. (I'm using Sherwin williams wood classics interior sanding sealer) This stuff penetrates deeply, dries solidly, and allows for repairs same as wax does. It requires no special equipment or care. Just submerge the pickup wait till bubbles stop appearing, pull it out and set it on a paper towel to dry. Once the excess has run off (a minute or so) wipe off the top and bottom of the pickup with a rag and allow it to finish drying. In it's intended use it dries fully in an hour. I leave them overnight.
This is one of the most frustrating questions from the MIJ collector. As I've read many different guitar collector/enthusiast forums and spoken to local guitar dealers, it's clear that the layperson has little to no idea who made their badged guitar from the 1960-1980 period, also known as the MIJ golden age of guitar manufacturing. People often make the mistake of citing the American or European importer as the 'maker' of the guitar, when in fact several Japanese manufacturers were producing badged guitars out of their plants and shipping them to America and Europe to sell. Japanese manufacturers made multiple badges at the same plant, many of whom resemble each other closely. Some manufacturers merged or changed hands over the years which added to the confusion, sometime merging with another maker, only to pick up their name later. In some cases a manufacturer would farm out production to various manufacturers, making it still more difficult to know who made the guitar in your hands. Parts from other guitars would be used in the making of a particular badge for a period of time because it was all the manufacturer had to hand...which doesn't always help in identifying a maker. And sometimes, the guitar which is supposed to be an MIJ guitar is actually made elsewhere (Korea, Indonesia) because production was moved during this period in history. Sounds hopeless, right? Not always!
In the guitar’s electronics, the potentiometer and capacitor form a path to ground. The capacitor presents lower impedance to higher frequencies, and vice-versa, so the tone control works by “throwing away” high frequencies. How much of the highs get thrown away is determined by the tone potentiometer, which presents an equal resistance to all frequencies. As you turn down the tone, you decrease the resistance presented by the pot. Low frequencies still find this path to ground to be a difficult one (high-impedance) because of the capacitor, but high frequencies see an easier path than the one into the amplifier (which traditionally has a fairly high impedance load in the transistors of the “pre-gain” stage, around 1Megaohm), and to they take the easier path, reducing the presence of high frequencies that are amplified and output as sound.

Fujigen went on to achieve lasting fame as the manufacturer of Greco guitars in the ‘70s and Fender Japan in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. But Fujigen’s work in the ‘60s is our focus. The Fujigen hardware is the easiest way to tell these guitars apart from Teiscos. For example, Fujigen embossed "mic 1" and "mic 2" into their metal control plates, while Teisco did not. This is just one example, but it requires a bit of reading and studying about the nuances of that hardware to positively identify the Fujigens for what they are.


I am new to guitar but had played Baritone in grades school thru high school in a small school with a band teacher who went on to Iowa State. So I wasn’t finding where notes were and started watching guitar/music theory and found several who headed me to learn my Pentatonic E minor scale before I have finished with chords. I wanted to know where notes are on fretboard.
The best guitarists of all time, voted on and ranked by many music fans, with photos and other info. With help from the wisdom of the crowd, you'll find a comprehensive ranking of the greatest guitar players in history. All the top guitarists are on this list - monster guitar heroes from rock, metal, blues, and alternative music. Are you on Team Eddie or Team Jimi? How about both!
Post on February 14, 2013 in the RRF Forum:[12] “When John Hall so graciously let me have the license to build Rickenbacker Acoustics back in ’06, I brought a truck to RIC headquarters and loaded it up with all of the remaining wood for Rickenbacker acoustics, in order to free up some shop and storage space in Santa Ana. There was enough undamaged wood for about 40 guitars, and I’ve reached the end of the line with my RIC acoustic builds. I’ve decided to let my license to build Rickenbacker acoustics expire, effective February 1, 2013. All current orders will be built as agreed.
Description: Body: Mahogany - Top Wood: Maple - Curly - Neck Wood: Mahogany - Fingerboard: Ebony - Binding: Natural - Frets: 24, Medium - Inlay: Dot - # of Strings: 6 - Scale Length: 24.75" (63cm) - Headstock: 3+3 - Bridge Construction: Ebony - Cutaway: Double - Hardware: Gold, Nickel, 2x Volume Control, 2x Tone Control, 3-Way Switch, Waverly Tuners - Pickups: Fralin P-90 - String Instrument Finish: Golden Natural, Winter Solstice, Hickory Burst, Aged Scotch, Faded Onyx - Made In: America
Over 20 years, Ovation produced some very interesting guitars. Not only do the American models feature innovative technology that alone makes them worth seeking out, they really handle nicely as players, despite their rejection at the time. Some were ahead of their time. Most were out of step with it, as well. After two decades of failed attempts to market solidbody (and some hollowbody) electrics, Ovation did what other companies who failed to successfully cross over from the genres that brought them their fame. In ’88, Ovation purchased Hamer guitars. Ah, but that’s another story…
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Seagull Maritime The Seagull Maritime acoustic guitars are made of all-solid tonewoods, making them a great option for those looking for the best acoustic guitar with a full sound. The top is made from pressure-tested solid spruce while the sides are made of solid mahogany wood for a well-balanced tone. The craftsmanship is superb and it has the sound quality to match.
Electric basses tend to use a medium jumbo fret as most Fenders have thru the years.  There are some folks who like the medium or even the very narrow/small mandolin fretwire for basses – this is more of a vintage feel, like the earliest Fender basses (Fender created the Precision Bass in 1951).  Since string height for bass strings is higher due to gauge and tuning, they are easy to grip and many bassists do not seem as concerned about fret height as guitarists.
Now that you know a little bit of history behind the electric guitar, let’s dive into some of the different types of electric guitars that you can find at Sam Ash. You may be thinking to yourself, “Why are there so many different types of electric guitars?” The reason is this: each and every type of electric guitar serves a unique purpose and will cater to various types of playing styles and musical genres.
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