The Different Types of Electric Guitars Explained (2024)

The Different Types of Electric Guitars Explained

With so many types of electric guitars, choosing the right one can be tricky. With that in mind, we have prepared an easy-to-understand guide for you. By the end, you will be able to distinguish between the many different electric guitar types. Discover the guitar type that suits your needs and find out exactly what you should be comparing.

People are naturally drawn to visuals and are curious about electric guitar shapes. But it takes more than just looks to find a good guitar. Understanding the components and configuration of an electric guitar is just as essential.

This article will go over these key components in detail. It will highlight the key differences between guitar bodies, construction, and tonewood. And will touch on different configurations of pickups, electronics, and guitar hardware. You can also learn how different guitar bodies relate to musical genres. And you’ll see what guitar type is preferred by popular guitarists.

Iconic Guitar Body Styles

Featured here are the most popular and familiar guitar body styles today. These are the guitars that get the most stage and recording time. These are also the ones that you often see in electric guitar pictures. Note that these famous electric guitar designs are also available from other manufacturers.

Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster is one of the most enduring and recognized models of electric guitars available. It features in our best guitars of all time. Launched in 1954 by Fender, the Stratocaster (often abbreviated as “Strat”) is a diverse guitar. It has been used to great effect in a huge variety of genres (country, rock, pop, folk, soul, blues, and R&B).

It has a distinct double cutaway shape and pickguard style. But what makes it truly stand out is its 3-pickup configuration, which allows for a wide variety of tones. This versatility has made the Strat one of the most cloned guitar models – electric guitar manufacturers can’t help but make their own versions..

Fender Player Stratocaster
Fender Player Stratocaster
Because the guitar has been used in so many genres, it’s hard to really describe a definitive Stratocaster tone. However, the guitar has a distinct mid-range “quack”, especially in the 2 and 4 pickup selector positions. You can hear the 4th position on Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing and the 2nd position on “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits. Click here for a genuine Fender Stratocaster.

Notable Players

Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour.

Best Genre Fit

Thanks to the blues players mentioned above, the Stratocaster is considered the best electric guitar for blues. Its classic mid-range honk gives it a lyrical and cutting voice well suited to play the blues. But it’s not limited to the blues though. Its 5-way pickup switching allows for a wide variety of tones, which makes the Strat viable for almost every musical style. It sounds great clean and under low levels of gain. It’s a great guitar for use with effects as well.

Super Strat

These are some of the most versatile electric guitar types out there. The Super Strat, though modeled after the Stratocaster, has a different purpose and configuration. The only similarity this guitar has to its namesake is the shape of guitar body. The pickups used in Super Strats are of a higher output which makes them more suited for metal and hard rock.

Super Strats also commonly have Floyd Rose tremolos. They allow for a great range of movement than a typical Strat tremolo while still having greater tuning integrity.

Ibanez RG470
Ibanez RG470
Ibanez is well known for Superstrat designs. And the Ibanez RG470 is among the best rated HSH configuration Superstrat available.

Take a look at the Schecter Omen Extreme 6 FR which has a Super Strat design equipped with dual humbuckers. Yamaha also makes a respectable budget option with HSS pickup configuration – check out the Pacifica PAC112V.

Notable Players

Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and Dave Murray.

Best Genre Fit

Because this body style commonly comes packed with high-output pickups, the Super Strat is best suited to rock and heavy metal. There are models with more vintage sounding pickups and are commonly used for Jazz Fusion and Neo Soul genres, such as the Ibanez AZ series.

Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster is one of the first, mass-produced bolt-on guitars. If you’re looking to get an idea of the stereotypical clean Telecaster tone, check out pre-1980s country or some modern “math rock” tracks.

Having been originally made by Fender, the Telecaster has some similarities to the Stratocaster. But it does have its own pickup setup and configuration. It usually has two single coils, that are placed in a slightly different position compared to a Strat. This configuration helps produce Tele’s characteristic bright tone.

While the guitar is generally associated with country music, the “Tele” is a versatile instrument. For example, both Kurt Cobain and Jack White (two musicians as far removed from Outlaw-era country as you can get) used Telecasters in the studio.

Squier Classic Vibe 50s TelecasterSquier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster
When EQ’d properly, this type of guitar has a strong mid-range push and slightly higher output than Stratocaster pickups. This distinct mid to high-end bite is the main difference between Stratocaster and Telecaster tones. This has led musicians outside of country music to adopt the Telecaster (Jimmy Page used one on the final solo to Stairway to Heaven!). The Tele has gotten quite popular with indie rock guitarists as well thanks to its distinct middle position chime.

Fender makes a highly respected budget version inspired by vintage 50’s Teles under their Squier brand: Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster.

Notable Users

Keith Richards, Jack White, James Burton, Danny Gatton, Vince Gill, Jonny Greenwood, and Merle Haggard.

Best Genre Fit

The Telecaster = Country music trope is gone as the beloved Tele has found its way into so many genres. It sounds best with genres that require more grit than a Strat but more clarity than a Les Paul. The middle position chime is also a favorite among indie rock guitarists.

Offset Guitars (Jaguar, Mustang, Jazzmaster)

The offset body style includes three main instruments: the Jaguar, the Mustang, and the Jazzmaster. While there are definite differences between them, offset guitars all generally have a “jangly” sound. When we say jangly, we mean bright and clear with a subtle mid and low-end response. These guitars are also well suited to rhythm work depending on their tone knobs are adjusted.

This jangly tone has made offset guitars the axe of choice for many alternative musicians. Many of the grunge bands from the 1990s adopted Fender’s offset guitars because at the time they were affordable.

Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster
Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster
The clarity you get with these three guitars makes them a good fit for genres that use a lot of effects (this is also true with the Telecaster). This is why offset guitars are so common in shoegaze and other alternative genres.

Jaguars and Jazzmasters tend to use 1meg potentiometers, making their basic tone very bright and strident. This makes clean tones able to cut through a lot of modulation and effects. It also interacts with fuzz pedals well.

Vintage examples of Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars have a “rhythm circuit” on the upper bout of the guitar. This engages an alternate circuit that’s darker and initially suited for jazz rhythm playing (hence the name). Modern guitarists usually remove or block out the switch to this circuit. Others found that the dark tone paired with fuzz makes for a dense wall of sound.

Traditional Mustangs have individual 3-way switches for each guitar pickup. Putting them in the same direction gives you a Tele-like middle position sound but if you put them into the opposite switch positions, you get a unique out-of-phase sound.

Offsets like the Jaguar and Jazzmaster also have a unique floating tremolo. It’s not as drastic as a Floyd Rose but offers a subtle effect that makes it great for embellishing chords. Try it with reverb for instant surf rock. Kevin Shields from shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine used the tremolo to develop a strumming technique that sounds like old tape warble which he dubbed “glide guitar”.

If you’re looking for a beginner / budget option, then take a look at Fender’s Squier Bullet Mustang HH.

Notable Users

Johnny Marr, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Kevin Shields, and Kurt Cobain.

Best Genre Fit

As stated above, offset guitars are very well suited to genres that require a lot of effects and/or fuzz. Good examples of this would be grunge, shoegaze, and alternative.

Les Paul Style Guitars

The Les Paul is one of the most popular type of guitars used in rock music. It lives up to its reputation as a rock ‘n’ roll machine. However, the guitar is actually capable of a lot more. Something many don’t recognize about the Les Paul is that it has a warm clean tone, especially when it has the coveted PAF humbuckers. Les Paul, the famed inventor and namesake of the Gibson Les Paul, used this guitar extensively in his career. Bob Marley also used Les Paul style guitars to great effect.

The tone of the Les Paul can be described as “thick” and “full”. The humbucking pickups on the late 50’s Les Pauls had less strident highs and more output compared to other guitars of that era. Eric Clapton used a late 50s example to record with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Since then, everyone wanted one for its sweet overdriven tone.

Epiphone Les Paul Classic 2020
Epiphone Les Paul Classic
The Les Paul (also called LP style) can cover just about every genre. The guitar has been used in jazz, metal, R&B, and countless varieties of rock and punk. The guitar is a workhorse, and if you’re looking for a humbucker equipped guitar you definitely can’t go wrong with a Les Paul.

The Les Paul body style now encompasses a few different designs: solid, flat top, and solid-chambered. Solid body Les Pauls are made from a solid piece of wood. Most have an arched top and a maple cap. There are versions with a flat top like the Les Paul Jr. Chambered Les Pauls are arched, but the inside of the body is chambered.

If you’re the kind of person likely to have a lot of fun with a DIY guitar project, then take a look at the Les Paul derived BexGears DIY LP Style Electric Guitar Kit.

Les Paul vs Strat – (Editor’s Note)

The Les Paul and the Strat are two of the most familiar electric guitar types. So it follows that these two different types of electric guitars are often pitted against each other. This is an often-asked question that I feel should be addressed in this article. Being a long-time owner of Fender Strats and a Gibson Les Paul, I’m qualified to answer this question. Below are my quick thoughts on this ancient guitar battle:

Tone – The Strat wins the clean tone department hands down, as long as you’re not bothered with its 60-cycle hum. The steel strings ring nicely and response is quick. But I’d still switch to my Les Paul for mid to high gain duties. It sounds fuller and more detailed, especially with overdrive. The warmer clean tone of a humbucker is also useful for jazz and the like but it’s a bit limited.

Hardware – Being solid body guitars, there really isn’t much of a difference in terms of hardware and build quality. Both are sturdy and are able to take a beating. But I prefer the look of my Les Paul, mostly because of its beautiful Goldtop finish.

Desert Island Guitar – I’ll conclude this Strat vs Les Paul battle with my response to the “desert island” question. If I can only use pick one from them, I’d choose the Strat – but it wins by a hair. The Strat’s versatility makes it a better one-size fits all solution. Being able to switch tones is very handy in the types of music that I play. The Les Paul can be versatile too, but I will end up missing the Strat’s single-coil bite, for sure. Note that if the discussion is about Telecaster vs Les Paul, I’d go for a Les Paul.

Notable Users

Jimmy Page, Les Paul, Buckethead, Eric Clapton, Ace Frehley, Bob Marley, and Joe Walsh.

Best Genre Fit

The Les Paul is a great instrument for just about everything with distortion and is an excellent all-rounder. It might have too much output for some clean amps. For that, a single coil guitar is better for pristine cleans.

SG Body Type

The Gibson SG was meant to be the second incarnation of Les Paul’s signature guitar. Around the early 1960’s however, Les Paul ended his affiliation with Gibson. So Gibson just renamed it to “SG” or “Solid Guitar”. It has a slimmer, all mahogany body and neck, with two cutaways that allow great upper fret access.

Early examples still featured the beloved PAF pickups. But the thinner, all-mahogany construction gave the guitar a little more upper midrange snarl compared to the Les Paul.

Epiphone SG Standard 61
Epiphone SG Standard 61
Because the neck pickup is moved closer to the bridge compared to a Les Paul, the neck tone of the SG also has a bit more bit and clarity. While the bridge pickup retains the full-sounding tone you’d expect from a humbucker. The SG Body Type’s distinctive twin horn shape is a staple in rock music.

Notable Users

Tony Iommi, Derek Trucks, Angus Young, Albert King, and Lonnie Mack.

Best Genre Fit

Like the original Les Paul, the SG fits a variety of genres, but its iconic look makes it more in line with rock and metal.

Other Iconic and Weird Shaped Guitars

Aside from the familiar electric guitar styles above, there are electric guitar designs that go beyond the usual, like the Gibson Flying V and Explorer. Other electric guitar brands focus on making unique shapes like B.C. Rich. PRS guitars prototyped their iconic Custom 24 shape by taking elements from the Gibson Les Paul Double Cut with a Stratocaster.

The Ibanez Jem/RG was developed with guitarist Steve Vai after his modified Superstrat guitar. He submitted his requirements to different manufacturers and eventually chose Ibanez.

Headless guitars have been around for a while, initially popularized by Steinberger in the late 70s and 80s. Recently, more manufacturers have been putting out headless designs like Strandberg and Ibanez. Headless guitars have their tuners and bridge integrated into one unit. They are more compact and are usually designed with ergonomics in mind.

Many weird shaped guitars come with dual humbucker pickups. So, tonally, most of them fall within the same ballpark as a traditional electric rock guitar.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, these cool shaped guitars are great as long as you know the basics outlined earlier in this article.

Guitar Body Types and Construction

This section details the three main types of electric guitars based on body construction. This includes solid body, semi-hollow, and hollow body.

Guitar Body Types
Solid body Guitar vs Semi hollow Guitar

Solid Body Guitar

Solid body guitars have a body that’s made from a solid piece(s) of wood. Among electric guitar types, it’s one of the simplest to construct.

A classic example of this body style would be the Fender Stratocaster. Solid body instruments have more sustain and are more resistant to feedback than semi-hollow or fully hollow guitars.

Solid body guitars are a good fit for genres with more distortion (rock and metal). Having no inner chamber also means that the guitar body is more rigid and durable. This rigidity also makes the solid body a good option for different guitar shapes.

Solid body guitars have a long list of users which include icons like Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck. Other big-name artists include Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Mayer, and many more.

Semi Hollow Guitar

This is one of the two electric guitar body types that have hollow inner chambers. The semi hollow guitar usually has an exposed opening, in the form of two f-holes on the top of the guitar’s body. The inner chamber of the guitar is then divided into two by a block of wood that runs through the body. A perfect representation of this type of guitar is the Gibson ES-335. Eric Clapton, Otis Rush, Warren Haynes, Dave Grohl, and B.B. King are some famous users of this model.

Semi-hollow guitars are also usable in rock music. But they have a tendency to generate feedback when played at louder volumes or high gain.

Tone-wise, Semi-hollow guitars are similar to solid body instruments. But with some acoustic-like qualities in its tone. They also tend to have less sustain than solid body guitars.

Hollow Body Guitar

They look similar but compared to a Semi-Hollow guitar, a Hollow Body guitar doesn’t have a wood block running down the middle. There are hollow guitars with the same body style as semi-hollow guitars.

True hollow body guitars sound more mellow than semi-hollow guitars. They also have a higher tendency to generate feedback. This makes them a poor fit for genres that need high levels of gain.

Unlike semi-hollow guitars, hollow guitars encompass two main body styles: the ES-335 style we went into above and the jazz box style. A good example of the latter would be the Gibson ES-175, which is the axe of choice for tons of jazz musicians.

Rock musicians have utilized fully hollow jazz box guitars in rock and roll. Among them would be Ted Nugent, who actually used the excess feedback produced by his Gibson Byrdland as a musical tool.

Hollow ES-335 style guitars are used in blues and rock more frequently than the jazz box (the Beatles used the Epiphone Casino extensively). Though because of the feedback they produce, most musicians stick with semi-hollow instruments.

Pickup Types and Configurations

Guitar pickups are a huge topic, and to do it justice would really require a whole article. But here we’ll provide a good overview. Generally speaking, different guitar shapes do not dictate tone. Pickups affect tone way more than electric guitar shapes.

Pickup Types

For example: when you’re looking for an electric guitar with two pickups, you might encounter deciding between single coils or humbuckers (i.e., Telecaster vs Les Paul types). The two have very distinct sounds with different pros and cons, plus genres where they fit best.

But not only that, sometimes a Telecaster CAN have humbuckers, 2 volume knobs, and 2 tone knobs. An example is the Telecaster Deluxe with two Fender Wide Range Humbuckers. A Les Paul can have two single coils as well. Early 50s Gold Tops and Customs had P90 single coil pickups. Since a huge part of your tone is decided by the guitar pickups you use, you need to be able to identify them. Knowing the pickups on a guitar will give you a good idea of its tone.

The three main types of pickups used on electric guitars are single coil, humbucker, and P90.

Single Coil

Single coil pickups utilize a single magnet. They also have a lower output than humbucking pickups. This means single coils aren’t capable of producing as much distortion as a humbucker equipped guitar. Because they’re not intended to be used with extreme levels of distortion they have a very rich and musical voice when played with lower amounts of gain.

You can identify single coil pickups because they’re long and thin, almost the same size as a tube of lipstick held horizontally.

Humbucking Pickups

Humbuckers use two magnets, one which works as a pickup and one which cancels out 60-cycle hum (hence the name humbucker). These guitar pickups generally have a darker voice and a higher output, which allows them to perform better under high levels of distortion. These pickups also tend to sound better playing jazz, as the genre benefits from their darker voice.

P90 Pickups

P90 pickups are the middle ground between single coil and humbucking pickups. They have a higher output than single coils, though not as high of an output as a humbucker. They also occupy a middle ground tonally, being brighter than humbuckers but more subdued than single coil pickups.

You can identify P90s because they’re larger than a tube of lipstick and have 6 metal dots on the front face.

Active Pickups

Active Guitar Pickups have built-in circuitry to boost the signal coming out of the guitar. They use batteries for operation. The pickup winds themselves have fewer turns and lower output. The circuitry, usually a preamp or booster, then boosts the signal to compensate. The lower magnetic pull also enables the pickups to be placed much closer to the strings.

I found that active pickups sound best when lowered further than passive pickups. Manufacturers like EMG recommend setting them as close as possible, but this only leads to muddiness. Pickups like their EMG81, widely regarded as a metal pickup, sound great for other applications like jazz when lowered.

Other Pickups

There are more options available, like the Lace Alumitone pickups with a proprietary construction containing a single turn coil and a small step-up transformer inside. Despite the futuristic look and construction, they don’t actually need batteries to function.

Fishman Fluence pickups are another new design. Instead of having thousands of turns of wire, they are made by stacking thin circuit boards. This enables them to be consistent and configurable. The caveat is that they need batteries to function, hence they are active pickups.

If you already have a guitar and are looking to change your tone, then you should consider upgrading your pickups. But before you do so, here are 4 things to consider before upgrading your pickups. We recommend choosing from our handpicked list of budget friendly guitar pickups. These top rated pickups are proven to significantly improve guitar tone.

Tonewood Types

Tonewood Types

The types of electric guitar tonewood are a heavily debated topic in many guitar circles. While many doubt its involvement in producing a good tone, proponents of tonewood such as Paul Reed Smith believe that it is an active part of the tone-shaping process, influencing sustain and overtones.

Guitar Tonewoods

Alder – A light and balanced wood typically used in Stratocaster style guitars

Ash – An open-grained and visually striking wood typically used in Telecaster style guitars. Known for emphasizing attack and snappiness.

Basswood – Moderately warm sounding wood, favored for use with bright high gain pickups on bolt-on guitars

Mahogany – Heavy and warm tonality. A favorite for having warm sustain and overtones. Commonly seen in set-neck, humbucker equipped guitars.

Maple – Uncommonly used in body woods because of its density and weight. Very bright and dry-sounding tone.

Poplar – Lightweight hardwood with a tone in between Alder and Ash. Typically used with affordable guitars but is gaining popularity on a few higher-end instruments.

Neck Tonewood

Maple – A dense and bright sounding wood, it’s the most common neck wood on bolt-on guitars.

Mahogany – Warm and thick sounding sustain with a balanced attack, mostly used on set neck guitars

Fretboard Tonewoods

Maple – One piece maple necks usually have the frets mounted directly on them, hence the maple board. But recently, gluing in a maple fretboard over a maple neck makes truss rod installation easier for mass manufacture.

Rosewood – Warm tone with a smooth feel especially on higher end guitars.

Ebony – Hard and bright wood with excellent sustain. Snappier than maple but with a smoother sounding sustain.

Pau Ferro – In between rosewood and ebony in tone. It was used as a substitute for rosewood during the CITES ban but has quickly become a go-to wood for its sound.

Neck Construction

Neck Construction

How a neck is made and attached to a body is one of the defining factors in categorizing guitars. Here we discuss the various types and what qualities they add to the overall tone and feel of a guitar.

Bolt-On

Contrary to the name, bolt-on construction is attaching the neck to the body with wood screws. Fender Guitars used this method of construction for most of their products. This is thanks to Leo Fender’s focus on speeding up the manufacturing process. They also make the guitars easier to service for refretting or even neck replacement. Many guitarists also like to modify their guitars by swapping necks around. Eric Clapton’s famous “Blackie” is actually a mix of a ’56 body and a ’57 v profile neck.

Their defining tonal characteristic is a dry and snappy attack with moderate sustain, especially with maple necks.

Set Neck

Set Neck construction can be considered the traditional way of attaching a neck to a guitar body. It is done by cutting the wood pieces for the neck to fit as tightly into the pocket of the body and gluing both pieces together to form a tight bond. Set neck guitars are usually made from the same woods for both the neck and body. Gibson guitars are known to primarily use set neck construction for their products, with their Les Paul and SG designs being the most iconic.

Tonally, set neck guitars have a longer sustain than bolt-on guitars. They have a less pronounced attack as well.

Neck-Through

Neck-through designs are less common than bolt-on and set neck guitars mostly because of the time it takes to make a multi-ply center plank for a neck that spans the entirety of the guitar. It is more commonly seen in basses and higher-end custom guitars.

Les Paul (the guitar player) made his prototype guitar (dubbed “the log”) with a neck-through design when he presented it to Epiphone and then to Gibson.

Neck Through designs enable great upper fret access thanks to the absence of a heel at the neck joint. They also have long sustain as well as a snappy attack since the neck material extends through the body. The sides of the guitar are usually made from a tonally contrasting wood to “warm up” the basic tonality of the guitar.

Neck Profiles and Frets

Guitar neck shapes or neck profiles used to be completely random based on a few loose specifications in thickness. Depending on who was sanding the neck during that time, necks would vary from having wide shoulders to an almost V taper. Nowadays, most neck profiles are decided via prototyping and modeling for CNC cutting. This makes neck profiles a more consistent specification.

Thick neck profiles like older Les Pauls and Telecasters add mass to the neck, often giving it more sustain. Those with smaller hands however might prefer the 60s SG and Stratocaster profiles, which are slimmer and easier to grip. Modern neck profiles like Ibanez’s Wizard necks are one of the thinnest in the world and help with fast playing.

Neck profiles are only half of the equation. Frets and fretboard radius determine playability. A smaller, rounded radius like 7.5″ makes chording feel great but runs the risk of choking out during bends, especially with lower action. Flatter fretboard radii like 12″ above are more commonly seen in “shredder” and Superstrat guitars. Single notes feel easier to play but chording might feel weird because of the flat fretboard. There are guitars with compound radii that are rounded at the nut but flatten towards the highest frets, giving you the best of both worlds.

The number of frets determines your guitar’s overall range. The most common ones being 21 frets, 22 frets, and 24 frets. Vintage styles are usually 21 and 22-fret guitars. Modern guitars have 24 frets. Having more frets also pushes the neck pickup closer to the bridge, affecting the tone by making it brighter. A 21-fret guitar’s neck pickup will sound darker than a 24-fret guitar’s neck pickup.

Fret size is mostly dependent on the player. Taller frets make bends easier but because your finger is lifted off the fretboard, pressing too hard might make the note go sharp.

Hardware and Electronics

Hardware and Electronics

Popular electric guitar body styles come in different variations to accommodate different price points. Each variant utilizes different hardware and electronics to keep the price within specific ranges.

Bridge

Electric guitar bridge types can be narrowed down to two types: Fixed and Tremolo. Fixed bridges don’t allow for pitch changes and are better for tuning stability. Tremolo bridges can either be vintage style set to dive only or be full floating like a Floyd Rose styled bridge.

Floating Floyd Rose style bridges also come with a locking nut. The fine tuners on the bridge help with making minor adjustments after locking the strings at the nut.

A new type of bridge, called the Evertune, is a type of fixed bridge that uses the tension of the strings as a basis for the tuning. In some settings, the pitch won’t change even when you bend the strings.

Tuners

Tuners come in a variety of forms from the split-head kluson/vintage style tuners to modern tuners with a sealed mechanism. Other types include locking tuners that hold the string in place so that multiple winds around the post are no longer necessary. This aids in getting better tuning stability.

Headless guitars have their tuners integrated into the bridge, much like the fine tuners of the Floyd Rose bridge, but with a larger range of adjustment from full slack.

Strap Buttons

Strap buttons that come stock with most guitars hold the strap in place. They come in various sizes. For best strap security, Strap locks can be used to replace them. Some higher-end guitars come stock with strap locks.

Potentiometers

Potentiometers or “pots” affect the range of the volume and tone knobs. They are rated by ohms. The higher the value, the higher frequency content gets through. This is why single coil guitars usually have 250k pots while humbuckers have 500k pots. Superstrats also use 500k pots which is why some of them have specially designed single coils to counteract the added brightness. Active pickups use 25k pots because of how the pickups are wound and boosted by a preamp. Fender Jazzmasters and Jaguars come stock with 1m pots and are very bright guitars with a large tonal range. This is an important thing to note especially when upgrading your components.

If you are a beginner starting on a budget, you should read our electric guitar buying tips.

Conclusion

Components of electric guitars are becoming more interchangeable. We have moved on from the traditional method of categorizing them purely on body shapes. That’s just not enough anymore to reflect their sound, feel and differences. Today, the parts of a guitar and how it’s configured, deserve more attention than ever.

We hope that the information here has answered most of your questions. It may be quite a lot to take in all at once, so don’t forget to bookmark this page and re-read each section.

Feel free to hop down to the comments area below if you have any queries, concerns, or if you just want to share your thoughts.

About the Lead Contributor

Contributors

Mason Hoberg: Original Author.
Alexander Briones: Editing and Illustrating.
Richard Guarnuccio: Editing.

Media

Main/Top Image: Produced by Gearank.com using Canva Media Elements, edited and illustrated by Raphael Pulgar.

The video has been embedded in accordance with YouTube’s Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

27 thoughts on “The Different Types of Electric Guitars Explained (2024)”

  1. The breakdown of the various electric guitar types is incredibly helpful, especially for beginners. After some experience, I recommend Stratocaster to almost anyone

  2. Man, I’m 22 and didn’t even realize until someone told me that telecasters are mainly known for country. I bought one for math rock and I’m pretty sure that’s what most younger people buy them for. So weird how two completely different genres can have exclusively to the same instrument.

  3. This is pretty good overall, but you left out the Firebird and the mini humbuckers, both of which have different characteristics than the rest of the pack and should get a mention.

  4. Avatar
    MICHELLE D BOWLES

    A friend of mine bought a fender style guitar with the signatures of the Pink Floyd band. It came with an authenticator certificate that the signatures were real. He thinks he got ripped off, because it stated ot was a fender style guitar. The “style” word is making him think it’s not real and the names are fake. Is there knock offs of fender guitars? He wanted to return it, but the amount of money to send it back and the 20% restocking fee is outrageous. Just wondering what you think?

    1. Redneck music hahaha, stick to your goth music and headbutting walls ya slipknot season ticket holder

    2. Haha! You don’t know what you’re talking about. A ton ton of metal guitarists use SG’s, Les Paul’s, Flying V’s, and strats. Frigging Iommi is known for using an SG. Brent Hinds uses a Flying V frequently. Matt Pike uses a Les Paul.

  5. I feel like Jack White would contend that he is much closer to “outlaw country” than most modern country musicians who are Tele mains.

  6. This is a very informative article. Thank you. Unfortunately, these articles never mention any great female guitarists.

    1. You have Nancy Wilson, Joan Jett, Joni Mitchell, LIta Ford, I can continue on. If you know anything about rock and roll, you know countless of female guitarist. Just because they don’t mention them though, doesn’t mean they don’t acknowledge them, it’s simply it’s easier to bring bigger names to the mix when making examples of certain guitar players.

      1. not mentioning them is literally not acknowledging them. it’s not easier to mention bigger names, and besides how are any of the men mentioned bigger names than joan jett. like not even ONE woman was named that’s messed up.

        1. HMMM, a commenter named SJW has a grievance about an informative piece on guitar styles, imagine that!? Keep your misandrist thoughts to yourself and write your own article. ~peace and love~

  7. One of the best articles ive read in a while, very informative without coming off as a pretentious douche hahaha.

    Definitely would love a jazzmaster or Jaguar and thanks so much for your simple explanation of single amd humbuckers!

  8. Nice job on this site. Newbie here with a question.
    Would you be able to explain what the letters SG ST ES BKB stand for? I think SG means the double cut-away, but I don’t think SG is for every double cut-away guitar. Thank You

    1. Those are just model names used by various manufacturers.

      They did originally have meanings, but most of the old meanings aren’t as relevant today as they were when the models were originally named.

      For example, ES originally meant “Electric Spanish” although today were refer to them as Thinline or Semi-Hollowbody guitars. SG originally meant “Solid Guitar” – which was initially called “Les Paul” to revamp that brand, but had to be renamed SG when Les Paul himself didn’t want his name on it.

Leave a Reply to ty Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *