Your Guide to Buying Parts to Fit an Electric Guitar

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Your Guide to Buying Parts to Fit an Electric Guitar


An electric guitar is a stringed instrument, most commonly six strings, which is strummed, plucked, or picked. An electric signal is amplified and sent to a loud speaker through the use of a pickup.
This signal can be modified using effects pedals that allow, amongst others, reverb and distortion.
Varied in construction with a wide range of materials, shapes and configurations of the neck, bridge and pickup, there are a number of components to be found in most electric guitars.

Strings

Made from steel or nickel, electric guitar strings have a lifespan dependent upon both age and the intensity of playing style. From lowest to highest, a standard six string is tuned E, A, D, G, B, E.

Headstock

The headstock holds the machine heads which are used when tuning.

Nut

The nut is a thin strip which the strings pass over before they run down the fingerboard.

Worm gears

Worm gears are also used when tuning. Adjusting them alters the string tension and, therefore, the pitch.

Frets

Frets are thin strips attached to the fingerboard which denote a specific pitch when a string is pressed against the fingerboard. Thin frets are preferred by traditionalists, and thick frets for those wishing to bend notes more easily.

Truss rod

The truss rod is a metal cylinder which is used for altering the neck tension.

Pickup

In order for an electric guitar to convert the vibration of playing, a pickup is a magnet wrapped with thin wire. This allows and facilitates the amplification of sound.

Pickups


Unlike acoustic guitars, which are hollow bodied, electric guitars make very little noise when plucked or strummed. Instead, in order to amplify the sound, they are fitted with pickups which, when the guitar is plugged into an amplifier, will magnify the sound to audible levels.
These pickups, because of their natural qualities, tend to pick up ambient and electromagnetic interference or 'hum'. In order to negate this effect, pickups are usually embedded in wax or epoxy to isolate them.

Double-coil pickups

Also known as humbuckers, these pickups have two coils which are of opposing magnetic and electric polarities. The idea is that any electromagnetic noise, when it hits both coils, should cancel itself out.

Piezoelectric pickups

This style of pickup uses either quartz crystal – or some other piezoelectric material – in a sandwich placed beneath the nut. Responding to pressure changes, these pickups ameliorate vibrations to reduce the unwanted sound effects.

Optical pickups

Using infrared LED lights, these pickups sense string and body vibrations are not sensitive to electromagnetic interference.

Necks


Always remember to check that the guitar's neck is not too broad for the player's hand. If the neck is too wide, then practicing could be uncomfortable and at worst, lead to the guitar sitting unplayed. Due to the varied construction it is important to recognise the differences in neck attachment:

Bolt-on

The easiest type of neck to replace, bolt-ons were created by Leo Fender to allow repair, adjustment and replacement. It is possible to purchase after-market bolt-on necks and use them to change the aesthetic of an electric guitar.

Set-in

The most traditional type of neck, a set-in is glued to the body in the factory. This style can be carefully removed and replaced or repaired by a skilled specialist.

Neck-through

This type of construction extends the neck along the instrument to form an integral part of the guitar body. Although considered to be particularly sturdy, repair to such a neck would require the attentions of a specialist.


As well as differences in attachment processes, necks also come in a variety of shapes. The three most common, named for the cross-sectional shape near the nut, are C necks, U necks, and V necks.

Fingerboards


Just like neck shapes, fingerboards vary and, in the same way that different fret sizes are chosen to optimise playing styles, fingerboards are also chosen to optimise a required sound. The surface of the fingerboard can have a different cross-sectional radius which can typically range from nearly flat with a very large radius, to extremely arched, with a small radius.

Bridge and Tailpiece Systems


Although the bridge and tailpiece serve separate functions, they are collectively integral to the design, style of playing and ultimate sound. Although there are many sub-category variants, there are four basic systems to be found on electric guitars:

Hard tail

A hard-tail bridge anchors the strings at – or directly behind – the bridge and is secured at the top of the guitar. Hard-tail bridges may be found on brands such as the Gibson, Paul Reed Smith and Fender guitars.

Floating tailpiece

A floating tailpiece is fastened to the base of the guitar body. Floating tailpieces may be seen on brands such as Rickenbackers, Epiphones or on some arch-top guitars.

Vibrato arms

A vibrato arm is a lever which is attached to the bridge. By manipulating the arm, a player can tighten the strings and temporarily alter the pitch for effect. These can be found on certain Gibson, Fender, and Rickenbacker guitars.

String-through body

This style involves passing the strings over the bridge and through holes drilled through the guitar body, to be anchored at the back. Brands which use this system are Fender, Telecaster, and Schecter.

Accessories


An electric guitar must have an amplifier in order to be heard, there are other accessories which could aid performance and increase comfort and mobility:

Plectrums

Also known as picks, a plectrum is a thin, flat piece of flexible material – usually plastic – that is used to pick at the guitar strings. Size, shape, and width of a plectrum can vary considerably.

Effects pedals

Effects pedals are used by inserting them into the signal path that runs between the electric guitar and the amplifier. By altering the signal sent from the guitar to the amplifier, the effects pedal can change tone, pitch, sound, and effect of the performance. They can also be used to deliberately cause echo, wah-wah, distortion, loop, reverb, and time delay effects.

Straps

A strip of fabric or leather, a guitar strap will hold a guitar securely on the performer's shoulder. Attached by strap pins or buttons, the length of the strap can be adjusted to suit both the size of the player and the preferred playing position. Most electric guitars come with strap pins as standard.

How to Buy Parts to Fit an Electric Guitar on eBay


To buy electric guitar parts, first go to the eBay homepage, opening the All Categories tab, then scroll down the page until Musical Instruments is seen, click on the tab and then, listed under the heading Guitars, will be Electric. Further filters will then become available, so either select For parts or not working, whereupon all available listings will be displayed, or use the bar at the top of any eBay page and key in "electric guitar pickups" if a replacement pickup is required.

Conclusion


An electric guitar is a stringed instrument, most commonly six strings, but also available with as few as four strings or as many as twelve.
In order to magnify the otherwise negligible natural sound creation, pickups are used to amplify the electric signal and send it through an amplifier to a speaker.
Effects pedals can be used to modify the sound further by causing effects such as deliberate distortion, wah-wah, echo, delay, or reverb.
Although varied in materials and shapes, there are a number of standard components which can be found in most electric guitars and which can be replaced or re-fitted when the instrument is damaged or in ill repair. Ensuring that any electric guitar is correctly fitted with the parts needed to produce high quality music, hours of enjoyable practice are guaranteed.

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