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Electric Guitars

From beginner to pro, shop for your next electric guitar at Dawsons Music. We stock a huge range online and in-store, including ever-popular solid-body guitars, to hollowbody guitars and archtops. Find all major brands including Fender, Ibanez, Gibson and more. Not sure what electric guitar is for you? Then check out our buying guide here.

 

Electric Guitars have been the instrument of choice for millions of musicians for nearly a century. Ever since they charmed jazz players away from their acoustic counterparts, electric guitars have gone on to play their part in influencing music history, pop culture, politics, fashion – pretty much everything - along the way.

 

The electric guitar is an instrument that requires external amplification to be heard at an acceptable level for live performance and or recording, by using one or more pickups to convert string vibration into electrical signals, which are then reproduced as soundwaves a loudspeaker via an amplifier.

 

Early incarnations could be described as somewhat rudimentary by today’s standards. Hollow-body - or archtop - models featured electromagnetic transducers before companies such as Rickenbacker, Dobro, Epiphone, and Gibson got involved. It was during this period that many pickup designs that we still see today, were developed, and rolled out across production lines.

 

Over the year several different body types have been associated with the electric guitars including solid-body, hollow-body aka archtop, chambered-body, semi-acoustic, etc.

 

Solid-body models don’t have a soundboard like acoustic guitars. Instead, they rely on pickups and amplifiers to generate their sound. Popular solid-body models include classics such as the Gibson Les Paul, Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster, with designs evolving to include many weird and wonderfully elaborate shapes.

 

Hollow-body guitars have generously proportioned bodies, which hark back to the archtop jazz guitars of the 1920 and 1930s. Commonly featuring f-holes in the body top, they often possess the ability to be played both acoustically and amplified at low volumes, however they are most suited to being amplified but don’t take kindly to being pushed aggressively at high volume unless you want cacophonous feedback.

 

Chambered-body models fall between solid-body and hollow-body models, in that they combine the best of both worlds. Taking the Fender Telecaster Thinline as our example, the guitar features the same sleek shape and slender depth of a solid-body. However, the body has been given hollow chambers within that create a lighter playing feel, and some would argue enhanced resonance in terms of tone.

 

Semi-acoustic models are essentially hollow-body models that feature subtle alterations to make them ideal partners for high gain, high volume performers. Most notably models such as the Gibson ES-335 and its many offspring feature hollow-body proportions with the addition of a solid centre-block, which offers some restraint in terms of feedback when the guitar is played through high gain amps at high volume.

 

There are many differences between electric guitar body types, some subtle and some less so, which cater to players of every genre from jazz to metal. However, they all make up the highly diverse family of instruments.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What makes a good electric guitar?

 

As with any purchase, you want to make sure that you are getting the best value for money possible. When it comes to buying an electric guitar there are a few things to consider: look, feel, and tone.

 

Firstly, you are going to be attracted by the visual aesthetic and this is important, as you are investing in an instrument that will hopefully be a partner for life so, you need to pick a beauty that you will always want to pick up and play.

 

Secondly, see how it feels in your hands and effectively take it for a test drive: hold the guitar against your body, sit with it, stand with it, walk around with it, and - most importantly - play it. If it does not feel right, then it is not for you. Trust us when we say that when you know, you know.

 

Thirdly, how does it sound? There are many a combination of guitar pickups, all manner of dials and switches, and the style of music you that you want to play will influence how your guitar should sound.

 

Check out your favourite guitarists and see what they play, what pickups they use, etc. There is generally a reason why guitarists from certain genres are pulled toward certain brands and styles.

 

For example, check out our blog on the Best Guitars for Blues over on Studio D here.

 

Which electric guitar should I buy?

 

This is a tough one to answer as the range of electric guitars available is vast and evolving constantly. There are single-cutaways, double-cutaways, extended range models, lightweight, heavyweight, models with curves, models with razor sharp lines, and more.

 

Then there are the pickup configurations to consider between single-coils, humbuckers, or combinations of both? There are specialised pickups such as Sustainer pickups. Also, do you go active or passive?

 

The truth is, there is no one size fits all when it comes to the best type of electric guitar. However, we do tend to find that some models are favoured more considerably over others. For example, Stratocasters are beloved thanks to their ergonomically shaped curves that are designed to establish a figure-hugging feel and increased playing comfort and suit a wide range of musical style from funk to punk.

 

However, if you want to play metal then you will more likely lean toward a brand equipped with heftier pickups that will produce a meatier output such as Fret King, Hagstrom or Ibanez.

 

Choosing an electric guitar for the uninitiated can be an absolute minefield, which is why we put together our electric guitar buying guide for you over in Studio D, check it out here.

 

What is the difference between a single coil and humbucker pickup?

 

As previously explained, a guitar pickup is a magnetic transducer, which converts the vibration of the strings into an electrical signal to be amplified. They generally fall into two main categories: single-coil and humbuckers. Put simply, a single-coil pickup is comprised of a series of magnets wound in copper wire, and a humbucker is two single-coil pickups wound together in copper wire.

 

Obviously, there is much to it than that, so we put together a handy guide to highlight the differences between the two guitar pickup types in Studio D, read the blog here.

 

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