There are many shapes an acoustic or an electric guitar can have. You may wonder if it affects the overall sound of a guitar. I was asking myself the same question back in the day when I started to play a guitar.
Does guitar body shape affects sound?
When it comes to electric guitar, shape doesn’t matter. Different electric guitar body shapes do not contribute to the sound as guitar pickups, hardware and neck frets do.
On the other hand, when it comes to acoustic guitars, the answer is the opposite.
Body shape does affect the sound of an acoustic guitar significantly. Sound holes are where the sound is coming from, and therefore, the shape of an acoustic guitar does make a difference.
Electric Guitar Body Shapes
Does The Shape Of An Electric Guitar Matter?
As it’s been said above, body shape of an electric guitar does not play any significant role in guitar tone.
The sound of an electric guitar is mainly affected by the quality of guitar pickups. Guitar pickups are catching vibrations made by guitar strings. Those vibrations are causing disturbances in magnetic field of guitar pickups.
Those disturbances are then transferred as a signal to a guitar amp, and therefore, you have a sound output coming from the amp speaker.
All of this leads us to conclusion that electronic parts of an electric guitar are the one affecting guitar sound the most. Moreover, it’s not only the guitar itself that’s responsible for the sound quality. Cables, or amps affect the sound significantly, also. Check the article from this page about it:
Acoustic Guitar Body Shapes
There are several acoustic guitar body shapes that are most recognizable. As it’s been stated before, acoustic body shapes does affect the overall sound of an acoustic guitar.
How? Well, there is no any hardware whatsoever involved in the structure of an acoustic guitar. Body shape of an acoustic guitar therefore plays the significant role in shaping the sound.
Since there are no pickups, the sound coming out of your acoustic guitar is caused by resonance made by string vibrations. The sound characteristics depend on resonance.
The body of an acoustic guitar transmits the vibration of strings into vibration of the air around it. Therefore a large body is needed to push a significant amount of air back and forth. To be precise, it’s the large surface of the body that’s doing the job.
Inside the body, there are braces that strengthen the body plate. They also keep the body plate flat, against the forces caused by string tension.
Back plate is needed for stability, as it’s main function is to be held against a guitar player’s body. Side plate is needed, obviously for blending those two plates, front and back plate. They do not contribute to the overall sound, not as nearly as front plate does.
Different acoustic body shapes provide different sounds. How do those sounds differ between each other?
It’s the frequency spectrum of the sound. Some acoustic guitars have more low range volume, while some have more mid range or high range volume. Every sound has it’s unique frequency spectrum. Body shape can affect it significantly.
Find Out More About Physics Behind Guitar Body Shapes
If you want to know more about physics that lies behind guitar body shapes, and guitar bodies in general, check this out.
Coupled Modes of the Resonance Box of the Guitar (Research Gate link) is a study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
Read this introduction to see if it interests you enough to dig deeper in the world of acoustics!
The guitar is a complex mechanical system because itsdynamic behavior is determined by the interaction of severalcomponents. The plucked strings radiate only a small amountof sound directly, but they excite the bridge and the top plate,which in turn transfer energy to the air cavity, ribs, and backplate. Sound is radiated efﬁciently by the vibrating plates andthrough the sound hole. In particular, two main distinguish-able parts form the guitar box: the wood structure and theinside ﬂuid. This paper is devoted to the experimental andnumerical determination of the vibrational behavior of theguitar box and forms part of a more extensive study address-ing the vibrational behavior of the guitar and its pieces.
What Are The Different Guitar Shapes?
Let’s go through basic acoustic guitar body shapes.
Dreadnought guitars are probably the most known acoustic guitar models. Martin and Taylor guitar brands are most known brands that produce Dreadnought guitar models.
How does a Dreadnought guitar sound? When it comes to frequency spectrum, Dreadnought guitars have loud low range. Bass range can be heard very well, while mid range is slightly quieter.
If you like to sing and play at the same time, this guitar type is perfect for you. Vocals are usually located somewhere in the mid range, and slightly quieter mid range characteristic for Dreadnought guitar will blend perfectly with your voice.
Recommended Dreadnought Model
Donner Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Package
This 3/4 36 inch guitar comes with a gig bag, guitar strap, guitar capo, strings, digital clip-on tuner , polishing cloth and guitar picks as gifts.
Right-hand design, spruce top and mahogany back and sides bring you a fairly rich and bright sound.
This guitar is perfect gift for a guitar beginner. If you’re looking for a guitar to start a guitar journey with, this one is just perfect for you.
Check it out in more details, along with customer reviews, on Amazon, here.
Gibson guitars have the most known Jumbo guitars out there. Jumbo guitar is perfect for country and classic rock music. It has snappy sound, with increased bass (low range). It is also fairly loud guitar, suitable for solo performing.
Grand auditorium and Auditorium guitars are similar to Dreadnought guitar models, when it comes to sound.
They sound perfect for singing along.
Orchestra guitars have increased volume at mid range level.
Parlor body shape is an oldie one. It dates back in the late 19th century when those guitar models were very popular. Therefore, those are great for folk music.
Parlor guitars has some kind of a boxy sound. They are also very loud, especially at low range frequency levels.
Concert or Concert Grand guitar models are smaller in size. They are similar to classical guitars (when it comes to shape). They sound a bit tiny. That makes them perfect for solo fingerstyle playing.
If you want to hear how those guitar shapes sounds one by one, I advise you to check out this cool video where you can hear and see the difference!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Guitar Shaped The Way It Is?
Every acoustic, or classical guitar, and majority of electric guitars as well, are shaped similarly.
They are all narrower at the middle. It’s obvious why that is the case. Guitar has to be narrower at the middle part of its body simply because it has to be comfortable to play at the first place.
If that wasn’t the case, the guitar itself wouldn’t be playable while sitting.
End parts of a guitar are wider. They have to be wide for two reasons. First is because the mid part is narrower. Second reason is because the wider the guitar is, the sound gets louder.
Does The Shape Of An Electric Guitar Matter?
No. It’s been stated above in the article already. Shape of an electric guitar does not contribute to the overall sound of an electric guitar in significant matter.
Guitar pickups and internal hardware are things that affect the sound of an electric guitar the most.
There are many famous electric guitar shapes. Flying V’s, Explorer, Firebird, and so on.
Those shapes are made primarily out of aesthetic reasons.
Do Guitars Sound Better With Age?
Guitars often do tend to sound better with age.
If you have a good quality guitar, there’s a chance it will sound better as the time goes by. Why is that so? It is just that wood tend to get more stable when years pass by.
However, it can only get to sound better if you play it regularly. If you don’t play your guitar regularly, the sound will remain just the same. Why?
Each time a guitar is played, the whole wood body (and neck) vibrates. Wood loosens when it vibrates. As you probably know, a vibration is everything when it comes to sound quality.
Loosened wood vibrates more freely. That means the wood will vibrate along with strings, at the same time. More vibration = better sound.
Anyway, check out the article from this page about this subject, in more details:
I hope this article provided you a valuable insight and information about how guitar body shape affects the sound of a guitar.
If you had as much fun reading this article as I had fun writing it, I’m more than happy about it.
Don’t forget to check out other interesting articles from this page. You might find something of your interest.
Cheers, and rock on!