If you ask a room full of people to picture a guitar, we guarantee they will all think of a different one. This is because there are a plethora of different guitars out there.
In fact, it can be hard to keep track of the various types and styles, and that undoubtedly means there are many types of guitar that you have never seen or heard of.
This is particularly true if you’re a beginner – and it can be very overwhelming to try and learn everything you need to know about every guitar out there.
After all, even the most seasoned guitarists will always be able to discover a guitar that they had no idea existed.
So, we thought this article would be an entertaining way to introduce the wide range of guitars to those who have never picked up a guitar before.
So, if you want to read all about different types of guitars you never knew existed, then this is the article for you!
An Important Note On This Article
Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list of unknown guitars, and so some guitars will inevitably be excluded. However, you will learn enough to be able to ace your next guitar quiz.
Additionally, some guitars will be well-known to seasoned guitar players, or those who are already trying to learn the instrument.
These are here for the benefit of those who have never played before, but don’t worry! This list will feature unique guitars that nobody will have heard of.
Types Of Guitars That You Never Knew Existed – Beginner
So, if you want to learn a new skill and decide that skill should be the guitar – then this handy guide will introduce you to basic guitars that you may have never heard of before.
Of course, this is one of the most popular guitars out there – and one that you’ll likely pick up first if you’re just starting!
Electric guitars work best when they’re loud! They work by converting vibrations from the string into electrical signals through the use of pickups.
From here, the guitar is plugged into a speaker through an amp, and out comes the sound!
Additionally, there are no resonating cavities with electric guitars because they are usually solid-body. This means that you’re not exactly able to play them without a speaker or an amp.
You may be able to faintly hear what you’re playing, but it would not be wise to try and play and practice without the other gear- which is important to keep in mind if you’re trying to decide what guitar to learn from.
You can find some electric guitars with a small resonating cavity, and these are heard without an amp. Therefore, they’re suitable to practice on.
If you do want to invest in gear, then we have good news! There is such a wide variety of gear that can work with the electric guitar.
For example, there is a wide range of pedals that can create different sounds and effects.
This is helpful to show off or subvert different moods when playing – so you’re going to want to explore these once you learn the basics!
The acoustic guitar is another popular type of guitar that beginners will learn from. But did you know there’s an acoustic-electric guitar, too?
That’s right! The combination of the electric and acoustic guitar allows acoustic guitars to be brought into orchestral or live performances thanks to the use of pickups.
Pickups are the only real difference between an acoustic guitar and an electric and acoustic guitar. The following pickups can be found on an electric-acoustic guitar:
Twelve String Guitars
Most guitars have six strings, but did you know there are guitars out there with more? That’s right – some aspiring guitarists will be delighted to hear that there are twelve-string guitars out there.
These are a bit more difficult to learn than a six-string guitar, but it is worth it because of the rich sound that comes from a twelve-string guitar.
Twelve-strings are essentially the same thing as six-string guitars, but a player plucks two strings at the same time as opposed to just one.
This is where the richness in the tone comes from – but it is not the only place!
The tonal quality of a twelve-string guitar is due to the fact that specific strings are tuned an octave apart, which permits even more notes to be played!
The term “steel-guitar” can mean two different things. The first is a specific guitar that has been made so it can be played in a specific “steel guitar” style.
The second is what is known as the “steel guitar” method itself, with guitarists practicing and perfecting something called the “slide technique.”
To play a steel guitar the first way, you typically have to move it horizontally, using one hand to pluck the strings and the other to change the pitch of the strings as you play. You achieve this by using a slide.
To play a steel guitar the second way, you must first place an ordinary guitar down in a horizontal way. Then, use one hand to pluck, and the other to slide.
Steel-String Acoustic Guitars
This seems like an ordinary acoustic guitar, but there is a key difference! The strings you would normally find on an acoustic guitar are nylon – these are also known as classic guitars.
However, acoustic guitars can also have steel strings, which work to create a far brighter sound because the string tension is greater.
Because they are much brighter than their nylon counterparts, and they tend to produce a lot of harmonics. They are great for blues players who want to add a little extra brightness to their music.
Bass guitars are also extremely popular in the world of music. You will often find them playing a significant role in rock bands throughout history, alongside electric guitars.
Bass guitars have long necks, especially in comparison to electric guitars, and also have a much longer scale length. The number of strings on a bass guitar can vary, but it typically sits between four and six.
If you decide you want to learn how to play the bass, then it is important to note that when it comes to tuning it, you will need to tune one octave lower than you expect.
On a normal guitar, the tuning happens on strings E, A, D, and G. This will be the same on a bass guitar, but just an octave lower.
Types Of Guitars You Never Knew Existed – Experienced Players
Even the most experienced players will discover new guitars.
If you’re a seasoned guitar player who’s grown a little bored of their usual musical instrument, then you should definitely check out the following guitars!
Resonator guitars, or resophonic guitars, are a little bit like acoustic guitars, but much, much louder!
Resonator guitars were made this way because when people tried to incorporate ordinary acoustic guitars into band and orchestral settings, their sound would be swallowed up by all the other instruments there.
So, like electric-acoustic guitars, resonator guitars were deemed to be a solution to this problem.
These days, resonator guitars are mostly used in bluegrass and blues music, and this is because of the distinct tone they make.
What tone do resonator guitars make? Resonator guitars produce a very deep, rich tone. They are usually tuned to C standard, and they can go up to Bb standard.
Upright Bass Guitars
Upright bass guitars are a type of electric guitar, also called an amplified double bass.
They have a thin body which makes them easier to transport from place to place – they are much, much lighter than electric and acoustic guitars!
Like other electric guitars, the upright bass guitar will sometimes come with hollow bodies, and at other times come with solid bodies.
The solid-bodied guitars will rely on an amp because they will not make an acoustic sound, but the hollow-bodied guitars will be fine to play without an amp.
Additionally, the hollow-bodied, upright bass guitars often have a wooden enclosure which will help them to produce a classic, acoustic sound.
This will be very useful for practicing, but not for live performances.
So, when it comes to live performances, it is best to invest in a hollow body amplifier so you can avoid your musical instrument being drowned out by others.
Harp guitars are a type of stringed instrument that was originally designed to accompany harps, but now they are used as solo instruments.
They are ordinary guitar necks that feature fretted strings and have been combined with many open, unstopped strings that create the harp section.
The strings can be plucked like a guitar, or strummed like a harp – the choice is yours!
But what makes it a guitar harp? Well, it is the open, unstopped strings. If you add just one of these strings, then the result is a harp guitar!
And there is no set number of open, unstopped strings you can have on your harp guitar, either.
Harp guitars can be played in any key, and they can even be tuned down to Eb standard if you wish. But they are usually tuned to A standard, and they can range from E standard to G standard.
Multi-neck guitars are extremely unique, and once you have mastered them, extremely fun to play.
The most common type you’ll see is the double-neck guitars, but you will also be able to find triple, quadruple, and sometimes five-neck guitars.
The most common multi-neck guitar out there, by now, is an electric double-neck guitar. The first neck typically has twelve strings, while the second neck usually has six strings.
However, the other popular combination is the electric double-neck that uses the bass guitar neck with four strings, and an acoustic guitar neck, which has six strings.
Many people who have played multi-neck guitars will discuss their convenience and weight with you.
So, naturally, the more necks your guitar has, the heavier it will become, and the more difficult it will be to play. To work around these difficulties, the best thing you can do is practice.
As for the sound of a multi-neck guitar, well, they’re pretty cool! Some players say that they can hear the difference between the two different necks, and some don’t notice the difference at all.
It’s up to you whether you want to try playing both necks at the same time, or just focus on one at a time. Either way, you should enjoy yourself.
Touch guitars are another type of guitar that is becoming increasingly popular.
These are guitars that feature touch sensors that allow you to play chords without having to use your hands – you tap, rather than strum.
These types of guitars are great for beginners because they make learning how to play easier.
What kind of touch sensor does a touch guitar need? There are two main types: capacitive and resistive.
Capacitive sensors require you to place your finger directly on top of them, while resistive sensors detect where your fingers go.
Touch guitars can also be multi-neck guitars!
As for their sound, touch guitars are very similar to regular guitars.
In fact, the only real differences are the lack of a pickguard (which protects the strings) and the absence of a bridge (which holds the strings).
This means that you won’t get the full experience of a traditional guitar when you play one.
Archtop guitars have two very distinct features – an arched top, and an arched back. This makes them very different from ordinary guitars, which are usually flat.
Archtop guitars are popular in the following genres:
Normally, you will find archtop guitars to be acoustic or semi-acoustic, and they will almost always have hollow bodies.
Additionally, the production styles of archtop guitars and other, regular guitars are very different. Archtop guitars have tops and backs that are usually press-heated or carved out of a solid wood block.
Archtop guitars tend to produce a much richer tone than normal guitars. They are often described as sounding “fuller” and “more resonant”.
Finally, archtop guitars may not be as easy to play as standard guitars, but they are certainly worth trying if you are looking for something new.
Other Types Of Guitars-Like Instruments You May Not Know Exist
Here are some guitars that you may not have known existed, or you may not have realized were actually guitars!
A mandolin is a guitar-like instrument that is also part of the lute family, and players usually use a pick to play it.
Mandolins typically have eight strings, and every string is tuned in unison. You will also be able to find ten-string and even twelve-string mandolins.
The history of the mandolin is interesting. Before modern strings, many musicians would play mandolins with six-string courses.
The strings themselves were made from animal intestines. These strings did not make a loud sound, and you would not be able to hear them from far away.
Luckily, steel-string mandolins came into play, and now they hold a great amount of tension thanks to being played with a pick, being much louder than the strings of the past.
While earlier mandolins would break if you attempted to string them with steel, new mandolins have a reinforced soundboard that is able to handle the tension well!
Banjos are a type of guitar-like instrument that can come in a variety of string variations. On a banjo, you can find either four, five, or six strings, and this depends entirely on the model.
Banjos have very thin membranes that are pulled over the main resonator cavity. This is key to the sound of the banjo.
If you pull too hard, then you will create a buzzy sound. However, if you pull lightly, you will create a clear, smooth tone.
In the past, the resonator cavity would have been covered by animal skin, rather than the sheet of plastic used today.
Like the mandolin, ukuleles are part of the lute family. These guitar-like instruments are strung with strings that are typically softer than steel, like nylon, or even gut.
Ukuleles have four strings but can sometimes come with two or three. Many people describe the four strings of a ukulele as “four courses”.
The ukulele also has an interesting history. It originated in the 1800s, coming from the Portuguese machete (a four-stringed, small musical instrument.)
When many Portuguese people immigrated to Hawaii, they brought their musical instruments with them, and eventually, the ukulele came to be. In Hawaiian, “ukulele” translates to “jumping flea.”
Did you know the ukulele actually comes in multiple different sizes? These include:
– The tenor ukulele
– The baritone ukulele
– The concert ukulele
– The soprano ukulele
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Types Of Guitars Exist?
There are so many guitars in the world today! There are six basic types of guitars: acoustic, electric, bass, slide, fretless, and double neck.
There are also other types of guitars, such as fingerstyle, lap steel, and lots more!
What Is The Rarest Type Of Guitar?
Many people think that there is only one rare type of guitar, but there are actually several rare types of guitars! Here are just a few examples!
1. Electric Bass – This is a special type of guitar that is played with a pick and has no frets.
2. Lap Steel – A lap steel guitar is similar to a regular guitar except it has a metal plate attached to the body instead of frets.
3. Double Neck – A double-neck guitar is a guitar where both necks are connected together.
4. Fretless – A fretless guitar does not have any frets at all. Instead, it uses a fret board that is placed under the strings.
5. Slide Guitar – A slide guitar is a guitar that has a metal rod stuck through the bridge. The player slides the rod up and down to change the pitch of the note.
There are so many different guitars out there in the world, that it can be hard to keep track of them all.
If you’re a beginner, you may be surprised to learn about the sheer amount of guitars that exist – from electric to acoustic, to electric acoustic and a 12-string guitar, there are so many to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses!
Meanwhile, a seasoned guitarist who is already well-versed in these basic guitars may be surprised to learn about other unique guitars out there, such as the multi-neck guitar, harp guitar, or resonator guitar.
Some of these can be more difficult to master than a regular guitar, but rest assured it is worth it when you see how fun they are to play, and how impressed people become when they see the guitars.
Finally, there are guitar-like instruments that you may not be familiar with but can be fun to learn and be a good tool to add to your arsenal.
We hope you enjoyed our list of 15 types of guitars you never knew existed!