In this Classical Guitar Lesson we will
elements of a classical guitar. This illustration above labels all the
major components of the modern
Classical Guitar. Read about the details below:
The headstock or "head" as it is referred to is a the top
portion of the neck that receives the strings. The classical guitar
typically has string channels cut in the headstock where the strings
run to make contact with the tuner rollers, on which the strings are
secured. The main function of the headstock is to accommodate the
string tuners or machine heads.
Another important function of the very top of the headstock
this is where the luthier places his signature decoration. Every
different guitar maker has a different signature and it is fun to see
how creative some of these are.
The Tuning Machines are the geared mechanical devices that
are used to secure the strings and tune the instrument. They are
usually gold plated on the upper priced guitars and chrome or silver
plated on the lower priced units.
The roller portion of the Machine Head on which the strings
wind around are either plastic on the lower priced guitars and ivory on the highest
The Nut is the small (usually white)
piece of either bone or ivory that holds the strings off the
fingerboard and separates the fingerboard from the Headstock.
The Nut plays a critical role in determining the string
action (or playability) of the guitar in the lower positions. It also transfers a
great deal of sound from the strings into the neck and bridge of the
guitar and some control over sustain.
The Fretboard on a classical guitar is almost ebony, which is
a very hard and dense , almost jet-black wood. The fretboard plays a
critical role of being the medium that the Frets attach to
the guitar. It varies in width along it's length starting out
at about 2-1/8" wide at the nut and gradually widening until it reaches
Some Luthier's taper the Bass or Lower String side of the
Fretboard by as much as 18" by the time it reaches the soundhole. This tapering
method is to minimize any string buzzing possibilities by the largest
strings, which tent to oscillate much more than the high or treble
The Frets are the small metal bars that are sawn into the
fretboard and allow for the fingers to press down the strings at different intervals
to produce all of the notes in the scale. There are typically 20 frets
or less on a classical guitar and the fret spacing is reduced
logarithmically as you reach the Soundhole.
The Neck holds the Fretboard in place and is attached to the
body of the guitar in a rather complicated channel arrangement. The neck is
also attached to the top and the back of the guitar with a "foot",
which you can see when viewing the inside of the guitar with the
strings off, while looking through the soundhole.
Most luthier's use either Genuine Mahogany or Cuban Mahogany
for the neck wood. Often the neck will be laminated with a 3/8" wide strip of
Ebony going down the center of the neck.
The Neck also exhibits a unique scarf joint arrangement to
joint the neck to the headstock. You can see this joint by looking at the
backside of the neck/headstock.
The Heal is the vertical component of the neck that allows
the neck to connect to the guitar sides. It is usually built from
stacked blocks of the same wood used for neck construction.