The pickguard, also known as the scratchplate, is usually a piece of laminated plastic or other material that protects the finish of the top of the guitar from damage due to the use of a plectrum ("pick") or fingernails. Electric guitars sometimes mount pickups and electronics on the pickguard. It is a common feature on steel-string acoustic guitars. Some performance styles that use the guitar as a percussion instrument (tapping the top or sides between notes, etc.), such as flamenco, require that a scratchplate or pickguard be fitted to nylon-string instruments.

The types and models of pickups used can greatly affect the tone of the guitar. Typically, humbuckers, which are two magnet-coil assemblies attached to each other, are traditionally associated with a heavier sound. Single-coil pickups, one magnet wrapped in copper wire, are used by guitarists seeking a brighter, twangier sound with greater dynamic range.


First, being able to learn directly from amazing artists like Paul Gilbert is incredible. He's a great teacher and has a way of explaining things that are easy to understand and replicate. The video format is also extraordinarily helpful; I've used other sites that use only written materials (usually .pdf format), and they are difficult to navigate. The feedback, though, is what really makes this website head and shoulders above the others (even the other video websites). When I record myself and send it in, I get a response from Paul that critiques in an incredibly constructive way as well as additional exercises to work at really honing that skill. In addition, getting to see what tips he gave to other users is awesome! If you want to learn an instrument, there's no better way.
Almost all guitars have frets, which are metal strips (usually nickel alloy or stainless steel) embedded along the fretboard and located at exact points that divide the scale length in accordance with a specific mathematical formula. The exceptions include fretless bass guitars and very rare fretless guitars. Pressing a string against a fret determines the strings' vibrating length and therefore its resultant pitch. The pitch of each consecutive fret is defined at a half-step interval on the chromatic scale. Standard classical guitars have 19 frets and electric guitars between 21 and 24 frets, although guitars have been made with as many as 27 frets. Frets are laid out to accomplish an equal tempered division of the octave. Each set of twelve frets represents an octave. The twelfth fret divides the scale length exactly into two halves, and the 24th fret position divides one of those halves in half again.
Learn a D major. This chord only requires the bottom four strings. Place your index finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret. Your ring finger then goes on the 2nd string, 3rd fret, and your middle finger is the 1st string, second fret. You'll form a little triangle shape. Only strum these three strings and the 4th string -- the open D -- to sound out the chord.
SFCM produces some of the most successful and influential classical guitarists in the world. Spearheaded by renowned faculty and complemented by visiting artists such as Marcin Dylla, the department honors the tradition of the classical guitar while cultivating innovation. The Harris Guitar Collection, housed at SFCM, gives students a chance to see—and play—some of the most extraordinary guitars of the last two centuries.
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