How Many Strings Does an Electric Guitar have? Great things to know!

The electric guitar is a great illustration of how technology and music have come together to create a beautiful instrument that allows us to explore our creativity in new ways. The electric guitar is a beautiful piece of art and a truly modern musical instrument that has become an iconic and prized part of the modern guitarist’s toolkit.

How Many Strings Does A Guitar Have?
How Many Strings Does an Electric Guitar have

However, before you get started, you’ll want to customize your guitar, and to do so, you’ll need to know how many strings does an electric guitar have.

If you’re new to the mesmerizing, intriguing, free world of music playing and want to try out some new ideas with music, the electric guitar is the instrument for you!

Where it All Started

Around the middle of the nineteenth century, the guitar as we know it today was born. It originated from medieval stringed instruments like the lute, which you may have heard of.

Until this time, guitars didn’t all have six strings, and tuning scales differed depending on who produced them, but most players gradually gravitated toward the setup we know and love today — six strings tuned to EADGBE.

stringsguitar1.jpg
How Many Strings Does an Electric Guitar have

The reason for choosing EADGBE tuning isn’t entirely clear, although it’s thought that a combination of comfort, practicality, and volume influenced the decision.

As synthetic polymers and steel strings were not produced until around 1907, these early guitars relied on animal components such as intestines for their strings, hence the term “gut strings.” Natural materials did give the tone a certain warmth, however they were uneven and challenging to work with.

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How many strings does an electric guitar have?

It’s critical to understand that every stringed instrument has a set number. Guitars, unlike the cello, viola, contrabass, violin, and others, are somewhat unique in that they can have a variety of string configurations.

This may seem obvious, but if you’re considering purchasing a new electric guitar, you’ve probably already thought about the string gauges. A standard-gauge electric guitar, such as a Telecaster, has four to twelve strings. A more strung instrument, such as a Les Paul, has 8-12 strings.

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Modern Six Strings

Six string guitars today are tuned in the same manner as early classical instruments from the mid-1800s. The most significant difference in the strings from then to now is, of course, the technology and materials used.

Bass guitar, harp guitar and other guitars
six strings guitar

Classical guitars now use nylon strings as a replacement for gut strings, whereas electric and steel string guitars use metal strings made of various alloys, each designed for different tones, volumes, and performances.

The strings are still tuned to EADGBE in either case, and are sometimes referred to by string number, as shown below:

EADGBE
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The 1 string, or high E string, is the thinnest. The remaining strings become thicker as they approach the low E, or 6 string. It may seem counterintuitive, but the 6 string is closest to you when holding your guitar in the playing position.

Wound strings are the three strings on the bass side, E, A, and D (6, 5, 4). They have a metal coil wrapped around their central core. Manufacturers can make the strings thicker while maintaining strength and flexibility.

Bass Guitars 

Bass guitars produce the low end of a band’s sound, and to do so, they require strings that are radically different from those found on a regular six-string guitar. A bass guitar requires much thicker strings than a guitar to generate deep tones.

19,293 Bass Guitar Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
How Many Strings Does an Electric Guitar have

A conventional bass guitar has four strings that are tuned similarly to a guitar — E, A, D, and G. Bass guitars are normally plucked with the index and middle fingers, though some players, especially in fast-paced genres like punk, use a pick.

Basses, like guitars, have a wide range with 5, 6, and often even 7 strings. Due of their enhanced versatility, 5 string basses are becoming increasingly popular, although 6 and 7 string basses remain rather uncommon.

Guitars with 12 strings

12 string acoustic guitar up close
12 strings guitar

The name should be a dead giveaway, but these guitars have 12 strings just in case. However, unlike extended range guitars, they are tuned in six pairs, or courses. The lower four courses on most 12 strings are tuned one octave apart, while the top two courses are tuned in identical pairs.

In terms of playing, each course of strings is treated as if it were a single string. As a result, the strings are mounted close together, with larger gaps between courses. This reduces the need for an overly wide neck on the guitar.

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If you’re curious about the possibilities for 12 string tunings, read our guide on how to tune a 12 string guitar.

Guitars with a Broad Range

Extended range guitars are available in both acoustic and electric versions, though electrified instruments are far more common.

7-String

7 string guitars use the same tuning as 6 string guitars, but add an additional B string below the low E at the bass end.

photo showing what a seven string guitar looks like
7 string guitar

8-String

8 string guitars used to be rare and exotic instruments, but they are now as common as 7 string guitars and are carried by all major guitar retailers. Although standard tuning is F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E, some crazy drop tunings are frequently used because extended range guitars are widely used for metal.

an electric 8 string guitar being played
eight string guitar

9-Strings

There are guitars with 9 or more strings, but they are more of a novelty than anything else.

Personalized Instruments

As we previously stated, if you’re determined enough, you can make highly uncommon and rare guitars. Famous musicians have played guitars with 18 or 20 strings. The answer to the question “how many strings does a guitar have” completely differs because of these unique instruments.

Sincere to say, these extra strings give your instrument a wider sound, but they also look fantastic. As you add cords, your chord and pitch options grow tremendously. But controlling these larger instruments is frequently much more complex, and it could be tough to move them swiftly.

Guitars with several necks

Consider a guitar with a double, triple, or quad neck if artists want to choose one that barely resembles the conventional guitar.

Although the double-neck guitar is admired, it is rarely utilized. If not in person, you have probably watched one online or on television. It appears as though two guitars were combined into one.

The majority of multi-neck guitars combine several instruments into a single unit. For instance, a double-neck instrument can include both a bass guitar and a six-string guitar. It substantially simplifies switching between guitars and immediately broadens the variety of your song.

Even the most experienced musicians may find it challenging to master these unique guitars. Although they are absurdly entertaining to play, there will be a learning curve to get acclimated to the wider ranges of notes.

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Multi-Neck Guitars

There are guitars with 9 or more strings, but they’re more of a novelty than the rest. They’re difficult to play and have little application in mainstream music.

two neck guitar up close
How Many Strings Does an Electric Guitar have

The legendary Gibson EDS-1275 was made famous by Jimmy Page, but many other huge names in rock have adopted it, to produce other multi neck guitars. betting on the size combinations used, these instruments can have any number of strings.

A double neck could have a six string and a bass neck, or it could have a six string and a twelve string. Bill Bailey, a British comedian and musician, owns and plays a rare six-neck guitar with 40 strings!

How Many Strings are there on a Guitar; Final Thoughts.

Because guitars have a wider range than violas or violins, and since most guitarists play quite one note at a time, some people believe that guitars are just like a full section employed in orchestras.

This is faithful to some extent, but the contrabass or cello can play notes that are much lower in pitch than standard guitars.

Guitars are thought to be ideal for accompaniment because the player can play all of the strings at the identical time, adding fullness to chord progressions and riffs. I’m hoping that orienting what number of strings an electric guitar has will be useful.

FAQs about How many strings does a guitar have?

Do electric guitars have 6 strings?

It’s true! Six strings weren’t included within the first guitars. There are numerous guitars available today. Many of them have either fewer or over six strings.

What style of guitar has 6 strings?

Electric guitars are available in a very wide selection of styles and sizes. The Gibson Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, and Fender Telecaster are three of the foremost famous. Electric guitars, like acoustic guitars, are normally made from wood and have six strings, though twelve string versions are available.

What is a 5 string guitar called?

Bass guitar, with five strings (also often with four or six strings) extended-range electric bass, with five strings (also often with six or occasionally more strings)

Barry Moroney

Hi, Barry here. I'm a tech writer and blogger. I write about the latest technology, gadgets, and software. I also provide the best how-to and guides on the latest sound systems. I'm always excited to share my knowledge with others!

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