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If you want to know how many strings are on a standard guitar, the short answer is six. The majority of people think that the guitar has 6 strings because it is the most common number of strings on a guitar. But this is not always the case. In the guitar lessons that I teach, I've had students with guitars that have 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 strings.

You may have seen different kinds of guitars with a different number of strings.

In this article we’ll look at all the many different numbers of strings on a guitar.

The guitar is very popular so it has many different variations. It has also evolved a lot over time. In its evolution and in its different variations there are a different number of strings, which are just one of the many parts of a guitar.

Each type of guitar string configuration has its unique characteristics that impact the sound and playability of the instrument.

So let’s go and learn how many strings the guitar has.

How many strings are on the guitar?

The standard guitars you already know like Acoustic, Electric and Classical have 6 strings. Each of these have variations and have different numbers of strings. Let's go and see them.

Acoustic Guitars have 6 to 18

Acoustic guitar strings
Credit: Freepik

The standard acoustic guitar has 6 strings

This is the most well known 6 string used type of guitar. They are played without any amplification, just with the natural sound produced by the guitar's body and strings.

Acoustic guitars come in a range of sizes, from smaller guitars to larger dreadnoughts and jumbos. You can visit this article to know more about Acoustic guitar sizes.

The 12-string guitar

12 String acoustic guitar
Credit: SeekPng

The 12-string guitar is a type of acoustic guitar that has twelve strings.

The strings are arranged in pairs with each pair tuned to the same pitch but one string is usually an octave higher than the other.

The extra strings on a 12-string guitar produce a richer and more complex sound than a standard 6-string guitar.

12-string guitars are commonly used in folk, rock, and pop music, and have been popularized by artists such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin.

Harp Guitars have 7 to 19 strings

Harp Guitar
Credit: png play

The harp guitar is a unique instrument that combines elements of a guitar and a harp.

It typically has a standard 6 string guitar neck and body along with one or more additional sub-bass strings.

The sub-bass strings in a harp guitar can vary in number and placement and may be attached to the soundboard of the guitar body or extended beyond the body on a separate frame.

The strings may also be tuned in various pitches and played in different ways such as plucked or strummed to create a range of sounds and textures.

It is often used in contemporary acoustic music particularly in the folk and new age genres and has been featured in a number of recordings and performances by notable artists like Andy Mckee.

Here is a video.

Gypsy Guitars have 6 strings

Gypsy guitar
Credit: whitneyguitars

The gypsy guitar also known as the Manouche guitar or the Django guitar has 6 strings. Is a type of acoustic guitar associated with the style of music known as Gypsy Jazz.

One of the defining features of the gypsy guitar is its use of a type of string called Gypsy strings or Gypsy Jazz strings.

These strings are made of a steel core wrapped with a silver-plated copper wire, and they are designed to produce a bright and articulate sound with a quick response.

Here is a video with the avalon jazz band.

Electric Guitars have 6 to 20 strings

Electric guitar
Credit: Freepik

The standard electric guitar has 6 strings

Electric guitar
Credit: Toppng

The standard electric guitars are another popular type of guitars and they also typically have six strings and they are made of steel.

Some electric guitars have seven or more strings which can provide extended range and more versatility for certain playing styles.

The Extended Range Electric Guitars

Extended Guitar
Credit: electrikjam

Extended range guitars are a type of guitar that have more strings than the traditional six-string guitar, allowing the player to play a wider range of notes and create more complex chord structures and melodies.

There are several types of extended range guitars, each with a different number of strings and unique characteristics.

The 7 String guitar

This type of guitar has the normal 6 strings E - A - D - G - B -E and adds an additional low B string below the traditional E string, allowing the player to reach lower notes and create more intricate chord progressions. 7-string guitars are commonly used in heavy metal, progressive rock, jazz fusion music.

The 8 string guitar

An 8-string guitar has the 6 normal six strings adding both a low B string and F# string below the low E string. This allows for even greater range and versatility in playing, and is commonly used in heavy metal, progressive rock, jazz fusion music.

The 9 string guitar

This type of guitar also has a six string normal tuning and adds a low C#, F# and B string below the low E string. It is less common than the 7-string and 8-string guitars, but is used in some genres of metal and experimental music.

The 12 string electric guitar

This is like the 12 string acoustic guitar and it comes with 6 double strings tuning in octaves.

18 and 20 strings electric guitars

At this point these types of guitars are just ridiculous but they exist. You can´t play them regularly because you don’t have the kind of hands to play it!

Here is a video of the 20 electric guitars string.

Double Neck Guitar

Double neck guitar
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The double neck guitar is a type of guitar that features two necks and two fretboards with each neck having its own set of strings.

Typically one neck is designed to be played as a regular six-string guitar while the other neck may have a different number of strings and or be tuned to a different pitch or scale.

The most common type of double neck guitar has a 6-string neck and a 12-string neck, with the 12-string neck providing a richer, fuller sound.

Some models may also have a 4-string bass neck in addition to the 6-string guitar neck, allowing the guitarist to switch between bass and guitar parts within the same song.

Double neck guitars are often associated with rock music, particularly the classic rock era of the 1970s and 80s, when they were used by bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Rush.

Classical Guitars have 6 to 11 strings

Classical guitar
Credit: Freepik

The standard classical guitar have 6 strings

Classical Guitar
Credit: purepng

The standard classical guitar has 6 strings and is the typical spanish guitar most people know. The classical guitar has evolved over the years and it has been made with different types, shapes and number of strings.

The strings are made from different materials like nylon, carbon or titanium, the most common is the nylon which produces a softer and warmer sound than steel strings.

Let’s see some of them.

The Vihuela has 5 to 7 pairs of strings

The Vihuela was an instrument very popular in Spain and Italy in the 15th to the 17th centuries that covers the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

The vihuela has six or seven double strings ( paired courses ) made of gut. Some vihuelas had a rounded or flat back with a flat top.

The vihuela was played with fingers using a plucking technique similar to that used on the lute and guitar.

There were several different names of vihuela that had different playing methods:

  • Vihuela de mano: 6 or 5 courses played with fingers
  • Vihuela de penola: played with plectrum
  • Vihuela de arco : played with bow

The tuning for 6 courses vihuela de mano could be:

  • G C F A D G
  • C F B♭ D G C

The Baroque Guitar has 5 courses, or pairs of strings

Baroque Guitar
Credit: John Peck

The baroque guitar was an instrument very popular during the baroque era of western classical music ( 17th and early 18th centuries). It is considered the predecessor to the modern classical guitar.

It was an instrument with 5 double strings ( paired courses ) and the strings were made of gut.

The baroque guitar was used primarily as an accompaniment instrument for singing and dance music.

The baroque guitars are generally tuned as A - D - G - B - E.

Soprano Guitars have 6 strings

soprano guitar
Credit: Calido guitars

Soprano guitars are a smaller version of the classical guitar with six strings.

This instrument is typically a smaller-bodied guitar with a shorter scale length and a higher pitch than a standard guitar.

The six-string soprano guitar is tuned in the same way as a standard guitar, which is E-A-D-G-B-E, and it has a brighter and more focused sound than a standard guitar.

Its smaller size and unique sound make it a popular instrument to play in an ensemble for having high register notes.

Here is a video so you can know how the soprano guitar sounds.

Alto Guitar or Terz Guitar have 6 to 11 strings

Alto guitar
Credit: cgcopenhagen

The six-string alto guitar or G Guitar or Terz guitar is a smaller version of the classical guitar, designed to be fitted with lighter strings and tuned a perfect fifth higher, to B-E-A-D-F♯/G♭-B.

Terz guitar (Terz meaning third) refers to either a small sized classical guitar or to the practice of tuning a standard guitar a minor third higher than standard guitar tuning.

The Alto guitar can be from 6 strings up to 11 strings.

The Requinto Guitar has 6 strings

Requinto guitar
Credit: pixabay

Requinto guitar is a smaller version of the classical guitar originated in Latin America, particularly in Mexico.

It is often used in traditional music styles such as mariachi, ranchera, and bolero.

It typically has six nylon strings and is tuned to A-D-G-C-E-A which is a perfect fourth higher than a standard classical guitar tuning.

This higher tuning gives the requinto guitar its characteristic bright and penetrating sound, making it an excellent choice for solo performances and accompaniment.

Here you can see a video about a solo performance with the requinto.

The Guitalele has 6 strings

Guitalele
Credit: larepublica.es

The guitalele also known as a guitarlele is a hybrid musical instrument that combines the small size of a ukulele with the playing style of a guitar.

It is essentially a six-stringed mini-guitar that is tuned to A-D-G-C-E-A, which is the same tuning as a guitar but with the strings pitched up a fourth.

The guitalele is typically made with a body and neck that are similar in size and shape to a concert ukulele but with six strings instead of four.

Here is a video.

The Flamenco Guitar have 6 strings

Flamenco guitar
Credit: elflamencovive

The flamenco guitar is a type of guitar that is used in flamenco music, a style of music and dance that originated in southern Spain.

The flamenco guitar typically has 6 nylon strings, is a lighter construction than a classical guitar. It is played with the fingers rather than a pick.

Extended Range Classical guitars

Extended range classical guitars have more strings than the traditional six-string guitar, allowing the player to play a wider range of notes and create more complex chord structures and melodies.

There are several types of extended range guitars, each with a different number of strings and unique characteristics.

The most common types include:

7-string guitar:

This type of guitar adds an additional low B string below the traditional E string, allowing the player to reach lower notes and create more intricate chord progressions.

8-string guitar

An 8-string guitar adds both a low B string and a F# string above the traditional high E string

9-string guitar:

This type of guitar adds both a low B, F# string and a C# string above the traditional high E string. It is less common than the 7-string and 8-string guitars.

10-string guitar:

A 10-string guitar can have different configuration or scordatura like the:

Yepes tuning

F#-G#-A#-D-E-A-d-g-b-e'

Baroque tuning

A'-B'-C#-D-E-A-d-g-b-e' D major or A major tuning:

A'-B'-C#-D#-E-A-d-g-b-e' E major tuning

A'-Bb'-C-D-E-A-d-g-b-e' F major or Bb major tuning

Mertz tuning

A'-B'-C-D-E-A-d-g-b-e'

Here is a video to see a 10 string classical guitar.

Other Types of Guitars

Bass Guitar have 4 to 6 strings

Bass guitar
Credit: pixabay

Bass guitars are similar in appearance to electric guitars but they are designed to produce lower frequencies.

They may have four, five, or six strings with the additional strings allowing for a lower range of notes.

Bass guitars are most used in bands but there are bass players like Victor Wooten who have revolutionized the way of playing the bass. Take a look at this video.

Baritone Guitar have 6 to 8 strings

Baritone guitar scale
Credit: baritoneguitar

Baritone guitars exist for electric, acoustic and classical guitars. They are tuned to a lower pitch than standard guitars and they have 6 strings but can have 7 or 8 but these are custom made.

They have a longer scale length and larger body than regular guitars which allows them to produce a deeper richer sound.

Baritone guitars are regularly used in rock and metal music to provide a heavy, powerful sound but also for some guitar ensembles.

Here is a video where you can hear the difference about the Baritone guitar and a normal guitar.

The Tenor Guitar has 4 strings

Tenor guitars are a smaller type of guitar that has 4 strings and can be used with steel or nylon strings.They can be acoustic, electric or both.

The tenor guitar's tuning is generally higher than a standard guitar and is typically tuned in fifths, with the most common tuning being C-G-D-A.

The tenor guitar is often used in various music genres, including jazz, country, and folk music.

Its unique sound has made it a favorite among many musicians, including jazz legend Django Reinhardt and folk icon Pete Seeger.

Archtop Guitars have 6 strings

Archtop guitar
Credit: pngplay

Archtop guitars have six strings and they are a type of semi acoustic or electric guitar that feature a distinctive arched top and back.

Archtop guitars are known for their rich, warm tone and excellent projection making them a popular choice for jazz, swing, and other styles of music that require a full resonant sound.

There are several sub-types of archtop guitars including the classic jazz guitar which typically has a wide neck and a floating bridge.

And the acoustic archtop guitar which is played unplugged and has a more traditional acoustic sound.

Conclusion

The guitar is an amazing instrument that has evolved in the years. You can find guitars with 5 double strings up to 12 strings, some small and others bigger ones.

We have seen that there are many different types of guitars available today and each with its own unique features, strings and characteristics so whether you're a beginner just starting out or an experienced musician looking to expand your collection, there is sure to be a guitar that is perfect for you.

If you are looking for advice, or if you are looking for guitar lessons in San Antonio or online guitar lessons, we'd be happy to help.

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