Acoustic guitars can be played without amplification of any kind. The acoustic guitar's Top is its largest tonal contributor, followed by the Back and Sides. If an acoustic guitar, regardless of price, has a solid Top with solid Sides and a solid Back, it is desirable to own. Almost every less expensive acoustic guitar is going to have a laminated Top, Sides and Back. Solid Tops with laminated (layers of wood that are glued together) Sides and Backs are also a good choice.
Archtop Guitars have tops that slope up toward the center of the top, in roughly an archlike fashion. On acoustic guitars the tops are molded but on solid body electric guitars the tops are carved. Archtops are more time consuming to build by hand and take more time to cut using a CNC router. The most well-known example of an archtop guitar would be the Gibson Les Paul. Our '65 Cuda Guitar shown above is also an Archtop.
The term "Boutique" most often refers to guitars that are hand-made by a single luthier, and are usually more expensive than their weight in Platinum. They're usually built from exotic tone woods and are more often purchased for display than for actual playing. Boutique guitars can be acoustic or electric.
These guitars were made popular by Ovation. Bowl-Back acoustic guitars have rounded backs that are usually made of a graphite composite. Since the top of the guitar is the largest tonal contributor to the instrument, the more expensive models with solid tops will have the better sound. They are very comfortable to play and sound quite good through amplification.
The thinline acoutsic electric guitar offers acoustic-like sound without the troublesome feedback often encountered when ampifying an acoustic guitar.
Several high-end companies like Renaissance make beautiful Cedar and Sycamore thin line acoustics that utilize piezo systems and get unbelievably terrific acoustic tone. In the middle is Godin and on the lower end, OLP makes an acceptable thin line.
Electric guitars are wired with pickups, which amplify the vibrating strings, and are meant to be played using amplification. When many people think of electric guitars, they picture a Fender Stratocaster, a Gibson Les Paul or a Paul Reed Smith, which are all solid body electric guitars, but any guitar can be electrified and played through an amplifier. The generic term Electric Guitars covers a huge range instruments.
The term Fixed Bridge refers to the way the strings are fastened to the guitar at the tail of the body. A fixed bridge guitar is a non-tremolo guitar. Generally speaking, the tone of a fixed bridge guitar is superior to the tone of a tremolo guitar because the strings are closer to being in direct contact with the actual wood of the guitar.
A Flat Top guitars is just as the name implies. The top is flat and is not carved or arched. A Flat Top guitar may be bound with ivoroid or wood and usually has rounded or beveled edges to make the playability better. The Bertram Troth Flat Top Guitar shown above is cut froma single piece of White Korina.
Tremolo Guitars are used primarily by lead (solo) players. The tremolo enhances the player’s ability to bend the strings, and therefore the notes, and to create interesting effects in so doing. If you’ve ever heard the guitar solo Eruption from the album Van Halen I, by Eddie Van Halen, then you’ve heard an effective use of the tremolo.
Jazz Guitars, or Jazzboxes, are usually rather large bodied, sometimes electric guitars used for playing Jazz Music. Jazz guitars are also notable for the moveable, often ebony, bridge systems and often fanciful metal or wooden tail pieces. Higher end Jazz guitars are often collected for the sheer beauty of the wood and quality of the craftsmanship.
Similar in size and shape to a jazz guitar, the Rockabilly guitar offers more traditional bridge systems, hot rodded pickups and stylistic differentiation from the traditional Jazz guitar. Gretsch is perhaps the largest maker of Rockabilly guitars and boasts endorsers like Brian Setzer.
Thin-line Blues Guitars are similar to Jazz Guitars in that they are hollow-bodied electric guitars. The bodies of these guitars though, as the name implies, are thinner than Jazz guitars. The thin-line blues guitar can and often is played with distortion.