The Chemistry of Guitars

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Introduction
I am doing the chemistry of an acoustic guitar, a guitar is a very popular musical instrument. I chose to do the chemistry of guitars , because I’m around guitars a lot, and own quite a few. My life is affected by guitars in that I play one pretty much every day, and they're really awesome.

Composition of ...

  • The Bridge of a guitar has three main parts, the bridge itself, the saddle ,and the bridge pins. All of these things are usually plastic, but on higher end guitars the Bridge pins and saddle can both be made of ivory, or bone.
  • The pickguard is made of several layers of plastic, the most common plastics used are celluloid, PVC, vinyl, polyethylene, or acrylic glass .
  • The Top of the guitar is made out of wood. It’s almost always made of Spruce wood, but on really cheap guitars whitewood is used.
  • If the rosette is a sticker it’s always made of vinyl, unless it’s painted on then it’s made of embrol paints.
  • The Binding can be made from any type of wood or plastic. It can also be made of bone, pearl,or it can just be painted on (usually with embrol paints).
  • The Strap buttons are made of stainless steel.
  • The Inlays are almost always painted on, but on really high quality guitars they are made of pearl.
  • The neck is made of mahogany most of the time, but depending on quality it changes
  • The Fretboard is almost always made of rosewood, ebony, or maple, but depending on what brand of guitar it really depends.
  • The frets are made of stainless steel.
  • Guitar strings are made of copper and stainless steel.
  • The tuning keys and machine head are made of chrome most of the time, but on cheaper guitar they’re made of die cast aluminum.
  • The head stock is made out of the same wood the neck would be made of.
  • The nut (the white thing right next to where it says strings) is made of either made of a variety of plastics, ivory, or bone.
  • The strings of an acoustic guitar are made of wound copper, or wound stainless steel, and all of the smaller strings are just stainless steel.
  • The Back and sides of the guitar body are always made of a different wood than the front, most of the time it’s mahogany
  • There is also wood glue to hold everything together


Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

I would say that the two main components of a guitar are spruce wood and stainless steel. Stainless steel always has 10.5% chromium; it also usually contains nickel, molybdenum, and nitrogen. The Stainless steel used in frets, and tuning pegs are austenitic stainless steel, which means that it has 18% chromium and 8% nickel, the rest of the metal varies. Spruce wood is made of basically Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Wood as I’m sure you know occurs naturally, because it’s a tree. Stainless steel however is made by a bunch of different metals all being melted together, but has to have at least 10.5% Chromium, as I stated above. The percentage of chromium is specific because it’s what makes it “stainless”. What happens is a layer of Chromium Oxide forms on the outside of the other metals, which makes it so that rust (Iron Oxide) cannot form on it.

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About the Author






PJ Willett is a Junior at Billings Senior High School. This fine fellow enjoys music that doesn’t suck, playing the guitar, and long walks on the beach (maybe, you never know, 
we live in Montana what beaches are here?) Another interesting thing about this fine human being is that he builds guitars and sells them on the internet, I assume that’s why he picked guitars as his chemistry of ... I mean, I don’t know it makes sense.
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