And of course before you learn to play the guitar you need to own a guitar, or at least borrow one. When you're just starting out learning the electric guitar you don't need one like Jimmy Hendrix would play, but you still need to get your hands on an electric guitar that will be adequate for the beginner. And if that's you then there's a few things that you need to know about electric guitars that may help in understanding a little more about them.
First thing to remember about buying your first electric guitar is that you don't need to spend hundreds of thousands to do so. Be happy with a cheap electric guitar while you're learning, and maybe once you hit the big time spend up big. However a cheap electric guitar will do the job for the first few years.
You also need to know exactly what style of music you will be playing on your guitar. Different styles of music require different styles of electric guitar. You need a different guitar to play rock, for example, to the guitar you'd buy if you were playing jazz.
So spend a little time researching the types of electric guitar that should be used by different music styles.
Electric guitar types boil down to 2 basic types, solid body and hollow body.
As the name suggests a solid body guitar has no hollow space inside, and is usually, though not exclusively, made of solid wood. Different types of timber can produce different sounds, so as you get better you may want to research more on the type of timber you need to produce the sound you want, but in the early stages if you're buying a cheap electric guitar don't get too carried away getting the ideal timber, you may find it more expensive than you need to be paying, and it's not essential at the start.
And there's a few unusual terms you'll need to become familiar with if you're buying an electric guitar for the first time. Here's a taste.
The pickup is a magnet with a coil of wire wrapped around it placed right under the strings. This receives the vibrations of the strings and turns these into an electric signal for the amp to use. There are 2 types of pickup. The single coil, which produces a sound that sounds good for playing rock, blues and country. Humbuckers are a pickup with 2 coils next to each other that produces a warmer sound which is great for metal and rock in particular. Some guitars have a combination of single coils and humbuckers, and there is usually at least 2 pickups utilized.
The bridge is where the strings connect to the body of the guitar. You can have a fixed bridge or a Vibrato bridge which allows you to move the bridge to tighten or loosen the strings. The fixed bridge is better for beginners who can graduate to a Vibrato bridge after they've mastered the basics.
Hollow body electric guitars are the second basic style of guitar. These, as the name suggests, have a hollow body although there is also a variation of this which is the semi hollow. As the player plays his guitar the hollow space helps the body resonate which produces a quite distinctive sound. These are good guitars for jazz. These hollow body guitars also utilize pickups, including single coil and humbucker.
That's really just the start when it comes to understanding electric guitars, and for the enthusiast it's a lifetime job learning all there is to know about them. And finding out exactly what it is that you need to play to produce exactly the sound you want to produce. That's part of the fun of playing the guitar, it's a constant learning process, not just about how to play but what to play as well.
However remember, the most important piece of advice. If you're a beginner don't spend up big the first time. Buy yourself a cheap electric guitar first, then learn to play that and take it from there. It's the best way to kick off your rock star career.