History of the Guitar

The Acoustic and Electric guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments in use today. Just about every kind of music that you listen to on the radio makes use of the guitar in many ways. Rock and Roll, Country and Western, Southern Gospel, Praise and Worship has all been influenced by the guitar.

Along with the drums and the piano, both the Electric Bass and Acoustic Guitars make up the modern music rhythm set. The versatility of the Acoustic Guitar has made it one popular instrument. A guitar can be played by a learning child or an experienced guitar player.

Most modern music of today features the Electric Guitar and most Rhythm sections of Country and Gospel music depend heavily on the Acoustic Guitar. The guitar has gotten a very good accompaniment in the form of the effects box. Electric Guitar can imitate the sound of a piano, violin, pedal steel guitar, harmonica and even the human voice by making use of a device called a Talkbox.

With the features and functions of the modern day electric guitar and its various effects, you just can't help thinking about the beginnings of the instrument. Where did the guitar come from? This is a brief history of the wonderful musical instrument, which is the guitar.

The conception of the guitar can't be traced to a single individual. The modern electric guitar came about through the development of its predecessor the Acoustic Guitar. Its representation has also experienced many modifications throughout the centuries. Today, playing the guitar is a symbol of talent and musical ability, but this was not so in earlier times; the guitar was actually a symbol of being poor and it was frowned on by most classical musicians.

There have been myriad musical instruments in the ancient times that were similar to the Guitar, dating back at least 5,000 years ago. Instruments which resemble the guitar were seen in ancient art and statues. However, the first documented mention of the instrument dates back to the 1300's. The guitar's predecessor had three pairs of two strings and a single high tone string.

Some guitar historians claim that the word "guitar" came from the Arabic word "qitara." Qitara is an Arabic name for the diverse kinds of lutes used during the early times.

The modern Acoustic Guitar, at least as we know it, most likely originated in Spain. It is believed that the people of Malaga invented the instrument. The guitar evolved from having three pairs of strings to four pairs of strings and eventually six single strings that it now has.

The guitar gained popularity in the 16th century. It was played by the lower and middle classes as an equivalent to the vihuela played by the aristocrats. The vihuela was tuned similar to a lute but had a body similar to that of the guitar.

The guitar began to evolve during the 18th century: the double strings where replaced by single strings and a sixth string was added. In the 1800s, Antonio Torres de Jurado is credited with the birth of the modern Acoustic Classical Guitar. Essentially, he enlarged the size of the body of the guitar. The Acoustic Guitar still struggled for recognition during these times because it was regarded as an instrument for the taverns - an instrument which cannot be used for classical music. The Spaniards hated the piano and it was there, in Spain, that the guitar found refuge. However, it was also marred with the reputation that guitars are for undesirables.

The birth of the modern electric guitar was 1931. The electric guitar utilizes electronic "pick-ups" to be able to produce sound. The vibrations from the strings are converted into electrical signals by the pick-ups and transferred to the amplifier. The body of the electric guitar is either a hollow body or solid body. This is dependent upon the design.
With the birth of the Electric Guitar, the structure of the guitar took a great leap. The sound no longer depended upon the construction and structure of the body, but also on the quality of the pick-ups and soundboard.

There is much debate as to the inventor of the modern Electric Guitar, but three names are associated with the invention of the Electric Guitar. Adolph Rickenbacker invented the first modern amplifiable guitar; it was a semi-hollow bodied guitar with sound holes. In 1941 Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar. Later in the 1940's Leo Fender invented his first electric guitar calling it the Broadcaster. It was later renamed the Telecaster which was later upgraded to the Stratocaster.

The sounds of the electric guitar can also be changed and modified to achieve a desired tone. The use of electric guitar effects has given the electric guitar a wide range of sounds. The electric guitar is continuously harvesting popularity in every field of music, even in classical music.

The guitar is a very vibrant musical instrument. Through the evolution of the Guitar it has made its mark on the modern music scene. From rudimentary instruments with many alternate variations, the guitar has become a desirable and much-sought after musical instrument. One great thing about the Guitar is once you learn to play, migrating from and Acoustic Guitar to an Electric Guitar or vice versa is no problem since they both play the same.

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