A Brief History of the Guitar

15 Nov 2014

The guitar is first mentioned in literature in the 13th century. It descended from ancient stringed instruments in India and central Asia that appear to have come westward with Arab traders.  

The roots of the modern guitar are found in Spain, most likely in the area of Malaga.

An acoustic guitar is played by plucking or strumming the strings with one hand and using the fingers of the other to manipulate the effective length of each of the strings so that they produce vibrations of different frequencies.  The less of the string that is allowed to vibrate, the higher the frequency.  Heavy and thicker stringer vibrate more slowly than lighter ones which means they create lower notes.

An acoustic guitar consists of three major components:  the hollow body, the neck and the head.  The soundboard—the wooden piece mounted on the front of the guitar’s body—makes the sound loud enough to hear using a principle called Helmholtz resonance.  The air inside the hollow body of the guitar coupled with the hole underneath the strings act as a spring that pushes the sound out from the instrument.

Classical, flamenco, archtop, battente, folk/country, romantic, 12-stringe and parlor are just some of the many varieties of acoustic guitars.  Some use nylon or gut strings while others require steel strings.

Back to Blog List