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Guitar History

Have you ever think about the guitar history?

Who invented the first guitar, what did it look like?

Acustic guitars?

What about the amplifiers and electric guitars..?

First, the guitar was invented. That occurred a long time ago, maybe in the 1500's

Acustic Guitars

Stringed instruments go back at least as far as Ancient Egypt and Rome. We know this from clay tablets, and other forms of pictures, that show people playing stringed instruments. In Europe, a stringed instrument called the lute was more popular, but guitars were also around. During the 16th century, guitars had double strings instead of the single strings that they have today. Strings were made of gut, not nylon or metal. There was not one standard type of guitar as there is today, either. Some guitars had three strings, some had four, and some had five.

The 17th century was probably when the six-string guitar arrived. A Spanish instrument called the vihuela had six strings. A vihuela had six double strings made of gut. It was longer than today's guitar, but it was played using frets on the neck of the guitar, and the music was written down in tablature as it is now. Like the other stringed instruments, a vihuela had a hollow body that gave the sound its volume. Many people consider the guitar a Spanish invention.

In the 18th century, the bass guitar was invented, and so was a ten-string guitar. The ten-string guitar had the six regular strings and a separate set of four bass strings. Also during this time, single strings came into use instead of the old double strings.

A few names stand out in the development of the guitar. Francisco Tarrega was a musician and songwriter. He developed modern techniques for playing the guitar. He made the guitar very popular during the 19th century. Antonio Torres was a luthier; he made guitars. He set the standard for the classic acoustic guitar that is still played today.

Electric Guitars

Electric guitars were originally designed by an assortment of luthiers, electronics buffs, and instrument manufacturers, in varying combinations. Some of the earliest electric guitars used tungsten pickups and were manufactured in the 1930s by Rickenbacker. The popularity of the electric guitar began with the big band era, the amplified instruments being necessary to compete with the loud volumes of the large brass sections common to jazz orchestras of the thirties and forties. Initially, electric guitars consisted primarily of hollow "archtop" acoustic guitar bodies to which electromagnetic transducers had been attached.

The version of the instrument that is most well known today is the "solid body" electric guitar: a guitar made of solid wood, without resonating airspaces within it. One of the first solid body electric guitars was built by musician and inventor Les Paul in the early 1940s, working after hours in the Epiphone Guitar factory. His "log" guitar, so called because it consisted of a simple rectangular block of wood with a neck attached to it, was generally considered to be the first of its kind until recently, when research through old trade publications and with surviving luthiers and their families revealed many other prototypes, and even limited production models, that fit our modern conception of an 'electric guitar.' At least one company, Audiovox, built and may have offered an electric solid-body as early as the mid-1930s. Rickenbacher (later spelled 'Rickenbacker') offered a solid Bakelite electric guitar beginning in 1935 that, when tested by vintage guitar researcher John Teagle, reportedly sounded quite modern and aggressive.

Gibson, like many luthiers, had long offered semi-acoustic guitars with pickups, but it was in 1954 that the Gibson Les Paul, the instrument that would become their trademark, was introduced to the market. In the late 1940s, electrician and amplifier maker Leo Fender, through his eponymous company, designed the Fender Telecaster. In 1954 Fender introduced the Stratocaster, or Strat, which had become by the late sixties the most widely played guitar on the market. Fender is also credited with inventing the electric bass, although solidbody electric basses had appeared elsewhere as prototypes and limited production models.

Unlike the more traditionally styled and crafted Gibson instruments, Fender's guitars and basses pioneered the modular, and hence much less expensive, method of guitar making in which the body and neck of the guitar were crafted separately, using commonly available woodworking tools, and then bolted together to form a complete guitar. Today, the design of electric guitars by most companies echoes one of the two classic designs: the Les Paul or the Stratocaster.

Guitars are often theatrically destroyed during live performances, see The Who. Guitarist-bowhunter-activist Ted Nugent has ended many of his concerts by setting up a guitar on stage and shooting a flaming arrow into it.

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