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History of the guitar

The guitar has been one of the most popular musical instruments today. Most of the kinds of music that one hears from the radio use guitars in many ways. Pop, rock, reggae, blues, ballads and everything else is influenced by the guitar.

 

The guitar, together with the drums and the piano compose the modern music scene equipment set. The playability of the guitar has made it one popular instrument. A guitar can be played by a learning child or an experienced guitar player. It’s not picky with its players.

 

Today, the electric type of guitar is mostly used in musical production. The guitar has gotten a very good accompaniment in the form of the effects box. Today, guitars can emulate the sounds of a piano, a violin, even the sounds of the human voice. The guitar is continuously widening its horizons.

 

With the functions and features of the modern electric guitar, one can’t help thinking about the beginnings of the instrument. Where did the guitar come from?

This article tries to give a brief history of the wonderful musical instrument, which is the guitar. The creation of the guitar cannot be traced to a single person. The guitar came about through the evolution of its predecessors. Its image has also undergone change throughout the centuries. Today, playing the guitar is a symbol of talent and musical prowess, but during the early times, the guitar was actually a symbol of being poor and it was refuted by most classical musicians.

 

Predecessors

 

There have been many guitar-like musical instruments in the ancient times, up to at least 5,000 years ago. Instruments which look like the guitar were seen in statues which were recovered in archeological expeditions in the Iranian region of Susa. However, the very first documented mention of the instrument dates back to the fourteenth century. Back then, the said guitar-ancestor had three pairs of strings (usually referred to as double courses) and a single string with the highest tone.

Some say that the word “guitar” came from the word “qitara.” Qitara is an Arabic name for the different kinds of lutes during the early times.

 

Evolution

The guitar, as we know it, is said to originate 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. The guitar began to become popular in the 16th century. It was played by the lower and middle classes as a counterpart for the vihuela which was played by the aristocrats. The vihuela was tuned like a lute but had a body similar to that of the guitar.

 

The guitar took serious evolution 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 gave birth to the classical guitar. Basically, he increased the size

of the body of the guitar. The guitar still struggled during these times because it was considered as an instrument for the taverns – an instrument which cannot be used for classical music. In Spain, where people hated the piano, the guitar found refuge. However, it was also tainted with views that guitars are for undesirables.

 

Electric guitar

The modern electric guitar was born in 1931. The electric guitar uses electronic “pick-ups” to be able to produce sound. The pick-ups convert the vibrations from the strings into electric signals. The body of the electric guitar is semi-solid or solid, depending on the design. The structure of the guitar took a great leap when the electric guitar was born, no longer did its sound depend on the structure and construction of the body, but on the quality of the pick-ups and soundboard.

 

The sounds of the electric guitar can also be altered to be able to achieve a desire tone. The use of guitar effects box has given the guitar a wide array of sounds. The electric guitar is continuously garnering popularity in all fields of music, even in classical music.

The guitar is a very dynamic musical instrument. Through evolution, the guitar has made its mark on the modern music scene. From crude instruments with many variations, the guitar has become a real and much-sought after instrument.

What are the different kinds of guitars?

An Introduction

The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments today. There are different kinds of guitars that are available out there for different guitar players. Guitars are different in terms of playability, overall appearance and sound quality. Here are some of the types of guitars that guitar players or aspiring guitar players can choose from:

 

Acoustic

If one wants go get into the guitar world, you can start learning with an acoustic guitar.

Acoustic guitars are dependent on their structures and body shapes in resonating sounds. Unlike the more modern electric guitars, they don’t rely on other external devices in making sounds. The natural vibrations of the strings are resonated by the body of the guitar.

 

Acoustic guitars are generally made out of wood. The neck is usually made from mahogany and the fret board is made out of maple or rosewood. There are many kinds of acoustic guitars, here are some of them:

 

  • Classical

Classical guitars are very popular. They are usually the choice guitar for beginners.

The strings are usually made from nylon. These are usually played in a standard sitting position and used in playing classical music. Classical guitars produce think and whole sounds which are very warm to the ears.

Flamenco guitars are almost similar to the classical guitars; however, these guitars produce crisper and thinner sounds than the classical ones.

 

2) Steel-top

Steel-top guitars are much similar to the classical guitar. These, however, are constructed to be more resilient. The parts of the steel-top guitar are reinforced and their bodies are significantly larger than the classical guitars. They produce a warmer tone than the classical guitar.

 

3) 12-String guitar

A normal guitar usually has 6 strings, but the 12-string guitar, as its name implies, has 12 strings. Each string is accompanied by another string with the same note but is usually tuned in a higher octave. This kind of guitar produces a semi-chorus effect which is very pleasant to the ears.

 

4) Resonator

This type of guitar is similar to the steel-top guitar, but the steel in the middle of the soundboard is used to resonate the sound from the vibration of the guitar strings. This produces a very thin and distinct sound. These guitars are usually used in playing the blues. There are also variations of the resonator guitar; the square-neck resonator guitar is played on the lap like a piano or organ. The round neck resonator guitar is played like a common guitar. Resonator guitars work very well with glass or metal slides.

 

 

5) Archtop

The archtop guitar is inspired by other instruments such as the violin and the cello.

An archtop guitar usually has the f-hole design. Jazz players prefer archtop guitars.

Some archtop guitars can reach prices of about $25,000 USD.

 

6) Acoustic Bass

Acoustic bass guitars are bass guitars without electronic pick-ups. The body of the guitar is used to produce the sounds. These are usually 4-stringed guitars but there are acoustic bass guitars which have 5 or 6 strings.

 

Electric

 

Electric guitars make use of electronic pick-ups to amplify the vibrations of the guitar strings. They are usually connected to electric amplifiers. Electric guitars usually have a solid or semi-solid body type. They don’t use the body for sound resonance and thus, they usually make very little or no sound when played without an amplifier. The concept used by electric guitars is- the energy of the strings are diverted into electrical impulses are not directly into sound to be able to achieve an amplified sound.

 

Electric guitars usually have control knobs for changing the volume or the tone of the guitar. There are also pick-up selectors in electric guitars. Many electric guitars use multiple pick-ups to achieve the best guitar sounds. These pick-ups gather and produce different tones from the guitar. The tone knobs are usually used to shift from a bass-intensive sound to a treble-intensive sound or vice versa.

Some electric guitars also have whammy bars. These bars are attached to the guitar to shift notes without changing the finger positions in the fret board. Whammy bars are used to produce “crying” guitar sounds. This is a very useful tool in doing rock and roll songs or even ballads. The use of the whammy bar in less expensive guitars is not advised because it may cause the strings to go out of tune.

 

These are some of the basic types of guitars that are available out there for everyone.

Cadences

cadence is a chord progression of at least 2 chords that ends a phrase or section of a piece of music. The easiest way to understand cadences in music is to think of the punctuation you find at pauses and breaks in spoken speech. Take the following spoken rhyme:

Notice how there are different pauses at the end of each line. The 2nd and 4th line have a period (full stop) at the end – this is because the rhyme could end there and still make sense – it is a definite pausing point.

The 3rd line has a comma at the end of it because this shows that the rhyme is going to continue. The rhyme pauses, but is clearly going to continue because it wouldn’t make sense if it stopped at the end of the 3rd line.

 

These pauses are weak/strong depending on how much of a sense of completion is created. In a similar way, music is divided up into phrases/sections. When you listen to the end of a phrase in music it either sounds like it is finished or unfinished. Whether it sounds finished or unfinished depends on which cadence is used.

 

Types of Cadences

There are 4 main types of cadence you will come across – 2 of them sound finished, whilst the other 2 sound unfinished:

Finished Cadences

Both of the finished cadences sound finished because they end on chord I.

 

Authentic Cadence/Perfect Cadence

This goes from chord V to chord I (this is written V-I). It is the cadence that sounds the “most finished”.

In the key of C major, it goes from V (G) – I (C) and it sounds finished.

 

 

Plagal Cadence

A Plagal Cadence goes from chord IV to chord I (IV-I). It is sometimes called the “Amen Cadence” because the word “Amen” is set to it at the end of many traditional hymns.

In the key of C, this will be F (IV) and C (I).

 

Both of these cadences sound finished because they end on chord I, but they each have their own characteristic sound.

 

Now let’s have a look at the unfinished cadences:

 

Unfinished Cadences

Unfinished cadences sound unfinished because they don’t end on chord I. When you hear an unfinished cadence at the end of a phrase it sounds like the music should not stop there – it sounds like it should continue onto the next section.

Half Cadence/Imperfect Cadence

A half cadence/imperfect cadence ends on chord V. It can start on chord I, II or IV.

In C major, it is C (I)- G (V) or Dm(II)- G(V) or F(IV)-G (V). It sounds more like a question mark, leaving the listener expect some sort of resolution to come after the V chord.

 

Interrupted Cadence (Deceptive Cadence)

An interrupted cadence ends on an unexpected chord – the music literally does sound like it has been “interrupted”. The most common chord progression you will come across is from chord V to chord VI (V-VI). So, C major it is G (V)- Am(VI). As the listener expects the I chord to follow the V, The VI chords creates a deception and it is more like an exclamation point (!).

 

Again, the music sounds like it is unfinished – it sounds like it has just paused and should now continue onto a new section.

Minor plagal:

Apart from these 4 popular cadences, there is another cadence that also gets used quite frequently. It is called the minor plagal cadence. It has a finished sound but with a strong touch of sadness. The idea is to use Minor IV instead of major IV. In the key of C major it should be Fm and C instead of F and C. A very common way to use this cadence is to play Major IV, followed by the minor IV and then the I chord for the final resolution.