A BRIEF HISTORY OF GUITAR
The guitar is an exciting instrument that has gone through different changes since the onset of civilization. From Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, Persia and other ancient places where civilization started from, discovered carvings and paintings of string instruments dating back to the early 3000s revealed the existence of these instruments. The "long-necked string instrument with a pear-shaped body" had different names like the "lute" and "oud" being the common names given to these instruments.
The lute had 4 to 5 strings and came in different sizes and shapes with the instrument being a favorite of the Egyptians and the Greeks after which it spread far and wide all over Europe. Later development had the lute having more than 20 strings after which it was later abandoned.
The Spain & Moors
The early invasion of Spain in 711AD by the Moors brought about the Moors bringing the Oud to Spain. The Spaniards made the oud theirs and tweaked it to their perfection thereby giving birth to the "chitarra" or "quitarra"—the Oud which was an instrument with 4 to 5 strings or courses with a shorter neck. The Spanish modified the Oud into the quitarra, designed to have 6 to 8 courses and shaped like an hourglass.
Spain became the home of guitars with the rest of the world looking up to them for ideas and inspirations on designs and styles with the Vihuela being a typical style. Each century, the guitar evolves. The classic design which was close to the structures seen today was the creation of a Spanish luthier and musician, Antonio Torres during the mid-1800s. Torres increased the body size of the guitar, changed the pegs from wood to machined head, with his design giving the instrument more tone, volume and projection. Torres' guitar was the modern classical guitar, and his designs paved the way for other configurations of guitars.
Andres Segovia, who was a well-known guitarist in his time, took the classical guitar and made it a "concert instrument". He composed "classical" guitar music by transcribing early polyphonic music.
The acoustic guitar came into existence when Christian Frederick Martin, a German-American guitarist, made the X-braced guitar body. This body design accommodated the steel strings' amplification which unfortunately, the Torres guitar couldn't withstand. This change brought about the use of the pick to play the guitar. The use of the pick gave birth to a new louder sound from the guitar compared to the smooth and low sound of the Torres classical guitar.
Acoustic -The Archtop
Orville Gibson modeled the archtop acoustic guitar. The archtop guitar model had an arched top and back, an adjustable bridge, F-holes or violin-like holes which amplified the volume and sound of the acoustic guitar. Gibson figured out that creating a louder sound would be possible if he allowed the guitar to vibrate freely. If the design looked like a cello, the bridge exerted no torque at the top of the guitar. The archtop guitar was famous during the jazz age and used by big bands and country musicians.
The electric guitar came out of the wish for a louder guitar. During the 20th century, guitarists felt the need for a louder guitar as the jazz age, rock and roll needed heavy and louder instruments. Bands relegated the guitar to back up louder instruments like the saxophone and other bass instruments. The only way guitars could be loud enough was through the microphone to amplify the sounds.
Adolph Rickenbacker came to the aid of the guitarists and made the first electric guitar. Adolph was the vice president of the National Guitar Corporation, he and George Beauchamp, a Hawaiian guitarist, found a breakthrough. Through Rickenbacker's company, Beauchamp helped invented an electromagnetic device which helped amplify the vibrations of the guitar. The Hawaiian bands first used it before its usage spread to other parts of the world. Other companies saw the wide acceptance of the electric guitar and started making their own—companies like Audio Vox, Vega, National, Dobro, Gibson, Volu-tone, and Epiphone.
The first successful electric guitar that underwent commercialization sold for 150 dollars, aptly named the ES150, by Gibson in 1936 cable and amplifier came with it.
Charlie Christian brought the guitar solo back to limelight which turned the guitar into a lead instrument and not a backup. Eddie Durham, a jazz guitarist, was the one who introduced Christian to the guitar .
The Telecaster, Stratocaster, Jazz Bass, Percussion Bass, and so on, evolved from the Fender Esquire, the first solid-body guitar to be successful commercially. Leo Fender, an amplifier maker and radio technician, created the Fender Esquire in 1946.
Gibson didn't stop from creating electric guitars; instead, Gibson improved and in 1951, brought out the first electric guitar that could either be played with an amplifier or played as an acoustic guitar. It was the L5CES; which was a best seller and loved by rock and roll bands. Since then, guitars have become to be a widely known and played instrument all over the world to date.
The guitar is a musical instrument that is part of the chordophone family of musical instruments. The specific part from other chordophones is the way it is built and tuned. Examples of different musical instruments in this family are; Harps, Banjo, Cello, and so on.
The Guitar has become a musical instrument that has evolved through time with visible improvements in body, sound and string. The guitar is very much still one of the most used musical instrument today. The heavy metal genre of music which is popular today, the guitar is the key instrument used. The guitar is used in almost all genre of music making it one of the essential musical instrument that can never be abandoned.
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