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A Journey To The Guitar's Past

Way before the most contemporary electric guitar came into being and way before synthetic materials were utilized, a guitar was defined most of the time as simply "with a fretted, long neck, wooden and flat soundboard, a flat back, with incurved sides."

Historians note that at least 5,000 years ago, the guitar was derived from instruments found in Central Asia and ancient India, called the Sitara. The oldest iconographic depiction of an instrument embodying the guitar's essential features is a Hittite bard carving in stone that, according to historians' estimate, is said to be at least 3,300 years old.

The modern English term "guitar" is derived from Spanish word "guitarra", which is adopted from the cithara, a Latin word. Cithara, in turn, comes from the Greek word kithara, which is deemed to come from the Persian sihtar, an instrument related to the Indian musical tool sitar.

The guitar in its modern form descended from the cithara brought by the Romans to Hispania in or around 40 AD. This was further developed in the advent of the four-string oud that the Moors brought during the 8th century. Meanwhile in Europe, the Scandinavian lut or lute, a native and original six-string instrument, gained popularity in the Viking areas across the European continent.

In the16th century, what appeared to be a deviation guitar instrument from the renaissance to the modern era was seen played by Johannes Vermeer. The instrument was called the "viola da mano" or Spanish vihuela. On the other hand, the Spanish vihuela was a guitar-like musical instrument of a lute-style tuning with its body strikingly similar to a guitar. The vihuela took pleasure in its popularity for only a short period of time, with its last musical publication appearing in the year 1576.

The mandolin was developed by the "Vinaccia family of luthiers." The Vinaccia family is known to have built the most primitive six-string guitar. In 1779, Gaetano Vinaccia's signature appeared on a guitar built Naples, Italy. Upon examination, the signed guitar is found with no modification or indications of any similarity with guitar that is double-course. The authenticity of the antique guitar, though, has not been confirmed, as fake guitars were known to exist abundantly during the period.

A more modern scope of the classical guitar was created by a certain Antonio Torres who worked in Seville during the 1850s. Along with Louis Panormo, Torres demonstrated the supremacy of fan strutting, as compared with table bracing in the transverse mode. Panormo became more prominent in London.

Fast track to the 1900's, George Beauchamp patented the electric guitar in 1936. Rickenbacher, which used the pickup of a horseshoe-magnet, was co-founded by Beauchamp. The production of the electric guitars for the general public, though, was initiated by Danelectro.

Since then, the guitar has not ceased transforming to serve the needs of the musicians of the modern world. With modern technology, observers expect and foresee the development guitars to move forward significantly. Everywhere in the world where music exists, the guitar is sure to be found from its simplest to its most outrageous form.

Submitted by:

James Brown

James Brown writes about GearTree.com coupons, InstrumentPro.com bargains and Musician's Friend coupons


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