No matter how old you are, listening to or even looking at a guitar can make you want to grab it and start strumming. As the second most popular musical instrument (after the piano), guitars feature a wide variety of chords and possible combinations of them. Additionally, there are many ways to strum or pick a tune on the guitar, attributing to this instrument’s ability to adapt to different rhythms.
If you aren’t as skilled as your favorite guitarist – don’t worry! Even Jimmy Hendrix started playing the guitar just for fun at first! If you’ve been thinking of learning the guitar, the first thing you should do is look for someone who can guide and teach you.
Additionally, this instrument originated from early variations of the chordophone while stone carvings have been found dating as far back as the 9th century. However, the contemporary baroque guitar’s influences can be traced back to 16th century medieval Spain! For those who love a little history, here are a few facts about this interestingly ancient instrument.
1. The Origin Of The Word
The word “guitar” in English, “gitarre” in German and “guitare” in French were all adopted from the Spanish word “guitarra.”
2. Let’s Go Back In Time For A Bit
Acoustic guitars date as far back as 3300-3500 years from now (at least). The first recorded guitar was in Persia (now Iran); known as the “tanbur” and had a circular body (bout) under its neck, as opposed to the modern-day hourglass design.
First Graphical Representation
The oldest graphical representation of an individual with a variation of the modern guitar dates back 3300 years and was found in the Hittite ruins.
3. How Guitars Worked Back Then
Acoustic guitars were mostly used for establishing and enhancing rhythms in bars, parties, and other places as backup music for the singers. Back in the day, the guitarist had to stay in tune with the singer, and not the other way around.
4. When Did We Get To Know About Guitars
Guitars found widespread popularity in the 1900s. This was after electricity was mass produced and radios became more and more popular, bringing with it the music that found its way into many homes.
5. The Invention Of The “Frying Pan”
The first electric guitar was invented in 1931 by George Beauchamp; a musician, in collaboration with an electrical engineer, Adolph Rickenbacker. The guitar converted electromagnetic radiation from the vibrations in its metal strings into electric signals through a saddle, which acted as its point of transmission.
It was named the “frying pan.”
The frying pan was subjected to widespread criticism since Beauchamp argued that the guitar’s body needed no hollow and instead, the source of the sound was the saddle. Traditionalists only found the guitar useful for enhancing the guitar’s volume. Other noises were termed as ‘distortions.’
As audiences grew accustomed to these distortions and amplifications and found them to their liking, the traditionalist’s arguments took a back seat, giving rise to the Rickenbacker Electro – an electric guitar manufacturing company. Gibson Inc., one of the most influential American manufacturers of guitars and other musical instruments, manufactured its first electric guitar in 1936.
6. The Most Known Guitar Legend
Many sources claim that Jimi Hendrix is one of the most influential guitar players who ever lived.
7. Widespread Learning Of The Guitar
Music studies have been popular in the United States since the 18th century. However, at-home training became extremely popular in the 19th century as children and adults alike wanted to learn how to play numerous instruments. Today, there are numerous at-home music teachers across the world that can train you regarding the intricacies involved in playing the guitar, and other instruments professionally.
8. World’s Largest Guitar
The world’s largest guitar is 13 meters (43ft) long. It weighs roughly 1000 kgs (2,255 lbs.), and is shaped like an electric guitar.
9. World’s Smallest Guitar
The world’s smallest guitar was made by researchers at Cornell University in New York. The guitar is only 10 micrometers long, with strings 100-atoms wide. The guitar, much like the largest guitar, is playable, but only with the help of specialized equipment. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to hear what you’re playing with this guitar.
10. World’s Most Expensive Guitar
The most expensive guitar ever sold is for $2.7 million, named “Reach Out to Asia.” All the funds from the sale of this guitar went to the aid of the victims of the 2004 tsunami and earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The guitar has been signed by 19 legendary musicians including Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, Bryan Adams, and Keith Richards among others.
11. How Many Types of Guitars Exist Today
There are various types of guitars, including acoustic, bass, classical, folk, 12-string, double-necked, and electric amongst the most popular.
Normally, guitars have only 6 strings, namely the lower E, A, D, G, B, and the high E. However, some have 4 or 12 strings as well. Additionally, some rare guitar versions come equipped with 7, 8, 9, and even 10 strings!
12. The Most Common Guitar String Mnemonic
The most common mnemonic used by guitarists to remember their guitar’s strings is “Eddie Ate Dynamite, Goodbye Eddie.”
13. How Many Components Are There In A Guitar
Altogether there are 14 pieces that come together to form the guitar! The components of a typical guitar include:
- Tuning Pegs
- The ‘nut’
- Upper Bout
- Lower Bout
- Sound Hole
The world of guitars is a fascinating one, to say the least. This, coupled with the fact that entry into this world is fairly easy makes becoming a guitarist very compelling and cost-effective. You can also hire professionals to lead you down the path towards becoming a professional musician, or you can take it up as a hobby!