Did you know these Historical Facts about Guitars?
Guitars have been around for thousands of years and over all that time haven’t changed a huge amount. Here are some historical facts you might find interesting if you’re playing the guitar or thinking of starting to play this popular instrument.
The oldest guitars were found in Egypt and date around 3500 BC. In those days they consisted of a long neck with 3 strings and were played with a type of plectrum.
By ca 1500 BC the kithara was played in Greece. It was then a 2-stringed lyre which was, again, played with a plectrum. This instrument travelled all over the Mediterranean and was very popular in many countries.
Guitars from the Middle Ages to Victorian times
Around 1300 AD the first European guitars appear named after the Latin word cithara. Two forms were used, the Moorish Guitar (with a wider finger board and several sound holes) and the Latin Guitar which had a narrower neck and only one sound hole. These early guitars and their immediate successors had up to 6 pairs of string which became increasingly difficult to tune.
In the middle of the 16th century the ornate Baroque guitar was developed with 5 pairs of gut string.
Finally, in the 19th century the guitar took the shape it still has today. Antonio de Torres Jurado designed the guitar that is still used today as classical and acoustic guitar.
The first electrically amplified guitar was built in 1931 and Gibson produced their first electric guitar in 1936.
Introduced in the 1930s, electric guitars became widely popular in the 1950s through their use in many rock bands. Today, the guitar is one of the two most popular instruments, the other being the piano.
It is also noteworthy that until the introduction of the electric version, guitars used to be hollow to produce the desired sound. This characteristic is no longer needed for electric guitars, whose sound is created in the amplifier.
Finally, you might be interested to find out that the most expensive guitar ever sold was the Fender “Reach Out to Asia” Stratocaster. This instrument, created by Fender for between $15,000 and $25,000 was created to Bryan Adams’ Reach Out to Asia project. It was designed to raise money for the victims of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The guitar, signed by 19 artists, including such heavyweights as Clapton, Page, Gilmour, and Iommi, sold for a staggering $2.7 million at auction, making it the most expensive guitar sold to date.
If you would like to be part of the amazing history of the guitar and learn this popular instrument, we provide guitar tuition books with “free choice” pieces for your Rock and Pop exams at Level 1 and Level 2.
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