Origin of the Modern Guitar
Before the guitar that we now recognize became known as the acoustic version of the modern guitar, then later electric guitar, it is believed that the origin of the first guitar was Spain, and was invented by the people of Malaga. Originally, the guitar was smaller, and it was in fact used as an example in designing the ukulele, but whether or not the guitar existed in any form before the 15th century, no one can claim with certainty. Besides from being significantly smaller than the modern guitar, the guitars used in 15th century Spain also had only four strings, or 4 courses, as strings were originally called, which in some way limited the arrangementscomposed for the guitar. During the renaissance, the guitar was the kazoo of its time and not considered to be a serious instrument.Itwas underappreciated, but its status changed once Alonso Muddara composed his great guitar pieces, which soon after lead to more guitar fans, and put the guitar permanently and prominently on the musical map. During the Baroque period, the guitar gained another course, which meant it nowhadfive strings, which increased the available range of compositionsand improved their scope and variety. Since the guitar’s sound capabilities improved with fifth string, this instrument got even more popular. The complexity and nuance of sound produced by guitarists was greatly enhanced by the fifth string which could be tuned to adapt to composition requirements.Now a low A was the same as it is on the modern guitar, for the second part of the course low A was had an octave plus, and both strings on A had were an octave higher than the modern guitar we know today. Since the Baroque period ended, some significant changes, which altered the sound of guitar, have occurred. Double strings were replaced with single strings, and instead of five courses, one more string was ultimately added, resulting in the six string configuration we see today. In the Classical age of music, many popular composers turned to the guitar and have found inspiration in the beautiful sound of this string instrument. Paganini, although known to be a master of the violin, also wrote for the guitar and enjoyed playing it, and Stradivari was making great guitars as well as violin masterpieces.
In the 19th century, the popularity of guitar music and the instrument itself, decreased and there were practically no new compositions or innovations, but this magnificent string instrument was resurrected once Francisco Tarrega started composing for guitar and bringing attention to its musical qualities and flexibility. Tarregawas perhaps the first renowned guitarist to pluck the strings with his fingernails. He also started transcribing compositions which were originally intended for other instruments, making it suitable for guitar playing. Francisco Tarrega also wrote the first known instructive manual on how to play the guitar, for all new aspiring artists who would want to get involved with capturing the sound of guitar strings.
However, the father of modern guitar as we know it was Antonio Torres, who changed the guitar’s shape and size, from narrow and small to the shape we know today. Torres had decided to reshape the guitar based on his belief that it would be able to produce more volume, and he was proven to be right. The musician who really brought fame to the guitar was Andres Segovia, who performed concerts all over the world. He was also a first person to perform live guitar concert in the concert hall, which until then thought to be ludicrous. After his performances, many guitar artists and music followed his lead, placing the guitar among the most popular instruments on the musical scene.
The Evolution of Modern Guitar
Every true rock fan appreciates the raw distortion electrical guitar produces, but the guitar as we know it has travelled a long, winding road while improving and upgrading to sound as good as it does today. The firstelectric guitar ever used, was invented as far back as 1931 by George Beauchamp. Initially, the electrical guitar was referred to as ‘theFrying Pan’, because of its distinctive round guitar body and long neck. Even though the patent was his, he didn’t manage to preserve his rights long enough to prevent other companies from manufacturing similar instruments. In 1935, The Electro String was born, which basically looked like regular acoustic guitars, only with thinner body and electrical pickups. The first guitar with appearance similar to today’s electric guitar models, was manufactured in 1948 by Fender, whose creator wanted to imitate Hawaiian sound of instruments, but without background problems. Later on with Gibson’s Les Paul and Fender’s Stratocaster, came the most youth influential musical stream – rock ‘n’ roll, which gave the guitar the glory it deserves. The popularity of rock music and later punk rock, and heavy-metal, country western, and many other genres, naturally resultedin constant improvements in the construction and function of guitars to suit the modern guitar market.Additionally, manufacturers were more than happy to design and create guitar accessories and add-ons in order to make guitar sounds better, and increase convenience. Perhaps the final unique prototype of electric guitars was designed and released back in 1994 by theIbanez Company, making the ultimate and still popular guitar version with 7 strings and solid body. Althoughno ground-breaking novelties have been added to electric guitar market, companies working on manufacturing electrical guitars are making their instruments look better and more attractive, adding various designs and colors, and improving the sound with all sorts of electric guitar gadgets. The guitar has come long way to attain its current look and sound, but both acoustic and electric guitars continue to be some of the most popular instruments on the world and likely always will be.