Stories of Instruments – Guitar
Musical instruments like a guitar have been around for over 5000 years and so is not something new. There is a possible link between the guitar and an older instrument from ancient India called the Sitara. The Hittite Bard – a 3,300 old stone carving is the oldest picture of an instrument that closely resembles the guitar. However, the British Museum is home to the oldest as well as the complete guitar-like instrument. The “Warwick Gittern” is about five centuries old and belonged to Queen Elizabeth I. Her father, Henry VIII is thought to be the original owner of the “Warwick Gittern.”
The design of the guitar is believed to have come from the cithara from Rome. Around 40 AD, the Romans introduced the cithara to Spain. The Moors also played a significant part in the development of guitar by also bringing the oud into Spain. The introduction of the four-stringed oud led to substantial changes to the design of the guitar in the form of the cithara. Elsewhere in Europe, the lute was popular especially in places the Vikings are said to have gone. By 1200, two types of guitars were in existence. The first one is the Spanish Moorish guitar and the second is the Latin guitar. The Moorish guitar has characteristic several round holes and a wider fingerboard. The Latin guitar, on the other hand, has a narrower neck and one sound hole making it more like the modern guitar than its counterpart, the Moorish Guitar.
Another instrument resembling the guitar is the Spanish Vihuela. The 16th-century instrument had a body resembling that of the guitar. Unfortunately, it was only briefly popular. It is unclear whether it combined the features of the lute and oud or from another instrument related to the guitar.
The credit for oldest six-stringed guitar in existence today is thought to belong to the Vinaccia Family. In particular, one six-stringed instrument from 1779 is signed Gaetano Vinaccia on its label. Experts are of the opinion that the guitar is an original from the famous mandolin-making family from Naples.
Two men are thought to have improved the design of the guitar. Luis Panormo from London and Antonio Torres Jurado from Spain gave the present guitar its shape and design.
With the growth of technology, the guitar evolved to use electricity making it more efficient. In the 1930s, George Beauchamp made the first electric guitar. However, it is Danelectro that produced the very first electric guitars sold to the public.
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