The guitar has been one of the most popular musical instruments today. Most of the kinds of music that one hears from the radio use guitars in many ways. Pop, rock, reggae, blues, ballads and everything else is influenced by the guitar.
The guitar, together with the drums and the piano compose the modern music scene equipment set. The playability of the guitar has made it one popular instrument. A guitar can be played by a learning child or an experienced guitar player. It’s not picky with its players.
Today, the electric type of guitar is mostly used in musical production. The guitar has gotten a very good accompaniment in the form of the effects box. Today, guitars can emulate the sounds of a piano, a violin, even the sounds of the human voice. The guitar is continuously widening its horizons.
With the functions and features of the modern electric guitar, one can’t help thinking about the beginnings of the instrument. Where did the guitar come from? This article tries to give a brief history of the wonderful musical instrument, which is the guitar.
The creation of the guitar cannot be traced to a single person. The guitar came about through the evolution of its predecessors. Its image has also undergone change throughout the centuries. Today, playing the guitar is a symbol of talent and musical prowess, but during the early times, the guitar was actually a symbol of being poor and it was refuted by most classical musicians.
There have been many guitar-like musical instruments in the ancient times, up to at least 5,000 years ago. Instruments which look like the guitar were seen in statues which were recovered in archaeological expeditions in the Iranian region of Susa. However, the very first documented mention of the instrument dates back to the fourteenth century. Back then, the said guitar-ancestor had three pairs of strings (usually referred to as double courses) and a single string with the highest tone.
Some say that the word “guitar” came from the word “qitara.” Qitara is an Arabic name for the different kinds of lutes during the early times.
The guitar, as we know it, is said to originate in Spain. It is believed that the people of Malaga invented the instrument. The guitar evolved from having three pairs of strings to four pairs of strings and eventually six single strings.
The guitar began to become popular in the 16th century. It was played by the lower and middle classes as a counterpart for the vihuela which was played by the aristocrats. The vihuela was tuned like a lute but had a body similar to that of the guitar.
The guitar took serious evolution during the 18th century: the double strings where replaced by single strings and a sixth string was added. In the 1800s, Antonio Torres de Jurado gave birth to the classical guitar. Basically, he increased the size of the body of the guitar. The guitar still struggled during these times because it was considered as an instrument for the taverns – an instrument which cannot be used for classical music. In Spain, where people hated the piano, the guitar found refuge. However, it was also tainted with views that guitars are for undesirables.
The modern electric guitar was born in 1931. The electric guitar uses electronic “pick-ups” to be able to produce sound. The pick-ups convert the vibrations from the strings into electric signals. The body of the electric guitar is semi-solid or solid, depending on the design. The structure of the guitar took a great leap when the electric guitar was born, no longer did its sound depend on the structure and construction of the body, but on the quality of the pick-ups and soundboard.
The sounds of the electric guitar can also be altered to be able to achieve a desire tone. The use of guitar effects box has given the guitar a wide array of sounds. The electric guitar is continuously garnering popularity in all fields of music, even in classical music.
The guitar is a very dynamic musical instrument. Through evolution, the guitar has made its mark on the modern music scene. From crude instruments with many variations, the guitar has become a real and much-sought after instrument.
What are the different kinds of guitars?
The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments today. There are different kinds of guitars that are available out there for different guitar players. Guitars are different in terms of playability, overall appearance and sound quality.
Here are some of the types of guitars that guitar players or aspiring guitar players can choose from:
If one wants go get into the guitar world, you can start learning with an acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitars are dependent on their structures and body shapes in resonating sounds. Unlike the more modern electric guitars, they don’t rely on other external devices in making sounds. The natural vibrations of the strings are resonated by the body of the guitar.
Acoustic guitars are generally made out of wood. The neck is usually made from mahogany and the fret board is made out of maple or rosewood. There are many kinds of acoustic guitars, here are some of them:
Classical guitars are very popular. They are usually the choice guitar for beginners. The strings are usually made from nylon. These are usually played in a standard sitting position and used in playing classical music. Classical guitars produce think and whole sounds which are very warm to the ears. Flamenco guitars are almost similar to the classical guitars; however, these guitars produce crisper and thinner sounds than the classical ones.
Steel-top guitars are much similar to the classical guitar. These, however, are constructed to be more resilient. The parts of the steel-top
guitar are reinforced and their bodies are significantly larger than the classical guitars. They produce a warmer tone than the classical guitar.
3) 12-String guitar
A normal guitar usually has 6 strings, but the 12-string guitar, as its name implies, has 12 strings. Each string is accompanied by another string with the same note but is usually tuned in a higher octave. This kind of guitar produces a semi-chorus effect which is very pleasant to the ears.
This type of guitar is similar to the steel-top guitar, but the steel in the middle of the soundboard is used to resonate the sound from the vibration of the guitar strings. This produces a very thin and distinct sound. These guitars are usually used in playing the blues. There are also variations of the resonator guitar; the square-neck resonator guitar is played on the lap like a piano or organ. The round neck resonator guitar is played like a common guitar. Resonator guitars work very well with glass or metal slides.
The archtop guitar is inspired by other instruments such as the violin and the cello. An archtop guitar usually has the f-hole design. Jazz players prefer archtop guitars. Some archtop guitars can reach prices of about $25,000 USD.
6) Acoustic Bass
Acoustic bass guitars are bass guitars without electronic pick-ups. The body of the guitar is used to produce the sounds. These are usually 4-stringed guitars but there are acoustic bass guitars which have 5 or 6 strings.
Electric guitars make use of electronic pick-ups to amplify the vibrations of the guitar strings. They are usually connected to electric amplifiers. Electric guitars usually have a solid or semi-solid body type. They don’t use the body for sound resonance and thus, they usually make very little or no sound when played without an amplifier. The concept used by electric guitars is- the energy of the strings are diverted into electrical impulses are not directly into sound to be able to achieve an amplified sound.
Electric guitars usually have control knobs for changing the volume or the tone of the guitar. There are also pick-up selectors in electric guitars. Many electric guitars use multiple pick-ups to achieve the best guitar sounds. These pick-ups gather and produce different tones from the guitar. The tone knobs are usually used to shift from a bass-intensive sound to a treble-intensive sound or vice versa. Some electric guitars also have whammy bars. These bars are attached to the guitar to shift notes without changing the finger positions in the fret board. Whammy bars are used to produce “crying” guitar sounds. This is a very useful tool in doing rock and roll songs or even ballads. The use of the whammy bar in less expensive guitars is not advised because it may cause the strings to go out of tune. These are some of the basic types of guitars that are available out there for everyone. Guitars are made to fit into the preferences of the player in terms of playability and sound. Choose the guitar that best fit your preferences.
The Guitar Lingo
The guitar is one of the most sought-after musical instruments today. Its popularity is manifested all through-out the radio stations and the music videos in MTV. Almost all types of music in modern pop culture have been influenced by the guitar in one way or another. For people who would like to get their hands on a guitar, they must first learn the guitar lingo. The guitar lingo is made up of weird-sounding words that are unique to the guitar world. The guitar lingo also applies to the guitar parts. You must be able to know the parts of a guitar to be able to know how to play it. Here are some of the guitar parts:
This is also referred to as the sound box. This is the largest guitar part and it comes in different shapes and sizes. The acoustic guitars usually have a hollow body, while electric guitars have solid or semi-solid
bodies. Acoustic guitars have hollow bodies because they rely on the body structure for sound resonation. Electric guitars use electronic pick-ups to amplify the sound.
The headstock is the part at the end of the guitar which holds the tuning keys. It is connected to the neck of the guitar.
The nut is the piece between the guitar neck and the head. It is a small rod with indentations to hold the guitar strings in place.
⇒ Neck and Fretboard
The neck is the long section which holds the fret board.
The fret board is divided into different notes by small metal rods. The number of frets in a fret board varies depending on the type of guitar and the brand. Modern electric guitars usually have 20-22 frets in the fret board.
It is a part of the guitar’s body and it is important in sound resonance. It gives some sort of elevation for the guitar strings so they can produce nice vibrations.
The pick-up is an electronic device which acts like a microphone. It picks up the vibrations from the strings and converts these vibrations into electrical impulses. They are usually found in electric guitars
The amplifier is like a speaker box where the sounds of the electric guitar come off.
This is a device which is attached to the fret board. This thing allows a player to play the same chord structures but on a different key.
Listed below are some of the different words that one might encounter in learning how to play the guitar.
Guitar riffs pertain to musical pieces which are parts of a song.
It is added to the sound of the guitar through an effects box or through amplifiers to make the sounds a little bit more natural.
Guitar tablatures or more commonly known as guitar tabs are written music for guitars. It is similar to musical pieces (with notes and other musical symbols) but the notes are translated into guitar frets. It’s a useful tool in learning how to play the guitar.
This is the small device which guitar players use in striking the guitar strings. It is usually made of plastic.
⇒ Whammy bar
This is an attachment to the bridge of electric guitars which can be used to bend the pitch of the notes. One can pull the whammy bar to be able to make his guitar “cry.”
It’s a picking technique where a player does not strum the strings all at one but hit the strings one by one to be able to get a softer and more defined tone.
This is a technique where a player uses his picking hand (usually the right hand) to mute the strings while strumming to be able to get a distinct tone. It is very popular in the punk rock world. The world of guitars is composed of many other new words. One must be able to master these or at least have an idea of what these are to be able to appreciate the wonderful instrument that is the guitar.
It refers to a guitar technique where the string is slightly bended in a fast rate to make a longer resonating sound.
This refers to a technique where one takes out notes from a specific chord. He can then use these to make an adlib lead technique or add to the rhythm of the song.
3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Music Lessons
Whether you are using a book, video, a real live human, or online lessons, keep these pointers in mind in order to get the most out our your studies.
1. Complete and master each section before moving on to the next: As you work through your studies make sure you have each new technique or idea conquered before moving on to the next. Lessons are planned to build upon each other and trying to rush through without fully understanding one will just lead to frustration and wasted efforts.
2. Study as if you were in school. Do some homework every night. If all you have is 15 minutes then use those 15 minutes. If you don’t have time to read/watch and apply then do the application of your last lesson or drills such as scales and chords. Reading/watching and not having the opportunity to apply immediately will usually mean you have to relearn your lesson. Take notes. Especially if you’re watching a video or working with a human. Also don’t be afraid to write all over your workbooks and sheet music.
3. Apply what you’ve learned: Play for others. Your church, your family, that spare piano sitting in your favorite department store (ask first). Nothing drives a music lesson home better than a recital. It will also magnify what you need to work on.
These tips work whether your a child or an adult. Learning to play an instrument is a wonderful activity.