The oldest instrument that similarly was like a modern day guitar is 3500 years old. It belonged to a singer known as Har-Mose, found in Egypt. It featured three strings and was constructed of cedar, having a plectrum, attached by a cord to the neck. The first instruments to be named ‘Guitar’ appeared in the 1300s. The name guitar has Latin origins and it was not until the 1200s that the instrument began to use the name. The Spanish ‘Vialo do Mano’ was the modern guitars closest ancestor. Around the 15th century, it had six strings and a body shape familiar to a modern acoustic. Tablature (notating guitar parts with each string and fret numbers for each note) was used by, originally, organists and lute players. In the 1300s, the first recorded use of tablature occurred.
As music technology developed, strings were added to early guitars. In the 13th century, a four-string variety existed in Spain, known as ‘Guitarra latina’. Moreover, when a fifth string was added in the 16th century, the popularity of guitars exploded. The sixth string which was added near the end of the 17th century, brought the instrument closer to its modern day functioning. The first guitar to have six single strings tuned and in the present arrangement, was the Caruilli guitar of 1810. Guitar technology finally made its way in the US, in the 19th century, with a German guitar maker Charles Friedrich Martin, who immigrated to New York around 1833.
Modern day Acoustics
The acoustic is a popular string musical instrument, usually having six strings. Sound is projected acoustically or through electric amplification, this being for electric guitars and some acoustics. It is played by strumming and plucking, either with or without a pick (a plectrum, in an acute isosceles triangle with equal corners). Guitars are a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with steel or nylon. Its construction and tuning, is distinguished from other chordophones. There are three main types of modern acoustic guitars. The steel-string, the classical, and the arch top guitar. The vibration creates the tone of the guitar, amplified by the body, acting as a resonating chamber. Whist the classical guitar is played solo, using fingerpicking techniques. The guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide, and is usually recognised as a primary instrument in blues, reggae, rock, country, and folk genres, for example.