History of the Accoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar

The acoustic guitar

Fred Hultstrand and guitar
Fred Hultstrand and guitar circa 1910. Fred Hultstrand History in Pictures Collection, NDIRS-NDSU, Fargo

By definition, the guitar is a musical instrument having a flat-backed rounded body that narrows in the middle, a long fretted neck, and usually six strings (see photo), played by strumming or plucking.

The guitar is considered a European-invented instrument that first appeared during the medieval period. The form of the modern classical guitar is credited to Spanish guitar maker Antonio Torres circa 1850.

Torres increased the size of the guitar body, altered its proportions, and invented the "fan" top bracing pattern. Antonio Torres' design greatly improved the volume, tone, and projection of the instrument, and has remained essentially unchanged.

At around the same time that Torres started making his breakthrough fan-braced guitars in Spain, German immigrants to the USA - among them - had begun making guitars with X-braced tops. Steel strings for instruments were invented in 1900. Steel strings made for louder guitars, however, the increased tension that the steel strings created did not work with Antonio Torres' fan braced design. Guitar makers, such as Christian Fredrich Martin invented the X brace for the new steel stringed guitar.

History of the Guitar

A Brief History of the Guitar by Paul Guy
This is an excellent reference site on the history of the guitar that disputes the more commonly held theory that the guitar descended from the lute and kithara.

Studying Guitar?
Learn guitar with About guide Dan Cross.

By the end of the 1930s, electronic amplification proved to be one of the most successful innovations for building a louder electric guitar, despite the misgivings of some traditionalists about the new technology.

History of the Electric Guitar

The History of the Electric Solid Body Guitar
Adolph Rickenbacker met George Beauchamp and Paul Barth who had been working together on the principle of the magnetic pick-up.

Together they formed the Electro String Company and in 1931 produced their first Hawaiian guitars. Their success prompted Gibson and others to start producing electric guitars.

Studying Guitar?
Learn guitar with About guide Dan Cross.