The guitar is one of the most widely used and popular musical instrument
in the world. There are two main types of guitar: acoustic and electric.
The acoustic guitar relies on its own resonance for amplification while the
electric guitar uses an amplifier to boost
The electric guitar is a recent form of the instrument compared with its classical version. The Sitara is the oldest ‘ancestor’ of the guitar and dates back to more than 3,000 years. The electric guitar, however, appeared only in the 20th century.
The word guitar originates from the Arabic term ‘qitara’, which is the name given to a similar, oval-shaped instrument called the lute. The term qitara was later adapted to Spanish as guitarra when the instrument was later introduced in Europe in the 11th century.
There are many types of acoustic guitars. Baroque guitars are older versions of classical guitars, smaller in size with four or five pairs of strings. Classical guitars evolved from the Baroque guitars. This instrument, also referred to as the Spanish guitar, is used most commonly in folk and classical music, usually with many lines or voices (polyphonic).
Tenor guitars are four-string instruments often heard in jazz music. Harp guitars are a combination of a regular guitar with the addition of harp strings above the usual six strings. Guitar battente have four or five metal strings and are slightly smaller than the classical guitar. There are also 12-string guitars, such as the Portuguese guitar.
Archtop guitars were introduced by the Gibson Guitar company. This type of acoustic guitar has a hollow structure with a shape that closely resembles that of a mandolin. The sound of the archtop guitar is louder than most acoustic guitars and is popular in jazz music.
As for electric guitars, the most important difference with its acoustic relative is the use of an amplifier to increase the sound of the instrument. The vibration of the steel strings is converted into electrical current and then the sound is transmitted to the amplifier and speakers. Electric guitars are an important instrument in jazz, rock, country and pop music.
Six-string electric guitars can have solid body or hollow body designs. The solid-body electric guitar is usually made of hardwood and relies solely on the string vibrations to transmit sound to the amplifier. The hollow-body design electrical guitar, on the other hand, uses a combination of sound from its strings and hollow body to create vibration.
There is also a mix between electric and acoustic guitars, called appropriately the electric-acoustic guitar. The electric-acoustic guitar is based on the design of an acoustic guitar with steel strings, with the addition of a microphone inside the body of the guitar or on the bridge mounting plate to create a louder sound.
Apart from the body and the strings, there are other important parts in a guitar:
- Headstock: the part used to adjust the tension of the strings (with tuning
keys), located at the top of the guitar.
- Frets: horizontal metal strips located on the fretboard used to press the strings to create different sound pitches.
- Pickups (electrical guitars only): this part is located right under the strings to register the vibration made by the strings.
- Bridge: This part holds the strings tightly on the body of the guitar. The bridge is also used to transfer the vibration of the strings to the soundboard on acoustic guitar.
- Soundboard: The main part of the guitar’s body which produces the sound.