The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with either nylon or steel strings.
No other guitarist, however, broke the mold as Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) did. Hendrix was from Seattle, Washington, and started playing blues as a young man in various groups around the country. Jimi redefined the nature of the electric guitar as an instrument and, in the process, changed the shape of rock and roll. He developed techniques that gave distortion a music-making capability, forging his performances with power, energy, and distinctiveness.
No other major musical genre is as tied to one particular instrument as the blues is to the guitar. Although blues music always has been first and foremost a vocal art form, musicians have used the guitar not merely for harmonic or rhythmic accompaniment, but as a way of amplifying and enhancing the spirit of a particular text. Because most blues musicians are self-taught, with little concern about the correct way of playing the instrument, the flexibility of the guitar allows each artist to develop a style based on their own personality and temperament.
The first guitarist to emerge within the jazz field was Eddie Lang (1902-1933), a Philadelphia native of Italian descent. Lang's most important impact came between 1928 and 1932 when he recorded prolifically with some of the top jazzmen of the era, including Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, the Dorsey Brothers, and Paul Whiteman's Band.
While the baroque guitar was made by artisans, such as luthiers, to appeal to the eye and ear (frequently in that order), the classic guitar was normally made by violin makers, to sound well.
The thing that makes a guitar note "guitarry" is the overtone content and how the note rises and decays in time. This varies with how you play it, such as with a pick vs. a finger, or near the bridge vs. in the middle. (This, of course, isn't counting all the electronic methods for emphasizing different overtones such as the bass/treble control on electric guitars.)
The number 1.0594631, the twelfth root of two, is the key to dividing a fingerboard into equal semitones. Applied to the guitar, the frets are placed so that the ratio of the distance from the nut to the bridge (the scale length), to the distance from the first fret to the bridge, is 1.0594631:1. The ratio of the distance from the first fret to the bridge to the distance from the second fret to the bridge is the same, and so on up the fingerboard.
Some would say that the Fender Stratocaster (Strat) is indisputably the most popular and most recognized guitar ever made. Since its introduction by inventor Leo Fender on May 15, 1954, the basic design has remained unchanged, though it has certainly inspired many variations offered by Fender and other companies.
The Stratocaster was Leo Fender’s third offering in his line of solid-body electric instruments.
With the endorsement of the most popular guitarist of the time, Gibson introduced the Les Paul Model in 1952. The Les Paul quickly grew into a family of four models-the Junior, Special, Standard and Custom - all of which would become Gibson classics. Gibson's top models sported McCarty's new tune-o-matic bridge, which was introduced on the Les Paul Custom in 1954 and is still the standard Gibson electric guitar bridge.
In the 20th century, Andrés Segovia gave the guitar further prominence as a concert instrument, and composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Manuel de Falla wrote serious works for it; others (e.g., Pierre Boulez) scored for the guitar in chamber ensembles.
When a fifth string was added in the early sixteenth century, the guitar's popularity exploded. A sixth string (bass E) was added near the end of 1700s, an evolution that brought the instrument closer to its present day functioning. The Carulli guitar of 1810 was one of the first to have six single strings tuned to notes in the present arrangement: E A D G B E.
A member of the family of musical instruments called chordophones, the guitar is a stringed instrument with which sound is produced by "plucking" a series of strings running along the instrument's body. While the strings are plucked with one hand, they are simultaneously fingered with the other hand against frets, which are metal strips located on the instrument's neck. The subsequent sound is amplified through a resonating body. There are four general categories of acoustic (non-electric) guitars: flat-top steel-stringed, arched top, classic, and flamenco.