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History of the guitar

Guitar History

The instrument called “guitar” that you know and love today has existed since the 19th century. I am going to tell you everything about its history and origin. Its immediate origin is not well known; I have researched it, and here are my findings.

Beginning of the history of the guitar:

The history of the guitar begins in 14,000 BC. At least that is the rumor. From this time, there are wall paintings showing people with mouth bows. These instruments are said to be the origin of guitars. And other images of instruments have been sighted similar to a monochord. A monochord is a resonance box with a string stretched along its length. And this function is again very similar to the guitar.

These instruments are supposed to be the origin is also shown by the fact that the further development of these up to today’s guitar is almost seamless. Nevertheless, this remains only a probable assumption. But illustrations of lutes from a Babylonian temple and Egyptian drawings at times of the Pharaohs indicate that the beginning of the development of the guitar lies far back.

Târ from Persia: 2500 to 1500 before ChristMany years later, 2500 to 1500 B.C., the so-called târ is found in Persia.
As we know today, a târ is an oriental lute, and people play it using four strings and already has the bulbous, hourglass-shaped figure of a guitar. Animal skin covers the body, and the typical animal skin was lambskin, thin like parchment. Greeks played the kithara between 800 and 150 B.C., continuing with stringed instruments around the continent in time. The first names, very similar to the word guitar, appear in 800 to 150 BC in Greece. Here, people play an instrument called the kithara. The kithara is not a guitar but a lyre (and thus already closer).

Kitharas consists of a sound box that extends two parallel arms, and a crossbar connects the arms. The instrument is horseshoe-shaped and stretches five to twelve strings between the components. The kithara continues to evolve. The neck is moved and gets a place on the body (no longer across the whole).

Plucked instrument oud in the year 700:

In the year 700, an Arab people – the Moors – brought ‘El Oud’ with them to Spain. That is how the word lute came into being, therefore derived from Arabic. However, ‘El Oud’ actually translates as ‘the wood’.


It consists of a wooded body made of glued wood chips. It is rounded like a pear at its back. The sound hole is decorated with arabesque patterns.

Development of the vihuela in the 16th century:

The Spanish took up the principle of the oud and created the vihuela from this plucked instrument. The round back was flattened and thus already looked very similar to today’s guitar, and the design of the strings, however, remained the same.

The guitar had twelve frets of animal gut and five to seven gut strings. The elaborate decoration of the instrument is typical of the vihuela. The vihuela was used mainly by the lower classes, and it was not easy to play.

Guitarra, baroque guitar, and mandora in the 17th century:

In the 17th century, guitar designers – most notably Antonio Giacomo Stradivari – “agreed” on six single strings for the guitar. Previously, pairs of strings were used. Resonance bars were installed, which transferred the vibrations of the notes to the whole body. Also, the guitar received the tuning of the mandora, and the mandora received the guitar’s tuning.

Chords and melodies gained enormous importance in the 17th century. Some stringed instruments could not follow this march (adjustments in construction).

The heyday of the vihuela ended and was no longer produced. The Guitarra, on the other hand, leaped into the chordal century. Since this development was largely due to Gaspar Sanz and his guitar school, the Guitarra became the Guitarra española. THANKS TO FRANCESCO CORBETTA, Louis XIV came to the baroque guitar, who brought it from Italy to the French court.

When and who invented the guitar?

This question takes us to Spain and the 19th century.
In 1817-1892 Antonio de Torres built the guitar in its present form. Torres decided to adapt the body and material of the previous instrument. He created the soundhole and screw mechanism, raised the bridge, and constructed fixed frets. He enlarged the guitar body considerably and used thinner wood.

He improved the sound development by placing a fan system under the guitar top. These designs are still used for concert guitars today.