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The Developments Of Guitars: A Tour Through Time

1574 words - 7 pages

When the word “Guitar” become the subject of a conversation, anyone would imagine a six stringed instrument attached to a hollow body with long fretted neck and played by plucking. As of 21st century, guitars have grown into trend that can be found anywhere, from street corners to teenagers’ closets. Unlike the piano, it is inexpensive and saves space. Despite being in the spotlight, not much is known about its origin. Most people might think guitars are the invention of the modern world, though is it not entirely true. Historians believe its ancestor can be traced back to around 4000 years ago, yet any physical evidence supporting the theories cannot lead further than the Renaissance.
The earliest instrument resembling a modern guitar was developed in Spain during the 15th century. In the early stages of its evolution, components and design were different compared to its modern counterpart. The guitars were considerably smaller and their backs were usually rounded instead of flat. The gut strings were split into four pair and played on tied gut frets. The initial guitars were overshadowed by the lute’s popularity and were not considered a serious instrument until a fifth pair was added in the baroque period. It notably enhanced the guitar performance and added complexity to the music. As a result of high refinement and low learning curve in contrast to the lute, its popularity rose overseas and found its place in the royal treasury of King Henry VIII and became known as “Spanish Guitar”. The guitar enjoyed its glory until the introduction of six single strings in the late Classical period around 1800. Due to the reduction in volume and the creation of the piano, it went into unexpected decline in concerts and performances.
The revival of the guitars would probably be credited to the carpenter Antonio de Torres (1817 - 1892) who began making guitars in 1840. He intensified the sound by giving the guitar a bigger body and built strengthening fan braces into guitar frame which become the basic of guitar construction that are still used today.

Crafting Process
The steps to create a guitar are unexpectedly simple, though a fine guitar requires proper techniques and experience and can differ based on manufacturer and type of guitar. The actual complex process in its creation lies in choosing the right wood. The quality and price of the finished guitar is mostly decided by the choice of wood before its construction. Guitars are made from separate parts, which are made from different types of woods.
High quality guitar body was traditionally built using Brazilian rosewood, but was later switched to East Indian rosewood due to the restrictions on Brazilian rosewood export to ensure a stable wood supply. The front body or usually known as the soundboard is crafted from Alpine spruce or American Sitka spruce wood. The necks of the guitar are usually made from mahogany since it could resist change in humidity, temperature and string strength. Cheaper...

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