Short History of the Guitar
Acoustic guitar history runs through many different nations, and its evolution has occurred over several millennia. In fact, there are several known depictions of an instrument very like today’s guitar in the location of ancient Mesopotamia, today known as Iran. For most of its history, the guitar has not been accompanied by the acoustic prefix, since all guitars were non-electrical (and therefore acoustic was anachronistic) up until the middle of the 20th century.
The European history with the guitar began with the Muslim conquest of most of Spain around the 10th century. The Muslim equivalent of the lute met with the European form, and a sort of hybrid began to be built. This new instrument had the shape of the instrument that we know today as the guitar, but with the tuning and acoustic sounds of the lute.
It is thought that the first extant form of the modern guitar was designed by an Italian family in the 18th century. There are a couple of guitars that have been accurately dated to this period, backing up the claims of several well-known Italian guitar manufacturers. Today, however, it is the Japanese who produce the largest number of guitars, through the Yamaha company which was founded in 1897. Yamaha produces all the major types of guitar, from acoustic to electric, 12-strings and the various national models of the guitar.
Like the lute, it is likely that the high transportability of the guitar is the reason why it has different variations in so many parts of the world. While the start up of the Yamaha company is evidence of the instrument’s relatively late arrival in the Far East, most continental European countries had variations of the guitar at least a hundred years earlier. The Baroque acoustic guitar is considered the first of the European models, and was used as an accompanying instrument for traveling musicians.
The medieval period of human history was when much of the development of the acoustic guitar took place, as evidenced by the Spanish/Muslim interactions. In addition to the developments in Spain, important occurrences in the history of the guitar also included the countries of Portugal and Russia. Both countries designed guitars that fit the performance needs of popular national music (especially with the nobility and monarchies). The Russian model was a seven string acoustic that was popular for much of the 20th century in that country.While the original guitar has been around as a popular form of music for a long time, it wasn’t until the introduction of blues and rock and roll that the instrument found widespread popularity among the masses. The rise of blues and jazz in the Southern United States meant that guitars were being used in a whole new way. In order to satisfy accompaniment needs, the guitars were soon fitted with pickups that allowed greater broadcast. Not long after, enclosed pickups were introduced and electric guitars were born. Instead of taking away from the popularity of acoustic guitar, however, the introduction of the electric guitar only started a new chapter in acoustic guitar history as the label was now applied to differentiate between the two instruments, and the rise of rock and roll made both types of guitar even more popular.