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Guitars

Guitars are something many people have spent a lot of time making and improving.
by

Jack Anderson

on 13 May 2010

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Transcript of Guitars

Guitars are really cool. They have been around for about 4,000 years. Indian culture has invented something similar called a sitar. But they're actually made of seasoned gourds and teak. But if you had to name the closest thing to a guitar, it would be a sitar. The earliest stringed instruments known to archaeologists are bowl harps and tanburs. Since prehistory people have made bowl harps using tortoise shells and calabashes as resonators, with a bent stick for a neck and one or more gut or silk strings. At 3500 years old, this is the ultimate vintage guitar! It belonged to the Egyptian singer Har-Mose. He was buried with his tanbur close to the tomb of his employer, Sen-Mut, architect to Queen Hatshepsut, who was crowned in 1503 BCE. Sen-Mut (who, it is suspected, was far more than just chief minister and architect to the queen) built Hatshepsuts beautiful mortuary temple, which stands on the banks of the Nile to this day. Har-Moses instrument had three strings and a plectrum suspended from the neck by a cord. The soundbox was made of beautifully polished cedarwood and had a rawhide "soundboard". It can be seen today at the Archaeological Museum in Cairo. To distinguish guitars from other members of the tanbur family, we need to define what a guitar is. Dr. Kasha defines a guitar as having "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides" .
The oldest known iconographical representation of an instrument displaying all the essential features of a guitar is a stone carving at Alaca Huyuk in Turkey, of a 3300 year old Hittite "guitar" with "a long fretted neck, flat top, probably flat back, and with strikingly incurved sides". Finally, an actually real guitar! By the beginning of the Renaissance, the four-course (4 unison-tuned pairs of strings) guitar had become dominant, at least in most of Europe. (Sometimes a single first string was used.) The earliest known music for the four-course "chitarra" was written in 16th century Spain. The five-course guitarra battente (left) first appeared in Italy at around the same time, and gradually replaced the four-course instrument. The standard tuning had already settled at A, D, G, B, E, like the top five strings of the modern guitar. The "frying pan" was the first electric guitar ever produced. The instrument was created in 1931 by George Beauchamp, and subsequently manufactured by Rickenbacker Electro. The instrument earned its name because its shape resembles a frying pan: it has a flat, circular body, and the neck represents the "handle;" it is also known by its official model number, A-22. It was a lap steel guitar designed to cash in on the popularity of Hawaiian music during the 1930s. The instrument was made of cast aluminum, and featured a pickup incorporating a pair of horseshoe magnets that arched over the strings. Beauchamp and machinist Adolph Rickenbacker began selling the Frying Pan in 1932; however, Beauchamp was not awarded a patent[1] for his idea until 1937, a fact that allowed other guitar companies to produce electric guitars during the same period. Once that happened, all kinds of guitarss were made..... Then, on December 6, 2006, the one-hundred percent digital guitar was born, even capable of tuning itself.
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