Origin of the Guitar
December 6, 2006 5:43pm CST
Though the origin of the guitar is unknown, its history can be traced as far back as the Renaissance era. Here, its appearance was kin to the vihuela, with its varied shapes at the back and particular frontal appearance. With the vihuela, the guitar also shared the same tuning. However, no one can be totally accurate about when and where the guitar, in its present form, was introduced for the first time. There is evidence that the Hittites had a four string guitar-like instrument. From this, it is believed that two types of instruments evolved from this Syrian invention: the guitarra morisca, which had more of a rounded back, several soundholes and a wide fingerboard, and the guitarra Latina which carried one soundhole, a narrower neck and resembled the modern guitar. In the 1400's the vihuela was born, being the instrument of choice among the Spanish and Portuguese courts until keyboard and orchestral instruments converted that in the 1600's. Though the guitar existed in this period, it was overshadowed by the vihuela and lute until nearing the 18th century. In the shift of the 18th century into the 19th century, some guitars already had six strings and had fan struts under the soundboard. These were recognized as the early classical guitars. Antonio Torres Jurado refined the strutting guitar to have as many as seven struts under the soundboard. He also increased the body size and width of the neck. This helped in increasing volume and bass response. Another thing this led to was the development of the left hand technique.