Guitar
 
There are three types. Classical, Acoustic and Electric. The most suitable guitar for beginners is the Classical Guitar, as it uses nylon strings which is easier on the fingers. The Acoustic and Electric guitar both use steel string with quiete a high tension, which is uncomfortable in the early stages. The Classical guitar comes in different sizes, with 4/4 the full size. Acoustic and Electric guitars do have smaller options for younger player. Electric guitars need an amplifier.

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More information about the Guitar

The Guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. There are two primary families of guitars: acoustic and electric.
The Acoustic guitars with hollow bodies have been in use for over a thousand years. There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar (nylon-string guitar), the steel-string acoustic guitar, and the arch top guitar. The tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the vibration of the strings, which is amplified by the body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber. The classical guitar is often played as a solo instrument using a comprehensive finger picking technique.
Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, rely on an amplifier that can electronically manipulate tone. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but a solid body was found more suitable. Electric guitars have had a continuing profound influence on popular culture. Guitars are recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as blues, bluegrass, country, flamenco, jazz, jota, mariachi, reggae, rock, soul, and many forms of pop.

History

Guitars are distantly related to instruments from ancient central Asia and India including the tanbur, the setar, and the sitar. The oldest known image/representation of an instrument displaying the essential features of a guitar is a 3,300 year old stone carving of a Hittite bard (poet).
Two medieval instruments that were called Guitars were in use by the 1200's, the Moorish guitar (Guitarra Moresca) and the Latin Guitar (Guitarra Latina). The Moorish guitar had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several soundholes. The Latin Guitar had a single soundhole and a narrower neck. The Spanish vihuela or "viola da mano" (in Italian), a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is widely considered to have been of great influence in the development of the guitar.
The early guitar was narrower and deeper than the modern guitar, with a less pronounced waist. The guitar originally had four strings (three double, the top is single) that ran from a violin-like peg box to a tension bridge glued to the soundboard or belly and in the belly was a circular sound hole. The bridge sustained the direct pull of the strings.
From the 16th to the 19th century several changes occurred to the instrument. A fifth string was added and in the late 18th century a sixth. Before 1800 the double strings were replaced by single strings tuned in e-a-d-g-b-e (still the standard tuning).
The violin-type peg box was replaced about 1600 by a flat, slightly reflexed head with rear tuning pegs; in the 19th century, metal screws were substituted for the tuning pegs. The early tied-on gut frets were replaced by built-on ivory or metal frets in the 18th century. In the 19th century the fingerboard was raised slightly above the level of the belly and was extended across it to the edge of the sound hole. Also the guitar's body underwent changes that resulted in increased sound. It became broader and shallower, with an extremely thin soundboard. Internally, transverse bars reinforcing the soundboard were replaced by radial bars that fanned out below the sound hole. The neck, formerly set into a wood block, was formed into a brace, or shoe, that projected a short distance inside the body and was glued to the back; this gave extra stability against the pull of the strings.
The 19th-century innovations to the guitar were largely the work of Antonio Torres. The instrument that resulted was the classical guitar, which is strung with three gut and three metal-spun silk strings. Nylon or other plastic was later used in place of gut.
Among the variant forms of the guitar are the 12 stringed (double-course) guitar, the Mexican Jarana and the South American Charango, (later 2 are small five-course guitars). Lyre shaped guitars were fashionable in 19th-century drawing rooms. Other forms of the guitar include the metal-strung guitar played with a plectrum in folk and popular music, the cello guitar, with a violin-type bridge and tailpiece; the Hawaiian, or steel, guitar, in which the strings are stopped by the pressure of a metal bar, producing a sweet, gliding tone; and the electric guitar, in which the tone depends not on body resonance but on electronic amplification.
The guitar grew in popularity during the 17th century as the lute and vihuela declined. It remained an amateur's instrument from the 17th to early 19th century.
Modern classical-guitar technique owes much to the Spaniard Francisco Tárrega, whose transcriptions of works by Bach, Mozart, and other composers formed the basis of the concert repertory.
In the 20th century, Andrés Segovia gave the guitar further prominence as a concert instrument, and composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Manuel de Falla wrote serious works for it; others e.g., Pierre Boulez scored for the guitar in chamber ensembles.
The guitar is widely played in the folk and popular music of many countries. In jazz ensembles it is part of the rhythm section and is occasionally played as a solo instrument. In popular music the guitar is usually amplified, and ensembles frequently include more than one instrument, a "lead" guitar for solos, another for rhythm, and a "bass" guitar to play bass lines.


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Types of Guitar

Guitars can be divided into two broad categories, acoustic and electric:

Acoustic Guitars

There are several notable subcategories within the acoustic guitar group: classical and flamenco guitars; steel-string guitars, which include the flat-topped, or "folk," guitar; twelve-string guitars; and the arched-top guitar. The acoustic guitar group also includes unamplified guitars designed to play in different registers, such as the acoustic bass guitar, which has a similar tuning to that of the electric bass guitar.

Renaissance and Baroque Guitar

These are the ancestors of the modern classical guitar. They are substantially smaller and more delicate than the classical guitar, and generate a much quieter sound. The strings are paired as in a modern 12-string guitar, but they only have four or five courses of strings rather than six. They were more often used as rhythm instruments in ensembles than as solo instruments, and can often be seen in that role in early music performances.
Renaissance and Baroque guitars are easily distinguished because the Renaissance guitar is very plain and the Baroque guitar is very ornate, with ivory or wood inlays all over the neck and body, and a paper-cutout inverted "wedding cake" inside the hole.

Classical Guitar

This is typically strung with nylon strings, plucked with the fingers, played in a seated position and are used to play a diversity of musical styles including classical music. The classical guitar's wide, flat neck allows the musician to play scales, arpeggios, and certain chord forms more easily and with less adjacent string interference than on other styles of guitar. In Mexico, the popular mariachi band includes a range of guitars, from the tiny requinto to the guitarrón, a guitar larger than a cello, which is tuned in the bass register. In Colombia, the traditional quartet includes a range of instruments too, from the small bandola (sometimes known as the Deleuze-Guattari, for use when travelling or in confined rooms or spaces), to the slightly larger tiple, to the full sized classical guitar. The requinto also appears in other Latin-American countries as a complementary member of the guitar family, with its smaller size and scale, permitting more projection for the playing of single-lined melodies. Modern dimensions of the classical instrument were established by the Spaniard Antonio de Torres Jurado.
There is also an Extended-range classical Guitar. This is a classical guitar with more than 6 strings, usually up to 13.

Flamenco Guitar

The flamenco guitar is similar to the classical guitar, but of lighter construction, with a cypress body and spruce top. Tuning pegs like those of a violin are traditional, although many modern flamenco guitars have machine heads. A distinguishing feature of all flamenco guitars is the tapping plates (golpeadores) glued to the table, to protect them against the taps with the fingernails that are an essential feature of the flamenco style.
Many modern soloists (following the lead of Paco de Lucía) play what is called a Flamenca Negra, a hybrid of the flamenco and classical guitar constructions

Flat-top (steel-string) Guitar

Similar to the classical guitar, however, within the varied sizes of the steel-stringed guitar the body size is usually significantly larger than a classical guitar, and has a narrower, reinforced neck and stronger structural design. The robust X-bracing typical of the steel-string was developed in the 1840s by German-American lathers of which C. F. Martin is the best known. Originally used on gut-strung instruments, the strength of the system allowed the guitar to withstand the additional tension of steel strings when this fortunate combination arose in the early 20th century. The steel strings produce a brighter tone, and according to many players, a louder sound. It is used in many kinds of music including folk, country, bluegrass, pop, jazz, and blues. Many variations are possible from the roughly classical-sized OO and Parlour to the large Dreadnought and Jumbo.

Archtop Guitar

This is steel-string instrument in which the top (and often the back) of the instrument are carved from a solid billet in a curved rather than a flat shape; this violin-like construction is usually credited to the American Orville Gibson . Lloyd Loar of the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co introduced the violin-inspired f-hole design now usually associated with archtop guitars, after designing a style of mandolin of the same type. The typical archtop guitar has a large, deep, hollow body whose form is much like that of a mandolin or violin family instrument. Nowadays, most archtops are equipped with magnetic pickups and are therefore both acoustic and electric. F-hole archtop guitars were immediately adopted upon their release by both jazz and country musicians and have remained particularly popular in jazz music, usually with flatwound strings.

Selmer-Maccaferri Guitar

This is usually played by those who follow the style of Django Reinhardt. It is an unusual-looking instrument, distinguished by a fairly large body with squarish bouts, and either a "D"-shaped or longitudinal oval soundhole. The strings are gathered at the tail like an archtop guitar, but the top is formed from thin spruce (like a flat-top or classical) forced into a shallow dome. It also has a wide fingerboard and slotted head like a nylon-string guitar. The loud volume and penetrating tone make it suitable for single-note soloing and it is frequently employed as a lead instrument in gypsy swing.

Resonator, Resophonic or Dobro Guitar

All three principal types of resonator guitars were invented by the Slovak-American John Dopyera for the National and Dobro (Dopyera Brothers) companies. Similar to the flat top guitar in appearance, but with a body that may be made of brass, nickel-silver, or steel as well as wood, the sound of the resonator guitar is produced by one or more aluminum resonator cones mounted in the middle of the top. The physical principle of the guitar is therefore similar to the loudspeaker. The original purpose of the resonator was to produce a very loud sound; this purpose has been largely superseded by electrical amplification, but the resonator guitar is still played because of its distinctive tone. Resonator guitars may have either one or three resonator cones. The method of transmitting sound resonance to the cone is either a "biscuit" bridge, made of a small piece of hardwood at the vertex of the cone (Nationals), or a "spider" bridge, made of metal and mounted around the rim of the (inverted) cone (Dobros). Three-cone resonators always use a specialized metal bridge. The type of resonator guitar with a neck with a square cross-section–called "square neck" or "Hawaiian" is usually played face up, on the lap of the seated player, and often with a metal or glass slide. The round neck resonator guitar is normally played in the same fashion as other guitars, although slides are also often used, especially in blues.

Twelve-String Guitar

The twelve-string guitar usually has steel strings and is widely used in folk music, blues, and rock and roll. Rather than having only six strings, the 12-string guitar has six courses made up of two strings each, like a mandolin or lute. The highest two courses are tuned in unison, while the others are tuned in octaves. The 12-string guitar is also made in electric form.

Russian Guitar
This seven-string acoustic guitar was the norm for Russian guitarists throughout the 19th and well into the 20th centuries. The Russian guitar is traditionally tuned to open G major.

Acoustic Bass Guitar

This has steel strings or gut strings and often the same tuning as an electric bass guitar.

Guitarrón

The guitarrón is a very large, deep-bodied Mexican 6-string acoustic bass played in mariachi bands. It is fretless with heavy gauge nylon strings, and is usually played by doubling notes at the octave, which is facilitated by the unusual tuning of A D G C E A.

Tenor Guitar

A number of classical guitarists call the Niibori prime guitar a "Tenor Guitar" on the grounds that it sits in pitch between the alto and the bass. Elsewhere the name is taken for a 4-string guitar with a scale length of 23" (585 mm), about the same as a Terz Guitar. The tenor guitar is tuned in fifths, C G D A, as is the tenor banjo and the cello. It is generally accepted that the tenor guitar was created to allow a tenor banjo player to follow the fashion as it evolved from Dixieland Jazz towards the more progressive Jazz that featured guitar. It allows a tenor banjo player to provide a guitar-based rhythm section with little to learn. A small number of players close tuned the instrument to D G B E to produce a deep instrument that could be played with the 4-note chord shapes found on the top 4 strings of the guitar or ukulele. The deep pitch warrants the wide-spaced chords that the banjo tuning permits and the close tuned tenor does not have the same full, clear sound.

Harp Guitar

Harp Guitars are difficult to classify as there are many variations within this type of guitar. They are typically rare and uncommon in the popular music scene. Most consist of a regular guitar, plus additional 'harp' strings strung above the six normal strings. The instrument is usually acoustic and the harp strings are usually tuned to lower notes than the guitar strings, for an added bass range. Normally there is neither fingerboard nor frets behind the harp strings. Some harp guitars also feature much higher pitch strings strung below the traditional guitar strings. The number of harp strings varies greatly, depending on the type of guitar and also the player's personal preference (as they have often been made to the player's specification). The Pikasso guitar; 4 necks, 2 sound holes, 42 strings] and also the Oracle Harp Sympitar; 24 strings (with 12 sympathetic strings protruding through the neck) are modern examples.

Extended-Range Guitar

For well over a century guitars featuring seven, eight, nine, ten or more strings have been used by a minority of guitarists as a means of increasing the range of pitch available to the player. Usually, it is bass strings that are added. Classical guitars with an extended range are useful for playing lute repertoire, some of which was written for lutes with more than six courses. A typical example is the modern 11 string archguitar, invented and played by Peter Blanchette.

Guitar Battente

The battente is smaller than a classical guitar, usually played with four or five metal strings. It is mainly used in Calabria (a region in southern Italy) to accompany the voice.

Electric Guitar

Electric guitars can have solid, semi-hollow, or hollow bodies, and produce little sound without amplification. Electromagnetic pickups convert the vibration of the steel strings into signals, which are fed to an amplifier through a cable or radio transmitter. The sound is frequently modified by other electronic devices or the natural distortion of valves (vacuum tubes) in the amplifier. There are two main types of magnetic pickups, single and double coil (or humbucker), each of which can be passive or active. The electric guitar is used extensively in jazz, blues, R & B, and rock and roll. The first successful magnetic pickup for a guitar was invented by George Beauchamp, and incorporated into the 1931 Ro-Pat-In (later Rickenbacker) "Frying Pan" lap steel; other manufacturers, notably Gibson, soon began to install pickups in archtop models. After World War II the completely solid-body electric was popularized by Gibson in collaboration with Les Paul, and independently by Leo Fender of Fender Music. The lower fret board action (the height of the strings from the fingerboard), lighter (thinner) strings, and its electrical amplification lend the electric guitar to techniques less frequently used on acoustic guitars. These include tapping, extensive use of legato through pull-offs and hammer-ons (also known as slurs), pinch harmonics, volume swells, and use of a tremolo arm or effects pedals.
The first electric guitarist of note to use a seven-string guitar was jazz guitarist George Van Eps, who was a pioneer of this instrument. Solid body seven-strings were popularized in the 1980s and 1990s in part due to the release of the Ibanez Universe guitar, endorsed by Steve Vai. Other artists go a step further, by using an eight-string guitar with two extra low strings. Although the most common seven-string has a low B string, Roger McGuinn (of The Byrds and Rickenbacker) uses an octave G string paired with the regular G string as on a 12-string guitar, allowing him to incorporate chiming 12-string elements in standard six-string playing. In 1982 Uli Jon Roth developed the "Sky Guitar", with a vastly extended number of frets, which was the first guitar to venture into the upper registers of the violin. Roth's seven-string and 33-fret "Mighty Wing" guitar features a six-octave range.
The electric bass guitar is similar in tuning to the traditional double bass viola. Hybrids of acoustic and electric guitars are also common. There are also more exotic varieties, such as guitars with two, three or rarely four necks, all manner of alternate string arrangements, fretless fingerboards (used almost exclusively on bass guitars, meant to emulate the sound of a stand-up bass), 5.1 surround guitar, and such.
Some electric guitar and electric bass guitar models feature piezoelectric pickups, which function as transducers to provide a sound closer to that of an acoustic guitar with the flip of a switch or knob, rather than switching guitars. Those that combine piezoelectric pickups and magnetic pickups are sometimes known as hybrid guitars.


Guitar Accessories

Though a guitar may be played on its own, there are a variety of common accessories used for holding and playing the guitar.

Capotasto

A capo (short for capotasto) is used to change the pitch of open strings. Capos are clipped onto the fret board with the aid of spring tension, or in some models, elastic tension. To raise the guitar's pitch by one semitone, the player would clip the capo onto the fret board just below the first fret. Its use allows players to play in different keys without having to change the chord formations they use. Because of the ease with which they allow guitar players to change keys, they are sometimes referred to as "cheaters" or the "hillbilly crutch." Classical performers are known to use them to enable modern instruments to match the pitch of historical instruments such as the renaissance lute.

Slides

A slide, (neck of a bottle, knife blade or round metal bar) used in blues and rock to create a glissando or 'Hawaiian' effect. The necks of bottles were often used in blues and country music. Modern slides are constructed of glass, plastic, ceramic, chrome, brass or steel, depending on the weight and tone desired. An instrument that is played exclusively in this manner, (using a metal bar) is called a steel guitar or pedal steel. Slide playing to this day is very popular in blues music and country music. Some slide players use a so called Dobro guitar.

Guitar Pick or Plectrum

A "Guitar pick" or "Plectrum" is a small piece of hard material generally held between the thumb and first finger of the picking hand and is used to "pick" the strings. Though most classical players pick with a combination of fingernails and fleshy fingertips, the pick is most often used for electric and steel-string acoustic guitars. Though today they are mainly plastic, variations do exist, such as bone, wood, steel or tortoise shell. Tortoise shell was the most commonly used material in the early days of pick-making, but as tortoises and turtles became endangered, the practice of using their shells for picks or anything else was banned. Tortoise-shell picks made before the ban are often coveted for a supposedly superior tone and ease of use, and their scarcity has made them valuable.
Picks come in many shapes and sizes. Picks vary from the small jazz pick to the large bass pick. The thickness of the pick often determines its use. A thinner pick (between .2 and .5 mm) is usually used for strumming or rhythm playing, whereas thicker picks (between .7 and 1.5+ mm) are usually used for single-note lines or lead playing. The distinctive guitar sound of Billy Gibbons is attributed to using a quarter or peso as a pick.
Thumb picks and finger picks that attach to the finger tips are sometimes employed in finger-picking styles on steel strings. These allow the fingers and thumb to operate independently, whereas a flat pick requires the thumb and one or two fingers to manipulate.


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