An Acoustic Guitar is a non-electric musical instrument which induces sounds by emitting vibrations, via strings to the air. The sound waves reecho from the body of the guitar, creating a certain sound. A soundboard and soundbox strengthen the vibrations of the strings. A pick or fingertips are used to pluck the guitar chords. Plucking a string causes it to vibrate to a particular pitch. There are 6 strings which are tuned low to high (E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4.)
The earliest string instrument, similar to the guitar was known as the Vihuelas in the Spanish music culture, commonly seen in the 16th century during the era of Renaissance. They were distinguished in 2 categories by some Spanish writer, the Vihuela de arco which was similar to a violin and the Vihuela de Penola, played by hand.
In Spain, by 1790 six-string vihuela guitars came into existence, which later became the model of guitar. The book Arte de tocar la Guitarra Espanola por musica written by Fernando Ferandiere’s gives detailed information about the standard Spanish guitar. At this time period, the acoustic guitar began to take the shape as the modern acoustic guitar. By favoring single strings, the pair of strings reduced.
In 1850, Antonio de Torres Jurado the Spanish guitar maker modified the vihuelas and invented the classical” acoustic guitar. The volume, tone, and projection of the instrument were upgraded and are still the same today. Thus, he is looked up as “The father of modern acoustic guitar”.
Anatomy of an Acoustic Guitar.
- Head: The headstock or peghead of the guitar holds the tuning pegs and keys which allows the guitar to be tuned. It can be straight or angled and can come in different shapes.
- Tuners: Tuners rotates the capstan to wind the string around by increasing or decreasing tension in the string to raise and low the pitch. They are also called as Machine heads; tuning keys etc and they vary from instrument to instrument.
- Nut: A thin material supporting the strings, closest to the headstock is called the nut. Ebony, ivory, brass, or synthetic material is usually used to make a nut. It holds the strings at the height from the fingerboard and sets the spacing between them.
- Neck: The neck is attached to the main guitar body and includes the fretboard, frets, headstock, and truss rod. They are of different shapes, from V shape to a C shape. The rigidity of a guitar’s neck is indicative of the quality of the instrument.
- String: They are the essential part of the guitar which vibrates and gives out melodious sounds. They are sometimes made of iron, steel or nylon.
- Frets: The raised parts on the fingerboard of the guitar which extend across the neck, and are generally made of metal are called Frets. They divide the guitar neck into intervals, each represents one semitone of an octave. Pressing the string against the fret shortens the string length between the fretted point and the bridge, changing the note and makes it easier to achieve correct notes. Frets come in different shapes and types and can wear over time, so maintenance of frets is important.
- Fret markers: The dots or custom marks inlaid into the fretboard works as a visual aid to the player. These markers are commonly on the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, twelfth, and fifteenth frets, with the twelfth. Most classical guitars do not have position markers.
- Body: The body of the guitar consists of the soundboard, the top, the back, and the sides. The soundboard vibrates and produces sound, thus is considered very important as well as the back and sides provide tone. The body is divided into the upper bout, the waist, and the lower bout. They come in various shape and size with different cutaways.
- Soundhole: The soundhole provides the sound projection. It enables sound to vibrate. They are mainly circular and at the center but some are to be found on the top.
- Bridge: It works as the supporter of the strings and transmits vibration to the soundboard. The bridge consists of single material i.e plastic or bone and is glued on the top.
- Bridge pins: These are used to keep the strings on position on the bridge precisely. They are made of bones, wood, etc.
Famous Acoustic Guitarists Worldwide.
Eric Clapton, born March 30, 1945, in England is a British rock musician who was a highly influential guitarist in the late 1960s and early ’70s who later became a major singer and a songwriter. He began playing the guitar in his teens and played lead guitar with two minor bands. In 1963 he joined the Yardbirds, a rhythm-and-blues group. But left the Yardbirds in 1965 That same year he joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time“.
James Patrick Page, is an English musician, songwriter and record producer who is known internationally. He is the founder of the Rock band Led Zeppelin.