Classical guitar

History of the Guitar

  • 2000 BCE


    The kithara was an instrument used back in the times of Ancient Greece. It can be seen as the earliest ancestor of the guitar. It had only four strings, and was most often used by professional musicians in its time.
  • 1900 BCE

    The Near East Clay Plaques

    It is believed that the history of the guitar started in the ancient Near East, where archaeologists found instruments and representations of them, which served as landmarks in the uncharted territory. Clay plaques were excavated, and they showed nude figures playing instruments with distinctly different bodies and necks. Some of these instruments bear a striking resemblance to the guitar. The back of the instrument is undoubtedly flat, and they way it sat made it believed to be bowl-shaped.
  • 1500 BCE


    This object was one of the first guitar-like instruments that came from ancient Persia, which is now modern-day Iran. The Tanbur featured 4 strings that could be played.
  • 1400 BCE


    The Greeks had used a string instrument which traveled all across the Mediterranean trade routes. The Romans adopted this Greek guitar, and they named it the Chitara, which is Romanian for "guitar".
  • 1350 BCE


    The origins of the lute are very obscure and vague, and organologists still disagree about the very defenition of a lute. The guitar is seen as the "poor relation" of the lute, even though the two are not really related. The only thing relating the guitar and the lute is the fact that they are both plucked. In the 1700s, the guitar had surpassed the lute in popularity.
  • 1000 BCE


    The vihuella, from Southern France, can be seen as a more direct ancestor of the guitar. It was adopted by Spaniards and was spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages by aristocracy and the common people.
  • 30 BCE

    Bowl-Shaped Harp (30 B.C.-400 A. D.)

    Bowl-Shaped Harp (30 B.C.-400 A. D.)
    The only plucked instruments in the earliest days of Egypt was the bowl-shaped harp. Later, a necked instrument with carefully marked frets wound around the neck was created. It is seen as a relative of the guitar because of its strings and the way it was played.
  • 500

    Medieval Guitar (500-1500)

    Medieval Guitar (500-1500)
    During this age, there were two types of guitars present: the Guitarra Latina, which had curved sides, and then there was the Guitarra Morisca which had an oval soundbox much like the lute. These guitars were illustrated in the famous "Cantigas de Santa Maria " manuscripts, written in the 13th century.
  • Jan 1, 1300

    Renaissance Guitar (1300-1700)

    Renaissance Guitar (1300-1700)
    The first incarnation of what we know as the guitar was created during the Renaissance Period. This type of guitar, called the renaissance guitar, contained 4 pairs of strings called courses. It shared many similarities with the Spanish vihuella, a six-coursed instrument with similar tuning and build. The invention of five-course guitars still didn't phase out four-course guitars, not until the start of the Baroque Period.
  • Jan 1, 1300


    An instrument called the Small Guittern was introduced to Europe via Moors. The instrument became popular in Spain, Italy and Germany.
  • Baroque Guitar

    Baroque Guitar
    The baroque guitar is a very direct ancestor of the modern day guitar. It is smaller than the modern day guitar, and it had gut strings. The frets were also made of guts, and they were tied to the neck.
  • Tablature

    Many publications of tablature for the guitar have been created and released. The popularity of the guitar begins to rival that of the lute.
  • Sitar

    The sitar is a plucked string instrument used mainly in Hindustani music and Indian classical music. It existed in the 1700s and 1800s, mainly used in India. A sitar can have between 18-21 strings, much more than that of a modern day guitar. The sitar became a very popular instrument and helped influence the advances in the guitar.
  • Classical Era of the Classical Guitar (1750-1820)

    Classical Era of the Classical Guitar (1750-1820)
    During this time period, the guitar suffered a huge decline in popularity. Some say that this period was the worst time for guitars. Composers who played the guitar were very rare in this period, and often never got much recognition from others, as people became more interested in instruments like the flute and violin. However, it was near the end of this period that the guitar went through some changes. A sixth string was added, and strings became much cheaper to buy.
  • 19th Century Guitar

    19th Century Guitar
    At the turn of the 19th century, the guitar had some developments made to it in regards to both construction, like now having 6 strings, to style of playing, where people would now use virtuosic finger picking. This made guitar playing more similar to what we now know today.
  • Antonio de Torres

    Antonio de Torres
    Between the years 1850 and 1892, guitar maker Antonio de Torres developed a more larger and more resonant guitar instrument that we know today.
  • 20th Century Guitar

    20th Century Guitar
    The popularity of the advancements made to the guitar continued into the 20th century. More advancements were made such as the addition of steel strings to guitars, and the introduction of the use of picks, or plectrums for rhythmic playing, or for strumming chords. This was often used to accompany singers and dance bands. There were new styles of music in North America in which the guitar was the perfect instrument for: Blues in the 1920s, Jazz, Country and Western music in the 1930s.
  • Blues Music

    Blues Music
    Blues was a new style of music developed in North America, and the guitar seemed to be a natural fit for the style.
  • Country, Western, Jazz

    Country, Western, Jazz
    After the invention of Blues music, Country music, Western music and Jazz music soon emerged in North America where the guitar was also a perfect fit.
  • Nylon Development

    Nylon Development
    In 1946, the development of nylon resulted in the use of nylon strings on the classical guitar. This development allowed for the replacement of gut and silk used up till 1946, and allowed strings to last longer and even stay in tune longer.
  • Solid Body Electric Guitar

    Solid Body Electric Guitar
    WWII resulted in a few technological changes, which greatly influenced guitar playing. The invention and development of nylon resulted in nylon strings being used on the classical guitar. This had replaced the gut and silk used up until 1946. This allowed the strings to last longer and stay in tune longer. The other development was the invention of the solid body electric guitar, which became popular thru the 1950s. These guitars were popular for use in rock and roll music, even to this day.
  • Electric Bass Guitar

    Electric Bass Guitar
    This year introduced the creation of the first electric bass guitar. Fender made the first electric guitar that did not use the acoustic guitar shape.