The Spanish vihuela, called in Italian the "viola da mano", a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is widely considered to have been the single most important influence in the development of the baroque guitar. It had six courses (usually), lute-like tuning in fourths and a guitar-like body, although early representations reveal an instrument with a sharply cut waist. It was also larger than the contemporary four-course guitars. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more in common with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than with the viols, and more like a larger version of the contemporary four-course guitars. The vihuela enjoyed only a relatively short period of popularity in Spain and Italy during an era dominated elsewhere in Europe by the lute; the last surviving published music for the instrument appeared in 1576.
Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker that both makes the sound of the instrument loud enough for the performers and audience to hear, and, given that it produces an electric signal when played, that can electronically manipulate and shape the tone using an equalizer (e.g., bass and treble tone controls) and a huge variety of electronic effects units, the most commonly used ones being distortion (or "overdrive") and reverb. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but a solid wood body was eventually found more suitable during the 1960s and 1970s, as it was less prone to unwanted acoustic feedback "howls". As with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars (used in jazz guitar, blues and rockabilly) and solid-body guitars, which are widely used in rock music.
With so many options available in the world today, buying a guitar that perfectly represents your own style, tastes, and attitude has never been easier. Whether you're a classical guitarist looking for that perfectly balanced nylon flamenco, or a hard rock enthusiast who needs Pete Townshend crunch combined with Jack White power, there is simply no shortage of axes to choose from.
A string’s gauge is how thick it is. As a general rule, the thicker a string is the warmer its response will be and the more volume it will produce. However, thicker strings are also stiffer. This makes it harder to fret the string and makes it more difficult to execute heavy string bends. Thinner strings are generally brighter and easier to play, but on some instruments they can sound thin and tinny.
Although many people thought rock and roll would be a passing fad, by the 1960s it was clear this music was firmly rooted in American culture. Electric guitarists had become the superstars of rock. Live performances in large halls and open-air concerts increased the demand for greater volume and showmanship. Rock guitarists began to experiment, and new sounds and textures, like distortion and feedback, became part of the guitarist's language. Jimi Hendrix was rock's great master of manipulated sound.
"Open" chords get their name from the fact that they generally include strings played open. This means that the strings are played without being pushed down at a fret, which makes chords including them easier to play for beginners. When you start to learn chords, you have to focus on using the right fingers to press down each note and make sure you're pressing the strings down firmly enough.
In acoustic guitars, string vibration is transmitted through the bridge and saddle to the body via sound board. The sound board is typically made of tone woods such as spruce or cedar. Timbers for tone woods are chosen for both strength and ability to transfer mechanical energy from the strings to the air within the guitar body. Sound is further shaped by the characteristics of the guitar body's resonant cavity. In expensive instruments, the entire body is made of wood. In inexpensive instruments, the back may be made of plastic.
Getting to grips with how chords are formed gives you a basic introduction to music theory and helps you understand the ways you can alter them to create more interesting sounds. All chords are built from certain notes in scales. The C major scale is the easiest, because it just runs C, D, E, F, G, A and B. These notes are numbered (usually using Roman numerals) in that order, from one (I) to seven (VII).
For example, if the note E (the open sixth string) is played over the A minor chord, then the chord would be [0 0 2 2 1 0]. This has the note E as its lowest tone instead of A. It is often written as Am/E, where the letter following the slash indicates the new bass note. However, in popular music it is usual to play inverted chords on the guitar when they are not part of the harmony, since the bass guitar can play the root pitch.
Quartal and quintal harmonies also appear in alternate tunings. It is easier to finger the chords that are based on perfect fifths in new standard tuning than in standard tuning. New standard tuning was invented by Robert Fripp, a guitarist for King Crimson. Preferring to base chords on perfect intervals—especially octaves, fifths, and fourths—Fripp often avoids minor thirds and especially major thirds, which are sharp in equal temperament tuning (in comparison to thirds in just intonation).
The intervals between the notes of a chromatic scale are listed in a table, in which only the emboldened intervals are discussed in this article's section on fundamental chords; those intervals and other seventh-intervals are discussed in the section on intermediate chords. The unison and octave intervals have perfect consonance. Octave intervals were popularized by the jazz playing of Wes Montgomery. The perfect-fifth interval is highly consonant, which means that the successive playing of the two notes from the perfect fifth sounds harmonious.
The saddle of a guitar refers to the part of the bridge that physically supports the strings. It may be one piece (typically on acoustic guitars) or separate pieces, one for each string (electric guitars and basses). The saddle's basic purpose is to provide the end point for the string's vibration at the correct location for proper intonation, and on acoustic guitars to transfer the vibrations through the bridge into the top wood of the guitar. Saddles are typically made of plastic or bone for acoustic guitars, though synthetics and some exotic animal tooth variations (e.g. fossilized tooth, ivory, etc. ) have become popular with some players. Electric guitar saddles are typically metal, though some synthetic saddles are available.
There are two basic types of electric guitars: solidbody and hollowbody. Today, the electric guitar still features in all types of music Ð rock, blues, jazz and big bands Ð and is played by men and women, young and old, throughout the world. Some well-known electric guitarists include Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Chrissie Hynde and Liz Phair.
The electric guitar, developed for popular music in the United States in the 1930s, usually has a solid, nonresonant body. The sound of its strings is both amplified and manipulated electronically by the performer. American musician and inventor Les Paul developed prototypes for the solidbody electric guitar and popularized the instrument beginning in the 1940s.