The history of the guitar
This is only a short introduction into the history of the guitar and all its shapes and sizes, but if I had my way, this blog would’ve become a novel! The guitar as we know it to be today, originated in Spain as early as the 16th century (1500 AD), but it dates back hundreds of years! The original instrument only had four strings. Three double strings and one single. It was only in the 19th century when the guitar’s body gained some drastic changes. The instrument became bigger and narrower with a thin soundboard.
The different types of guitars
There are three different types of guitars: classical guitar, steel-string guitars, and the Hawaiian guitar. The modern acoustic and electric guitars, like humans, come in different shapes and sizes. The acoustic guitar has three different sections. Each section includes different ‘body types’ that differ in sound, shape and size. Unlike the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar needs amplification in order to be heard at performance volume. It also has three fun sections of shapes and sizes!
Section 1: Steel string flattop guitars
Steel string guitars are the most common type of acoustic guitars, popular for strumming and acoustic fingerpicking.
Parlor guitars have a small body, perfect for small venues such as home parlors. In South Africa, you might know it as a Township guitar!
The OM body style is good for strumming and fingerpicking.
The dreadnought is the most popular guitar body style! It is loud and has a wide and rich tone. Perfect for playing in an ensemble!
Section 2: Nylon string guitars
Nylon string guitars are known for their warmer sound. They also have less string tension than steel string guitars.
Classical guitars are exactly what they sound like and are used for classical music.
Flamenco guitars are built to play flamenco music.
Section 3: Archtop guitars
This body type is most commonly known as a fingerpicking jazz guitar, and because it does not sound the same as a flattop, is not a good choice for strumming.
If you want to read more about the shapes of the acoustic guitar, check out this link!
Section 1: Solid body guitars
These electric guitars are made from solid pieces of wood.
The “strat” is a popular electric guitar used in different genres such as country, rock, blues, folk, soul, and R&B.
The super strat is perfect for metal and hard rock music!
The telecaster body type is most commonly used in country music.
This style has three main instruments: the Jaguar, the Mustang, and the Jazzmaster. Check out this link to find out more about these differences.
The Les Paul is played in genres such as classical rock, but is capable of a lot more (except for country music!).
SG and Flying V
These two guitars are perfect for a rock star! They look different and have two humbuckers.
Section 2: Semi-hollow body guitars
Semi-hollow body guitars have an exposed opening. Inside, the guitar is divided into two by a block of wood.
Section 3: Hollow body guitars
Hollow body guitars, on the other hand, do not have the wooden block on the inside.
If you want to read more about the shapes of the electric guitar, check out his link.
If you have found the guitar and all its shapes and sizes interesting, make sure to read about the 16 parts of a guitar!
The different parts of the guitar
- Tuning pegs
- The nut
- Strap buttons
- Pickup selector switch
- Volume and tone controls
- Jack socket
For more information regarding the parts of the guitar and what they do, check out the Dawsons link here.