Ever wondered when guitars were invented?
Have you been doing research on guitars or need to know?
There are a couple of different answers to the question and actually a large debate as to when guitars were invented. Originally “guitar” was defined as an instrument with a long neck used to describe which started in Europe (Spain specifically) and America in the 12th century. There was at least one instrument called a guitar in Spain by 1200 this was called the guitarra morisca. The guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several sound holes.
Between 1200 and around the 16th century there were very few forms of “guitar” that existed and by the 16th century most guitars had fallen off the face of the planet. That was until the middle of the 16th century where there were 2 types of “five course guitars” that were created.
There were two types of five-course guitars, they differed in the location of the major third and in the interval pattern. The fifth course can be placed on the instrument, because it was known to play seventeen notes or more. Because the guitar had a fifth string, it was capable of playing that amount of notes. The guitars strings were tuned in unison, so, in other words, it was tuned by placing a finger on the second fret of the thinnest string and tuning the guitar
Finally, circa 1850 there was another Spanish guitar maker who created the form and structure of what we know the modern day guitar to look like, with it’s increased body size and altered proportions.
This is why there is much debate as there are many different periods throughout history where various forms of the guitar were created.
Here’s a short video which goes into some more details:
Here’s a couple of our favourite books that go into great detail on the history of guitars:
If you’re just getting started in the world of guitars and wanted to do some research then check out some of our other articles including this one which gives tips for buying a guitar.