The classical guitar has become one of the most homely and warm musical sights in many households with its sounds and music prevalent throughout popular music today as well as in the past. It produces a sweet and mellow sound and is the perfect accompanist to many genres of songs. It is a simple instrument to pick up and a great one to master. But how did it come about?
First appearing in Spain around the turn of the 15th century, a plucked-string instrument called a vihuela, would soon evolve into the guitar we know now.
Around the year 1600, a five double-string version of this instrument was created. Later on, a six single-string version appeared and was popularised in Europe in the 1800s. It is this six single-stringed instrument, dubbed the 19th century guitar, that most resembles and is the closest ancestor to today’s guitar.
Although the 19th century guitars were of many different shapes and sizes depending on who made them, they were all still essentially the same in that they were always a smaller instrument that played relatively quietly. However, a guitar maker, Antonio de Torres who was born in Spain in 1817, made a larger version of the guitar which produced a louder tone. He extended the length of the strings and body, widening the body itself to create the very first version of the modern guitar.
After this, other guitar makers popularised Torres’ manufacturing method. Along with other additions, the guitar was eventually shaped to become the ones we frequently see today.
The guitar has grown to be a staple in the music industry and is commonly heard and used in popular music as well as ensembles. It will surely continue to persist and make its mark on the musical industry in centuries to come.