The Guitar is a stringed instrument which originates from the 16th century spanish vihuela de mano. It is also related to the lute. Early guitars had four strings but today guitars typically have six and can have as many as thirteen. The strings on a common guitar are tuned to E, A, D, G, B, & E.
The strings on a guitar are plucked with the fingers or a pick ( or ‘plectrum’). The guitar is usually ‘fretted’, meaning thin strips of metal or plastic are placed across the neck of the instrument to mark out different pitches for each string. When the player pushes a string against the neck of the instrument, the string is ‘stopped’ by a fret, effectively changing its length and therefore pitch.
The guitar became very popular in 19th century when the first great virtuoso of the instrument, Fernando Sor (1778-1839), came to fame. Other composers of the time, such as Boccherini, Berlioz, and Paganini, also played and composed for the guitar.
The present-day revival of the guitar was initiated by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909), and its popularity has continued into the 21st century with the emergence of virtuosi such as Andrés Segovia, John Williams, Slava Grigoryan, and Julian Bream.
However popular the guitar may be in classical music, it is in popular forms of music such as folk, jazz, and rock ‘n‘ rock, that the guitar truly seems to have made its mark. So much so much so that it is hard to image a band today without a guitarist. While the nylon string acoustic guitar is favoured in classical and folk music, jazz, rock, and other styles of popular music tend to prefer a steel stringed electric guitar, connected to an amplifier.