The history of Guitars dates back to 12th Century and there have been further developments in the design of Guitars and their manufacture over the centuries, with addition of strings being a significant change. Etymology of the word “Guitar” states that it was derived from the Ancient Greek κιθάρα(kithara).
Guitars come from the family of musical instruments called Chordophones. The guitar is a musical instrument with strings running along its body, with four to eighteen of them, which varies with the type of Guitar. Usually, there are six of them. Basically, there are two types of Guitars, namely the Acoustic Guitar and the Electric Guitar.
The Acoustic Guitars produce sound acoustically, through a hollow wooden box or a mould of plastic and wood. Whereas, the Electric Guitars use electric amplifiers and speakers to produce and resonate sound.
An Acoustic Guitar
An Electric Guitar
Again, the various types of Acoustic Guitars include Baroque Guitars, Classical Guitars, Steel-stringed Guitars, the Flat-top and Arch-top Guitars, Resonator Guitars, Twelve-stringed Guitars and the Acoustic Bass Guitars. And the Electric Guitars are mainly divided into seven and eight-stringed guitars and Electric Bass Guitars.
Guitar manufacture involves processes such as selecting, sawing, gluing and bookmatching, etc. While these are just the overall basic processes, each process involves various steps that need careful examination and execution.The foremost important aspect of Guitar manufacture is the wood selection, which decides the strength and sound producing/resonating capacity of the guitar. Some of the widely used woods are Mahogany, Ash, Maple, Basswood, Rosewood, and Spruce. These days, where most of the mass guitar manufacturers use machines that digitally propose a design and make guitars, there are still manufactures who prefer handcrafting over that, to give a fine and special touch and finish.
Book-matching is a technique used to make the top and back of a guitar, by slicing a single piece of wood into two equal halves and letting them be oversized for the Guitar’s size to be cut.Next comes the process of Strutting, which braces the wood to the pull of the strings and controls the vibration of the top. The back is also braced so as to provide acoustic reflection, which is also important.
Then, the wooden strips are cut in right length and thickness, and sanded, such that they fit the sides of the Guitars.These sides are then joined and glued, once the crack-proof reinforcement woods are placed in the inner walls. After this, the top and bottom, together with the sides are glued in place. Once this is done, the neck of the guitar, made of hard wood, according to the given specifications, is fitted to the body.
After these procedures are over, fine coats of polish are given, which follows the placing of bridge, which holds the saddle, which in turn holds the strings. Next comes the final and most delicate part of a guitar, the tuning head, which contains pegs and string-tightening keys.
Once all the above processes are successfully over, the guitar is strung and inspected before leaving the factory. For electric guitars, two devices called the pickup and the amplifier are used. The pickup receives the strings’ vibrations and converts them into electric signals, which are in turn sent to the amplifier, which amplifies the signals and make them sound louder. As the body of the electric guitar does not affect the sound quality, they are designed in different shapes.
And when it comes to choosing the right string for your Guitar, it depends on the type of guitar you have. Either Acoustic or Electric. If Acoustic, the gauge (the diameter of the string) has to be taken into consideration. For lighter gauge strings are easier to play and heavier ones give heavier tones. And for Electric Guitars, the strings you choose should facilitate your guitar’s pickup.
And at last, it is undeniable that there is a great deal of work behind every note that is produced from a guitar!
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