Each string has a name. The bottom and thinnest string is the high e, next is b, then g, onto d, then A, and finally low E. Sound is made by strumming or plucking these strings while placing the fingers of the opposite hand on the frets and strings to produce different notes (Turnbull 825). The guitar is hard to trace back beyond the Renaissance period but it is known the guitar has roots in Spain. The first known guitar was small with four sets of strings; each set called a course. Later a fifth course was added.
Through the twang of country and ripping solos in rock, the guitar is usually the glue of any major piece of music. To see how the guitar has become a key factor in music and a symbol of Americana we will have to look at the history. The guitar was not always as significant as it has come to be in the 21st century. Its sister instruments were introduced in the 12th century, but the guitar, itself cannot be traced back earlier than the 15th century. “The guitar, another old instrument dating back at least to the Middle Ages, probably originating in the Middle East.”(Machlis p. 52).
Following Fender in 1953, Gibson introduced the first short scale violin-shaped electric bass with an extendable end pin, which allows the instrument to be played upright or horizontally. Gibson renamed this in 1958 to the EB-1. Other small companies began introducing the Electric Bass during the 1950s like Kay in 1952 and Danelectro in 1956. The distinctive Violin Bass was made using the violin construction techniques. It was introduced in 1956 by a man named Walter Hofner.
Although the five-course is basically a four-course with an extra string, that string (low E) becomes very important in today’s style of playing. Also it had frets, frets are the lines on the guitar that make the different notes. It was believed to be invented in Spain. Early music sheets were written in tablature, similar to today. Later, in the eighteenth century the five-course guitar evolved in to the most popular model, the six-string guitar.
It seems to be an unspoken agreement between composures and consumers of the present that the guitar is almost a required instrument for any song to be popular. This makes the guitar a huge “player” in music so, who have been the biggest “players” of the guitar? There have been diverse guitar players throughout recent history, each with their own style and music genre, but there are a choice few that probably hold the most influence overall on the guitar in: playing style, sound, and music genre. Although there have been many, five guitarists seem to stand above the rest, if only by a little. These five guitarists are: Charlie Christian, Les Paul, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen.