Before the use of synthetic materials in the development of guitars, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having “a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and flat back, most often with curved sides” (citation). The oldest known guitar-like instrument that displayed these features was the string instrument a Hittite bard was holding in a stone carving, showing how much guitar-like instruments had already gained popularity within societies of the past. The word guitar derives from the Latin word cithara, but the modern guitar itself is not believed to be descended from the Roman instrument. The first historical use of the term guitar was during the medieval ages during the 12th century. These instruments were the guitarra moresca (Moorish guitar) and the guitarra Latina (Latin guitar). The guitarra moresca was a four course instrument, with a peg box that slanted back from the neck in a shallow curve. It also featured a wide fingerboard and several sound holes. The body was an oval shape, like the outline of an egg. The soundboard was believed to be made of skin like the modern banjo. The guitarra Latina also consisted four single strings and had a single sound hole and a narrower neck. Its size ranged from a baritone ukulele to a modern acoustic guitar. By the 14th century the qualifiers of “moresca” and “Latina” were dropped and these ...
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...ady to go, and no tuning machines. That’s why he went to the rectangular head stock’” (Freeth 54). These innovations brought about the recognition of the guitar in early American culture.
Following the innovations of the Martin, the guitar’s evolution has reached the point of what is recognizable as the modern acoustic guitar. To this day, further innovations in guitar design are still in the works in attempts to satisfy the particular musical needs of guitarists. The most notable modern innovation would be the invention of the electric guitar. Though the electric guitar made a profound statement in American music, much of the greatness of the electric guitar should be accredited towards the refinements and innovations from its predecessors. In conclusion, the modern-day guitar can be seen as the overall achievements in guitar design throughout hundreds of years.
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