Who Invented The Acoustic Guitar? Acoustic guitar, as we know, has a rich and interesting history over the past decades. But it cannot be easily pinned down to a particular individual. While there have been some sightings about the possibility that it existed thousands of years ago, the acoustic guitar that people know today is quite a different instrument.
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Throughout the civilizations, there have been countless variations of guitars. Focusing on the advancements, this leads to the formation and creation of modern acoustic guitars.
The Modern Classical Acoustic Guitar
Many historians believed that an Italian named Gaetano Vinaccia was the inventor of the acoustic guitar. Vinaccia’s family was quite a well-known family back in the 18th century for producing some of the high-end quality violins in Europe. They were also the first ones to create mandolin, which is a six-stringed instrument dated 1779 and was built in Naples, where initially Vinaccia worked. It is known to be among the first authentic acoustic guitars.
However, it was a Spanish luthier Antonio Torres Jurado who developed and designed the standards of a modern acoustic guitar. He’s the one responsible for revolutionizing the modern classical guitar. He made it by reducing the thickness and increasing the surface area of the whole guitar’s body. This way, the resonance of the instrument was highly enhanced. He also developed a unique bracing system that allowed for the body and tension capabilities of the modern acoustic guitar.
Bracing is a term used to describe such arrangements of wooden struts that are fixed to the underside of the guitar. It supports the resonant capabilities and allows the timber used to be thin enough to vibrate but strong enough to hold a large surface.
Fan bracing consists of 5-7 struts in a fan-like position, pointing towards the 12th fret of the guitar. It has an added tensile strength that allows the guitar bodies to increase in size and gain sufficient volume controls.
The Arrival Of The Contemporary Acoustic Guitar
For acoustic guitars, the flat-top design has always been the popular style. The archtop guitar, which generally attributed to the Orville Gibson, with its bridge that can be adjusted and soundholes, produced an even louder and livelier sound. For this reason, the archtop quickly became popular with blues, country, jazz and rock, and roll musicians.
Gibson found out that constructing guitars more like a cello will allow it to vibrate freely and produce a louder sound. A lot of American luthiers considered this and adopted it to its design – including John D’Angelico and Jimmy D’Aquisto. These guitars were soon adopted by jazz and country musicians and were later used in big bands and swing bands. Acoustic guitars remain the central instrument in contemporary popular music.
While technology keeps on changing and moving forward, the acoustic guitar remains on its root. Today, guitar strings can be made from steel thanks to Christian Fredrich Marin, who created steel strings in the early 20th century. However, the real craftsmanship and forward-thinking will always be credited to these two heroes who paved the way and bringing guitars to the mainstream.