The guitar is a stringed instrument that makes music from the vibrations of strings. It’s also a fretted and plucked string instrument. Fretted means that it has frets, or metal wires, on the finger board to help play the notes. This is different from a non-fretted instrument like the violin. Plucked means that vibrations are caused by the strings being plucked, or strummed, with the hands, fingers, or a pick. Again this is different from a violin which uses a bow to cause the vibrations.
The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. There are all types of guitars and they are used in all sorts of different kinds of music.
Types of Guitars
Classical Guitar – The classical guitar has nylon strings and a wide neck. It’s used to play different styles of music, but mostly classical music. It’s often played with an ensemble. Guitarists pluck the strings with their fingers or fingernails.
Acoustic or Folk Guitar – The acoustic guitar is similar to the classical guitar, but generally has steel strings and a thinner neck. It’s usually played with a pick and is used in all sorts of music from country and folk to pop and rock.
Electric Guitar – The electric guitar uses electronic pickups and electric amplifiers (amps) rather than a large hollow body. All sorts of interesting sounds can be made with an electric guitar using different amplifiers, distorters, and effects. They are very popular in rock, pop, and jazz music.
Bass Guitar – The bass guitar plays lower notes than an electric guitar. It often works with the drums and percussion to form the rhythm section of a band. Most bass guitars have 4 strings, unlike the 6 strings of most standard guitars.
Other types of guitars and fretted instruments include the banjo, the lute, the mandolin, and the cello guitar.
Guitars in Music
The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world today. It takes a lead role in many types of music including pop, rock, jazz, blues, country, and folk music. One reason for the popularity is that it is relatively easy to carry around and play. An acoustic guitar can be played relatively quietly most anywhere and is easy to store and carry. Another reason for the popularity is the diversity of music that can be created using an electric guitar. This gives musicians the opportunity to express their emotions and ideas in many different ways.
Fun Facts about Guitars
- Most guitars have 6 strings, but some have a different number including popular 4 and 12 string versions and rare guitars with 7, 8, 9, and 10 strings.
- Mariachi bands from Mexico often use a number of different sized guitars.
- The Fender Guitar company makes around 90,000 guitar strings a day.
- The classical guitar is also called the Spanish guitar.