The Guitar - a brief history.


Over the last 170 years the guitar has undergone vast transformations from a small, delicate salon instrument with very little volume, to an instrument with a wide range of sizes and shapes with a big dynamic range. The guitar as we know it today, transcends almost every culture, style and genre throughout the world and has become an essential element of musical expression and innovation. the history and roots of the guitar stem from an ancient family of string harp instruments dating back to the Babylonian and Egyptian civilisations. 

The earliest guitars, with frets as we know it today, originated from Italy and Spain during the Renaissance and were called lutes. The modern classical guitar emerged during the 19th century in Spain, lead by the Spanish guitar maker Antonio Torres. Increasing the size and adjusting the proportions, Torres made the guitar into the more familiar classical guitar shape we know today; enhancing the volume, tone and projection of the instrument. Early 1900’s saw the introduction of steel strings promising a much louder sound but with an increased tension on the body, a stronger X-braced top was manufactured to accommodate this.

The 1920’s saw the birth of the electric guitar however, the instruments success wouldn’t come until 1936 when Orville Gibson introduced the famous ES150 model. Now that amplification was possible manufacturers could do away with the soundbox and start experimenting with solid-body guitars, completing the evolution of the guitar as we know it today.


  1. Headstock
  2. Nut
  3. Machine heads (or pegheads, tuning keys, tuning machines, tuners)
  4. Frets
  5. Truss rod
  6. Inlays
  7. Neck
  8. Heel (acoustic) Neckjoint (electric)
  9. Body
  10. Pickups
  11. Electronics
  12. Bridge
  13. Pickguard
  14. Sound hole
  15. Strings
  16. Saddle