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The Guitar's Global Resonance: A Harmony Of Origins, Classifications, And Timeless Appeal

by kingjan 30 Jan 2024

As one of the world's three renowned musical instruments, the guitar, with its enchanting tones, rich harmonies, and perfect expressiveness, is beloved by people from countries around the world. It has become the most widely disseminated and played instrument in today's world.

Despite its widespread popularity, the guitar's origin and development are often not well-known. What exactly is the guitar, where does it come from, and when did it arrive in China? Today, let's discuss those matters related to the guitar.

Definition of the Guitar

In genres such as pop, rock, blues, folk, and flamenco, the guitar is often considered a primary instrument. In the field of classical music, the guitar is frequently featured in solo or duet performances. Of course, in chamber and orchestral music, the guitar also plays a significant accompanying role.

 

Classification of the Guitar

The guitar can be broadly classified into two main categories based on different structures and sound production principles: acoustic guitars (folk/fingerstyle guitars, classical guitars) and electric guitars (such as standard electric guitars and bass guitars).

Classical Guitar

Originally named the classical 6-string guitar and harp (classical 23-string harp, classical 46-string harp, etc.), it belongs to the classical guitar category. The headstock is hollow with two string slots, and the tuning pegs are located inside. It uses a transverse-axis tuning peg, and the fingerboard is wider than that of a folk guitar, facilitating rapid finger movement. Classical guitars mainly use nylon strings, and the bridge is crafted using hand-wound techniques and a smaller bridge plate, appearing flat. The classical guitar combines the grandeur of a piano with the elegance and grace of a violin, earning it the title of the "prince of instruments."

Folk Guitar

Also known as the common strumming guitar, its headstock is often made of a rectangular solid wood board. The tuning pegs are on the surface of the headstock, using a post-style tuning peg. The neck is slightly narrower and longer than that of a classical guitar, facilitating string bending and large barre chords. Steel strings are commonly used, and to handle the high tension of steel strings, a string cone and a larger bridge wood area with an arched upper end are employed. The joint at the guitar box is at the fourteenth fret, and there may be a crescent-shaped guard on the soundboard to suit accompaniment or fingerstyle playing.

Electric Guitar

The electric guitar is a product of technological development. A regular guitar, when equipped with a pickup, effects, amplifier, and other accessories, becomes an electric guitar. Electric guitars are mainly used to fill the midrange, transitions, and interludes in electric bands, sometimes playing a lead role. Its sound production principle differs from traditional guitars, not relying on the vibration of the body but utilizing electromagnetic principles. Its body is solid wood rather than a hollow soundbox. Coils, known as pickups, are installed on the body. These pickups cut magnetic lines when the guitar strings vibrate, generating currents of different frequencies in the wires inside the body. When these currents are reproduced through electronic speakers, they become the sound of the electric guitar.

 

The Guitar's Allure

Due to its elegant tones, simplicity, and richly unique expression techniques, the guitar has captured the hearts of many. It can convey tender and moving whispers as well as the grand and majestic sentiments, enchanting countless individuals. Strumming the six golden strings of a hollow-body guitar can create lively melodies full of youthful vigor, playing soothing music that expresses a range of emotions. It can convey joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness, cultivating a dignified and elegant charm. The wonderful tones and graceful playing can add to personal charisma, making it especially beloved by a vast number of young people.

Today, some domestic guitar brands, like Chumen Guitars, focusing on guitar quality, have been continuously progressing, creating more high-quality guitars with distinctive brand characteristics. It is believed that Chinese guitars will shine brightly in the near future.

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