String instrument
ClassificationString instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322
(Composite chordophone)
Playing range
Range guitar.svg
(a standard tuned guitar)
Related instruments

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings.[1] It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting (pressing the strings against the frets) with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar (for an acoustic guitar), or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

The guitar is a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with either gut, nylon or steel strings and distinguished from other chordophones by its construction and tuning. The modern guitar was preceded by the gittern, the vihuela, the four-course Renaissance guitar, and the five-course baroque guitar, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument.

There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar (Spanish guitar/nylon-string guitar), the steel-string acoustic guitar, and the archtop guitar, which is sometimes called a "jazz guitar". The tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the strings' vibration, amplified by the hollow body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber. The classical guitar is often played as a solo instrument using a comprehensive finger-picking technique where each string is plucked individually by the player's fingers, as opposed to being strummed. The term "finger-picking" can also refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues, bluegrass, and country guitar playing in the United States. The acoustic bass guitar is a low-pitched instrument that is one octave below a regular guitar.

Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker that both makes the sound of the instrument loud enough for the performers and audience to hear, and, given that it produces an electric signal when played, that can electronically manipulate and shape the tone using an equalizer (e.g., bass and treble tone controls) and a huge variety of electronic effects units, the most commonly used ones being distortion (or "overdrive") and reverb. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but solid wood guitars began to dominate during the 1960s and 1970s, as they are less prone to unwanted acoustic feedback "howls". As with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars (used in jazz guitar, blues and rockabilly) and solid-body guitars, which are widely used in rock music.

The loud, amplified sound and sonic power of the electric guitar played through a guitar amp has played a key role in the development of blues and rock music, both as an accompaniment instrument (playing riffs and chords) and performing guitar solos, and in many rock subgenres, notably heavy metal music and punk rock. The electric guitar has had a major influence on popular culture. The guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide. It is recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as blues, bluegrass, country, flamenco, folk, jazz, jota, mariachi, metal, punk, reggae, rock, soul, and many forms of pop.


Illustration labeled "cythara" in the Stuttgart Psalter, a Carolingian psalter from the 9th century. The instrument shown is of the chordophone family, possibly an early citole or lute

Before the development of the electric guitar and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides."[2] The term is used to refer to a number of chordophones that were developed and used across Europe, beginning in the 12th century and, later, in the Americas.[3] A 3,300-year-old stone carving of a Hittite bard playing a stringed instrument is the oldest iconographic representation of a chordophone and clay plaques from Babylonia show people playing an instrument that has a strong resemblance to the guitar, indicating a possible Babylonian origin for the guitar.[2]

The modern word guitar, and its antecedents, has been applied to a wide variety of chordophones since classical times and as such causes confusion. The English word guitar, the German Gitarre, and the French guitare were all adopted from the Spanish guitarra, which comes from the Andalusian Arabic قيثارة (qīthārah)[4] and the Latin cithara, which in turn came from the Ancient Greek κιθάρα. Kithara appears in the Bible four times (1 Cor. 14:7, Rev. 5:8, 14:2 and 15:2), and is usually translated into English as harp.

Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest "guitars" is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are commonly cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud; the latter was brought to Iberia by the Moors in the 8th century.[5]

At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the guitarra latina (Latin guitar) and the so-called guitarra morisca (Moorish guitar). The guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several sound holes. The guitarra Latina had a single sound hole and a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "moresca" or "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, and these two cordophones were simply referred to as guitars.[6]

The Spanish vihuela, called in Italian the "viola da mano", a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is widely considered to have been the single most important influence in the development of the baroque guitar. It had six courses (usually), lute-like tuning in fourths and a guitar-like body, although early representations reveal an instrument with a sharply cut waist. It was also larger than the contemporary four-course guitars. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more in common with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than with the viols, and more like a larger version of the contemporary four-course guitars. The vihuela enjoyed only a relatively short period of popularity in Spain and Italy during an era dominated elsewhere in Europe by the lute; the last surviving published music for the instrument appeared in 1576.[7]

Meanwhile, the five-course baroque guitar, which was documented in Spain from the middle of the 16th century, enjoyed popularity, especially in Spain, Italy and France from the late 16th century to the mid-18th century.[A][B] In Portugal, the word viola referred to the guitar, as guitarra meant the "Portuguese guitar", a variety of cittern.

There were many different plucked instruments [8] that were being invented and used in Europe, during the Middle Ages. By the 16th century, most of the forms of guitar had fallen off, to never be seen again. However, midway through the 16th century, the five-course guitar [9] was established. It was not a straightforward process. There were two types of five-course guitars, they differed in the location of the major third and in the interval pattern. The fifth course can be placed on the instrument, because it was known to play seventeen notes or more. Because the guitar had a fifth string, it was capable of playing that amount of notes. The guitars strings were tuned in unison, so, in other words, it was tuned by placing a finger on the second fret of the thinnest string and tuning the guitar [10] bottom to top. The strings were a whole octave apart from one another, which is the reason for the different method of tuning. Because it was such so different, there was major controversy as to who created the five course guitar. A literary source, Lope de Vega's Dorotea, gives the credit to the poet and musician Vicente Espinel. This claim was also repeated by Nicolas Doizi de Velasco in 1640.[11] He believed that the tuning was the reason the instrument became known as the Spanish guitar in Italy. Even later, in the same century, Gaspar Sanz wrote that other nations such as Italy or France added to the Spanish guitar. All of these nations even imitated the five-course guitar by "recreating" their own. It has been argued that Vicente Espinel was born in 1555, making it impossible for him to be responsible for the tradition. However, he is still credited with the invention and history of the five-course guitar that we know today. Vicente Espinel not only invented this instrument, but he was given credit for even discovering all the different tuning styles for the guitar.[12]

Finally, circa 1850, the form and structure of the modern Guitar is credited to Spanish guitar maker Antonio Torres Jurado, who increased the size of the guitar body, altered its proportions, and invented the breakthrough fan-braced pattern. Bracing, which refers to the internal pattern of wood reinforcements used to secure the guitar's top and back and prevent the instrument from collapsing under tension, is an important factor in how the guitar sounds. Torres' design greatly improved the volume, tone, and projection of the instrument, and it has remained essentially unchanged since.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kitaar
Alemannisch: Gitarre
አማርኛ: ጊታር
Ænglisc: Gytārre
العربية: قيثارة
aragonés: Guitarra
armãneashti: Chitarâ
অসমীয়া: গীটাৰ
asturianu: Guitarra
Avañe'ẽ: Mbaraka
azərbaycanca: Gitara
bamanankan: Gitari
বাংলা: গিটার
Bân-lâm-gú: Gì-tah
башҡортса: Гитара
беларуская: Гітара
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Гітара
български: Китара
Boarisch: Klampfen
བོད་ཡིག: རྒྱུད་དྲུག
bosanski: Gitara
brezhoneg: Gitar
català: Guitarra
čeština: Kytara
Cymraeg: Gitâr
dansk: Guitar
davvisámegiella: Gitárra
Deutsch: Gitarre
eesti: Kitarr
Ελληνικά: Κιθάρα
español: Guitarra
Esperanto: Gitaro
estremeñu: Quitarra
euskara: Gitarra
فارسی: گیتار
Fiji Hindi: Guitar
føroyskt: Gittari
français: Guitare
Frysk: Gitaar
furlan: Ghitare
Gaeilge: Giotár
Gàidhlig: Giotàr
galego: Guitarra
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Kit-ta
한국어: 기타
հայերեն: Կիթառ
Արեւմտահայերէն: Կիթառ
हिन्दी: गिटार
hrvatski: Gitara
Ido: Gitaro
Ilokano: Gitara
Bahasa Indonesia: Gitar
Ирон: Гитарæ
íslenska: Gítar
italiano: Chitarra
עברית: גיטרה
Jawa: Gitar
Kabɩyɛ: Kitaari
kalaallisut: Guitar
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಗಿಟಾರ್
ქართული: გიტარა
kaszëbsczi: Gitara
қазақша: Гитара
Kiswahili: Gitaa
коми: Гитара
Kreyòl ayisyen: Gita
kurdî: Gîtar
Кыргызча: Гитара
لۊری شومالی: گیتارزن
latviešu: Ģitāra
Lëtzebuergesch: Gittar
lietuvių: Gitara
Limburgs: Gitaar
lingála: Likombí
Lingua Franca Nova: Gitar
la .lojban.: jgita
lumbaart: Ghitara
magyar: Gitár
मैथिली: गितार
македонски: Гитара
മലയാളം: ഗിറ്റാർ
मराठी: गिटार
მარგალური: გიტარა
مصرى: جيتار
مازِرونی: گیتار
Bahasa Melayu: Gitar
монгол: Гитар
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂစ်တာ
Nāhuatl: Mecahuehuetl
Nederlands: Gitaar
Nedersaksies: Gitaar
नेपाली: गितार
नेपाल भाषा: गितार
日本語: ギター
Nordfriisk: Gitari
norsk: Gitar
norsk nynorsk: Gitar
Nouormand: Dgitare
occitan: Guitarra
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Gitara
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਗਿਟਾਰ
پنجابی: گٹار
پښتو: ګټار
Picard: Djitare
polski: Gitara
português: Guitarra
Qaraqalpaqsha: Gitara
română: Chitară
rumantsch: Ghitarra
Runa Simi: Kitara
русиньскый: Ґітара
русский: Гитара
संस्कृतम्: गिटार् (वाद्यम्)
sardu: Ghitarra
Scots: Guitar
shqip: Kitara
සිංහල: ගිටාරය
Simple English: Guitar
slovenčina: Gitara
slovenščina: Kitara
ślůnski: Gitara
Soomaaliga: Gitaar
کوردی: گیتار
српски / srpski: Гитара
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Gitara
Basa Sunda: Gitar
suomi: Kitara
svenska: Gitarr
Tagalog: Gitara
தமிழ்: கித்தார்
Taqbaylit: Snitra
తెలుగు: గిటారు
тоҷикӣ: Гитара
Tsetsêhestâhese: Axenôhonestôtse
Türkçe: Gitar
тыва дыл: Гитара
українська: Гітара
اردو: گٹار
vèneto: Chitara
vepsän kel’: Gitar
Tiếng Việt: Guitar
文言: 吉他
Winaray: Sista
吴语: 吉他
ייִדיש: גיטאר
粵語: 結他
Zazaki: Gitar
žemaitėška: Gėtara
中文: 吉他