What does the Tamil word guitar mean


engl .:guitar, Italian:chitarra, Greek:κιθάρα, (Kithara), derived from the Persian: Setar "Three-string"), French:guitare
Classical guitar
classificationChordophone (box neck lute)
Plucked instrument
Sound sampleScale on a classical guitar
Related instrumentsHawaiian guitar, ukulele, resonator guitar (Dobro), cister, lute, banjo, mandolin
List of guitarists
Category: Guitarist

The guitar (from Greek κιθάρα, originally the Kithara[1], a lyre-like instrument) is a musical instrument from the box-neck lute family, a stringed instrument in terms of sound generation and a plucked instrument in terms of playing technique.

With regard to sound generation, a distinction is made between acoustic and electric (electric) guitars. This article focuses on acoustic guitars and similarities.


A guitar is divided into three different parts:

Classical guitar in front and side view, important parts labeled


While special forms of the guitar (especially special electric guitars) have virtually no body and / or no head, the neck is common to all guitars. A minimal guitar has only one neck, over which strings are strung in order of thickness between the saddle (on the head) and the bridge (on the body).

In today's guitars, the neck is usually not made of one piece, but has a glued-on fingerboard over which the strings run. On the one hand, this construction has advantages for the stability of the neck; on the other hand, the choice of wood for the neck and fingerboard has a significant influence on the sound and playability of the guitar.

In classic guitars with gut or plastic strings, a simple solid wooden neck has sufficient stability to withstand the pull of the strings without annoying deformation. Many instruments with steel strings, especially western or steel guitars and electric guitars, and especially electric basses, have an adjustable neck tensioning rod embedded in the neck (also truss rod or Truss rod). This lies approximately in the middle of the neck in a curved channel and causes the neck to be pretensioned against the tension of the strings.

Typical guitars have frets on the neck. These help shorten the string when you finger it, in order to produce a certain note when you strike it. Each fret corresponds to a semitone step. Originally the frets were made of gut, later they were also made of ivory or silver. Modern guitar frets are mostly made of nickel silver.[2] Frets made of solid materials are immovably embedded in the fingerboard. This construction actually does not allow the creation of nuances. With suitable playing techniques such as pulling(Bending), Bottleneck (respectively Slide) but that is also possible.

Depending on the type of guitar on the fingerboard, the neck is flat or curved, wide or narrow. Classic guitars tend to have a wide and flat neck, steel-string guitars tend to have narrow and curved necks.

At the end of the neck is the saddle. The most common are plastic and bone saddles. They are either set into a groove milled in the fingerboard or glued to the end of the fingerboard. Plastic saddles are manufactured industrially and are therefore cheaper. In the case of bone saddles, a distinction is made between two different materials: between boiled and almost white, bleached bone saddles and so-called fat saddles, which consist of unboiled, unbleached bovine bones. Due to the fat remaining in the bone, the latter ensure lubrication in the saddle notches, which makes it difficult to clamp the strings. Due to their natural state, fat saddles have a slightly yellowish color. Due to the good processability and lubricating properties, various plastic-graphite mixtures are also used for the production of guitar saddles.


At the end of the neck is the head / headstock, to which one end of the strings is attached to the vertebrae. The strings are tensioned by means of the pegs and tuned by regulating the tension. The necessary pressure on the saddle is created by the angling of the strings in relation to the neck. Depending on the design, this angling is achieved either by bending the head plate or by other suitable measures such as string hold-down or "Staged" Mechanics (vertebrae that become lower towards the end of the headstock) are achieved.

There are special designs of headstock, especially with some newer electric guitars. For example, there are clamp saddles in which the strings are locked on the saddle in order to achieve better tuning stability, especially in connection with vibrato systems. The complete waiver of a headstock is even more extreme. In both cases the pegs are supplemented or replaced by tuning mechanisms on the bridge. This means that the actual tuning function moves to the other end of the string on the body.


The body is very different depending on the design of the guitar. In the case of acoustic instruments (as opposed to electric) it usually consists of a light wooden sound box, consisting of a back, sides and top. The ceiling has a mostly circular sound hole. However, there are numerous other designs, especially in the field of electric guitars, such as semi-resonance guitars and Solid body-Guitars (without hollow bodies).

The bridge is on the body. The other end of the strings is attached to this, or - mostly in the case of electric guitars - below it to a tailpiece. There are also numerous different designs for the bridge with different setting options for the string position, the exact length of individual strings or with special functions (for example tremolo lever - actually vibrato).

Special designs

Guitars come in different sizes and lengths. There are, among other things, children's guitars and also instruments specially made for smaller people such as so-called women's guitars, which are played by artists such as Prince, among others.

When building the guitar, wood is traditionally used for the body and neck. However, other materials such as metal, composite materials or carbon are also used here in isolated cases. Small parts such as the saddle are also made of different materials depending on the price range, e.g. B. plastic, horn, wood or even ivory. Depending on the make, the mechanism can (partially) consist of wood, plastic or refined metal parts.

As a rule, special tonewoods are used for the woods, which are used in different combinations when building guitars, depending on their type and properties. There are three classes of (acoustic) guitars: In the simplest, the top and bottom are made of veneered plywood. This type of construction is inexpensive to manufacture and also less prone to cracks, but the sound quality is usually lower than that of solid wood guitars. The so-called wandering guitars often fall into this category. The next level has a top made of solid wood, and the level that is best in terms of sound quality (in the price range from around € 700) is fully assembled. Especially colored lacquered instruments are usually made of third-quality wood because the lacquer hides the flaws.

Children's guitar

A children's guitar is a normal acoustic guitar that is made true to scale in three to four different sizes for the different body sizes of the adolescents. The guitar size depends on the body size and arm length. The neck with the fingerboard is slightly narrower and thinner so that a child's hand can grasp the neck and grip the strings without hindrance. It also has a low action and is not strung with steel strings to relieve finger pressure.[3]

Flamenco guitars

In general, flamenco guitars have thinner tops, backs and sides, they are flatter and overall lighter. Backs and sides are often made of very light wood, for example cypress, and ceilings are also made of cedar wood. In order to save weight, some flamenco guitar makers do without the mechanics themselves and are content with pegs as are common with violins. Their sound is stronger in the upper registers, responds quickly and fades away quickly. This supports the hard and brilliant character of the flamenco game, which must be able to assert itself against the other percussive elements of this music. The action of the strings is traditionally rather low, which creates desirable percussive background noises. Since flamenco guitarists nowadays often have a concertante style, a higher string position is sometimes required. Don Antonio de Torres (1817–1892) is considered to be the first to build special flamenco guitars (around 1867).

Flamenco guitars in particular are often equipped with a golpeador, a thin layer of plastic that surrounds the sound hole on three sides and is intended to protect the guitar top from damage, e.g. B. when using the percussive technique Golpe. A golpeador can also be retrofitted to a guitar.

Left handed guitars

It is usually not enough to pull the strings “the wrong way” on a normal guitar. Subsequent modifications are often unsatisfactory. A few manufacturers build mirror-inverted models, where even the pickguards and cutaways (which should make playing in the highest registers easier) are correct.

Good guitars today are not built symmetrically. The saddle is inclined to keep the tone on the high frets in octave. The lower strings have a greater oscillation length than the higher, thinner strings due to their larger amplitude and the higher bridge insert. If you were to simply turn the string position on a guitar, the inclined bridge would increase the impurity of the octave. The notches in the saddle are made differently according to the string thickness. The ceiling performance inside is usually constructed asymmetrically according to the static and acoustic requirements.

Nowadays, most of the major manufacturers of electric guitars and steel string guitars also offer specialty left-handed guitars. Due to the lower demand and the increased production costs, however, they are ten to 30 percent more expensive than right-handed guitars of the same model. In addition, only a few models from the model range are also offered as left-hand versions. In most music stores they are therefore only found in small numbers or not at all. The fact that there are left-handed guitars at all is a peculiarity of this type of instrument. In serious music you can sometimes find strings who hold their bow with their left hand and play corresponding instruments. In addition, there are many left-handed people; popular examples in popular music are e.g. B. Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler, blues legend Gary Moore or Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, who play normal right-handed guitars and operate them like right-handed people (the attack hand is the right, the gripping hand the left).

Left: twelve-string guitar with twisted frets

Twelve-string (six-course) guitars

The twelve-string guitar is tuned similarly to the six-string guitar. In addition to the strings E, A, D and G, there is one each Octave string, the H-string and the high E-string are doubled by matching strings (scheme: eEaAdDgGhhee). The six pairs of strings created in this way will be Choirs called. This results in a comparatively fuller sound (chorus effect) than that of a six-string guitar. Twelve-string guitars are only strung with steel strings, as nylon or gut strings would swing too far for tight positioning.

The octave strings are thinner than the associated "normal" strings and tend to break in comparison to these. Also, tuning a twelve-string guitar is more time-consuming and demanding than tuning a six-string guitar. Because of the poor tuning stability of the twelve-string guitar, some musicians, such as B. Albert Lee, sometimes a six-string guitar when recording and simulate the desired "12-note sound" by playing on another six-string guitar, which is only covered with the additional strings of the twelve-string / six-course guitar.

Well-known artists who mainly use twelve-string guitars are Leo Kottke, Roger McGuinn and Robbie Basho.

Extended range guitars

To expand the range of notes, guitars are built with seven, eight, ten or more strings.

Even historical plucked instruments (e.g. Pandora or Orpheréon) sometimes had more than six strings, usually double-choir strings. Single-choir instruments with more than six strings have been used specifically since the 19th century. Well-known examples are the seven-string Heptachorde and the ten-string Décachorde by the French guitar maker René François Lacôte, for whom the contemporary guitarists Ferdinando Carulli and Napoléon Coste wrote their own textbooks.

Well-known interpreters on guitars with an extended range are:

Double neck guitar

Three neck guitar

A special shape is equipped with a second fingerboard and the corresponding sound hole in the top of the body. This means that either different stringings (e.g. gut and steel strings) or different open tunings can be played without having to change the instrument. It is also possible to design one of the necks for a twelve-string string. Instruments with a third neck are rare, but have also already been realized.

The double-sided guitar also has two necks, but only one has a fingerboard, while the second has free-swinging bass sides.

The artist Günther Beckers developed a double neck guitar with normal and fifth bass strings, each extended by a seventh string. The guitar maker Konstantin Hirsch designed and built the instrument. In addition to the normal tunings, the guitar is specially built for "The Book of Moods" for the artist's guitar and is unique. He gave her the name: g # b. It can be seen in the Beckers ° Böll Artists' Museum, Aachen.

  • Double neck guitar with normal and quint bass strings

Mood and range

See main article: Tuning a Guitar

The six different thick strings of the traditional guitar are mostly tuned to E - A - d - g - h - e '(standard tuning). Each string sounds a fourth, i.e. five semitones, higher than the string above. An exception is the b-string, which sounds a major third and thus four semitones higher than the g-string above. There are various mottos for the standard tuning, the most popular of which are:

  • E.in A.beginner D.he Gitarre Hbut E.ifer (alternatively "B.smokes "[5]) (Especially suitable for beginners.)
  • (the) E.rste A.uf D.he Gitarre Heats E. (Situation and text and therefore also the association fit)
  • E.ine A.lte D.ame Geht Heringe E.ssen (alternatively "B.rötchen ") (Often used)
  • E.ine A.lte D.German Gitarre Helder E.wig
  • E.ine A.lte D.sum Gans Holt E.ier (alternatively "B.it sits ")

This tuning has only been in use since the second half of the 18th century. Occasionally one or more strings of the guitar are tuned to other notes. Such a changed mood is called a scordatura. Frequent scordatures in classical guitar music are D - A - d - g - h - e ’or more rarely D - G - d - g - h - e’. To play renaissance lute music on the guitar, the scordature E - A - d - f sharp - h - e ’is often used, as the intervals between the strings are the same as between the first six choruses of the renaissance lute.

In addition, scordatures are used in non-classical music, in which the open strings result in a simple chord. Such scordatures will be open moods (open tunings). A well-known example of this is the piece The hole in the banana by Klaus Weiland. The resonance of the open strings gives the guitar a fuller sound. Important open moods are:

  • Open D tuning, (D - A - d - f sharp - a - d ’)
  • Open G tuning, (D - G - d - g - h - d ’)

The tuning D - A - d - g - h - e ’is sometimes also counted among the open tunings as a Dropped D tuning, although the open strings do not result in a simple chord.

Irish music likes to use the so-called modal Tuning D - A - d - g - a - d ’is used, and you play harmonies whose sound gender (major / minor) is not determined because the third is missing.

Guitars with seven, eight or ten strings are far rarer than six-string guitars. The fairly common twelve-string guitar has six pairs of strings in addition to the conventional EADGHE string set. The four low strings (E, A, d and g) are supplemented with higher pitched octave strings and the two high strings (h and e ’) with equally tuned strings. The resulting pairs of strings, each lying close to one another, are gripped or struck together. A fuller sound is achieved than with the six-string guitar, with minimal detuning of the double strings against each other and the resulting phase oscillations results in a spherical sounding chorus effect.

e ’f ’f sharp '/ ges'G'g sharp ’/ as’a 'ais '/ b'H'c ’’cis ’’ / des ’’d ’’dis ’’ / es ’’e ’’
Hc ’cis '/ des'd ’dis ’/ es’e ’f ’f sharp '/ ges'G'g sharp ’/ as’a 'ais '/ b'H'
Gg sharp / asaais / bHc ’cis '/ des'd ’dis ’/ es’e ’f ’f sharp '/ ges'G'
ddis / iteff sharp / totalGg sharp / asaais / bHc ’cis '/ des'd ’
A.Ais / BHccis / desddis / iteff sharp / totalGg sharp / asa
E.F.F sharp / GesGG sharp / a flatA.Ais / BHccis / desddis / ite

Fingering chart for simple chords: See guitar fingering


Ancient Egyptian guitar (between 1700 and 1200 BC)

Instruments like the guitar were in use 5000 years ago. An instrument similar to the European lute can already be found on a relief from the temple of Hammurabi (1792–1750 BC) in Babylon. Egyptian drawings show women playing instruments like a guitar from the time of the Pharaohs.[6] The name guitar was borrowed from Spanish (“guitarra”) and ultimately goes back to the ancient Greek word “κιθάρα” (kithara) via Arabic “qīṯāra”. However, like the lyre, this instrument belongs to the lyres of ancient Greece and is more of a forerunner of the zither or psalter. Commonly the instrument was also called al-Oud (Arabic عود: "the wood") denotes from which the medieval word "lute" is derived. At least one can conclude from the word history that it was the Moors who brought the oud, which was also called Barbat at that time, to Spain before the 10th century.

The Spanish vihuela from the Renaissance is the forerunner of today's guitar. It has a narrow body and a swivel plate.


It is believed that the origins of the guitar go back to a further development of instruments that function similarly to a monochord (left). Such instruments very likely arose from a simple bow and arrow.[7] There are cave drawings in southern France (around 14,000 BC),[8] which probably shows a musician who uses his mouth for a so-called mouth arch as a resonance body (similar to a jew's harp).[9] However, this assumption is only based on the fact that similar instruments like the berimbau (right) are still in use today, and that there is a difference between such rudimentary stringed instruments and other guitar-like instruments such as e.g. B. the Turkish Saz (right) or the Indian Sitar, derived from the Persian: Setar ("Three-string"), an Iranian musical instrument, setar (se = three, tar = string), gives an almost seamless transition.[10] When and where the guitar was first played on a real predecessor, however, is uncertain. However, images from Mesopotamia and Egypt of stringed instruments with a neck and a sound box indicate an origin in the early advanced civilizations.

The ancient Greeks played on lyres (yoke sounds). Only in the Hellenistic period did they also use lutes whose strings, unlike the lyres, could be shortened with the fingers on a fingerboard. The lyres consisted of a sounding body that ended up in two side arms, which were connected with a cross piece of wood. The strings were stretched in the frame formed in this way.

The lyre instrument, imported from there after the conquest of Greece, enjoyed great popularity in the Roman Empire. String instruments with a resonance box and neck were also in use and even made an important step in their development. The neck, which originally ran lengthways across the entire sound box, was instead attached to the body, as is still the case with today's guitars. These instruments were mainly played by the lower classes, including the soldiers who brought the instrument to Spain during the Punic Wars (264–146 BC). Here, however, the term kithara is differentiated from its Greek meaning and from now on no longer refers to the original yoke sounds.

middle Ages

Due to the influence of Christianity, the demands on the instruments also changed. Especially the emergence of polyphony called for a further development of the design. The sound box was now mainly glued together from boards and the side parts were bent outwards in order to be able to withstand the pressure exerted by the attached neck. In addition, the instruments no longer had a bulbous body, but an increasingly flat one, as we know it from today's guitars.

Although these instruments were also known in the rest of Europe, they were mainly used in Spain. The Moors have ruled there since 711, bringing with them an already fully developed instrument from their homeland, the Arabic lute (Arabic: al-oud, "wood") (left), which is played without frets. The renaissance lute (left) with frets developed from the oud in a similar construction. (Cords made of gut or similar solid material were "tied" around the neck at the correct distance). The Spaniards developed the vihuela from it (right),[11] which has the same stringing but a flat body. This was further developed to the present day guitar.

  • The Arabic lute al oud

  • A European renaissance lute

Renaissance, Baroque and Romanticism

Most of the music of the 17th century has been handed down in the form of tabs. However, when guitar music became more chord-based in the Baroque era, only that made it Guitarra the necessary structural adjustments; the vihuela died out. This development also took place on Spanish soil, influenced by Gaspar Sanz and his guitar school (Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra española), and so over time the guitar became known as Guitarra española - now five-choir - designated.

With the advancement of the Baroque, the style of play tended to diverge again rasgueado, striking chords, contrapuntal playing, the punteadountil a final break finally led to the early classical period. During this time the stringing of the guitar changed constantly, as the melody, as a supporting element, came to the fore and a lot of experimentation was carried out in order to gain new experiences.

Shortly before 1800 there was a kind of ring exchange between mandora and guitar. The guitar, which had been tuned backwards as a baroque guitar (reentrant tuning: e '- h - g - d' - a), took over the sixth string and the tuning of the mandora (e '- h - g - d - A - G, later also e '- h - g - d - A - E). The mandora, on the other hand, took over from the guitar the stringing with individual strings instead of choirs, which has now been introduced. A later legacy of this development on the part of the Mandora was the so-called guitar lute.

In this way, the five-course baroque guitar was transformed into the six-string guitar of the 19th century, with a more robust and, compared to the many ornaments of the baroque guitar, more functional construction. The installation of resonance bars, which transmitted the vibrations to the entire body, so that the tones became louder, was important for the sound.

Late history

The guitar lived its classical era mainly in Vienna and Paris. In Vienna, Johann Georg Stauffer coined the Viennese guitar model. Later than in these two cities, another center of European-class guitar developed in London.

The main composers for the instrument were Fernando Sor, Dionisio Aguado, Pierre-Jean Porro and Napoléon Coste (1805–1883) in Paris, as well as Mauro Giuliani, Johann Kaspar Mertz and Johann Dubez in Vienna. Numerous guitarists from Germany lived in London. The best known among them were Leonhard Schulz, Wilhelm Neuland, Luigi Sagrini (* 1809), Felix Horetzky (1796-1870), Ferdinand Pelzer (1801-1861) and his daughter Catharina Josepha Pratten (1821-1895). Giulio Regondi (1822-1872) was one of the most important guitar virtuosos after Giuliani's lifetime; he also lived in London for most of his life. However, some developments led back to Spain as early as the Romantic era. The guitarist Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) broke new ground there with his fingering and touching techniques that are still common today. At the same time, the guitar maker Antonio de Torres (1817-1892) perfected the guitar in terms of shape and dimensions, the arrangement of the top performance and mechanical details.[12]

Although there were many innovations in the 20th century - also due to electronic technologies - their effects will only be conclusively assessed at a later point in time. The Torres guitar has remained the basis of every classical concert guitar to this day.

Playing techniques

Basically, a distinction is made between playing techniques that are performed with the grasping hand and the touching hand. In practice, some techniques are also used with both hands, e.g. B. Tapping.


The guitar is at the classic posture supported on the thigh on the side of the hand. The lower indentation in the corpus comes to rest on the left thigh. For left-handed guitars, this is the other way around. The neck then points to the side of the gripping hand. It is possible to use a guitar case or a footstool to raise the leg on the side of the gripping hand by a few centimeters so that an optimal sitting position can be achieved: The neck points upwards at an angle of approximately 45 °. Alternatively, the foot of the gripping hand side can remain on the floor if a guitar support is attached between the support point of the guitar body and the leg of the gripping hand side, which thus also increases the position of the neck.

The elbow on the side of the gripping hand should be relaxed and angled about 90 degrees. The hitting hand should hang loosely over the belly of the guitar. The gripping hand should be positioned so that there is still some space (about the size of a tennis ball) between the fingerboard and the wrist. The thumb should be placed on the back of the fingerboard roughly in the middle. When grasping the strings, it is usually to be avoided that the finger joints of the grasping hand are pushed through, that is, stretched against their natural bending direction; This hand position, which can be strenuous for the beginner, can easily be maintained with a little practice, it is of great advantage for precise play and many techniques of the grasping hand. When grasping a "barre handle", ie when grasping several strings with just one finger, the extended finger should be placed close to the fret.

The fingers of the hitting hand should move out of the basic finger joint when plucking, which is why it is important to ensure that there is sufficient distance to the strings. When playing chords without a pick, it is advisable to use the thumb and forefinger together, with these two fingers touching each other and the three remaining fingers being slightly spread apart so as not to hinder the game.

Strike hand techniques

The strike hand, for right-handers it is the right, is the "leading" hand. It often sets the rhythm and speed and produces the tones by striking the strings.

The fingers of the Strike hand are referred to as p-pulgar (thumb), i-index (index finger), m-medio (middle finger), a-anular (ring finger) and e-meñique (little finger).

In general, the playing techniques can be used for the attack hand

differ, each of which can be divided into different techniques:

When plucking, individual strings are struck with the fingers or a pick. In this way, not only unanimous tone sequences, but also polyphonic movements can be played. In order to achieve higher speeds and make the game sound more fluid, a form of Change blow inserted: Two or more fingers strike the strings alternately. This is a special form of alternation tremolo, in which three or more fingers pluck the same string in quick succession. This technique is particularly known from the mandolin and is often heard in Spanish and Latin American guitar music as well as in harder forms of heavy metal. A distinction is also made between the types of attack tirando (Spanish "shooting, pulling") and apoyando (Spanish for "propping up") that change the sound properties of the tone produced. At the tirando- Only the string that is being plucked is touched when plucking apoyando-After plucking, the finger comes to rest on the next string below. Another form of plucking is one-handed Flageolet-Stop where, after plucking the string, it is immediately dampened with another finger (usually p). This can also be played with the string pulled, so that a whistling sound is produced - the exact function of the flageolet and the pulling of the string is explained in more detail below.

  • Pluck: individual strings are plucked with the fingers or struck with the plectrum. This can also be done in combination with a pick and fingers. In this way it is also possible to play a polyphonic melody. A distinction is made especially between the following plucking techniques:
    • Apoyando, span. propping up, leaning on: applied stop or Support strokein which the finger falls onto the next after striking one string. This technique creates a powerful, voluminous tone. The opposite of Tirando.
    • Tirando, span. throwing, shooting, pulling: free stopwhere the finger does not touch the next after striking one string. The opposite of Apoyando.
  • Beat (also Strumming): several strings are struck at the same time. This can be done with a single or multiple fingers and / or with an opening pick. Chords can also be played in this way. The following striking technique is particularly important:
    • Rasgueado, span. "scratched": a technique stemming from Spanish flamenco music in which three or four fingers (except the thumb) usually hit the strings in rapid succession in such a way that the strikes follow one another at high speed and produce a typical rattling effect.
  • Alternating stroke: Name for different techniques with which melodies and runs can be brought up to speed:
    • Usually the alternating premium and discount (see above Beat).
    • In the classic playing technique, the alternating use of different fingers - mostly the index and middle fingers - when playing melodies.
    • When playing individual strings with the pick, alternately striking the string up and down with the pick (this technique is also used alternate picking called).
  • Two-hand tapping Also right hand tapping called: an extended normal tapping in which the right hand is also used.
  • Pizzicato / Palm-Muted: one mutes the strings with the ball of the hand next to the bridge in order to produce a muffled sound when struck. Pizzicato / palm muting is often used in metal and rock songs, but is also a popular effect on classical guitar.
  • Alzapua, span. with the sting: Striking one to four strings with the thumb, often in groups of three: bass string down, one to four treble strings down, one to four treble strings up.
  • Golpe, span. blow (percussive effect): Hit the guitar top or the golpeador with your fingers.
  • Sweep picking (also "sweeping"): several strings are played with one pick. In contrast to the chord, the strings all sound individually, which is achieved by muffling with the grasping hand. With the help of sweep picking you can play faster and achieve smoother transitions between the individual notes.
  • tremolo: very fast repetition of a tone (often: p-a-m-i-attack), which gives the impression of a continuous tone. The technique is particularly known from the mandolin and is often heard in Spanish and Latin American guitar literature.

Grasping hand techniques

Vibrato: the grasping finger is gently moved back and forth in a more or less rapid “trembling movement”. This changes the pitch upwards in a slight oscillation. A distinction is made between classic vibrato (the vibrato movement is carried out parallel to the string, creating a more subtle effect) and vibrato, which is mostly used by electric guitarists, in which, similar to bending (pulling), the string is periodically stretched and relaxed along the fret becomes.

Flageolet: a technique to create overtones of a string or a fingered note. By lightly touching the string at certain points, a higher note sounds instead of the note actually struck. With this technique, a finger only touches certain points on the string lightly and leaves the string again shortly after it is struck. This technique is only useful for the flageolet at certain points on the string. If the strings are not fingered, these points are:

  • Twelfth fret = 1/2 the string length = octave
  • Seventh fret = 1/3 of the string length = fifth (also 19th fret = 2/3 String length)
  • Fifth fret = 1/4 the string length = double octave
  • shortly before the fourth fret = 1/5 the string length = double third

Flageolets are also possible in other places, but are more or less easy to represent depending on the type of guitar. They then no longer form such clear individual tones, but multi-sounds.

One differentiates:

  • Natural flageolets (also "natural harmonics"): With these, the strings remain unattached and the above-mentioned places are muted / fingered.
  • Artificial Flageolets (also "artificial harmonics"): With these, the strings are gripped. The stop points shift by twelve frets (octave flageolet). If the string is grabbed at the 3rd fret, the attachment point is therefore at the 15th (12 + 3) fret. The striking hand has to do double the work here, for example dampening the string with the index finger and striking the string with the thumb. What is done by two hands in the natural harmonics must be done by one, since the left hand is occupied with grasping. Another method of artificial harmonics is to tap the fingered notes twelve frets higher.

Hammer-on (also "serve binding"): a previously free finger strikes a string at a certain fret on the fingerboard. The sound is generated “knocking” by the gripping hand.

Pull off (also known as "trigger binding"): A finger that has previously gripped a note lets go of the string quickly or plucks it lightly. As a result, the tone played on a lower fret on this string or the tone of the open string (= plucking with the left hand) is heard.


Pull (also "bending"): You grasp a string and pull or push it with your gripping finger along the fret axis, whereby the currently sounding tone gradually approaches the target tone until it finally sounds.

Slide (also "slide" or "glissando"): the finger slides from one fret to another, keeping the string pressed down. This technique is often played in the blues with a tube, the bottleneck. This is on a finger of the gripping hand.

Rake: the first few strings are muted before the actual note, but still struck. This creates a percussive effect.

Dead note also Ghost notes called: the finger is only lightly placed on the string (s) so that only a percussive noise is produced when the strings that are dampened by the finger touch are struck. An example of this can be heard in Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, or in the intro of AC / DC's “Back in Black”.


Pieces for guitar are recorded in writing both in sheet music and in tablature. The notes for guitar are notated in the octave treble clef, so they sound an octave lower. The tablature notation that mimics the strings of the guitar goes back to the lute music of the Renaissance. While classical guitar pieces are preferably offered in sheet music, the tablature is popular for music from the fields of rock, pop and folk. Tablature is also preferred by many professional guitar performers, as evidenced by the fact that they themselves notate their original pieces in tablature. The guitar player is often offered both variations (as shown in the picture).

Electric guitars

Electric guitar

Main article electric guitar

In contrast to the acoustic guitar, the string vibrations of an electric guitar (electric guitar) are picked up by electric ferromagnetic pickups or piezo crystals and amplified electronically. This is usually done with guitar amplifiers adapted to amplify the electric guitar. The body is mostly massive. There are also electro-acoustic guitars. These are acoustic guitars with built-in pickups. As a result, the sound can be output via an amplifier just like the electric guitar.

Jazz guitar

As the original form of the jazz guitar (also Plectrum- or Beat guitar called) is the model manufactured in 1923 L-5 of the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company in Kalamazoo / USA. For the conditions at the time, the guitar had special features that should determine the standard for all instruments of this genre made according to it. This was a body modeled on violin making with a curved bottom and top (archtop). Instead of the otherwise round or sometimes oval sound holes, two f-holes were worked into the ceiling. The steel strings were anchored in a trapezoid metal tailpiece at the lower end of the body, which led over a two-part and thus height-adjustable bridge. The neck - until then connected to the body at the height of the 12th fret - released a full 14 frets in the L-5. In order to counteract the string tension of the now longer neck, Gibson inserted a steel rod into a groove along the neck, which was additionally adjustable via a threaded nut at its exit, under the saddle on the headstock. The company had a patent on this construction for a long time.

In terms of musical development, the jazz guitar replaced the banjo that had been widespread up until then. It was still used in traditional jazz, but with the dawn of the swing era it had to leave the field to the "noble" sounding guitar, which from then on could not be missing in any big band or dance orchestra. Problematic for the guitarist of those days, however, was the situation of setting his instrument audibly against the prevailing volume levels in medium-sized and large orchestras. Instrument construction responded by increasing the size of the jazz guitar's resonance bodies. Of the then 16 "(lower body width) of the first L-5, the dimensions were 18" at Gibsons by the end of the 1930s Super 400 and even 19 "on some models from Epiphone and Stromberg. The attempts, also begun in the 1930s, to record the vibrations of the steel strings using electromagnetic pickups and transmit them to amplifiers from early radio technology, provided a real remedy. These were the first pickups Either placed freely between the ceiling and strings by means of appropriate brackets or mounted directly on the ceiling. This made it possible for jazz guitarists to perform as a soloist in addition to their tasks in the rhythm section. The first industrially mass-produced jazz guitar with a permanently mounted pickup was the Gibson ES-150 introduced in 1936. With this model, the US jazz guitarist Charlie Christian pioneered the “wind-like” playing (runs, melody lines and solos) on the electrically amplified guitar, and is particularly featured in recordings from 1939 to 1941 with Benny Goodman's combo - casts to be heard.

After the end of the Second World War, there were further changes in the construction of the jazz guitar. To play in the upper layers, i.e. upwards of the 14th fret, the adjacent body flank always had to be overcome. As an innovation, instruments have been equipped with a "cutaway", a shape at the point described in the body, so that the left shoulder of the guitar is lower than on the right. The space gained in this way allows the gripping hand to play comfortably even above the 14th fret. The curvatures of the back and the top, borrowed from violin making, had to be carved out of appropriately massive wooden planks, which required a high level of craftsmanship and was therefore very time-consuming. So they started to manufacture floors, ceilings and frames from plywood, which were then shaped in special pressing machines. The woods otherwise used for this (mostly maple and spruce) only formed the outer layer of veneer, so that the visual impression after the finish does not show any difference to the other construction method. This made it possible to manufacture guitars faster and more cheaply. This production method was not used for top models, although solidly manufactured tops were also combined with frames and bottoms made of plywood. When used purely acoustically, plywood guitars do not sound equivalent to instruments made from solid wood. But this comparison faded increasingly into the background, as the jazz guitars were played more and more often only electrically amplified. In addition, the well-known manufacturers had their own pickups in their range, such as Gibson's "P 90" or the "New Yorker" pickups from Epiphone. Others were supplied by companies like DeArmond (e.g. Gretsch) to equip the electronics of their guitars with these products.

However, in 1950 the decade began in which Gibson caused a sensation with the Les Paul and ES 335 and the radically redesigned guitars by Leo Fender from California gave the market a huge boost. These instruments revolutionized guitar making and set standards in sustainability that continue to this day. The hunt for sustain, effects and overdrive that followed was never the terrain of the jazz guitar. The fact that it continued to be manufactured by the leading manufacturers despite this development was not only due to traditional reasons. No other type of guitar brings more percussive attacks in the acoustic playing style and transmits filigree rhythm work more cleanly. Electrically amplified, with good pickups, it delivers clear, round tones with substance due to its resonance structure. With these advantages, the jazz guitar has been able to inspire new generations of musicians since its inception.

Semi-resonant guitar

Main article semi-resonance guitar

Semi-resonance guitar from Epiphone

The semi-resonance guitar (also called semi-acoustic guitar or semi-acoustic guitar) is a variant of the electrically amplified full-resonance guitar and differs from it by the regularly lower body depth. Occasionally the other body dimensions are also designed to be smaller than those of the full resonance guitar. In addition to the pure semi-acoustic construction ("Hollow Body"), the processing of a massive central beam (Center block / Sustain block), which extends in the extension of the neck to the lower end of the body and divides it into two chambers. These instruments are often referred to as “semi-solids” because the sound behavior of the solidly built electric guitar (“solid body”) is closer than that of the purely acoustic version. The term "semi-solids" is also used for solidly built electric guitars that are equipped with larger resonance chambers on the inside of the body. The typical semi-resonance guitar is an F-hole guitar in single or double cutaway design (see picture). Models without F-holes are also available to minimize the unwanted feedback effect in amplifier operation. The electrical control equipment includes two pickups that are mounted on the ceiling, including volume and tone controls.

Electric bass

Main article electric bass

The electric bass was born out of an effort to replace the double bass with an electrically amplifiable instrument with the same tuning and pitch range, but the size of a guitar. It usually has four strings (but there are also models with five or more strings) that are continuously tuned in fourths. This is why the E, A, D and G strings are tuned an octave lower than the corresponding strings on a guitar. Like the guitar, the electric bass is an octave instrument, so its tone sounds an octave lower than notated.

Silent / Traveler Guitar

Silent Guitar and Traveler Guitar are the brand names of body-less guitars that play like a concert or a folk / western guitar. Due to the lack of a resonance body, they are much quieter, but also more compact than other guitars. The sound can also be picked up and amplified electrically.

Another type of traveler guitar is the Foldaxe invented in 1975 in Germany by Roger Field (made for a short time in 1977 by Hoyer, then further developed by Field), a collapsible electric guitar designed for Chet Atkins (in Atkins' book Me and My Guitars).


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Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Similar sounding names from Indian: Sitar derived from Persian: Setar ("Three strings") and possibly from Hebrew: kinura, kinnor
  2. ↑ http: //www.kraushaar-gitarren.de/cms/buende.html
  3. ↑ Michael Koch: Children's guitars, student guitars. Mainz can be found under EGTA on the Internet.
  4. ↑ z. B. Bourrée and Gigue by Johann Sebastian Bach
  5. ↑ In English-speaking countries and in many popular guitar books, the English "B" is used instead of the German "H", and the English "Bb" is used for the German "B"
  6. ↑ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. 12, p. 704
  7. ↑ Frederic V. Grunfeld, The Art and Times of the Guitar: An illustrated History of Guitars and Guitarists (Toronto: Collier-Macmillan Canada Ltd., 1969, 6.
  8. ^ "Trois Frères," Encyclopædia Britannica, http://www.itannica.com (January 28, 2009). see also Three Brothers Cave
  9. ^ "Past No. 29", The Prehistoric Society, January 28, 2009
  10. ↑ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, volume. 12, p. 704 ff.
  11. ^ Frederic V. Grunfeld, The Art and Times of the Guitar: An illustrated History of Guitars and Guitarists, Toronto: Collier-Macmillan Canada Ltd., 1969, 31.
  12. ↑ See: Antonio de Torres; Section: The Torres Guitar