As I dust off the top of my guitar case, to feel the instrument inside hurting to be heard, I unsnap the brass locks, lift open the creaking top and am overcome with an involuntary smurk. My favorite guitar, my baby, a Gibson SJ200 replica that me and my father built. Light brown with the highest gloss, chocolate brown fretboard, with brass strings like falling stars shooting to th head of the guitar. I suddenly wake up to find my dreams still dreams instead of a flashback in history. If only I could build such an acoustic guitar, and capture such a beautiful sound using the technology so easily found today.
Maybe if I knew more about the instrument’s history, or the technology’s. The guitar had its primitive origins in the ancient Near East. Clay plaques excavated from Babylonia, dated circa 1850 B. C. , show figures playing musical instruments, some bearing a general resemblance to a guitar and having a distinctly differentiated body and neck. Later evidence from ancient Egypt indicates a necked instrument with marked frets about the neck. A stringed instrument from ancient Rome incorporates a wood soundboard with five groups of small sound holes.
During the Middle Ages, guitars with three, four, and five strings co-existed. The Guitarra Latina had curved sides and is thought to have come to Spain from elsewhere in Europe. The Guitarra Morisca, brought to Spain by the Moors, had an oval soundbox and many sound holes on its soundboard. By the fifteenth century, four double-string guitars, similar to lutes, became popular, and by the sixteenth century, a fifth double-string had been added. In this period of time, composers wrote mostly in tablature notation.
Italy was the center of guitar world during the 17th century, and the the Spanish school of guitar making only began to flourish late in the 18th century after the addition of the sixth string. During the 19th century, improved communication and transportation enabled performers to travel widely and the guitar became a widely known instrument. Guitar music became especially popular in Spain and Antonio de Torres developed the Spanish guitar in its modern form, with a broadened body, increased waist curve, thinned belly, improved internal bracing, single string courses replacing double courses, and a machined head replacing wooden tuning pegs.
While most of the credit for the early development of the acoustic guitar goes to Europeans, today’s steel-string acoustic guitars were developed in America. During the early 20th century, when European emigrants were coming to America in droves, there were a number of highly skilled instrument makers among them, including those who specialized in the steel-stringed acoustic guitar. Two types of construction evolved: the flat-top guitar and the arch-top guitar. Martin and Gibson were two of the earliest — and most influential — American acoustic guitar makers. Modern guitars have six strings.
Andres Segovia, a Spanish guitarist who lived from 1893 to 1987, helped establish the guitar as a concert instrument, adapting it to the complex music of modern composers and transcribing early polyphonic music. His virtuoso playing inspired compositions by Manuel de Falla and Villa-Lobos. Acoustic guitars are used most often in folk and jazz music. I’ve been playing guitar for only about a year and a half now, and I play a yamaha dreadnought, which means it is your average acoustic guitar. I would prefer to have a Cutaway Acoustic/Electric, which is a guitar that is acoustic but you can amplify also.
The guitar amp was invented by Leo Fender to help the rising issue of not being able to hear the sound of the guitar over large audiences. The audiences started out small, listening to their favorite guitarists and musicians, then began to grow. To solve this problem an interface to capture sounds through a microphone was invented, and used to mass produce. Radio stations picked these recorded songs up instantly. The first song ever aired on the radio in the United States was a song by William James Adams called “super black”.
The process was conceived and developed by guitarist Les Paul in the 1940s with the financial and inspirational assistance of Bing Crosby and the Ampex Corporation , resulting in the first 8-track machine which used 1-inch tape. Through the 1950s, many popular recordings, notably those of Les Paul and Mary Ford and Patti Page used the technology to enhance vocals and instrumentals. From these pioneering beginnings, it evolved in subsequent decades into a mainstream recording technique. Certain software includes SONAR, M-Audio, Riffworks, Ableton Live, Garage Band(Comes with a Mac Computer), Fruity Loops, Reaper, MAGIX, and many more.
Each software is made to fit different computers as a Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS, and Mac OS X. Today I can buy an interface that is no bigger than a loaf of bread, it is a box that has dials and plug-ins for mics and guitars. That box plugs into your computer, and plays into one of the recording softwares above. I use Riffworks simply because it was the only one in my price range at the time. The software comes up in a window to show your play time, sound levels, and effects or often abbreviated as “Fx”.