10 Interesting Facts about Guitars You Haven’t Heard About
The guitar is arguably the most popular musical instrument, only second to the piano. However, how well do you know an instrument that elicits excitement whenever someone plays it? For starters, it has gone through various changes over the years.
Source: Richard Newman Guitars
These interesting facts about the guitar will impress everyone, on how much you know about the stringed instrument. I have scoured the internet, consulted some musical consortiums, and compiled this list of the top ten interesting facts about guitars.
Fact 1 – The First Guitar Was Built In Egypt
The earliest instrument that resembles a guitar was discovered in ancient Egypt. It is dated to be around 3,500 years old, but it is very different from the guitars of today. It belonged to a musician of the time known as Har-Mose.
The guitar-like instrument was made from polished cedar with a soundboard made from rawhide. It had three strings and had a plectrum device attached with a chord to the instrument. The guitar-like instrument is on display at the Archeological Museum in Cairo. However, there is evidence of a stringed instrument used in Persia (present day Iran) around the same time and were called ‘Tanburs.’
Fact 2 – Adoption of the Word Guitar
The world guitar was first adopted in England. This is after the English heard about a Spanish stringed instrument they called ‘Guitarra.’ From then on, the six-stringed musical instrument has become known as the guitar the world over.
Fact 3 – Design and Dimensions of the Modern Guitar
Do you ever wonder why modern guitars all have the same look? Well, it is thanks to Spanish guitarist, Antonio Torres Jurado. He harmonized the various designs and dimensions of his day and gave us the modern guitar.
Fact 4 – World’s Biggest Guitar Is 13 Meters Long
The Guinness Book of World Records certifies that the biggest guitar ever made is 13 meters long, which is roughly the length of a commuter bus. This is not a model guitar, but it functions as a normal-sized guitar would.
The Academy of Science and Technology in Texas made the guitar that weighs a little over 1,000 KGs. It took a year to build it, and it uses aircraft cables for strings. Moreover, it was in the shape of the iconic Gibson Flying V guitar.
However, Cornell University set out to make the world’s smallest guitar. The result was a 10-micrometer long guitar with the strings being 50 nanometers wide. Despite the size of the strings you could play the guitar. The human ear could not hear the sound from the tiny guitar since the frequencies were extremely high.
Fact 5 – $2.8 Million Guitar
How much would you pay for a guitar? Depending on the quality and make of the guitar, the prices vary. However, Fender created the most expensive guitar, a one-of-a-kind Stratocaster. It was for a campaign dubbed “Reach out to Asia.” The campaign was designed to raise money for victims of the 2004 Tsunami caused by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean.
It is rumored that Fender spent roughly $20,000 to make the Strat, but went for $2.8 million due to the decorations used. It had signatures on its face and body by guitar icons including Bryan Adams, Mick Jagger, Sting, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, and more.
Fact 6 – Most Luxurious Guitar
While the Strat made by Fender was the most expensive guitar in history, Gibson made the most luxurious guitar and unbeiled it in 2015. It was worth nearly as much as Fender’s Strat, not because of the iconic signatures, but because of the opulent materials used in its decoration.
Gibson worked alongside Aaron Shum, a jewelry designer, and Mark Lui, a musician, and designer, to create the ‘Eden of Coronet.’ The result was a white SG that had 1.6kg of 18-karat gold and more than 400 diamonds.
Fact 7 – The First Stratocaster
David Gilmour – the iconic British guitarist, bought the Fender Strat serial number #0001 from George Gruhn’s vintage guitar store for $250,000 in Tennessee. This Stratocaster has a gold pickguard, a rare three-way selector switch, and three single-coil pickups with a white finish.
However, rumor has it that it could be a showpiece and not the first Strat. George sold the first-ever Strat, which was made in 1954, in 2014.
Fact 8 – 7 and 8 – Stringed Guitars
Anyone who thinks of getting his or her first guitar only knows of the popular 6-string guitar. However, did you know that there are some guitars with seven and eight strings? While popular brands such as Fender have been developing guitars with extra stings, Ibanez, was the first guitar maker to mass produce guitars with extra strings.
Source: The Guitar Addict
They introduced the seven-string guitar in 1990 and the eight-string guitar in 2007. The 7-string guitar was originally designed to have a high A to replace the low B.
Fact 9 – Chris Black Married His Stratocaster
Chris Black, a British musician made headlines when he married his red Fender Stratocaster. He had named it ‘Brenda the Fenda’ and married it after 35 long years of dating. The ceremony held in a London church was officiated by Chris’ friend.
Brenda the Fenda was Chris’s second wife since he was already married. When speaking to the press following the ceremony, Chris said he did it for fun to cheer people up.
Fact 10 – Michael Angelo Batio’s Quad guitar
Have you ever seen a double guitar? While they are rare, Michael Angelo Batio, one of the fastest guitarists in the world, has a custom-made quad guitar. This one-of-a-kind guitar has two 6-string necks and two 7-string necks.
The guitar was made by Gibson’s Wayne Charvel and was used for MAB’S solo at Nitro’s Freight Train. The guitar, that was christened ‘axe’ was stolen shortly thereafter. Fortunately, the guitarist was reunited with his guitar in England, but he had to buy it back for 1,500 euros.
Guitars are full of wonder, and we will continue to adore the instrument and the people who strive to master it. These are only ten of the most interesting facts about guitars, but there is a whole lot more. As technology improves production techniques, we can expect to see better guitars and bolder people stepping up to tame the instrument.