The acoustic guitar is one of the oldest musical instruments that still exists today. Its origin has many versions, but it can be traced back to the Uruk period between 3500 B.C. and 3200 B.C. and an engraving on a small round cylinder. How old is the oldest existing acoustic guitar? It depends on if you’re looking at modern acoustic guitars, or one of the many ancient predecessors.
Stringed instruments are believed to be pioneered by the Egyptians, Greeks and Persians, as in fact, the oldest surviving guitar-like instrument is the tanbur from Egypt, dating back to circa 1500 B.C. This instrument looks like a fretted lute with three strings and a long neck, and a pear-shaped soundbox.
At around 700 B.C., the kithara had become a prominent musical in ancient Greece. The word “guitar” is believed to have originated from the word “kithara”, as these instruments share similar characteristics. It is made up of seven strings of equal length and a wooden body, usually with a flat base and had a wooden soundboard, and its body was made of two tables connected by ribs.
The oldest existing guitar as of this time would be the Belchior Dias Vihuela. Considered the predecessor of the modern guitars, the Belchior Dias Vihuela was created in 1590 in Portugal by no other than Belchior Dias. It has ten strings, and instead of regular metal frets, its ligatures are tied like those found on a lute.
What is the oldest acoustic guitar brand?
The oldest acoustic guitar brand that still exists up to this day is the CF Martin & Co. The company was established in 1833 by a German-born American, Christian Frederick Martin. The company has set the standards for the modern-day guitar’s shape, sound, and other common qualities.
Mr. Martin was the first to have created the world’s first X-braced guitar. This bracing method would help withstand the tension created by steel strings, as it also gave rise to chord-based music in place of the elegant precision of the Spanish style of a classical guitar.
He was also the first to have used steel strings in a guitar so that banjo players playing the then-popular style of country music could switch over and play without any discomfort.
CF Martin & Co. were among the first guitar brands to ethically source the wood they use to make their instruments, using only “imperfect wood” for production as they place a heavy emphasis on sustainability and care about their impact on the environment.
CF Martin & Co. has survived nearly 200 years and is now known as simply the Martin guitar as it is still played today by famous musicians, including John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran, and many more.
What was the first acoustic guitar ever made?
Even though many instruments in the ancient era resemble the acoustic guitar, it is still the Belchior Diaz Vihuela that holds the record of the world’s first acoustic guitar ever made. It was made in Portugal in 1590.
The instrument made by Belchior Dias has a different shape and string configuration as it grew out of traditions of curved-waist stringed instruments. It is the oldest known example of the fuller-sized instrument that can be termed a guitar.
Typical of the earliest guitars, the Belchior Diaz Vihuela has five sets of gut strings in double courses and frets made from gut knotted around the neck. It also has friction tuning pegs and a fingerboard flush with the soundboard.
Although the Belchior Diaz Vihuela has been heavily restored over the years, it still retains its original look and feel. The acoustic guitar’s parchment rose, a decorative rosette, might even be completely original. Frank Koonce currently owns the Belchior Diaz Vihuela, but it is currently on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
Many of these acoustic guitar predecessors could very well be well kept in a private collection, so it’s hard to know how old the oldest existing acoustic guitar is.
How old is the modern guitar?
The first modern acoustic guitar was developed by the German-born American luthier Christian Frederick Martin. He is the founder of the company CF Martin & Co., established in 1833. The first acoustic guitar he made was the 1834 Stauffer Style Guitar which was made in year 1834.
The 1834 Stauffer Style Guitar made by Christian Frederick Martin is constructed with flamed maple back and sides and an elaborate clock key adjustable neck fashioned from inlaid strips of ebony and ivory.
CF Martin & Co. or now known as Martin Guitars, the manufacturer of the world’s first modern acoustic guitar, has already been in the industry for about 189 years.
Christian Frederick Martin was believed to be the first to discover the X-bracing method. The X-bracing refers to the pattern of strips of wood used to strengthen the top of an acoustic guitar. This bracing method would help withstand the tension created by steel strings, which eventually became a prominent acoustic guitar feature in the early 20th century.
The company’s experiments with their design created the shape and sound of the American flat-top acoustic guitar you know today. They are also the ones who produced the first dreadnought guitar, which has become the most common body for acoustic guitars up to this day.
Looking back at the past, It’s difficult to say how old is the oldest existing acoustic guitar.The acoustic guitar is already an integral part of the music industry, and until now, it remains the same. Even though studying the history of acoustic guitar does not help you improve in playing it, it helps you appreciate the instrument’s significance in the music industry throughout the time.