"The Lute Player" by Theodoor Rombouts Circa. 1620

Gretch "White Falcon"

Combining George Beaucamp’s Pickups with a solid Aluminum body, the National Guitars “Frying Pan” is considered the first production "Solid Body" Electric Guitar. National Guitars became Rickenbacker in 1934

Over thousands of years in Europe, many stringed instruments were invented that look like Guitars including Lutes, Hurdy Gurdys and Zithers.

An African Style Bow Harp

Les Paul's "Log" Guitar

Parker "Fly"

The History of the Guitar starts with the history of the String

Before recorded history early humans discovered that by stretching a string between sticks you could make all kinds of useful thing like a Catapult,  a Bow, a Drying rack, a Bed, a Fire starter and a Music Maker. 

Early humans made string from many kinds of natural materials including Plant Fiber, Horse Hair, Intestines, Silk, Linen and Rawhide. 

When you fire an Arrow the Bow string makes a cool sound. At some point early humans saw the potential for a stringed instrument by adding a resonance box to amplify the sound of the taught Bow string.

In western Europe, animal Intestines became the material of choice to make strings for musical instruments. Using a lengthy process of cleaning, drying, tanning and polishing, the gut of common animals like pigs and sheep were turned into thin, long-lasting strings. Commonly called “Catgut” strings, Cats are generally not used to make strings. "Catgut" was replaced by a type of plastic called "Nylon" in the 1940's. 

Early Stringed instruments were probably very similar to the African Bow Harp or the Greek Lyre.

The word “Guitar” comes from an old Persian word “Chartar” that means four strings.

At the Archeological Museum in Egypt they have a Guitar like instrument complete with a Pick that was found in a 3500 year old tomb.


European immigrants to American brought their instruments with them. One German Immigrant called Christian Fredrich Martin experimented with stronger construction techniques that allowed for the use of Steel Strings. Steel Strings were a relatively new invention in 1900, they were louder then Catgut strings and allowed the Guitar to keep up with popular, louder instruments like Banjo and Violin.

Mine goes to 11..

Volume was still a problem when it came to live performance. Dance bands of the 1920’s used loud instruments like Trumpets and Drums to get the crowd moving. Guitars were still too quiet.

Many inventors devised ingenious ways to amplify the Guitar. One of those people was a Slide Guitar Player from Texas called George Beauchamp. By 1931 Beauchamp had joined up with the National Guitar Company to produce his magnetic devices that "Pickup" the sound of the metal strings vibrating in front of them.

Magnetic "Pickups" produce a very small electrical current when the metal Guitar strings move near them. This current is made loud enough to hear by the "Amplifier" connected to a Speaker.

As the Guitar got louder, feedback became a problem. Feedback is greatly reduced if you have a Guitar with a Solid Body.


When the Sound from the Amplifier causes the Guitar strings to vibrate by themselves. Feedback can be a low groan or a shrieking sound that will gradually get louder as it “Feeds Back” on itself. Acoustic/Electric Guitars are more prone to Feedback because the air inside the Guitar will begin to vibrate at relatively low volumes. Most Electric Guitars have a Sold Body to reduce unwanted Feedback.

Feedback can be awesome, you can learn to control it.

Listen to the third verse of “Smells Like teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

Click the Photo or Button to Listen

Jimi Hendrix is famous for his musical use of Feedback.

Click the Photo or Button to Listen

Here are the birth dates of other well known Guitars.

Rickenbacker “Electro String” 1935

Les Paul “Log” Guitar 1941

Fender “Telecaster” 1951

Gibson “Les Paul” 1952

Fender “Stratocaster” 1954

Gretch “White Falcon” 1954

Gibson “Flying V” 1958

Frankenstrat 1979

Paul Reed Smith 1985

Parker “Fly” 1993 

Ibanez 7 String 1994

Ibanez 8 String 2007

Gibson “Robot” 2007

It is commonly agreed that Martin Guitars invented the American Style Steel String Acoustic Guitar we are familiar with today.

Boosey & Sons 6 String Guitar

England 1865

Fender "Stratocaster" a.k.a. "Strat"

By 1830 the Spanish “Guitarra” had six strings, metal frets and geared tuning pegs like a modern Classical Guitar.

"....sometimes you wanna give up the Guitar,  you'll hate the Guitar. 

But if you stick with it, your gonna be rewarded..."

Jimi Hendrix

"Cat Gut" strings made from animal intestines were replaced by plastic strings made from Nylon in the 1940's


A Greek Style "Lyre"

Ibanez "M80M" 8-String

1930 Martin OM-28

 ​Pierre Rene Lacote 6 String Guitare

France 1836 

The modern Nylon String Guitar looks much like the 4 course (4 string) “Chitarra” that was popular in Italy and Spain by 1500


Gibson "Les Paul"

A Jean-Baptiste Voboam, 5 String Guitar. France Circa. 1690

Rickenbacker Frying Pan. Circa 1934