A Brief History of Guitars

If there is one instrument that has lasted through hundreds of years, it would be the guitar. Some even claim that the history of guitars goes back 4000 years ago. As much as the guitar is undoubtedly one of the most commonly used and popular instrument today, this was not the case back then.

Its Early Beginnings

There are several theories on how guitars came into existence. One thing, however, is sure and that is that the guitar was not suddenly made out of nothing by early people. The difference in the theories mostly come in when discussing where the guitar sort of “evolved” from. Some believe that it was an advancement of the classical lute while others say that it was inspired from the kithara by the Greeks. The latter even sounds like the modern Spanish word for guitar which is “quitarra”.

Interestingly, archaeologists have found Egyptian wall paintings of people carrying what seems like stringed instruments. Many of which have been identified to be some of the modern instruments present now which of course includes the guitar.

The Tanbur Family

Wherever it may have originated from, guitars were later placed in an instrument-family called Tanburs. In its simple definition, a tanbur is an instrument that has a long neck, strings, and a body shaped like a pear. These tanburs were speculated to have come from the bowl harps. These tanburs, together with bowl harps and other instruments, were part of the Egyptian wall paintings that were discovered by the archaeologists.

The Oldest Guitar Alive Today

Egyptian history will tell you that there once lived a famous singer named Harmose who had a guitar. When he died, he was buried together with his tanbur. That same tanbur is now preserved in a museum. This then became the basis for many of the studies and findings that were mentioned.