Modified & Updated: 23 Sep 2023

Acoustic guitar laid on wooden floor

From the hollow strums of an acoustic guitar to the electrifying riffs of its electric cousin, the guitar is a versatile instrument that is at the heart of many music genres. Here are 15 interesting facts about this beloved instrument that is sure to strike a chord with music enthusiasts and trivia buffs alike.

Table of Contents

The Ancestor of the Guitar

The modern guitar can trace its roots back to the oud, an instrument that was prevalent in Persia around 2000 BCE. The oud eventually made its way to Spain, where it evolved into what we now know as the guitar.

The Birth of the Classical Guitar

The classical guitar as we know it came into existence in the 19th century. Spanish luthier Antonio de Torres Jurado is credited with designing the classical guitar, significantly increasing its size and thus its volume.

The First Electric Guitar

While it’s common knowledge that the electric guitar is a relatively modern invention, you might be surprised to learn that it dates back to 1931. George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker created the first electric guitar, which was known as the “Frying Pan” due to its distinctive shape.

Godin Electric Guitar
Image from Flickr

The Most Expensive Guitar Ever Sold

The title of the most expensive guitar ever sold goes to a black Stratocaster owned by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. In 2019, this iconic instrument fetched a staggering $3.975 million at auction, shattering previous records.

The World’s Largest Guitar

Recognized by the Guinness World Records, the world’s largest playable guitar measures 43 feet 7.5 inches in height, 16 feet 5.5 inches in width, and weighs a whopping 2000 pounds. This colossal instrument, a replica of a Gibson Flying V, was built by the Academy of Science and Technology in Texas, USA.

The Most Strings on a Guitar

The guitar with the most strings is an electric guitar with 55 strings created by Keith Medley. Medley crafted this unique instrument to play his compositions that couldn’t be played on a traditional guitar.

Guitars on the International Space Station

Music can be a great source of comfort, even in outer space. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield famously played and recorded the first original song on the International Space Station (ISS) using a guitar that was kept aboard for recreational purposes.

The Guitar and Human Voice

The guitar is one of the few instruments that can closely mimic the human voice. This ability to “speak” through music is one reason why the guitar holds such a special place in many cultures.

Left-Handed Guitars

Left-handed guitars are not just regular guitars strung in reverse. They are specially designed to be a mirror image of right-handed guitars. Some famous left-handed guitarists include Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, and Kurt Cobain.

The Longest Guitar Marathon

The record for the longest guitar-playing marathon goes to David Browne. In 2011, Browne played the guitar for an incredible 114 hours and 6 minutes. That’s nearly five continuous days of strumming!

Guitar Close-up
Image from Flickr

Types of Wood Used in Guitars

Different types of wood can greatly affect a guitar’s tone. Commonly used woods include mahogany for warmth, maple for brightness, and rosewood for a rich, balanced sound. The wood used for the body, neck, and fretboard all contribute to the guitar’s overall sound.

Unique Guitar Techniques

Guitarists have developed many unique techniques to express themselves musically. These include hammer-ons, pull-offs, and tapping with the picking hand. Eddie Van Halen, in particular, is known for popularizing the tapping technique.

The Guitar’s Role in Different Genres

The guitar is a versatile instrument used in many music genres, from classical and jazz to rock and country. Its ability to produce a wide range of tones and styles has made it a staple in music worldwide.

Amplification and Effects

With the invention of the electric guitar came the use of amplifiers and effects pedals, which have drastically expanded the sounds that a guitar can produce. Today’s guitarists can use effects to create sounds that the instrument’s inventors could have only dreamed of.

The Popularity of the Guitar

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. It’s estimated that there are over 50 million guitarists worldwide, with more picking up the instrument every day.

Final Word

Whether you’re a seasoned guitarist or just a fan of music, these facts highlight the guitar’s rich history and wide-ranging influence. This instrument has evolved and adapted over centuries, and it continues to inspire musicians and listeners alike with its versatility and expressive potential. So the next time you hear the strum of a guitar, you’ll appreciate not just the music, but also the fascinating backstory behind this extraordinary instrument.