Who Invented the Acoustic Guitar?
The Mystery of Who Invented the Acoustic Guitar
The major conundrum behind answering this question lies in the fact that debate exists about when the guitar actually became the guitar. Stringed instruments similar to the guitar, like the oud and the lute, date back thousands of years. Stone carvings of people playing tanburs, a lute with a long, narrow neck, date beck almost 4,000 years.
While these ancient instruments are certainly guitar-like, they are usually not what modern people picture when they think about the acoustic guitar. By most accounts, the first modern acoustic guitars owe their origins to the rich heritage of European musical instrument builders.
Italy: The Earliest Acoustic Guitar
Many guitar history books point to an Italian gentleman named Gaetano Vinaccia as being the inventor of the acoustic guitar. Vinaccia's family was famous in the later part of the 18th century for being exceptional luthiers and produced some of the highest quality violins available in Europe at the time. They are also credited with inventing the mandolin.
A six-stringed instrument dated 1779 and built in Naples, where Vinaccia worked, is considered by many to be the first true acoustic guitar. This "romantic guitar" is smaller and narrower than today's classical guitars. Some debate exists as to whether this instrument is authentic since there are many instances of instruments from that time period being fraudulently labeled. However, many reputable historians freely credit Gaetano Vinaccia as being the inventor of the acoustic guitar.
Spain: The First Modern Classical Guitars
While there is some debate surrounding Vinaccia's romantic guitar, historians agree on who is the father of the modern classical guitar. Spaniard Antonio Torres Jurado is universally acknowledged for designing and building the first classical guitar. Torres constructed his first guitars in Sevilla in 1852, and he produced a handful every...