Ashcraft Studios welcomes you to join us as we review six famous guitars and their celebrity owners. Over the next six weeks we will discuss legendary artists and the extraordinary instruments they played. Episodes will be released every Friday, so make sure to subscribe to our mailing list and never miss a story.
But first, a little history.
Since the beginning of time man-kind has sought to express themselves through creative means. Men and women throughout history have performed tales of love and loss, and joy and tragedy through music. From the Arabic Oud to the electric guitar, the humble guitar has been a key player in the evolution of music. As vital as the guitar may be to the field of music, it is however, still a tool for the musicians who play them.
The first guitar like instrument was first recorded around 3,500 – 3,200 BCE in Southern Mesopotamia. The Arabic Oud is believed to have been created in 3,000 with an origin story stemming from biblical roots. Its shape is said to be been inspired by the shape of the deceased and hanging body of the son of Lamech, the sixth grandson of Adam. The Kithara was popular in an ancient Greece in 2,000 BCE and the Tanbur gained popularity in 1,500 BCE in ancient Persia.
The lute was eventually introduced and enjoyed many years of popularity. Although the lute began with four strings, it evolved to have as many as twenty or thirty strings by the 15th and 16th centuries. The instrument began to lose favor as Spanish musicians started to favor the curves of the up and coming guitar.
Antonio Torres Jurado is known as the creator of the classical guitar. By transforming the lute, Torres gave the instrument a broader body, with a thinner, more prominent waist resulting in a body closer to the shape of guitars today. Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia established Torres’ guitar as a concert instrument sealing the instrument’s path to musical royalty.
The shape and sound of the guitar continued develop. German born guitar maker Christian Frederick Martin is accredited to creating the flat top acoustic guitar with a flat top and steel strings. Orville Gibson is thought of as the creator of the arch top guitar showing an arched top and back with F holes for more tone and volume. George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker were awarded the first patent for the electric guitar in 1931 although there were many players working to push the guitar’s development further. Les Paul, Gibson, and Leo Fender all contributed to the advancement of the guitars we know and love today.
Thanks to the evolution of guitars, musicians were able to continue to push the boundaries of music and create the hits we know today. Now a prominent instrument in the music industry, they can be heard on nearly every radio station that plays music. It is one of the most played instruments and thanks to its small size and affordability it has been able to find homes in households throughout the world.
Join us next week as we begin this six week journey of celebrities and their guitars. First up, Willie Nelson and his Martin N-20 named Trigger.
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Tags: celebrity guitars, ashcraft studios, ashcraft studios presents, oud, kithara, lute, guitar, guitars, gibson, les paul, fender