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An acoustic guitar is a stringed instrument with a long neck, a round sound hole, and six strings which are plucked by the fingers or a pick. The two most common types of acoustic guitar are the steel-string guitar and the classical guitar. Acoustic guitars are built by artisans know as luthiers. Luthiers also build and repair other stringed instruments including violins, violas, cellos, double basses and mandolins. Most luthiers make a living specializing in guitars. An acoustic guitar may be constructed of solid tone wood top, sides, and back, which are often spruce, rosewood, maple, or mahogany. Lower priced guitars may combine solid tops with laminated back and sides, while entry level guitars are usually made entirely from laminated tone wood. Guitar necks are usually made of mahogany, and fingerboards are made of dense tropical hardwood's such as rosewood or ebony. Building a quality guitar is an art form, as the sound or "tone" of the guitar is completely dependent upon the shape, quality of wood, and construction methods used.

Acoustic guitars are designed just like electric guitars they have steel strings that vibrate which creates the sound. The only exception is that the acoustic guitar is usually hollow on the inside. The vibrating strings drive the soundboard through the bridge, making it vibrate. The soundboard has a larger surface area which creates a larger amount of air, producing a much louder sound than the strings alone. As the soundboard vibrates it produces sound waves. The air in the hollow guitar resonates with the vibration of the strings creating sound. An unamplified guitar one with no soundboard, would have a low volume. But the strings would vibrate much longer. This is because a damped harmonic oscillator decays.

There are two types of stringed acoustic guitars one of which is nylon stringed and the other steeled string. Nylon stringed acoustic guitars include Renaissance guitar,
Baroque guitar, Romantic guitar, Classical guitar, Flamenco guitar, Extended-range classical guitar. Steel stringed guitars include Steel-string acoustic guitar known as western, folk or country guitar .Twelve string guitar, Resonator guitar, Arch top guitar, Lap steel guitar

Acoustic guitars can be amplified by using microphones and pick-ups. On acoustic guitars magnetic pick-ups are usually mounted in the sound hole therefore creating the sound of an electrical acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars come in all shapes and sizes. Varying on the types of wood its made from. They can also come in twelve stringed. Acoustic guitars are slightly harder to play than electric this is because the strings are usually higher than on an electric guitar, meaning you having to put more pressure on with your fingers. To do this you need to make sure your skin on your fingers are toughened up this will cause less irritation, soreness and will be easier to play. Once you are able to do this playing acoustic will come easily to you. Also with acoustic guitars the fret board is usually a lot wider meaning your hands can just about fit around it depending on your hand size. where as electric guitar fret boards are usually a lot thinner and smaller.

Playing acoustic guitar rather than electric gives you more experience as you do more work fretting. They have a nice tranquil sound to then where as electric is more modern and rocky. Classical guitars are usually used in places like restaurants as they relax the mood because they are soft and gentle.

The acoustic guitar is one of the most well known and popular instruments used by musicians today. It is used in a variety of musical styles such as rock, country, and flamenco. The acoustic guitar has a very rich history, and though many stringed instruments were said to have existed long before it's existence, the first true acoustic guitar is thought to date back to 1779. The first acoustic guitar was thought to be invented by Gaetano Vinaccia, an Italian man whose family became famous for making some of the highest quality violins in the 18th century. The first acoustic guitar was smaller and more narrow then the ones that we see today. The design for the classical guitar didn't come about until 1852, when Antonio Torres Jurado designed and built them in Sevilla, Spain. Some of his classical guitars are still in use today by professional musicians.

Today, many people use steel string acoustic guitars. After Antonio Torres Jurado's death in 1892, guitarists complained that the guitars lacked volume in comparison to louder instruments. To address this issue, Christian Fredrich Martin, a German immigrant who came to America in 1833, invented the steel string acoustic guitar. In order to do this, he needed to design a more robust internal bracing so that the guitar could handle the increased tension of the steel strings. The steel string acoustic guitar became a huge success, and millions of musicians today use them.

The acoustic guitar can be divided into 3 main parts: The hollow body, the neck, and the head. The hollow body has a soundboard placed on it, which is supposed to make the guitar loud enough to hear. In the center of the sound board is the sound hole, which is usually circular. Towards the lower end of the soundboard is the bridge, which 1 end of each of the six strings is placed on. The bridge contains a saddle, which the 6 strings rest on. When a string on the guitar is plucked, the vibrations go down the saddle onto the bridge, and finally makes it's way to the sound board, which causes the guitar to produce sound through the sound hole. On the other end of the guitar between the neck and the head is the nut.

The nut serves as a place for each string to rest on, much like the saddle on the other side of the guitar. The distance between the saddle and nut of the guitar is known as the "scale length" of a guitar. The strings go past the nut to rest on the tuning heads. The tuning heads allow the musician to tune the guitar by means of the tuning pegs, which uses a worm gear. The most common way to tune a guitar is to use a tuning device that has the tone for high E, B, G, D, A, and low E, starting with the string on the top and going down for each note. An easy way to remember this order is to think of the phrase "Elvis' broken guitar died and expired". This is known as "concert pitch".

The guitar also has 2 widenings, which are called bouts. The upper bout is where the soundboard connects to the neck, and the lower bout is where the bridge is attached to the soundboard. The size of the bouts, as well as the size and shape of the guitar body, effect the sound that the guitar will make. The sound that each string makes is affected by the string's length, tension, weight, and springiness. The front of the neck is known as the fingerboard.

The fingerboard contains frets, which are used to control the tone of the string when it is plucked. That is because when you press the string onto a fret, you change the length of the string, which allows the string to produce a different tone when plucked. The amount of tension on the string is adjusted when tuning the guitar with the tuning pegs. The 6 strings of the guitar vary in weight, with the top string weighing the lightest, and the bottom string weighing the heaviest.


Richard Pinhas
New album CD+Video
Cuneiform Records, USA
September 2006
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