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Instrument Library

Explore the Guitar

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New School of Music teaches guitar lessons at our music centers located in Buford, GA 30518, Dunwoody, GA 30338, and Lilburn, GA 30047; and our extension schools located in Flowery Branch, GA 30542, Johns Creek, GA 30097, Norcross, GA 30092, Dacula, GA 30019 & Fayetteville, GA, 30215. We are the southeast's leading music conservatory with over 2000 students enrolled! Our schools serve the communities of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Chamblee, Doraville, Roswell, Alpharetta, Norcross, Snellville, Stone Mountain, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, Lawrenceville, Oakwood, Dacula, Gainesville, Winder, Braselton, Jackson, Pendergrass, Auburn, Winder, Gwinnett County, Hall County, Dekalb County, Fulton County, Jackson County, Banks County, Madison County, and Franklin County. Rent a school band or orchestra instrument, shop online, and more.

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Did You Know...

The guitar is a musical instrument, used in a wide variety of musical styles, and is also widely known as a solo classical instrument. It is most recognized in popular culture as the primary instrument in blues, country, flamenco, pop, and rock music. The guitar usually has six strings, but guitars with four, seven, eight, ten, and twelve strings also exist. Guitars are made and repaired by luthiers.
Instruments similar to the guitar have been popular for at least 5,000 years. The guitar appears to be derived from earlier instruments known in ancient central Asia as the cithara. Instruments very similar to the guitar appear in ancient carvings and statues recovered from the old Iranian capitol of Susa. The modern word, guitar, was adopted into English from Spanish guitarra, derived from earlier Greek word kithara.Prospective sources for various names of musical instruments that guitar could be derived from appear to be a combination of two Indo-European roots: guit-, similar to Sanskrit sangeet meaning "music", and -tar a widely attested root meaning "chord" or "string"
The word guitar is a Persian loanword to Iberian Arabic. The word qitara is an Arabic name for various members of the lute family that preceded the Western guitar. The name guitarra was introduced into Spanish when such instruments were brought into Iberiaby the Moors after the 10th century.

Types of guitars

Acoustic guitars

An acoustic guitar is not dependent on any external device for amplification. The shape and resonance of the guitar itself creates acoustic amplification. However, the unamplified guitar is not a loud instrument. It cannot compete with other instruments commonly found in bands and orchestras, in terms of sheer audible volume. Many acoustic guitars are available today with built-in electronics and power to enable amplification.

There are several subcategories within the acoustic guitar group: steel string guitars, which includes the flat top, or "folk" guitar, the closely related twelve string guitar, and the arch top guitar. A recent arrival in the acoustic guitar group is the acoustic bass guitar, similar in tuning to the electric bass.

Renaissance and Baroque guitars

These are the gracile ancestors of the modern classical guitar. They are substantially smaller and more delicate than the classical guitar, and generate a much quieter sound. The strings are paired in courses as in a modern 12 string guitar, but they only have four or five courses of strings rather than six. They were more often used as rhythm instruments in ensembles than as solo instruments, and can often be seen in that role in early musicperformances. (Gaspar Sanz' Instrucción de Música sobre la Guitarra Española of 1674 constitutes the majority of the surviving solo corpus for the era.) Renaissance and Baroque guitars are easily distinguished because the Renaissance guitar is very plain and the Baroque guitar is very ornate, with inlays all over the neck and body, and a paper-cutout inverted "wedding cake" inside the hole.

Classical guitars

These are typically strung with nylon strings, played in a seated position and are used to play a diversity of musical styles including classical music. The classical guitar is designed to allow for the execution of solo polyphonic arrangements of music in much the same manner as the pianoforte can. This is the major point of difference in design intent between the classical instrument and other designs of guitar. Flamenco guitars are very similar in construction, have a sharper sound, and are used in flamenco. In Mexico, the popular mariachi band includes a range of guitars, from the tinyrequinto to the guitarron, a guitar larger than a cello, which is tuned in the bass register. In Colombia, the traditional quartet includes a range of instruments too, from the small bandola (sometimes known as the Deleuze-Guattari, for use when travelling or in confined rooms or spaces), to the slightly larger tiple, to the full sized classical guitar. Modern dimensions of the classical instrument were established by Antonio Torres Jurado (1817-1892). Classical guitars are sometimes referred to as classic guitars, which is a more proper translation from the Spanish.
Portuguese guitar: Is a 12 string guitar used in Portugal for the traditional Fado song. Its true origins are somewhat uncertain but there is a general agreement that it goes back to the medieval period. It is often mistakenly thought of to be based on the so-called "English guitar" - a common error as there is no such thing. For some time the best instruments of this and other types were made in England, hence the confusion. "English guitar" refers to a quality standard, not really an instrument type. This particular instrument is most likely a merge of medieval "cistre" or "citar" and the Arabic lute.
Flat-top (steel-string) guitars: Similar to the classical guitar, however the body size is usually significantly larger than a classical guitar and it has a narrower, reinforced neck and stronger structural design, to sustain the extra tension of steel strings which produce a brighter tone, and according to some players, a louder sound. The acoustic guitar is a staple in folk,Old-time music and blues.

Archtop guitars are steel string instruments which feature a violin-inspired f-hole design in which the top (and often the back) of the instrument are carved in a curved rather than a flat shape. Lloyd Loar of the Gibson Guitar Corporationinvented this variation of guitar after designing a style of mandolin of the same type. The typical Archtop is a hollow body guitar whose form is much like that of a mandolin or violin family instrument and may be acoustic or electric. Some solid body electric guitars are also considered archtop guitars although usually 'Archtop guitar' refers to the hollow body form. Archtop guitars were immediately adopted upon their release by both jazz and country musicians and have remained particularly popular in jazz music, usually using thicker strings (higher gauged round wound and flat wound) than acoustic guitars. Archtops are often louder than a typical dreadnought acoustic guitar. The electric hollow body archtop guitar has a distinct sound among electric guitars and is consequently appropriate for many styles of rock and roll. Many electric archtop guitars intended for use in rock and roll even have a Tremolo Arm.
Resonator, resophonic or Dobro guitars: Similar to the flat top guitar in appearance, but with sound produced by a metal resonator mounted in the middle of the top rather than an open sound hole, so that the physical principle of the guitar is actually more similar to the banjo. The purpose of the resonator is to amplify the sound of the guitar; this purpose has been largely superseded by electrical amplification, but the resonator is still played by those desiring its distinctive sound.
Resonator guitars may have either one resonator cone or three resonator cones. Three cone resonators have two cones on the left above one another and one cone immediately to the right. The method of transmitting sound resonance to the cone is either a BISCUIT bridge, made of a small piece of hardwood, or a SPIDER bridge, made of metal and larger in size. Three cone resonators always use a specialised metal spider bridge.

The type of resonator guitar with a neck with a square cross-section -- called "square neck" -- is usually played face up, on the lap of the seated player, and often with a metal or glass slide. The round neck resonator guitars are normally played in the same fashion as other guitars, although slides are also often used, especially in blues.

12 string guitars usually have steel strings and are widely used in folk music, blues and rock and roll. Rather than having only six strings, the 12-string guitar has pairs, like a mandolin. Each pair of strings is tuned either in unison (the two highest) or an octave apart (the others). They are made both in acoustic and electric forms.
Russian guitars are seven string acoustic guitars which were the norm for Russian guitarists throughout the 19th and well into the 20th centuries. The guitar is traditionally tuned to an open G major tuning.

Acoustic bass guitars also have steel strings, and match the tuning of the electric bass, which is likewise similar to the traditional double bass viol, or "big bass", a staple of string orchestras and bluegrass bands alike.

Tenor guitars

There's very sketchy background information about tenor guitars on the World Wide Web.

A number of classical guitarists call the Niibori prime guitar a "Tenor Guitar" on the grounds that it sits in pitch between the alto and the bass. And this does have a nice feeling of closure and symmetry about it.

But elsewhere, the name is taken for a 4-string guitar, with a scale length of 23" (585mm) - about the same as a Terz Guitar. But the guitar is tuned in fifths - C G D A - like the tenor banjo or the cello. Indeed it is generally accepted that the tenor guitar was created to allow a tenor banjo player to follow the fashion as it evolved from from Dixieland Jazz towards the more progressive Jazz that featured guitar. It allows a tenor banjo player to provide a guitar-based rhythm section with nothing to learn.

Elsewhere, a small minority of players close tuned the instrument to D G B E to produce a deep instrument that could be played with the 4-note chord shapes found on the top 4 strings of the guitar or ukulele. In fact, though, the deep pitch warrants the wide-spaced chords that the banjo tuning permits, and the close tuned tenor does not have the same full, clear sound.

Harp guitars

Harp Guitars are difficult to classify as there are many variations within this type of guitar. They are typically rare and uncommon in the popular music scene. Most consist of a regular guitar, plus additional 'harp' strings strung above the six normal strings. The instrument is usually acoustic and the harp strings are usually tuned to lower notes than the guitar strings, for an added bass range. Normally there is neither fingerboard nor frets behind the harp strings. Some harp guitars also feature much higher pitch strings strung below the traditional guitar strings. The number of harp strings varies greatly, depending on the type of guitar and also the player's personal preference (as they have often been made to the player's specification). The Pikasso guitar; 4 necks, 2 sound holes, 42 strings
Extended-range guitars. For well over a century guitars featuring seven, eight, nine, ten or more strings have been used by a minority of guitarists as a means of increasing the range of pitch available to the player. Usually this entails the addition of extra bass strings.
Guitar battente. The battente is smaller than a classical guitar, usually played with four or five metal strings. It is mainly used in Calabria (a region in southern Italy) to accompany the voice.
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