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The History of Guitar Strings

The History of Guitar Strings

The history of the guitar began many eras ago, but the idea of a musical string began prior to the invention of the guitar. The most primitive stringed instruments date as far back as the Egyptian period. Eastern instruments have existed since the early part of the 8th century. The concept of these instruments were to have strings made of various materials, as you can imagine the materials back then were limited, they consisted of hair, and livestock parts (primarily animal intestines. As time went on, the preferred material of strings moved solely towards animal intestines. The guitar then emerged in the 13th century, using sheep intestines as strings..

History of the Guitar String - A bowl harp.

A bowl harp.

Over the years that the guitar has existed, the amount of strings being used has changed. The “first” guitar used a “quadra-pairing set”. The quadra pairing set consisted of 4 pairs of strings, coming to a total of 8. The 16th century saw the string sets expand with “penta-pairsings” or ten strings. The challenge was achieving tonal range and volume. The 17th century saw the invention of thicker strings, deriving from overspun piano strings. This removed the need to have numerous pairings to mimic the extended range and fullness of the instrument. Finally in the later years of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century a 6 string set became the go to guitar construction.

The 20th century saw guitar strings shift over to how they are today. The string materials were primarily made of steel and nylon. This resulted in an improvement in every characteristic of the guitar, mainly tone improvements. The electric guitar then emerged as a major player and had the manufactures focusing on the magnetic portion of the string. Today the guitar strings history is still being improved upon, mainly to prevent tarnishing and improve string packaging technologies.

Now that you’re caught up on the history of the Guitar String it might be a good idea to learn the guitar strings order

One Response to The History of Guitar Strings

  1. Jedi April 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm #


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