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Acoustic guitar

Old Music Encyclopedia Picture   An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only acoustic methods to project the sound produced by its strings. The term is a retronym, coined after the advent of electric guitars, which rely on electronic amplification to make their sound audible.

     In all types of guitars the sound is produced by the vibration of the strings. However, because the string can only displace a small amount of air, the volume of the sound needs to be increased in order to be heard. In an acoustic guitar, this is accomplished by using a soundboard and a resonant cavity, the sound box. The body of the guitar is hollow. The vibrating strings drive the soundboard through the bridge, making it vibrate. The soundboard has a larger surface area and thus displaces a larger volume of air, producing a much louder sound than the strings alone.

     Historical and modern acoustic guitars are extremely varied in their design and construction, far more so than electric guitars. Some of the most important varieties are the classical guitar (nylon-stringed), steel-string acoustic guitar and lap steel guitar. A more complete list is given below, refer to the individual articles for more specific detail.

  • Nylon/gut stringed guitars:
    • Vihuela
    • Gittern
    • Baroque guitar
    • Romantic guitar
    • Classical guitar, the modern version of the original guitar, including additional stringsmodels
      • Flamenco guitar
      • Russian/Gypsy guitar
    • Lute
  • Steel stringed guitars:
    • Steel-string acoustic guitar, also known as western, folk or country guitar
    • Twelve string guitar
    • Resonator guitar (such as the Dobro)
    • Archtop guitar
    • Selmer/Maccaferri (Manouche) guitar
    • Battente guitar
    • Lap steel guitar
    • Lap slide guitar
    • Parlor guitar
    • Lyre-guitar
  • Other variants:
    • Harp guitar
    • Pikasso guitar (a variant of harp guitar)
    • Contraguitar (Viennese variant of harp guitar)
    • Acoustic bass guitar
    • Banjo guitar


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