From the Stratocaster to the air guitar, this is one of the world’s most versatile and popular instruments.
Centuries of Strumming. People have been strumming instruments similar to modern-day guitars for thousands of years.
Sculptures from the ancient city of Susa, in modern-day Iran, show people playing instruments very like guitars. They’re more than 3,500 years old. Ancient guitar-like instruments include the kithara and the lyre, both strummed in ancient Greece.
The Arabic oud and the Mediterranean lute are stringed instruments like guitars, but without the guitar’s distinctive curved sides and ‘waist’. The guitarra Latina, which first appeared in Spain in the Middle Ages, developed into the guitar design we know today.
Guitar design changed over the centuries. By around 1800 the instrument had the six strings of most modern instruments, and the basic design has stayed the same for about the last 150 years.
In 1935 the electric guitar was invented by Adolph Rickenbacher and George Beauchamp (though various people had helped to develop it). The new louder sound led to a revolution in the music of popular culture.
In 1939 Charlie Christian was the first to amaze an audience with an electric guitar solo. People have been playing air guitar ever since. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: In May 2007 guitar players gathered in Wroclaw, Poland, to play ‘Hey Joe’, by the famous guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Nearly 2,000 guitarists broke the world record for the largest guitar orchestra ever.
If the guitar had never been invented then the air guitar would never have been born. Air guitar is quite simply the art of playing an invisible guitar.
The cult of the air guitar has grown from an embarrassing dance move to a worldwide celebration of an ‘art’ that takes place in the form of international championships held every year to find the world’s best air guitarist.
HOW TO PLAY YOUR AIR GUITAR: Remember, anyone can play air guitar – you don’t need to he a guitarist and you don’t need a guitar.
1. Create an awesome stage name for yourself, like Bjorn Tiirogue (pronounced Bjorn to Rock, a perennial Air Guitar World Championships participant)
2. Turn a ruck classic up to eleven on the volume dial, one that features plenty of powerchords or dirty guitar riffs, like Motgrhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ or Iron Maiden’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’
3. Leap around the room and create a winning air-guitar routine using some of the moves below
4. Finally, look the part. Long hair is preferable, make-up is optional, a black rock T-shirt is standard and a rock attitude is essential.
Take a run-up and slide across the stage on your knees while playing your ‘guitar’.
Roth Leap. Leap in the air while playing your ‘guitar’. The higher you get and the further apart your legs are while airborne, the better.
Whip your head backwards and forwards. If you have long hair, throw it across your face with the first whip. Remember to keep playing
the ‘guitar’ throughout.
Stand with your legs as far apart from each other as possible. On lour Rum! Rock back and forth as if in prayer to a higher rock god.
Play With You Teeth. Hold the ‘guitar’ up to your face and mime as if your teeth were plucking the strings. Spin your arm in a continuous motion to play the chords on your ‘guitar’. Invent your own move.