(redirected from Blues guitar)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


guitar, musical instrument related to the lute, modern guitars normally having six strings that are plucked with the fingers or strummed with a pick. Earlier versions had pairs of strings like the lute. The guitar usually has a flat back, sides that curve inward to form a waist, and a fretted neck. Other forms of the guitar include the 12-stringed guitar; the steel guitar, played with a metal bar to produce a sliding tone; the electric guitar; and the 4-stringed bass guitar, which, like the electric guitar, is a fixture of rock music and is electronically amplified.

The traditional classical, as opposed to electric guitar, appeared as early as the 12th cent. in Spain, the country with which it is particularly associated. It was very popular there in the 16th cent., when much music was written for it. The composer Fernando Sor (1778–1839) was a brilliant guitarist who wrote many important works for that instrument. In the late 19th cent. there was revived interest in the guitar, aroused largely by the playing of Francisco Tárrega (1852–1909), one of the greatest guitar players of all time. Andrés Segovia was one of the foremost contemporary classical guitarists; he did much to stimulate interest in the instrument and its repertory, especially in 16th-century music.


See H. Turnbull, The Guitar from the Renaissance to the Present (1974); J. Tyler, The Early Guitar (1980); T. Wheeler, American Guitars (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a plucked stringed instrument. It consists of a body with a narrow waist and flat soundboards, the upper one with a circular sound hole in its center; a neck holding a fretted finger board; and a head with tuning pegs. Originally, gut strings were used, but later those made of metal and nylon gained acceptance.

A guitar with four courses of paired strings was well known in 13th-century Spain. In the 17th century, a guitar with five courses, known as the Spanish guitar, gained acceptance in Italy and other European countries and in America. In Europe the instrument became very popular in the middle of the 18th century. At this time the guitar with five courses of strings began to be replaced by one with six single strings, which was tuned by fourths and thirds. In Russia, and to some extent in Poland, a seven-stringed guitar tuned by thirds (known as the Russian guitar) gained currency. Guitars with more strings were also produced. (Bass strings were added.)

Used mainly to provide accompaniment for singing, the instrument is also employed in chamber groups and solo work. It has become a folk instrument in several countries. N. Paganini wrote for the guitar, as did several outstanding 20th-century composers, including M. de Falla and H. Villa-Lobos. Prominent foreign guitarists are M. Giuliani (Italy); F. Sor, F. Tarrega, and A. Segovia (Spain); and M. L. Anido (Argentina). A. O. Sikhra, M. T. Vysotskii, M. D. Sokolovskii, and A. M. Ivanov-Kramskoi are outstanding Russian guitarists. The solo concert performances of guitar virtuosos are very successful.

Special guitar instruments that appeared in the 20th century are the Hawaiian and orchestral, or jazz, guitars. The Hawaiian guitar is held flat in the lap, and the sound is produced through use of a special plectrum and by pressing the strings against the fingerboard with a metal bar. The orchestral, or jazz, guitar has f holes, as does a violin, and it is also played with a plectrum.


Ivanov, M. Russkaia semistrunnaia gitara. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Vol’man, B. Gitara v Rossii. Leningrad, 1961.
Vol’man, B. Gitara i gitaristy. Leningrad, 1968.
Buek, F. Die Gitarre und ihre Meister, 3rd ed. Berlin [1952].
Pujol, E. La guitarra y su historia. Buenos Aires [1932].
Powrozniak, J. Gitara od A do Z. [Kraków, 1966.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Music a plucked stringed instrument originating in Spain, usually having six strings, a flat sounding board with a circular sound hole in the centre, a flat back, and a fretted fingerboard. Range: more than three octaves upwards from E on the first leger line below the bass staff
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"I suspect his interest in playing rock - and especially blues guitar - comes from being brought up with my old music collection.But he developed a particular affinity for blues guitar music on his own."
He was one of the most popular live acts of the early 1970s, when his signature fast blues guitar solos attracted a wide following.
Having grown up with musical influences such as the late Etta James, Koko Taylor, Janis Joplin,BB King and many others, one can look forward to the velvety and smoky tone of Charlie King's vocals together with the electric and acoustic blues guitar, resonating original blues songs as well as your favourite standard blues.
It features blues guitar hero JOE BONAMASSA, who begins a 15-day British tour in Brighton on March 23 before playing Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Birmingham and Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.
"In Scandinavia, Mike has already built a strong reputation of being a blistering blues guitar player, and during this last decade he has also developed into a fine songwriter," the group bio says.
He returned in 1991 to study blues guitar with a master musician and never left.
For more information on this award-winning--and there have been plenty--series of both adult and student editions, visit, and be sure to check out the new Spotlight Series that includes Learn & Master Blues Guitar as well as Guitar Maintenance & Setup.
Sollee performs his original tunes seated, astride what his grandfather's friends used to call "that swollen fiddle." He plucks the cello as if finger picking a guitar, keeps the rhythm going with percussive bow chops, and takes off on emotional solo flights that are more like blues guitar than string quartet.
His close friend and renowned blues guitar player Eamonn McCormack had kept the piece of music in a box for the last 12 years before deciding to put it on his new album Kindred Spirits.
HE IS best known for playing tough guys on the big screen, but Hollywood star Steven Seagal was playing blues guitar on stage in Liverpool at the weekend.
Emmylou Harris brings a rural twang to the breathtaking "Amazing Grace"; Taj Mahal shows off his spiky blues guitar on "Mbube," a.k.a."The Lion Sleeps Tonight"; and Melissa Etheridge helps make "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" into a swinging, doo-wop-flavored romp.
He wants to head to Chicago and play blues guitar, but he knows the danger he'd face on the road; only in Loring is he safe from service, as Dan's uncle has paid off the draft board on his behalf.