Mudcat Café message #117518 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13945   Message #117518
Posted By: T in Oklahoma
24-Sep-99 - 11:05 PM
Thread Name: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
Subject: RE: Guitar, Mandolin, Cittern, History?
My take on this:

The guitar was originally pear-shaped, with four strings, and this medieval guitar is usually nowadays called a "gittern", which was one of the names for it at the time. The Spaniards, at some point, changed the shape to the hourglass shape we know today; they got the shape from another instrument of theirs, the vihuela. The resulting "Spanish guitar" and the vihuela thereafter resembled one another, but the guitar (at first) usually had four strings and was smaller. The Spanish guitar and the vihuela have since grown larger. The Spanish guitar also spawned a daughter instrument, the ukulele.

The pear-shaped guitar lingered on even after the invention of the Spanish guitar, but the spanish shape in the end swept all before it