12 Interesting Facts About Guitar

Whether you are writing a quiz, want to impress your friends, or just have an insatiable curiosity about guitar, a good fact always goes down very well. This is why we have compiled 12 of the most interesting facts from the world of guitar – the biggest, the smallest and the weirdest!

#1 – The First Guitar was Created in Ancient Egypt

Well… in some senses it was, although the guitar-like instrument created 3,500 years ago (now, that’s a vintage guitar!) is a far cry from the guitars we play today.

It belonged to a singer of the time known as Har-Mose and was made from polished cedar with a rawhide soundboard, featured three strings, and even had a plectrum device attached to the instrument via a chord. This intriguing guitar heirloom is on display in the Archaeological Museum in Cairo.

#2 – The World’s Biggest Guitar is 13 Meters Long…

That’s right – the world’s largest guitar, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, is over 13 meters long (about 43ft). That’s about the length of a bus! Even more impressively, it is more than just a model – it is actually a playable instrument, with each string delivering the correct pitch.

The guitar, which was made by the Academy of Science and Technology in Texas, weighed a whopping 2,255lbs (just over 1,000kgs), took almost a year to build, featured aircraft cable for strings, and was in the iconic shape of a Gibson Flying V.

#3 – …and the Shortest is Just 10 Microns!

Unless you have particularly nimble fingers, you won’t be able to play this guitar, which comes in at 1/100,000 of a meter long (about the size of a single cell).

Made by researchers at Cornell University in New York, the double-cutaway style guitar actually had strings capable of being strummed (by specialist equipment, obviously), although the frequencies are so high they are inaudible to the human ear.

#4 – The Most Expensive Guitar Ever Sold for $2.8million

Created by Fender, the truly one-of-a-kind ‘Reach Out To Asia’ Stratocaster was sold at auction to raise money for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

While the white Strat itself is rumored to have cost Fender around $20,000 to produce, the final price reached millions due to the unique ‘decoration’. This came in the form of signatures across the face by 19 guitar icons. These included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Brian May, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Paul McCartney, Sting and Bryan Adams (who conceived the Reach Out to Asia project), among other legends!

#5 – Gibson Made the Most Luxurious Guitar of All Time

While the Fender Strat we mention above was valuable due to the collection of iconic signatures, in 2015, Gibson unveiled a guitar worth nearly as much due to the opulent materials used to decorate it.

Working in conjunction with jewelry designer Aaron Shum, and musician and designer Mark Lui, Gibson’s creation – dubbed the ‘Eden of Coronet’ – is a white SG featuring more than 400 diamonds in addition to around 1.6kg of 18k gold. Put us down for five of them!

#6 – Somebody Once Played Guitar for Four-and-a-Half-Days

In 2011, Irish guitarist Dave Browne set a new world record for the longest guitar session ever. The talented guitarist played non-stop for 114 hours, 6 minutes and 30 seconds, between 12 and 17 June.

The mega session took place in the famous Temple Bar Pub in Dublin, Ireland (which remained open for the duration of the gig) and Dave had breaks of no more than 30 seconds between songs. On a guitar lent to him by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dave played a total of 1,372 songs, finishing with the U2 classic, ‘With or Without You’.

#7 – A Man Once Married His Stratocaster

In 2001 a British musician, Chris Black, fell so madly in love with his red Fender Strat – known by the name ‘Brenda the Fenda’ – he married it, after 35 years of ‘dating’. The ceremony was held in a church in London and was officiated by a friend.

The guitar was technically his second ‘wife’, as Chris was also married to a human woman at the time. Never taking himself too seriously, Chris said, ‘It was only for a bit of fun, to help cheer people up.’

#8 – David Gilmour Owns Stratocaster #0001…

The iconic British guitarist owns the Fender Strat with the jaw-dropping serial number. This notable Strat features a white finish, a gold pickguard, three single-coil pickups and a rare three-way selector switch.

However, to burst the bubble slightly, it is agreed that David Gilmour’s Strat is more likely a showpiece than the first actual production model (see below). Regardless, it’s one hell of an iconic axe!

#9 – …Although Only George Gruhn Knows Who Owns the First Stratocaster

While David Gilmour owns the Strat with the coolest serial number, the first-ever Stratocaster (which actually came with the serial number of #0100) was sold by George Gruhn’s vintage guitar store in Tennessee for a staggering $250,000.

George sold the sunburst-finished Strat – which was made in April 1954 – in 2014, although the current owner remains anonymous. All he has revealed is that the new owner is not a professional musician and they live in the United States. And they are very lucky.

#10 – Ibanez Added the 7th and 8th Strings

While other brands, such as Fender, had been developing guitars with extra strings, it was Ibanez who became the first brand to mass-produce guitars with both seven strings (introduced in 1990) and eight strings (arriving in 2007).

Interestingly, the 7-string guitar was originally going to have a high A string instead of the low B string we know today. Thankfully – especially for the world of metal – it went the right way!

#11 – There’s a Dramatic Story Behind B.B. King’s Lucille

B.B. King famously named his guitars Lucille. The reason? One evening, while playing at a dance in Arkansas, two men began fighting over a woman. The result of this was a barrel of kerosene being knocked over, causing a fire which turned the dance hall into an inferno.

Once outside, King realised he had left his prized Gibson inside, so darted back in to save it. The following morning, he christened his guitar ‘Lucille’, which was the name of the woman who inspired the fight. This was, as the great man himself once said, ‘to remind me never to do a thing like that again.’

#12 – Michael Angelo Batio Owns a Quad Guitar

One of the fastest guitarists in the world, Michael Angelo Batio, is famous for his double guitar, but did you know he was also the first to have a custom-made quad guitar?

The unique guitar – featuring two 6-string necks and two 7-string necks – was built by Wayne Charvel at Gibson and used for the solo in the video for Nitro’s ‘Freight Train’ (see below). However, the axe was stolen during a show in El Paso soon after. Thankfully MAB was eventually reunited with the guitar but, as the shredder himself explained, ‘Years later, we found [the guitar] in England and I had to buy back my own guitar for £1,500!’

6 Reasons Learning An Instrument As An Adult Is Easier Than You Think

Learning how to play an instrument seems like an oddly daunting task for an adult. If you missed out on weekly piano lessons as a kid, is it too late to pick it up when you're on the other side of 30?

The short answer is: no. Turns out, adults have some key advantages over children when it comes to learning how to play an instrument. For a more in-depth look, we turned to Dr. Jessica Grahn, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the Brain and Mind Institute and Psychology Department at Western University in Canada who researches music, and James Lenger, the founder and president of Guitar Cities and music instructor to both children and adults for over 21 years.

You already have a good understanding of music from a lifetime of listening to it.

Before you even start playing, you come in with an extra edge: You've spent your entire life listening to music. "When I'm teaching, with the adults, one of the first things I have them do is write out in the back of their lesson book every song that they've ever wanted to learn," Lenger says. "Because of that exposure, when they're learning something, they can relate it to music that they already know." This knowledge can help you understand what chords and groupings of chords sound relatively easily.

"[Adults] can understand the basic structures of music and how they're inherent in a number of different songs they listen to," he says. "With kids, it's really tough to take an abstract approach like that."

You have the discipline and focus to make yourself practice.

As a child, your brain is still in the process of adapting to the environment and it can change connections more easily, thereby making music-learning an actual part of your brain wiring. As an adult, you can change connections, just not to the same degree. But this isn't entirely unfortunate. The adult brain is also chock full of life experience, which can actually be beneficial when leaning to play an instrument.

"The disadvantage that children have is that they are not so good at figuring out higher level rules and they don't really know about how to get good at something," says Dr. Grahn. "Whereas adults usually have some practice, either with sports or school, at saying, 'Okay, I want to succeed at this so what must I do? I must practice.'"

You are much better equipped to tackle complicated, abstract concepts.

Adults can also grapple abstract concepts more easily. "You can explain to an adult, 'Well, here are the rules of a scale and this is why these notes follow each other and these notes don't follow each other,'" says Dr. Grahn. "That might be much easier to remember because that's a rule. They can then apply that rule in lots of different places in music, whereas children kind of have to learn it all by practice."

The biggest difference in approach to learning harkens back to adults' analytical nature. Lenger explains that children tend to play what's put in front of them as fast as they can, while adults are sticklers for perfection. If you can put aside your desire for a mistake-free session and play even if your fingers aren't exactly in the right position, you're likely to learn more quickly.

You actually want to learn the instrument -- no one is making you.

While some kids feel compelled to play an instrument -- either by their parents or their lofty goals, like college admittance -- adults are the masters of their own destinies. They're generally excited to play music for the sole purpose of playing music. This motivation is "probably the most important thing," says Dr. Grahn, and it actually has some great cognitive effects, increasing your ability to learn faster.

For best results, make sure you're truly picking up an instrument that interests you and not one that you feel compelled to play.

Playing an instrument relieves stress (something you need more now than you did as a kid).

Sure, there have been studies singing the praises, so to speak, of music's ability to reduce stress. Now that you're not a carefree kid anymore, this can be particularly beneficial and serve as yet another powerful motivator. Music has been proven to release dopamine in reward areas of the brain, the same ones that light up in response to food, sex and drugs. In fact, Dr. Grahn says, "It's probably harder to find areas of the brain that don't respond to music than to find areas that do."

Many professionals these days are taking breaks from long days at work to fit in music lessons, adds Lenger, whose clientele is about 90 percent adults coming in at all hours of the day. "It's just an escape from the office for a little bit," he says. "A big part of teaching isn't just learning the guitar. Sometimes their first five minutes is coming in here and decompressing a little bit, and then we can go in and play the instrument for a while."

There are some mood benefits of music that can actually help you learn how to play an instrument, too, which come in handy as an adult. (Studies prove this!)"Having a positive mood is generally very good for your cognitive function, for your general well-being and for being able to sleep, which we know enhances brain function," says Dr. Grahn.

Plus, your brain could use the exercise.

As an adult, learning how to play an instrument is what Dr. Grahn calls a "brain trainer," a way to challenge your brain in an effort to stay sharper and alert for longer. Not only is it possible for this stronger cognitive function to stave off dementia, but it will also allow you to enjoy a higher quality of life with a more active brain. "That you can get from music, but music isn't necessarily special in that way, except for the fact that music also tends to have mood benefits," she says.

How's that for motivation?