Is A Guitar A String Instrument?


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A guitar is most definitely a string instrument! A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound from strings that are “stretched” by a bow or plucked with the fingers.

In this article, I’ll discuss the history of the guitar, and how it is a string instrument.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Why is the guitar a string instrument?

The guitar is primarily a string instrument because its sound is created by vibrating strings.

The strings on the guitar vibrate and produce sound when they are plucked (by a pick or with fingers) and/or strummed (by a plectrum).

Also, by definition, the guitar is classified as a string instrument because it utilizes frets (small dividers on the neck of the guitar that indicate where you can stop strings).

The frets are how you play individual notes.

Therefore, if there were no frets, you would not be able to play distinct notes; instead, you would only be able to play chords.

Lastly, the strings on a guitar are “tuned” to certain notes, and it is the combination of these notes that produce different sounds.

For example, by tuning the strings to a certain pitch, you can create a major chord or a minor chord.

Therefore, because the strings are tuned, and because their sounds can be altered by plucking or strumming them, the guitar is a string instrument.

Other string instruments you may have heard about are:

  • Violins
  • Cellos
  • Double basses
  • Harps
  • Banjos
  • Ukuleles

Are string instruments percussion?

Not all string instruments are percussion, but many of them can be used as percussive instruments.

Guitars, for example, can be used as percussive instruments by strumming certain chords in a pattern.

Also, many of the string instruments listed above have been used as percussion instruments!

For example, the harp can be used as a percussive instrument because you can pluck its strings.

You could also bang on it with your hands, or pluck it to create sound.

Lastly, by banging on a cello or double bass in the right way, you could produce a beat.

So, while not all string instruments are percussion, many of them can be used as percussive instruments.

What instrument family is the guitar in?

The guitar belongs to The Lute Family, which is a family of chordophone instruments.

Chordophones are stringed instruments that produce sound primarily by the vibration of strings… and without the use of a bow!

This family includes:

  • Guitars
  • Dobros
  • Lutes
  • Mandolins
  • Banjos
  • Ukuleles

Is the guitar in the bowed string family?

The guitar is not in The Bowed String Family.

This family includes:

  • Violins
  • Cellos
  • Double basses
  • Viola

It does not include guitars or any other string instrument that is primarily plucked with the fingers.

Also, you cannot “bow” a guitar in the same way you can bow a violin or cello.

When we talk about “bow” we are talking about a flexible wooden stick with a ribbon, or horsehair, stretched across the top of it.

The bow is then moved back and forth across string instruments to produce sound.

You cannot move a guitar pick back and forth across the strings because it would not produce any sound at all!

In conclusion

In conclusion, the guitar is a string instrument because its sound is created by strings that are plucked (or strummed) and/or frets.

Also, because you can play distinct notes on the guitar thanks to the fretboard.

Lastly, the guitar belongs to The Lute Family string instruments which include Dobros, lutes, mandolins, banjos, and ukuleles.

The guitar does not belong to The Bowed String Family and cannot be “bowed” as violins and cellos can.

 

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