Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Stalking the oldest six-string guitar

Author’s note: This is the original English version of an article that I wrote in 1972, with a brief addendum dated December 1974. It was published only in Japanese, in Gendai Guitar 9, no. 3 (1975): 64-71. After receiving a number of requests for the English version of this text, I finally realized (in January 1999) that it could be provided, along with its accompanying images, as an HTML-encoded document on an Internet server. I offer this transcript simply as a service to those who may wish to know the state of my thinking back in 1975, recognizing that this article was cited in the “Guitar” bibliography of The New Grove Dictionary of Music (1980) and The NewGrove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984). Please bear in mind that this article itself is a piece of history now. More recent research by a number of scholars, myself included, has revealed a complex scenario indeed, involving a number of latter 18th-century guitars which (a) may (or may not) be unaltered and dateable originals, and (b) seem to predate those mentioned in this article. The more the scholarly community can authenticate such instruments, in particular their unaltered state (and hence their credibility as historical sources), the more complete our picture will be of the “origin of the species” which we commonly call the classic...

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