Welcome to the world of guitar facts! Whether you’re into acoustic, electric or bass, we’ve got the best facts about guitars around.
The guitar is one of the most versatile, recognizable and popular instruments ever invented. It’s a mainstay at rock concerts, music festivals, campfires, and street corners all around the world.
The guitar really exploded in popularity thanks to jazz, country and rock music gaining popularity in the 1900s, but how much do you know about the amazing guitar?
If not much, then keep reading to discover these fun facts about guitars that will amaze you! From the world’s most expensive guitar to the loudest, we cover it all in this awesome list.
Some of the greatest musicians of all time have been fantastic guitar players. Think of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.
The guitar is also portable and relatively cheap, meaning that many people can afford one and learn to play.
In fact, this is what has led to the guitar being so popular! You can’t really lug around a piano, can you? With a guitar you just strap it to your back and go where the wind takes you.
While we’re saying that the guitar is affordable, we’ll also learn that there are some guitars out there worth millions of dollars.
We’re telling you, the world of guitar facts is totally wild. So get ready to jam out with us as we delve deep into the world of the legendary guitar!
22 Fun Facts About Guitars
1. An instrument of Spanish origin
The modern guitar we know of today was first perfected in Spain in the 16th century. The additions were a wider body and a longer neck.
Spanish guitar, also known as classical guitar, is known for its technicality and soft sound with a lesser focus on strumming and more focus on plucking.
2. Oldest guitar ever
If we’re talking about a simple stringed instrument used for picking and strumming, the first guitars are from India and Persia close to 4,000 years ago!
The oldest intact guitar that you can see today is on display in Cairo, Egypt. This guitar was played in the court of the Egyptian pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut.
3. History of the guitar pick
Also known as a plectrum, the guitar pick was popularized in the 1920s with the rise of jazz and country music. However, versions of the pick have been around since… you guessed it, ancient Egypt. Ancient picks included porcupine quills and pieces of turtle shell.
4. Let’s learn about strings
While most of us are familiar with the classic 6-stringed guitar, 12, 10, 8 and 7 strings are also quite common. Strings today are made out of nylon or steel to give a clear sound.
But here’s one of the fun facts about guitars you’ll want to remember: the first strings were made out of animal intestines! It’s a bit disgusting, right?
5. How popular is the guitar?
The most popular instrument has to be the guitar, right? Well, in fact, the guitar is the second-most popular behind the piano.
Guitars took off in popularity due to their mobility and price. It’s much easier to carry a guitar around than a piano! It is estimated there are 50 million guitar players worldwide.
6. How long can you go?
Irish guitarist Dave Browne set the Guinness World Record by playing non-stop guitar for 144 hours and 20 minutes.
Browne played 1,372 songs and finished with the jam With or Without You by U2. This guy must have had sore fingers after that!
7. Time to go electric
The first electric guitar was invented in 1931. The inventor George Beauchamp was hired by Gibson Guitar Corporation, who then started to mass produce his guitars.
The guitar was nicknamed “The Frying Pan” based on its metallic appearance with a round body and a long neck.
8. Hope you brought your earplugs!
Now this is a jam session we would want to be a part of! On May 1st, 2009 at the Thanks Jimi Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, 6,346 guitarists gathered for the world’s largest guitar ensemble.
9. The father of the modern guitar
Antonio Torres Jurado is seen as one of the most important guitar innovators of all time. His design in the mid-1800s increased the guitar body, thinned the soundboard, and shaped the guitar music we enjoy today.
Jurado is often called the Stradivari of guitars after Stradivarius, the inventor of the modern violin.
10. One huge guitar
This was one of the guitar facts that blew our minds! The largest ever functioning guitar is 44 feet tall, 16 feet wide, and weighs 2,000 pounds!
Amazingly, this guitar was built by Texas high school students and only cost $3,000 to build!
11. One miniscule guitar
From the largest of the large to the tiniest guitar ever made. The nano guitar is only 10 micrometers long. That is the size of a single cell!
Made by scientists at Cornell University, the guitar actually has microscopic strings that produce sound that humans are unable to hear.
12. Loudest ensemble of guitars
Okay, we told you about that crazy guitar gathering in Poland, but we’re going to India for the largest electric guitar jam session! On January 12th, 2013, 368 participants in an age range from 10 to 80, jammed out together to promote peace and unity.
13. An interesting love story
I now pronounce you man and guitar. Say what!? Yes, that’s right, Chris Black of the UK actually married his guitar.
Mr. Black and his guitar, Brenda the Fenda, had been “seeing” each other for 35 years before the big day. The marriage took place in a church in London. Congratulations to the happy couple!
14. The most influential guitarists in history
Rolling Stone magazine has done it again. They have released their rankings of the greatest guitarists of all time. #3) Jimmy Page #2) Eric Clapton #1) Jimi Hendrix.
Do you agree with Rolling Stone or do you think there are other guitarists who deserve one of the top three spots? You can let us know in the comments below!
15. Lennon’s acoustic
If you remember in our Fun Facts About Drums, the most expensive drums sold at auction were once owned by Ringo Starr.
Well, for acoustic guitars, look no further than Ringo’s bandmate. John Lennon’s 1962 Gibson that he used to compose some of the biggest Beatles hits including, She Loves You. It sold for $2.41 million!
16. Kurt Cobain’s acoustic breaks the record
Lennon’s acoustic was the most valuable guitar ever sold at auction until the record was broken in 2020 when Kurt Cobain’s left-handed Martin D-18E from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York (1993) sold for $6 million.
17. Most charitable guitar
Spearheaded by Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, the most expensive electric guitar sold at auction, was the “Reach Out To Asia” guitar used to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
The $2.7 million guitar features signatures of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Brian May and Jimmy Page.
18. Rescued from the flames
The beloved guitar of blues legend BB King has quite the story. King was performing when two men fighting over a woman named Lucille kicked over a can of kerosene, setting the bar on fire.
BB King rushed back into the flames to save his precious guitar which he then named Lucille! Obviously that guitar meant a lot to him!
19. Guitar music everywhere!
In the mid-1900s guitar music really started to explode in popularity. This was partly due to the advent of television and popularization of rock music.
Some of the most famous musicians that skyrocketed guitar music into the mainstream: Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
20. The guitar balancing family
Here’s a strange family tradition and one of the most random guitar facts: James Rawlings broke the record for guitar chin balancing clocking out at 1 hour and 8 seconds.
On the same day his father Steve also broke a record. This one for guitar forehead balancing at 1 hour and 15 minutes.
21. The biggest guitar maker in the world
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation founded by Leo Fender built its first electric guitar in 1946. Fender is the most prolific guitar maker in the world.
Interestingly, Fender, the inventor of some of the most sought after guitars, couldn’t even play the guitar himself!
22. The demand for guitars is enormous
Each year over 1.5 million guitars are manufactured. The biggest guitar producer in the world is Japan with 645,000 guitars made each year.
Japan is followed by China (340,000), Korea (150,000), Indonesia (75,000), USA (60,000) and Mexico (50,000).
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
Were all these fun facts about guitars music to your ears? Or were some of our guitar facts totally out of tune? Please share your guitar knowledge with us in the comments below!