The guitar is such a popular instrument and so familiar to us that sometimes we forget – it has a complex, storied history, and there are a lot of things we don’t know. For this article, I’ve assembled a list of 53 facts about the guitar that I hope you find interesting, surprising, and even inspiring.

Let’s get into it!

  1. Origins: The guitar’s ancestors date back over 4,000 years.
  2. Smallest Playable Guitar: The smallest playable guitar is 10 micrometers long, created using nanotechnology.
  3. Longest Guitar: The world’s largest playable guitar is over 43 feet long.
  4. Electric Guitar: The electric guitar was invented in the 1930s.
  5. Oldest Guitar: The oldest surviving guitar-like instrument is over 350 years old.
  6. Multi-Neck Guitars: Guitars can have multiple necks, with some having as many as 12.
  7. Air Guitar Championships: There is a world championship for air guitar playing.
  8. Rarest Wood: Some guitars are made from the rare and expensive Brazilian Rosewood.
  9. Guitar Manufacturing: Many trees used in guitar manufacturing are now endangered, leading to efforts to find sustainable alternatives, like pine.
  10. Self-Tuning Guitars: There are guitars available today that can tune themselves.
  11. Beyond 6 Strings: While most guitars have 6 strings, there are variations with 7, 8, and even 12 strings.
  12. Most Expensive Guitar: The acoustic guitar Kurt Cobain played on MTV’s Unplugged is the most expensive guitar ever sold at $6 million.
  13. First Guitar Hero: The first known female guitar hero was Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a pioneering musician who gained fame in the 1930s and 1940s.
  14. Riff of Passage: In many cultures, learning to play the guitar is a rite of passage.
  15. Unique Playing Styles: There are many unique playing styles, including fingerstyle, flatpicking, and even slap guitar.
  16. Guitar-Shaped Forest: In Argentina, there is a forest shaped like a guitar that spans over a kilometer.
  17. Guitar Shaped Islands: There is a guitar-shaped island in the Maldives called “Guitar Island.”
  18. First Electric Guitar: The first commercially successful electric guitar was the Fender Broadcaster, which later became the Telecaster.
  19. Youngest Guitarist: The youngest professional guitarist started playing at shows at the age of 8.
  20. Guitar on Currency: The guitar is featured on the banknotes of some countries, including the old 50-peso note in Mexico.
  21. Guitar Pick Variety: Guitar picks come in a variety of materials including plastic, metal, and even bone.
  22. Double Guitar: Michael Angelo Batio invented a double guitar with two necks that can be played both right and left-handed.
  23. Flying V Guitar: The Flying V guitar was introduced by Gibson in 1958, and it had a futuristic “V” shape.
  24. Inventor of the Electric Guitar: Les Paul is often credited with inventing the electric guitar, though it was a collaborative effort with many contributors.
  25. Guitar-Shaped Hotels: There is a guitar-shaped hotel in Hollywood, Florida.
  26. First Guitar Recording: The first recording of a guitar was made in 1890.
  27. Self-Strumming Guitar: In 2007, an artist created a self-strumming guitar that utilized fans to strum the strings.
  28. Harmony Guitars: Harmony guitars were once the largest producer of musical instruments in the US.
  29. Guitar Festivals: There are guitar festivals around the world, including ones dedicated entirely to fingerstyle guitar playing.
  30. Guitar in Movies: The guitar has featured prominently in many films, including the iconic scene in “Back to the Future” where Marty McFly plays “Johnny B. Goode.”
  31. Cigar Box Guitar: Bo Diddley famously made a guitar using a cigar box.
  32. One-Stringed Guitar: There is a one-stringed guitar variant called the Diddley bow.
  33. Guitar With The Most Strings
  34. Fastest Fingers: The Guinness World Record for the fastest guitar playing is held by Dr. Hot Licks, who played “Flight of the Bumblebee” at 600 BPM.
  35. Guitar Synthesizers: In the 1970s, guitar synthesizers were introduced, allowing guitars to mimic a variety of other instruments.
  36. Guitar in Space: The first guitar played in space is thought to have occurred in 1978 aboard a Russian space station.
  37. Guitar in Space Exploration: The sounds of the guitar have even reached outer space, with recordings included on the Golden Record aboard the Voyager spacecrafts.
  38. Peculiar Materials: Guitars have been made from peculiar materials, including LEGO bricks and even a shovel.
  39. Inventor of the Solid-Body Electric Guitar: The first solid-body electric guitar was designed by Adolph Rickenbacker and George Beauchamp.
  40. First Guitar for Women: Annie Clark, or “St. Vincent,” which is her artist name, designed the first guitar exclusively for women, in collaboration with Ernie Ball Music Man.
  41. Oldest Known Song for Guitar: The oldest known song written specifically for the guitar dates back to the Renaissance period.
  42. Guitar and Health: Playing the guitar can improve hand-eye coordination and enhance cognitive abilities.
  43. Guitar and Spirituality: In various cultures, the guitar is considered a spiritual instrument that can connect individuals to higher powers.
  44. Guitar in the Olympics: During the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, a mass guitar ensemble performed with over 600 guitarists.
  45. Guitar in Charity: Many famous guitarists have donated their instruments to charitable causes, raising millions of dollars for various initiatives.
  46. Sitar and Guitar Fusion: The “sitar guitar” is a fusion of the sitar and the guitar, bringing Eastern and Western music together.
  47. Octobass Guitar: The octobass guitar is a type of experimental guitar that has an extremely low range.
  48. Guitar and Philosophy: Philosophers have used the guitar as a metaphor to explain complex theories and ideas.
  49. Guitar in Education: In education, the guitar is often used to facilitate learning in subjects such as history and literature.
  50. Guitar and Language: Learning to play the guitar can facilitate language learning, enhancing auditory skills essential for understanding speech in a noisy background.
  51. Guitar and Fashion: The guitar has influenced fashion, inspiring guitar-shaped accessories and clothing patterns.
  52. Guitar and Architecture: The shape and structure of the guitar have inspired architectural designs, including buildings and furniture.
  53. Popularity Contest: The Fender Stratocaster is the most popular and most played guitar in the world.

Final Thoughts

Well there you have it! 53 fun facts about the guitar that, hopefully, you weren’t already aware of. Quite honestly, the guitar has a crazy history. The instrument has been taken to all the extremes, pushing the limits of engineering, construction, and sound. It’s such an accessible instrument that I think it touches a lot of people; we connect to it unlike any other instrument, which opens it up to a lot of interactions. We’ve played it, listened to it, written about it, painted it, redesigned it, re-engineered it, and even sent it to space.

Wait another 50 or 100 or 1,000 years and we’ll have 53 more amazing stories to tell about this beloved instrument. I hope you enjoyed the article!