• Wish list
  • Choose your store
    All countries
  • 0

2. The Steel-Strung Acoustic Guitar

Strictly speaking, all guitars that do not rely on amplification to produce sound are ‘acoustic’. It is only in the last fifty years though that the term has become necessary, since the invention of the electric guitar. Generally speaking, ‘acoustic’ implies steel-strung as distinct from nylon-strung instruments, which themselves are commonly known as ‘classical’ or ‘Spanish’ guitars.

In fact, the steel-strung guitar is a relatively recent development. The Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries saw an explosion of distinctively American folk styles, that today would be described loosely as ‘hillbilly’ music. The popularity of loud instruments such as banjos and fiddles meant that the Spanish guitar, with its gut strings, struggled to be heard.

The steel-strung guitar was created as a response to this problem. But steel strings exert a greater pull on the body and neck, and the features common to most modern acoustic and electric guitars were in turn developed in response to this issue by the two leading makers of the time - Martin and Gibson.

Classical guitars are reinforced by ‘transverse bracing’ - pieces of wood glued across the underside of the soundboard or ‘top’. This provides enough strength to match the tension of nylon or gut strings, but a better solution was required for steel strings. A thicker top would of course hold up to higher tension, but would also result in a loss of volume. Martin’s system of intersecting diagonal braces, known as the ‘X-brace’ system, solved this problem while retaining a relatively thin, resonant top.

The neck also required reinforcement - classical guitar necks are usually made of a single piece of wood, but this is not sufficient to withstand the tension of steel strings, and even very slight neck warping is enough to ruin the playability of an instrument. The resolution of this problem arrived in the form of a steel rod placed in a channel under the fretboard. Almost all acoustic and electric steel-strung guitars and basses made in the past century employ this device, which is known as a ‘truss rod’ - some even have two.

While Martin were essentially responsible for the design of the modern flat-top acoustic guitar, Gibson borrowed from violin makers to create the ‘archtop’ acoustic guitar, which has had a significant influence on the development of large-bodied ‘semi-acoustic’ electric guitars, popular with jazz players to this day.

Your Contact Persons
Phone: +49-9546-9223-20
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Numark Mixtrack Edge worth €68.
Which guitarist uses a six-pence piece as a guitar pick?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
Our groupies
WE LOVE THOMANN :D Thank you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much for the kind-heartedness.
Roman Z., 10.10.2014

Acoustic Guitars overview

Feedback
How would you rate this page?