Guitar A stringed instrument with a long neck and a flat, hollow body. Its strings are plucked or strummed with the fingers.

The exact origin of the guitar is still a mystery. The word “guitar” probably comes from the ancient Greek word κιθάρα (kithara). Mythology attributes Hermes with creating the first kithara from a tortoise shell, but many likenesses of Apollo show him with this instrument.

Many say that a man known as Lamech, who was Noah’s grandfather and the sixth grandson of Adam and Eve, designed the Arab precursor to the guitar. Lamech was apparently inspired to design the shape of the instrument, known as an oud, after hanging the body of his dead son from a tree. The Moors brought the oud with them when they invaded Southern Spain in 711 AD.

The evolution of Spanish guitars settled by the 1790s; they had the standard body type and six courses of strings that resembles the modern guitar, but were smaller. Spanish musician and guitar maker Antonio de Torres Jurado changed all that in the mid-1800s, when he created the style of guitar that gave rise to all guitars to follow. Many people consider him as “one of the single most important inventors in the history of guitar.”