March 2019 – The Story of Modern Music in 1,500+ Facts – Part I


Welcome to springtime in the northern hemisphere! Starting this month (March 2019), we are about to do something a bit different and embark on a new historical music journey. This isn’t the major writing project that I was going to embark upon this year – the original idea for 2019 requires much more research than I am able to undertake currently and has had to be postponed, probably until 2020 at the earliest. This decision left a bit of a quandary as to what was going to keep me writing this year and then I had this idea to do something a bit different. Little did I know how much work this alternative project was going to take either!!!

The story covers approximately 350 years of ‘modern’ musical from the end of the European Renaissance to the current day. To some extent, this music‑centric sojourn also reflects humankind’s broader cultural development. I hope you’ll join me on this ‘new’ melodious expedition and hope you enjoy whatever bits and pieces you want to gain from it over the coming months.

If you waded through CRAVE Guitars’ 9‑part exploration of the ‘Potted History of the Guitar’ series throughout 2018, you’ll have some background to the instrument’s development from ancient times to today (and an imaginary look forward into the future). Some learned researchers believe (NB. I don’t) that the story of the guitar and the music produced by this remarkably popular instrument really begins around the end of the Renaissance (c.1600 CE) with the Spanish vihuela. Standardisation of the guitar’s structural form developed over time with the Renaissance and baroque guitars and the Italian chitarra battente. By the middle of the 19th Century during the Romantic period (c.1830-1900 CE), the now‑familiar guitar outline had appeared with the refinement of the aptly named romantic guitar. Read the relevant part here ( A Potted History Of The Guitar Part II) Thereafter, modern classical and folk acoustic guitars became well‑established and its development has been well‑documented during the course of the 20th Century, including the introduction of electric guitars from the 1930s.

Having looked at the impact of the instrument itself, it now seems appropriate to look at some of the people, innovations and events that have been directly or indirectly related to the evolution of guitar. As you might expect, what happens in music is closely interwoven with the progress of western civilisation during the same period.

In addition, if you’ve been following CRAVE Guitars’ social media output, you’ll know that I have regularly posted ‘Music Facts of the Day’, musician birthdays and other interesting trivia over the last 4+ years. However, trawling back through social media timelines to pick these out doesn’t give a chronological perspective, just an ‘on this day’ one. So, having done most of the hard work (I thought naively) of collecting the data for another use, it seemed to be a straightforward exercise to present this same information as a historical chronology of ‘facts’, over 1,530 of them in all. As it turned out, this was a much more onerous task than originally envisaged.

Inevitably, the ‘Story of Modern Music’ arranged in this way, it is just a list of seemingly unrelated things that happened over time. However, stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, the chronology does bestow a sense of how modern music unfolded over the years. Hindsight, it turns out, really is a wonderful thing!

The earliest dates in the story are quite scant, so what we’ll do is to cover an extended period of time quite quickly before it starts to get culturally interesting in the 20th Century. The idea of the whole exercise is to present about 3½ centuries of music history largely through the perspective of the guitar, guitarists and guitar music but not comprehensively so, so there is quite a lot of relevant contextual information. Keeping things specific to guitars would, I felt, be too limited, so guitars were used as a starting point and the story broadens out to encompass other musical events.

The reason why I use ‘facts’ in quotes is because, during the research, re‑writing and re‑ordering exercise, some errors will inevitably have crept in, despite my best endeavours, and I apologise if this is the case. Also, to keep the overall scale and scope manageable, each ‘fact’ is presented as a short ’snippet’, regardless of whether they are major or minor points. I may also have missed many notable events, as I’m learning continually and adding things to the collective library. However, I hope this new story gives an alternative view of how we got from post‑Renaissance European classical music to the diverse musical landscape of the current day. Most modern musical events tend to focus on developed western countries, that’s just the way it came about. By the time we get to the end of the story, some events along the way may well change, especially more recent happenings, so the story is presented very much as a point‑in‑time.

Clearly, recording musical ‘facts’ in isolation can also become a bit exclusive, so at the beginning of each article there will be a short background synopsis of the political, economic, social and technological events that occurred during the relevant period. At this point, The cultural background paragraphs are simply an indicator of what else was going on the world at the same time that musical development was taking place. Before we get going, I have to remind readers that I am neither a historian and nor is this is not an academic exercise. Like ‘A Potted History of the Guitar’ endeavour before it, this series of articles is for entertainment only, based on what I have researched over the years. The nature of the article doesn’t lend itself to images, so for lovers of the pictorial story, apologies, there are is little to look at.

So, getting to the point… The first part of our story begins in the latter part of the 17th Century and concludes at the end of the 19th Century. So, let the voyage of discovery begin with a quick look at some global non‑music events…

Historical Context 1650-1900


In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England until 1660 when Charles II restored the monarchy. The Great Plague and the Great Fire of London took place in 1665 and 1666 respectively. Europe was being ravaged by war, particularly against France. In America in 1681, William Penn obtained a land grant from the King of England, which led to the formation of modern‑day Pennsylvania. Sir Isaac Newton published his scientific masterwork, the ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’ in 1687. A year later, in 1688, the Glorious Revolution ended four years of Catholic rule in England. Although written anonymously in 1660, in 1689 the English philosopher John Locke published the ‘Two Treatises of Government’, which presented the theory of a limited monarchy and stated that a social contract existed between those governed and those being governed, thereby influencing the development of democratic government. In 1692, the infamous witchcraft trials were held in Salem, Massachusetts. The Bank of England was founded in 1694.


Queen Anne of England was crowned in 1702 (and died in 1714). Five years later in 1707, England and Scotland become the United Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1719, Daniel Defoe wrote the novel, ‘Robinson Crusoe’. 1720 saw Sir Edmund Halley become Astronomer Royal. In 1721, Sir Robert Walpole became first British Prime Minister, the same year that Peter the Great became Emperor of Russia. In 1727, physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton died. In 1751, China annexed Tibet. In 1755, English writer Samuel Johnson publishes his landmark ‘Dictionary’. In 1770, Captain James Cook laid claim to New Zealand and Eastern Australia on behalf of Britain. 1773 was marked by the Boston Tea Party, which marked the start of the American Revolution. In France, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette succeeded to throne in 1774. America finally declared independence from Britain in 1776. In the same year, Scottish economist Adam Smith published his masterpiece, the ‘Wealth of Nations’. In 1783, the French Montgolfier brothers became the first people to fly using their hot air balloon. By 1787, the American Constitution was drafted and two years later George Washington became the first American President in 1789. The first British convicts were deported to settle Australia in 1788, a practice that continued until 1867. 1789 saw the start of the French Revolution when the Bastille fortress in Paris was stormed and by 1793 the French Republic was declared after Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had been beheaded.


The 19th Century began with Thomas Jefferson becoming American President in 1801, the same year that British inventor Richard Trevithick developed the high‑pressure steam engine. Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself emperor of France in 1804. A year later, in 1805, Lord Horatio Nelson defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar. In 1807, the slave trade was abolished in Britain. The new technologies of the industrial revolution ignited the Luddite riots in 1811 England. By 1812, Napoleon’s army was defeated and forced to retreat from the siege of Moscow. In 1814, Robert Stephenson built the early steam locomotive. The Duke of Wellington finally defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The precursor to today’s computers, the Difference Engine was created by English mathematician Charles Babbage in 1820. The first railway from Stockton to Darlington in England was opened in 1825. By 1829, Sir Robert Peel established the London Police Force. In 1834, the Tolpuddle Martyrs were persecuted to discourage the formation of trade unions in England – unions were finally legalised in 1871. Queen Victoria came to the British throne in 1837, the same year that French artist Louis Daguerre pioneered photography. In 1848, German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the ‘Communist Manifesto’. In 1857, American industrialist Elisha Otis introduced the first elevator. English naturalist, Charles Darwin published his ground‑breaking theory of evolution, the ‘Origin of Species’ in 1859. Abraham Lincoln became American President in 1861, the same year that the American Civil War began, which lasted until 1865. Thanks to French biologist and chemist Louis Pasteur, pasteurisation was introduced to milk and beer in 1864. The United States of America abolished slavery in 1865. In 1869, the Suez Canal was opened in Egypt. The telephone was developed by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, a year before Thomas Edison invented the first phonograph in 1877 and the electric light in 1878. The bloody Zulu war took place in South Africa in 1879. Work began on the Panama Canal in Central America in 1880. The world’s first real skyscraper was the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, completed in 1885. By 1886, German engineers, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz produced the first automobiles. In 1896 the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece. Between 1888 and 1991, Jack the Ripper was carrying out a campaign of murder on women in London. In France, the Eiffel Tower was built in Paris for the ‘Exposition Universelle’ in 1889. One year later, in 1890, the famous London Underground subway system was opened. Also in 1890, the French Lumière bothers developed motion picture film. New Zealand became the first country to give women the vote in 1893. In 1895, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio message. Toward the end of the Qing dynasty, the brutal nationalist Boxer Rebellion in opposition to Western colonialism and Christian missionary activity uprising started in China in 1899, which lasted until 1901.

Let the Music Story Begin

To ease us gently into the long story of modern music, we’ll begin with just a few – a mere 44 – ‘facts’ for now.

This portion of the musical timeline (1650‑1900) is broadly known as the ‘common practice period’ and covers late Baroque (c.1600‑1750), Classical (c.1750‑1810) and Romantic (c.1810‑1900) periods of music. This period is often associated with the birth of the classical music orchestra as we know it today and the rise of the tonal system that leads to the development of modern music theory, focusing on harmonic progression, rhythm and duration.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…




Music Fact




Famous English baroque classical composer Henry Purcell was born in London (died 1695).




Famous Italian classical composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice (died 1741).




Famous German classical composer, George Frideric Handel was born in Duchy of Magdeburg and worked extensively in London, UK (died 1759).




Famous classical composer and musician, Johann Sebastian Bach was born in the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach (died 1750).




Famous Austrian classical composer Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau (died 1809).




Famous Austrian classical composer and musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg (died 1791).




Famous German classical pianist and composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven was baptised (birth date not known) in Bonn (died 1827).




Famous Italian violinist, guitarist, and composer Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa (died 1840).




The visionary who founded guitar maker C.F. Martin & Company in 1833, German/American luthier Christian Frederick Martin (1796-1873, 77) was born in Markneukirchen, Germany.




Famous Austrian classical composer Franz Schubert was born in Vienna (died 1828).




Famous French Romantic classical composer Hector Berlioz was born in La Côte-Saint-André (died 1869).




Famous Polish romantic classical composer and virtuoso pianist Frédéric Chopin was born in Warsaw (died 1849).




Famous German classical composer and conductor Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig (died 1883).




The American National Anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ (originally titled, ‘Defence of Fort McHenry’) was written by Francis Scott Key and set to the tune of ‘Anacreon in Heaven’.




Famous Austrian classical composer, nicknamed ‘the waltz king’, Johann Strauss Jr was born in St Ulrich near Vienna (died 1899).




Famous German romantic classical composer and pianist Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg (died 1897).




Famous Russian classical composer of the romantic period, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk (died 1893).




Legendary American luthier, guitar innovator and founder of Gibson guitars, Orville H. Gibson (1856-1918, 62) was born in Chateaugay, New York.




Famous English classical composer Sir Edward Elgar was born in Lower Broadheath, Worcestershire (died 1934).




Famous Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic classical music composer and conductor Gustav Mahler was born in what was then the Austrian Empire (died 1911).




Famous French classical impressionist composer Claude Debussy was born in Paris (died 1918).




Famous German classical composer Richard Strauss was born in Munich (died 1949).




African-American composer and pianist, the ‘King of Ragtime’, Scott Joplin was born in Texarkana, Arkansas.




Famous English classical music composer, arranger and teacher Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (died 1934).




American inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison developed the phonograph and effectively started the sound recording industry.




Famous Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor Igor Stravinsky was born in Saint Petersburg (died 1971).




Great innovator in guitar history, Swiss/American inventor and founder of Rickenbacker guitars, Adolph Rickenbacker (1886-1976, 89) was born in Basel, Switzerland.




American folk and blues legend, as well as being a great guitarist, Huddie William Ledbetter (a.k.a. Lead Belly) (1888-1949, 61) was born in Mooringsport, Louisiana.




One of the greatest American Broadway and cinema songwriters of all time, Irving Berlin was born in Tolochin, Russia (now Belarus).




American ragtime and jazz pianist, bandleader and composer Jelly Roll Morton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.



American guitarist and ‘Father of the Delta Blues’, Charley Patton (c.1891-1934, c.43) born. Sources suggest he was born in April in Hinds County, Mississippi.




Famous Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Prokofiev was born in Sontsovka (died 1953).




Highly acclaimed American Broadway composer and songwriter Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana.




Reputed country blues singer and guitarist, Mississippi John Hurt (1892-1966, 74) was born possibly 8 March or 3 March (or several other disputed dates) in Teoc, Carroll County, Mississippi.




Spanish virtuoso classical guitarist, often called the ‘godfather of the classical guitar’, Andrés Segovia (1893-1987, 94) was born in Jaén.




American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, the ‘Father of Texas Blues’, Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893-1929, 36) was born in Coutchman, Texas.


American blues and ragtime guitarist and singer Arthur ‘Blind’ Blake (1896-1934, 38) was born in either Florida or Virginia.




The Russian inventor of the strange electronic musical instrument, the Theremin (1928), Léon Theremin was born in Saint Petersburg (died 1993).




American lyricist who worked closely with his younger brother George, Ira Gershwin was born in New York City.




American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, Memphis Minnie (1897-1973, 76) was born in Algiers, Louisiana.




Influential American blues and ragtime guitarist and singer, Blind Willie McTell (1898-1959, 61) was born in Thomson, Georgia.




American composer and pianist who worked closely with his older brother, Ira, George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York.




American jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader Duke Ellington was born in Washington D.C.




Record company RCA Victor registered the famous ‘His Master’s Voce’ logo, featuring the iconic dog Nipper, with the U.S. Patent Office.

Wow, that’s 250 years, from Henry Purcell to Nipper the dog, covered in a flash! Of course, there was much more to this era than covered here, so this is just a teaser of what is to come. Only 120 years to go! As always, readers are encouraged to explore areas of particular interest beyond the scope of this article.

You may be wondering at this point what many of the ‘facts’ shown above have to do with guitars. Well, let’s dip into some relevant quotes to illustrate how interdependent music through the ages can be:

“The violin is my mistress, but the guitar is my master” – Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)

“The guitar is a wonderful instrument which is understood by few” – Franz Schubert (1797-1827)

“Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly two” – Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff” – Frank Zappa (1940-1993)

Without doubt, the classical composers have had a tremendous influence on modern day music and many of today’s musicians borrow heavily from classical theory, music styles and techniques.


Next time, hopefully next month, we’ll kick off with the 20th Century, as the twin pillars of modern music, jazz and blues, allied to new‑fangled recording technology, really begin to play their significant part in shaping where today’s music came from. I hope you will continue to partake in this passage of exploration over the next few months.

In the meantime, I’m getting back to the latter part of the 20th Century and my ‘Cool & Rare American Vintage Electric’ Guitars. Until next time…

CRAVE Guitars ‘Quote of the Month’: “Unlike doing, thinking and imagination have no geographical boundaries or physical limitations.”

© 2019 CRAVE Guitars – Love Vintage Guitars.

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November 2018 – A Potted History of the Guitar: Epilogue

Hello again. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the studio, on stage or rehearsal room… some closure is required.

As before. if you wish to recap on any or all of the previous articles before starting here at the end, the whole ‘Potted History of the Guitar’ series, can be accessed here (each part opens in a new browser tab):

Note: For completists, I’ve updated Part VII (September 2018) to include some empirical data over the last decade to fill out the ‘recovery and rejuvenation’ section. It isn’t vital by any means. Just sayin’.

It was only after I completed the mammoth task of researching and documenting the history of the guitar, that I had another thought. All eight parts were written from scratch with little idea of where it would all end up. At the end of the 8th (and what I thought at the time was the final) part in the series, I mentioned that it had ended with “a bit more of a whimper than some almighty bang”.

After all the effort invested in telling the guitar’s epic journey, I felt a tad disappointed that something was missing but I wasn’t sure what it was. Even though the narrative needed to have a line drawn under it at some point, it wasn’t perhaps up to me to determine the last remaining thoughts about the topic.

As is my wont, and if you’ve read any of my articles before, you’ll know that I tend to have a lot of wonts, I thought about what might be a fitting coda to the outstanding ‘unfinished business’. That ‘missing link’ turned out to be something that isn’t actually part of the historical timeline or anything that I could add myself, but something else altogether.

Whereas the first eight parts were in my own words, I felt that it would benefit from, and indeed deserved, some independently derived anecdotes from some highly respected sources. So… I had this genius (!?) epiphany that I would select some imparted wisdom from people who have made a living either playing or being in the influential presence of the mighty guitar.

While working on social media over the last four years, I have compiled and posted many interesting quotes from musicians. Of the many hundreds of apt and often motivational quotes, quite a number of them make reference to the guitar in one way or another. It seems therefore appropriate to share them in order to give a sense of closure to the guitar’s long story. While I am not alone in my admiration for the instrument, I felt that readers shouldn’t just take my word (or many words as it turned out) for declaring the importance of the humble guitar within the context of music and cultural history. As a result, I will leave it to the professionals to have their say on the subject as they see it from their own perspective. You may recognise some of the names along the way, ranging from ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott to Frank Zappa – a veritable and literal A‑Z of guitar wisdom over the years.

What follows are some of my favourite guitar quotes for your consideration. You may well have others that complement these and which may add something to the overall picture. All in all, I think that they provide the appropriate concluding element that I was unwittingly looking for, bringing a bit of subjective coherency to the factual chronology.

So, from the horse’s mouth of music royalty, so to speak, take the opportunity to internalise what they say into your psyche. You never know, you may end up being a better guitarist (and perhaps a more rounded human being) by taking heed of a thing or two from the masters of their trade. After all, they can say it better – and way more succinctly – than I can, so perhaps it is best left to them to articulate the remainder of this article. Are you sitting comfortably?

Musicians’ quotes about the guitar

Just to mix it up a bit, the quotes are listed in alphabetical order of the quote, rather than by the artist. There are also quite a few pictures this month, so to save repetition, where an artist has more than one quote, their picture only appears next the first one. Enjoy…

A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument. I’m very brutal on my instruments, but not all the time – Eddie Van Halen (1955-)

A guitar is like an old friend that is there with me – BB King (1925-2015)

A guitar is something you can hold and love and it’s never going to bug you. But here’s the secret about the guitar – it’s defiant. It will never let you conquer it. The more you get involved with it, the more you realize how little you know – Les Paul (1915-2009)

Ah, I could make it in the shape of a guitar, and it would a) be more affordable, and b) a guitar player could double on this instrument – Leo Fender (1909-1991)

As far as I’m concerned, I’m just a guitar player, and my job is to go out there and play and entertain and do my thing – Les Paul (1915-2009)

Besides being a guitar player, I’m a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument – Steve Vai (1960-)

Describing certain sounds, there’s a common language that guitar players have – Joe Perry (1950-)

Doesn’t matter what guitar you play, as long as you’ve got passion! – Eric Johnson (1954-)

Every time you pick up your guitar to play, play as if it’s the last time – Eric Clapton (1945-)

Finding ways to use the same guitar people have been using for 50 years to make sounds that no one has heard before is truly what gets me off – Jeff Beck (1944-)

For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument – Jerry Garcia (1942-1995)

Guitar is the best form of self-expression I know. Everything else, and I’m just sort of tripping around, trying to figure my way through life – Slash (1965-)

Guitar playing is both extremely easy for me and extremely difficult for me at the same time – Kirk Hammett (1962-)

Guitars are fun. There are plenty of different kinds to play. They look cool. They sound cool. Don’t you want to play guitar? – Joe Satriani (1956-)

Guitars have been the obsession of my life. I first picked one up at the age of four and I’ve been a guitar junkie ever since – Johnny Marr (1963-)

I believe every guitar player inherently has something unique about their playing. They just have to identify what makes them different and develop it – Jimmy Page (1944-)

I can’t even read notes. But I can teach someone how to make a guitar smoke – Ace Frehley (1951-)

I don’t know of a guitar player that has only one guitar. They’re never happy with one. I’m never happy with just one of them. I woke up and ended up with six, even if you can only play one at a time! – Les Paul (1915-2009)

I don’t play a lot of fancy guitar. I don’t want to play it. The kind of guitar I want to play is mean, mean licks – John Lee Hooker (1912-2001)

I don’t want you to play me a riff that’s going to impress Joe Satriani; give me a riff that makes a kid want to go out and buy a guitar and learn to play – Ozzy Osbourne (1948-)

I had no aspirations to be a musician, but I picked up a guitar for two seconds and haven’t put it down since – Slash (1965-)

I just go where the guitar takes me – Angus Young (1955-)

I loved playing the guitar and I knew I was pretty good at it, so that’s what I wanted to do with my life – Ace Frehley (1951-)

I never felt so close to a guitar as that silver one with mirrors that I used on stage all the time – Syd Barrett (1946-2006)

I never stop being amazed by all the different ways of playing the guitar and making it deliver a message – Les Paul (1915-2009)

I never wanted to sing. I just wanted to play rhythm guitar – hide in the back and just play – Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)

I started out playing guitar because Jimi Hendrix was my hero, so my roots were really based on Jimi Hendrix and his style of playing – Joe Satriani (1956-)

I think people must wonder how a white girl like me became a blues guitarist. The truth is, I never intended to do this for a living – Bonnie Raitt (1949-)

I tried to make guitars that were close to what my heroes played. That’s the way it’s done. My experience is that you have to do it like a musician. You have to learn the language before you can learn to be a novelist – Paul Reed Smith (1956-)

I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming – Courtney Love (1964-)

I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions – BB King (1925-2015)

I wonder if I could make an electric bass – Leo Fender (1909-1991)

I’m just a guitarist in a kick-ass rock and roll band. What more could I ask for? – Eddie Van Halen (1955-)

I’ve had three wives and three guitars. I still play the guitars – Andres Segovia (1893-1987)

If ever there’s an obscene noise to be made on an instrument, it’s going to come out of a guitar… Let’s be realistic about this, the guitar can be the single most blasphemous device on the face of the earth. That’s why I like it… The disgusting stink of a too‑loud electric guitar: now that’s my idea of good time – Frank Zappa (1940-1993)

If something is easy to repair, it is easy to construct – Leo Fender (1909-1991)

If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music – Keith Richards (1943-)

Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart – Andres Segovia (1893-1987)

My guitar is not a thing. It is an extension of myself. It is who I am – Joan Jett (1958‑)

My guitar was a loyal person to me – Dave Mustaine (1961-)

Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly two – Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

Playing guitar was one of my childhood hobbies, and I had played a little at school and at camp. My parents would drag me out to perform for my family, like all parents do, but it was a hobby – nothing more – Bonnie Raitt (1949-)

Running my hands really fast up and down the fretboard… I mean, anybody can do that. It’s the Guitar Olympics, and I can’t think of anything more pointless – The Edge (1961-)

Sometimes the nicest thing to do with a guitar is just look at it – Thom Yorke (1968-)

That’s all I wanted to do as a kid. Play a guitar properly and jump around. But too many people got in the way – Syd Barrett (1946-2006)

The guitar has a kind of grit and excitement possessed by nothing else – Brian May (1947-)

The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different colour, a different voice – Andres Segovia (1893-1987)

The guitar is just a wonderful instrument. It’s everything: a bartender, a psychiatrist, a housewife. It’s everything, but it’s elusive – Les Paul (1915-2009)

The guitar is a wonderful instrument which is understood by few – Franz Schubert (1797-1827)

The guitar is the coolest instrument in the world – Steve Vai (1960-)

The guitar is the easiest instrument to play and the hardest to play well – Andres Segovia (1893-1987)

The guitar is your first wings. It’s assigned and designed to unfold your vision and imagination – Carlos Santana (1947-)

The guitar was my weapon, my shield to hide behind – Brian May (1947-)

The media says that equality for women has arrived, but if you look around, you still don’t see girls playing guitars and having success with it – Joan Jett (1958-)

The most important part of my religion is to play guitar – Lou Reed (1942-2013)

The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar – Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

The violin is my mistress, but the guitar is my master – Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)

There’s something about approaching universal truths with the simplicity of the acoustic guitar. You can take it anywhere, and it helps me reach listeners of all ages and walks of life – Jim Croce (1943-1973)

To me a guitar is kind of like a woman. You don’t know why you like em but you do – Waylon Jennings (1937-2002)

To stand up on a stage alone with an acoustic guitar requires bravery bordering on heroism, bordering on insanity – Richard Thompson (1949-)

When the intellectual part of guitar playing overrides the spiritual, you don’t get to extreme heights – John Frusciante (1970-)

When you find yourself in the deepest rut you’ve ever known, don’t ever forget how f*ckin’ good the guitar sounds – ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbot (1966-2004)

When you just get mixed up and there’s too much going on, then it’s time to pick up your guitar – Les Paul (1915-2009)

When you think about where guitar playing is going today… it’s going everywhere at the same time – Joe Satriani (1956-)

With my Les Paul, I know I’m small. But I enjoy living anyway – Marc Bolan (1947-1977)

Why did they keep changing guitars and amplifiers when they were perfect? They did the same things with cars, if you ask me. They forgot how to make them right, because they focused on style and bells and whistles – Buddy Guy (1936-)

Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It is the way you pick and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or guitar you use – Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990)


Well, there you go. A fascinating summary of the world in which the guitar exists from the real experts. Do I have a favourite quote from among that lot? Nope. How could one pick a single truism out and exclude the remainder? I think that the collective intelligence from these esteemed contributors is what makes the overall message so powerful. Given Fender’s 2018 research that suggests that half of all new guitarists in the U.S. and UK are women, perhaps in the future, it would be good to feature more memorable quotes from prominent female guitarists.

When you think that what they say relates to what is essentially just a bit of wood, metal and plastic (in most cases), the guitar truly stands out as something special. At its most basic, the guitar is an artefact that doesn’t do anything of and by itself, it requires a symbiotic attachment to the person playing it to make it work its magic. It hangs on a strap or sits on your lap and converts the emotional core of the musician’s expression into fantastic guitar music that has touched just about everyone on the planet and has become a global phenomenon like no other.

Whether from musicians or not and regardless of whether there is any profound insight or not, what people will say about the guitar in the future, one can only imagine. Whatever is divulged, ‘the guitar’ will undoubtedly be a topic that will be widely debated for as long as people pick up the instrument and play music on it.

What more can one possibly add? Well… you may have noticed that at the bottom of every monthly article is a ‘CRAVE Guitars’ Quote of the Month’. This is my own way of teasing some mental curiosity as a parting shot. So, while my humble ‘thoughts of the day’ are possibly not worthy of being considered in the company of the hallowed artists quoted above, below is my modest addition to the canon, just where it usually is, at the end of my regular monthly rant. The eagle‑eyed reader may actually recognise it because it appears at the bottom of every CRAVE Guitars’ web page and on all CRAVE Guitars’ related social media profiles. I admit that, when writing this epilogue, I tried to come up with something clever but the attempts were, unsurprisingly, contrived and derivative. So, I went back to where it all began and what I felt deeply when I founded CRAVE (Cool & Rare American Vintage Electric) Guitars over 10 years ago. I looked at it again and realised that it remains a heartfelt and very personal belief, so I reckon it fits the bill as a nice little sign‑off. Nuff said.

Now that really is, possibly, maybe, probably, perhaps the last‑ish part of ‘A Potted History of the Guitar’. Honest. Until next time…

CRAVE Guitars ‘Quote of the Month’: “Love Vintage Guitars. Music matters. Create. Play. Be inspired! Share the passion… Change lives for good”

CRAVE Guitars

© 2018 CRAVE Guitars – Love Vintage Guitars.

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