You can play it with your finger or a pick. You can strum it quietly or you can amplify it for maximum sound. What is it? It’s the acoustic guitar, something that, in one form or another has been around for centuries. The main source of sound comes from the strings which vibrate at different frequencies depending on their length, tension and mass. You simply pick the strings to create different notes and tones and, when you put it all together, you are playing music.
In the Middle Ages these instruments were called gitterns, and they looked like and were played like the lute, they even had the rounded back like a lute. As we got into the Renaissance era the size of these instruments got larger and the shape changed into something we would consider more modern guitar like. They originated in Spain and were called vihuelas. This name was a broad term given to many string instruments so in the 16th century they were divided into two categories: vihuela de arco which was like a modern day violin and vihuela de penola