How many starry nights did you spend learning chords, listening to hit songs repeatedly until you could finally play it with confidence? Did your fingers bleed like Bryan Adams claimed in the hit Summer of ’69? When did you finally give up and set your guitar aside to gather dust and faded memories? You miss it don’t you? Admit it, you dreamed of standing in that stadium under the lights soaking in the adoration of millions! It’s ok, I did too! But we all grow up…right? Well, not totally and that’s why you should turn the lights up! It’s National Get Out Your Guitar Day!
History of National Get Out Your Guitar Day
The history of Get Out Your Guitar day is simply unable to be recorded. Ever since the first version of a guitar was created, man has desired to escape the mundane and take some time to dream. Bards and storytellers of old became the pop stars of today. All with the ability to make music and take us along on their adventures. Whether it is the heartache of relationships or the ringing anthems of those who seek for change, the music sweeps us up and gathers us along. Remember that joy that you had the first time someone heard you playing and recognized the song? Yeah, that is what today is about. That pure, sweet, joy in the moment. So run up to the attic or down into the basement and get that guitar out of hiding!
The guitar probably made its first appearance in 16th century Spain. These early models only had four strings and were much slimmer than the full-bodied acoustics that we enjoy today. The instrument was probably the descendent of the Spain-specific vihuela, which was a kind of local version of the lute.
Over the following three centuries, the guitar’s basic design underwent an evolution, slowly improving it from decade to decade. In the seventeenth century, artisans added a fifth string. And by the eighteenth century, we got the sixth string we know and love today.
The shape of the pegbox changed too. In the early days, it was similar to a viola. But people realized that they could get a slightly better sound out of it if they flattered and widened it, a development that led to the modern design.
There were improvements to the tuning options too. In the 1600s, musicians had to rely on clumsy metal tuning pegs to get the right pitch. But by the turn of the 19th century, engineers had replaced them with pins, often made of ivory, which could make tiny adjustments to the tone.
Early guitars didn’t have frets either. Performers would create notes by merely pushing the strings into the wooden board. However, designers noticed that they could improve the sound with the addition of metal strips placed crosswise on the neck, corresponding to various frequencies.
The guitar was a bit of a curiosity when it first appeared. People weren’t sure what to make of it. The lute and the vihuela were far more popular. However, during the 17th century, tradition string instruments went into decline. And by the start of the 19th century, they had mostly fallen out of circulation.
Part of the shift towards guitar was undoubtedly driven by early virtuoso soloists, including Fernando Sor and Joseph Kaspar Mertz. Before long, the guitar had become a staple of modern music and the instrument of choice for bringing people together for a good old-fashioned singalong.
Get Your Guitar Out Day is dedicated to making sure that everyone can benefit from the humble guitar. The instrument has an uncanny ability to get people pumped about music.
How to celebrate National Get Out Your Guitar Day
Back from the attic? Ready to get started? Ok! Great! Let’s get rockin’. The first way I recommend that you celebrate is to get all your friends together. Tell them to grab their guitars (air or hero version) and come over. Order some pizza, pour some drinks and rock away! No, you don’t need to practice for a month beforehand, the mistake will make memories! If you can’t get your friends or family to join you, have your own celebration. Take that guitar and just sit with your eyes closed and think of all the dreams, all the fun, all the ups and downs that you have gone through together. Relive those moments of glory. Turn all of your stress and worries off for now and just strum those strings and let the music take you to a place where you can be anything you want!
Take advantage of the technology we have today and make a record of your time out of the day. Get your phone ready and record your songs. Share what you can do with those who couldn’t come over for your celebration on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media. Let them see how great you are! Maybe next year they will join you instead of staying away! While you are posting that video to your favorite social media (or all of them!), don’t forget to share it with us as well!
But what if you’re new to guitar? What if you’ve never picked one up before in your life? How are you supposed to “get it out,” so to speak?
Well, one of the things you can do is commit to guitar lessons. You can pick National Get Out Your Guitar Day as the first day of a life-long love affair with the instrument. If you don’t have a guitar, you can also venture out of the house to your local music store and try some out for yourself, both acoustic and electric.
National Get Out Your Guitar Day is also an opportunity for you to be a little nostalgic. If you used to play the instrument in your youth, you might want to strum a few of your favorite tunes, just for old time’s sake. You can take yourself back decades and relive what life was like when your favorite bands ruled the airwaves.