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Overview

Jun Senoue holding his guitar.

The guitar is a stringed, musical instrument dating back to 16th century Spain. It consists of a solid or hollow, 'body' and long, protruding 'neck' both usually made of wood, and produces sound by amplifying vibrations of the attached 'strings' in one of several ways depending on type and construction. Guitars usually have 6 strings, but also come in 4, 5, 7, 8 and 12 string varieties. The guitar is quite possibly the most popular musical instrument on the planet and over the last half-century, the Electric Guitar has gained a strong reputation as a powerful tool of rock, and a potent symbol of rebellion.

Electric Vs. Acoustic

Modern Guitars usually fall into one of two categories; Electric or Acoustic. Acoustic guitars are constructed of at least 5 thin pieces of wood (a top with one or more 'sound holes' in it, back, two sides and a neck) and are glued and clamped together to form something of a 'wooden box' before having their necks glued in place. They work by channeling string vibrations directly into the top of the body, which in turn allows the vibrations to reverberate within the large, hollow chamber of the body and finally project out of the guitar's top hole (or holes) as sound. Acoustic Guitars are very popular both because they require no electricity or additional equipment in order to function and because they are very light, both of which makes them fairly portable. They are, however, quite fragile and if impacted have the tendency to split or break rather than dent as a solid Electric Guitar would.

Electric Guitars are usually made from fewer pieces of wood than Acoustics, (usually 3 or 4, but they can be made from as few as 2 is so required) and are generally solid, although can also be either hollow or semi-hollow. Electrics work very differently from Acoustics. While the base principle of amplifying vibrations from the instrument's strings remains the same, the method by which it does this is far more advanced. Instead of using an empty space and a hole to amplify it's signal, the Electric guitar uses magnetic coils called 'pickups' placed underneath the strings to convert the vibration into a current-based signal, which is in turn directed into an electronic Amplifier or Processor of some kind. From here the signal can be modified in a variety of ways and can have various effects applied to it, including distortion (or overdrive), chorus, tremolo, compression, filter sweeps (e.g. 'Wah') and many more. It is this versatility that has made the Electric Guitar so popular, and combined with the fact that it can be amplified to provide nearly infinite volume, has long been regarded as the loudest and most powerful musical instrument on the planet

Guitars in Video Games

Guitars have appeared very widely in video games. Many rhythm games have not only featured guitars but also used guitar-like peripherals to simulate playing guitars. In 1999 Konami published the arcade game Guitar Freaks which used guitar controllers, however in the following decade the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games used guitar peripherals with far more success. In 2010 Harmonix released Rock Band 3, a game in which people could use a real Fender guitar as a controller, and in another 2010 rhythm game PowerGig: Rise of the SixString guitar parts in the game could only be played using a real guitar, however it was received very poorly by both critics and audience. Another more obscure game released in the same year was Fret Nice, which used guitar controllers to control a platforming experience.

The guitar has occasionally appeared as a weapon in games, such as in the Dead Rising games where the guitar can be used to hit enemies. In some games guitars have taken on mystical powers such as in Gitaroo Man where the protagonist uses his guitar to save the universe or in Brutal Legend where guitars have the power to control magic, and the protagonist uses his guitar Clementine to help save the world. The character K.K. Slider from the Animal Crossing games is always seen with an acoustic guitar which he uses to play various songs. A guitar is also one of the many items that can be summoned in the Scribblenauts games, and in the Sims games Sims can increase their creativity and earn tips by playing guitar.

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