Guitars have been played in different forms since classical times. Examples of instruments have been found from ancient Greece and Egypt. The guitar has taken many forms since arriving at today’s version. The modern classical guitar arguably began to take shape in the 1850s when Spanish manufacturer Antonio Torres increased the body size of guitar-like instruments.The first electric guitars were produced in the 1920s.
• Guitars played by famous artistsGuitars are a highly collectible commodity today and can exchange hands for large sums at auction. Collectible guitars tend to fall into two main categories:
• Rare classic models
Guitars played by famous artists
The US collectible guitars market is dominated by country and western stars. Hank Williams' Martin & Co 1947 guitar realised £87,500 in 2009 while a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar, stage-used and signed by Johnny Cash in 1989 with four lines from his song Walk The Line, sold for $50,000 in December 2010.
A Martin guitar belonging to country and western star Roy Rogers sold for £300,000 in April 2009 at Christie's, a world record for a country singer’s guitar.
1970s rock groups
Guitars from the classic rock groups of the 1970s are popular with investors, with axes wielded by Tom Petty and Marc Bolan having performed well at auction. A guitar belonging to Bolan sold in 2009 for £19,000.
The leading guitar sales are those belonging to popular music's most iconic names.
In May 2007, a 1975 cream Travis Bean guitar belonging to Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead sold for £208,000 at auction. The band had been inactive since the death of Garcia in 1995, a key factor behind the impressive sale figure.
The first guitar burnt by Jimi Hendrix sold for £280,000 in 2008. Hendrix burnt the Fender Stratocaster at the end of a north London show in 1967.
A guitar used by Elvis Presley in his final Las Vegas performance sold for £69,200 ($106,200) in 2009.
Most expensive guitar
The most expensive guitar ever sold is Eric Clapton's Blackie 1956-57 composite Fender Stratocaster.
It was the only guitar he used from 1970 to 1985. It achieved £527,198 in 2004.
Rare classic models
Rare guitars tend to achieve far lower prices than those specimens that have been played by a famous name. Despite this, there have been some notable sales:
• A 1960 Gibson Les Paul standard cherry Sunburst electric guitar, one of the most sought-after guitars ever made, made $131,450 at a Heritage Auctions sale in February 2011.
Types of guitar
See main article: List of types of guitar