A guitar is a musical instrument that uses tuned strings to produce different notes of sound. For centuries man has tied strings to pieces of wood and plucked the strings to create music, but it was only around the 12th century AD that the modern guitar started to take shape. The instrument that we know today as the acoustic guitar has influenced popular music for over half a millenia, and is celebrated by musicians from around the world. For the most determined music lovers, tattoos of a guitar can symbolize their relationship with this instrument, with music, or with a guitarist.
Strings on Skin in Guitar Tattoos
The acoustic guitar is a portable instrument, one that is light enough to be carried in a case by hand or strapped to the musician’s back. Guitarists often take their guitars with them wherever they go, ready to play a song for their friends or simply find a quiet spot to practice their skill. Musicians who treat their guitars as constant companions often feel an affection for the instrument and will protect their guitar from bumps, scratches, water and heat. Guitars are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity and it is not unknown for musicians to wrap their instrument in blankets to protect the strings and wood.
Because of the affection that many guitarists have for their instruments, the loss of a guitar can be felt keenly. A tattoo of a guitar can be in memory of an instrument that has been stolen or broken beyond repair. Many people have fond memories of one of their parents or grandparents playing guitar, so a tattoo of their relative’s guitar can be a way of honoring the person’s musical skills or a way to remember the person. Tattoos of guitars are often chosen for sentimental reasons, and it is very seldom that someone who is not a guitarist will choose a guitar tattoo.
The three main sections of a guitar are referred to as the head, neck and body. These names, combined with the elegant curves of the guitar’s body, have inspired many artists to create designs in which a guitar is combined with the human body. A simple way to express this idea in tattoo art is to have the sound holes, most popularly the f-holes tattooed onto the back beside the waist. Another way to make a guitar out of the human body would be to tattoo guitar strings running down the spine, from the head to the base of the body, in the same manner as strings on a guitar are placed.
Music Tattoos that combine the Guitar and the Guitarist
Electric guitars differ from acoustic guitars in that the electric guitar isn’t hollow and needs an amplifier to play sounds. Electric guitars can also produce a wider range of sounds than the acoustic guitar because of the range of effects pedals that can be used on the electric guitar. Although the electric guitar has a wilder sound than the acoustic, traditional guitars are still favored by musicians for small social gatherings and romantic moments. The type of guitar that is used in a music tattoo design depends on the type of guitar that the person wearing the tattoo plays.
Guitar music is often beautiful and romantic. Thousands of love songs have been written for the guitar, and in many movies the hero is shown playing a romantic piece for his lady love. This association with love and romance has earned the guitar the symbolic meaning of passion, desire and even lust. The sound of a guitar is sexier than the sound produced by other instruments like the flute and the piano. Spanish guitar music is especially sensual and has been used in many movies as the soundtrack for emotional, sensual scenes.
A guitar tattoo can be worn as a sign that the tattoo owner is a musician. If the guitar tattoo is placed on a visible part of a person’s body, it can become a permanent business card; advertising that the person plays guitar and is keen to jam with other musicians. Not everyone who wears a guitar tattoo plays the guitar – sometimes it is simply a symbol of the person’s love for music, or for a loved one who plays the guitar.