String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when the performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner. Musicians play some string instruments by plucking the strings with their fingers or a plectrum—and others by hitting the strings with a wooden hammer or by rubbing the strings with a bow. In some keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord or piano, with bowed instruments, the player rubs the strings with a horsehair bow, causing them to vibrate. With a hurdy-gurdy, the musician operates a wheel that rubs the strings. Bowed instruments include the string instruments of the Classical music orchestra. All of the string instruments can also be plucked with the fingers. Some types of string instrument are mainly plucked, such as the harp, in the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, string instruments are called chordophones. Other examples include the sitar, rebab, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, in most string instruments, the vibrations are transmitted to the body of the instrument, which often incorporates some sort of hollow or enclosed area. The body of the instrument also vibrates, along with the air inside it, the vibration of the body of the instrument and the enclosed hollow or chamber make the vibration of the string more audible to the performer and audience. The body of most string instruments is hollow, some, however—such as electric guitar and other instruments that rely on electronic amplification—may have a solid wood body. Archaeological digs have identified some of the earliest stringed instruments in Ancient Mesopotamian sites, like the lyres of Ur, the development of lyre instruments required the technology to create a tuning mechanism to tighten and loosen the string tension. During the medieval era, instrument development varied from country to country, Middle Eastern rebecs represented breakthroughs in terms of shape and strings, with a half a pear shape using three strings. Early versions of the violin and fiddle, by comparison, emerged in Europe through instruments such as the gittern, a four stringed precursor to the guitar and these instruments typically used catgut and other materials, including silk, for their strings. String instrument design refined during the Renaissance and into the Baroque period of musical history, violins and guitars became more consistent in design, and were roughly similar to what we use in the 2000s. At the same time, the 19th century guitar became more associated with six string models. In big bands of the 1920s, the guitar played backing chords. The development of guitar amplifiers, which contained a power amplifier, the development of the electric guitar provided guitarists with an instrument that was built to connect to guitar amplifiers. Electric guitars have magnetic pickups, volume control knobs and an output jack, in the 1960s, larger, more powerful guitar amplifiers were developed, called stacks
Numerous stringed instruments of Chinese make on display in a shop.
Viol, fidel and rebec (from left to right) on display at Amakusa Korejiyokan in Amakusa, Kumamoto, Japan