Gaetano Vinaccia Biography

Guitar on a Stand

Very little is known about life and work of Gaetano Vinaccia, man that is credited with the invention of the Early Romantic Guitar that became famous for its 6 strings. He lived between 1759 and 1831 in Naples, Italy (although his exact date of death was never confirmed), as a member of the family that was long before and long after him been famous for their skills as luthiers (manufacturers of guitars and other stringed instruments). His design of six string guitars was copied many times, most notably by Spanish guitarist and luthier Antonio Torres Jurado who in late 19th century created modern classical guitar that is today regarded as a standard for all acoustic guitars.

According to the current historical records, Gaetano Vinaccia and his brother Gennaro were responsible for the creation of the first six string guitar sometimes around 1776 in Naples. Baisc design of that guitar was taken from the traditional Italian mandolin, which was initially developed by Vinaccia family. Authenticity of his surviving guitar was often placed in question by modern historians, who examined his guitar for signs of modifications, especially signs that his guitar was created from designs of double-course guitar. Those signs were not found. The only other similar guitar deign of that time appeared more than 2 decades later, made by the Moretti in 1792.

Even though modern historians cannot precisely determine whether or not Gaetano Vinaccia was indeed responsible for creation of first “early romantic guitar” with 6 strings, history remembered that countless number of those guitars started being produces across France, Spain, and Italy between 1790 and 1830s.

Strings on Wood Acoustic Guitar