Parlor guitar refers to a kind of electric guitar smaller than the traditional size of a Size No. concert guitar by C.F. Martin & Co. The term refers to an instrument having tuning problems. Some guitars that are called parlor guitars are also called by other names, such as tapeworm guitars, harps guitars or tenor guitars.
The tunings on most parlor guitars are usually a little rough, having mostly twelve frets. This is usually the case with harps guitars. The guitars scale length is quite short compared to other instruments in the same category, including the size of a Size 10 Concert Guitar. Most modern guitars, however, have the scale length at about thirteen frets.
The main characteristic distinguishing a parlor guitar from a size guitars is its size. Most commercial brands of parlor guitars are not much bigger than the size of a standard guitar. They can be as long as a third of the size of a standard guitar. Their price is not much higher than any regular guitar.
Most famous performers who played on parlor guitars later developed their own styles of play influenced by their experience on parlor guitars. Early performers who often used these instruments were Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Wonder. Other performers who may have a claim to fame on parlor guitars include Eric Clapton and BB King. These days, other genres of music are often influenced by the style and sound of these instruments.
It was not unusual for a performer to use a modified size acoustic guitar for specific songs. For instance, Cream's Neil Young used a heavily amplified Gibson Parlor guitar during some of his memorable performances. His use of this instrument was so common that he was nicknamed "Guitar Neil." Many artists, including Cream's Cream and Ozzy Osbourne, made the transition from standard to amplified guitars in later years. This phase was popularized by artists such as Eric Clapton and Ozzy Osbourne.
One of the most common features of modern day parlor guitars is the use of electronics. An electric model features a pickup attached to the body of the instrument. When an acoustic guitar's pickup is moved by pushing against it, the sound it emits is dampened. But when the electronic pickup moves by pushing against it, the sound it emits is amplified. Most electronic models feature built in speakers to boost the sound.
Some of the earliest examples of electronic models were not very impressive. However, as time progressed, many improvements were made to these instruments. As smaller and more affordable electronics became available, small guitars with electronic pickups began to be used frequently by professional musicians. It wasn't long before professional and even beginner guitarists could buy their own, portable and easy to carry electronic versions of traditional grand pianos. Today, many of the same features that originally made small guitars popular, are still available on contemporary parlor guitars.
Blues guitar is one genre of music that seems to always require the use of a large, amplified soundboard. Many performers who play along the blues scale (which is an ascending scale, starting with the fifth note and ending with the seventh) find that their hands become fatigued quickly if they have to move their instrument from one key to another. Because so many blues musicians use large guitars to play the same tunes over again in different venues, it is likely that this instrument was invented by an early guitarist who needed something sturdy to keep his fingers from being fatigue. Over the course of the past few centuries, the guitar has gone through many evolutions and improvements, including innovations in the way its soundboards are constructed.