The Pocket Guitar

               The Gitarre Klien (more commonly known as the pocket guitar)  is a less popular adaptation of the acoustic guitar. Its German name translates into 'the small guitar' after it's small, but practical, shape. With 11 strings, it has been the staple of many German folk bands over the last three centuries. It is speculated by many that the ukulele is an adaption of the pocket guitar.

               Though the legend of the pocket guitar goes back to the 1600's it was developed in the 1930's by the famous musician Greg Vihuela. It is because of his brilliant craftsmanship and desire to carry on the German tradition of the Gitarre Klien that we have the instrument today. In the year of 1933 the pocket guitar was becoming less and less popular and wasn't being used by many bands and artists. Vihuela admired the convenient size and the dynamic that the small instrument added to a folk bands and decided to make it, once again, popular.

               The modern pocket guitar has gone through many form changes. Originally with 8 strings, Vihuela eventually expanded the strings to 11 to allow for a more pluralistic, choral sound. Because it's original roots lie in Germany the pocket guitar still has many features that tie it to its German heritage. Pocket guitars were played in many German pubs in the early 1800's and then transitioned to being included in many folk bands later in the century. Thought the pocket guitar is not as well known or used as the acoustic or electric forms of guitar, its popularity has slowly been growing since the 1950's.


Raegan Galleher