The guitar is one of the most evocative instruments in the world. It features in music as diverse as heavy metal, blues, indie and flamenco, as well as Indian classical music, village music making in Papua New Guinea and carnival in Brazil. This cross-cultural popularity makes it a unique starting point for understanding social interaction and cultural identity. Guitar music can be sexy, soothing, melancholy or manic, but it nearly always brings people together and creates a common ground even if this common ground is often the site of intense social, cultural, economic and political negotiation and contest.This book explores how people use guitars and guitar music in various nations across the world as a musical and symbolic basis for creating identities. In a world where place and space are challenged by the pace of globalization, the guitar provides images, sounds and styles that help define new cultural territories. Guitars play a crucial part in shaping the commercial music industry, educational music programmes, and local community atmosphere. Live or recorded, guitar music and performance, collecting and manufacture sustains a network of varied social exchanges that constitute a distinct cultural milieu.Representing the first sustained analysis of what the guitar means to artists and audiences world-wide, this book demonstrates that this seemingly simple material artefact resonates with meaning as well as music.