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Re: While the guitar has (i) over the course of its centuries-long histor [#permalink]
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Really good question sir.
NOT always a pronoun, in this case "this" or they or it has a clear antecedent. Ther are also several example also on the GMAT SC.

So, the question is: what can we do in such scenario ?

The context of the sentence. The key is the sentence as a whole.

Even though in this case is quite clear the antecedent which is the vihuela.

the vihuela of 15th-century Spain. A skilled guitarist would likely be able to pick up this (iii) _______ instrument, also an ancestor of the viol, and competently play a tune.

Piece by pice we do have

1) the instrument dated back in Spain during the 1400

2) A skilled guitarist would pick this ?? and this is what ??

Pick up Spain as a country or the period of time, the 15th century, does not hold any water

So the person picks up this - s/he would pick up THAT instrument aforementioned. what else should s/he pick ??

Also, the guitarist picks up what ?? a beautiful watch, an amazing ball.....whatever it is

In the blank must go an adjective: tall, small, ugly........and so forth

This is another hint this refers to if this musty be followed by an adjective, the same cannot be avant-garde

What if I do not know if avant-garde is an adjective or less ?? My intuition: usually an adjective is a single word: amazing, blurry......here we do have a composite word.

Therefore, this refers to an instrument and that instrument must be archaic which means very old

Tell me if now is clear sir

and this
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Re: While the guitar has (i) over the course of its centuries-long histor [#permalink]
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While the guitar has (i) _______ over the course of its centuries-long history, (till here the blank can be anything stagnated evolved etc..so we read further )perhaps most notably with the invention of the electric guitar in the 1930s,(we get the clue for first blank = evolved) the modern guitar exhibits (ii) _______ the vihuela of 15th-century Spain.(third blank clue old 15 century equipment - so archaic)(second blank can be anything so we move on...) A skilled guitarist would likely be able to pick up this (iii) _______ instrument, also an ancestor of the viol, and competently play a tune.(at this point we get the clue for second blank that is - If a modern guitarist can play tune in vihuela that means there is similarity between vihuela and guitar so closest meaning = affinity)
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Re: While the guitar has (i) over the course of its centuries-long histor [#permalink]
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The phrase "most notably with the invention of the electric guitar" indicates that there has been an evolution, a forward movement ("modern guitar") and not stagnation or regression (going backwards). Hence the word for the first blank. is evolved.

The second blank suggests a relationship between the modern guitar and the vihuela of 15th century Spain. What was the relationship? Was it related or unrelated? Since we are told that a skilled guitarist of today will be able to pick up this instrument and play it competently, the relationship must have been a close one, and therefore the word for the second blank is "an affinity to". Also the "while" at the beginning of the paragraph suggests a contrast to evolution, and that would be a non-evolution or remaining the same as before. Only the phrase an affinity to can convey that sense.

And since this instrument is from the 15th century and is also described as an ancestor of the violin, it must be quite an old instrument. The word for the third blank is archaic.
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