“The electric guitar may be the most important and popular instrument of the last half-century in American music. Certainly its introduction brought a major change to American musical technology and has shaped the sound and direction of modern musical styles.” – Smithsonian Institution
It was 1931, when George Beauchamp and Adolph Rikenbekeromcreated the first electric guitar. Since then it has taken the music industry by storm. Play rock, blues, jazz or pop music using an electric guitar. Most guitarists will remember the first time they plugged in and played an electric guitar it,gives a breath-taking experience. Electric guitar has to be plugged into an electric amplifier for any noticeable sound to be heardas the sound is produced by the amplifier and not the guitar itself. Most of the electric guitars have a solid body, uses steel-strings with no sound holes. The strings used in electric guitar are markedly thinner than the acoustic guitar, as the sound is produced by the amplifier and not by the guitar itself. These guitars can be heavy, so wearing a shoulder strap is recommended. The size, number and shape of the pickups may differ for each electric guitar but they all fulfil the same result of being used for heavy metal, blues,rock, and jazz music.
Guitar players constantly looked for ways to increase the sound of guitars in the early days. This quest for guitars producing louder noise intensified during 1920s when big music band and music recording companies were all interested in inventing loud guitars.
By this time musicians and instrument makers had intensified their research to build a guitar that could produce loud noise. At the same time John Dopyera from National String Instrument Corporation amplified acoustic guitar by creating a steel body guitar with a resonator-amplifier built at the top. All the efforts of instrument makers paid off when George Beauchamp and Adolph Rikenbekeromcreated the first electric guitar in 1931. However the sound it produced was different from an acoustic guitar and musicians found it difficult to accept.
During this period of time, a few instrument makers experimented with a differenttype of electric guitar. They used the same pickup as the prior designs but mounted the pickup on a solid block of wood. At around 1940, Les Paul a guitarist and an inventor, built a guitar made of solid block of pine and nicknamed it “The Log”. He mounted strings and pickups on the pine block to minimize vibrations in the body of the guitar.
At the end of 1940s, Leo Fender, a radio repairman, introduced a mass produced Spanish style solid body electric guitar.This guitar model was replicated by Gibson which was endorsed by Les Paul himself in 1952.
With inventions and much iteration over the years, the issue like troubled with distortions, overtones, and feedback which were associated with the early electric guitars disappeared. Musicians readily accepted the new version of the electric guitar which sounded like a guitar and at the same time produced very loud music.
Popularity ofelectric guitar rose during 1950s and 1960s when it became the most important musical instrument in pop music. Electric guitar was a musical instrument that was capable of producing varieties of sounds and styles. It was instrumental in advancement of pop music, rock music, electric blues, rock and roll and different other categories of music.
Today in this 21st century, electric guitar features in almost all types of music which is played around the globe and is love by men and women, young and old alike.
If you feel that you would love to learn this wonderful instrument, just give us “Guitar Confidence” a call. Our instructor Rex Lee Bell has now been doing mobile guitar lessons for many years and brings the joy of guitar to anyone who wants to learn. We travel to over 30 cities in the East Bay and South Bay areas; including Danville, San Ramon, Dublin & Pleasanton.
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