Origins Of Electric Guitar

Improved Essays
The Origins of Electric Guitar
By: Pierce Bradley
The electric guitar, an invention that’s not even a century old yet that has an intrinsic role in the history of music, especially the last 40 to 50 years having turned the guitar into an iconic figurehead and institution for musicians old and new. An though the electric guitar is less than a hundred years old it has ancestry in older, classical acoustic instruments built as early as 1779. The first electric guitar was dated in 1931. It’s a common misconception that the first guitar was built by Les Paul or Leo Fender. Although they are both genius engineers responsible for building hundreds of electric guitars and models (Gibson, Fender) that we now all know and love dearly, they were
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The credit for this goes to George Beauchamp, a musician, and Adolph Rickenbacker, an electrical engineer, who are rightfully considered to be the people who created the first commercially viable modern amplifiable electric guitar. Others (mostly jazz musicians) had attempted this before them, such as using carbon button microphones and many other makeshift contraptions that were attached to the bridge of the guitar, but Beauchamp and Rickenbacker were the first to actually achieve the modern electrically amplified guitar with a quality and volume good enough in a professional setting. The need for an amplified sound arose because the classical acoustic guitar was just not loud enough. This problem became more apparent in the concert hall music of the 1880’s, and later on in the 20’s the big bands got their power from the banging drums and roaring brass sections thus making the acoustic guitar a second tier instrument not usually even heard in those pieces. Beauchamp and Rickenbacker met in LA at a guitar manufacturing company called Dopyera Brothers. Around this time the most recent innovations in stringed instruments was happening in Hawaii. Originally converted to raised-steel string guitars from wooden Spanish-style hollow guitars, these Hawaiian steel guitars are played in the lap resting horizontally on the legs, giving rise to the term “lap guitars” or “lap steel guitars.” Eventually changes were made using …show more content…
For instance the aforementioned Les Paul created his own line of electric guitars in the 1940’s and the instrument was becoming very popular amongst the jazz players who wanted to be heard in the Big Bands with the massive horn sections and percussion elements. Blues was also a style that thrived greatly on the perks of a fully amplified guitar. Here are some of the early proponents of the electric guitar: T-Bone Walker, Les Paul himself, Lonnie Johnson and Charlie Christian. By the 1960’s the guitar had become without a doubt the most popular instrument in pop culture. Players such as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix had come into play and were exploiting the electric guitars capabilities to their full potential. The invention of modulation and distortion effects were beginning to start a new era of Psychedelic, and Rock n Roll that opened up a whole new palette of sounds that still inspires us today. It was roughly 60 years ago when electric guitar was at the height of its popularity thus proving my point of being a young instrument. The incredible versatility of the guitar makes it a still prominent instrument in any modern day musical endeavor, and yet still an intrinsic ingredient in any rock n roll or pop scene. There are education systems that teach of its techniques and role in music to

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