Guitars built with a pickup which turn the
vibrations of the strings into an electrical signal
which can be used with an amplified speaker or
plugged directly into a recording device. The need
for louder guitars had begun at the end of the 19th
Century. Makers had played with the pickup idea
using the traditional hollowed-body design but the
distortions and feedback created difficulties.
Timeline . . .
• In 1931, The Rickenbacker Company produced the
first steel stringed guitars, nicknamed “The Frying
Pan.” Hawaiian slide guitars were the first
instruments that required electric sound
• The Slingerland Company produced a Spanish solid
body amplified guitar in 1939.
• The Esquire in 1950 evolved into The Broadcaster
and quickly became the Telecaster put out by Fender
• Gibson enlisted the help of early rock star Les
Paul to design the guitar and named it after the
icon. This design included a curved body shape.
• Fender came back with a Stratocaster in 1954 and
threw in a synchronized tremolo arm which gave a
vibrato to the electric sound.
Results . . .
If you find yourself in a room lacking in acoustics,
an electric guitar will effectively amplify the
sound. The electric guitar immediately changed the
world with its new tones and sounds. Jazz and
country musicians were the first to experiment with
the sounds. Big bands were quick to use the electric
guitar to make it heard above the large number of
instruments. Rock and roll wouldn’t exist without an
electric sound. The solid body electric guitar
changed the way music was played, heard and
understood. It is now apart of our culture and a
symbol of rebellion and freedom.