For over 60 years, electric guitars have been the mainstay of rock music. Here is a look at their history, the types of electric guitars available, and popular manufacturers and models.
While a critical component of rock music, it was the popularity of Big Band music that gave the electric guitar its start. As big bands grew in popularity and size in the late 20’s and early 30’s, the brass instruments dominated over the sound of the acoustic guitars that were being used at the time. While there are many people who have claimed to invent the electric guitar, it was National Guitar’s General Manager George Beauchamp and the company’s VP Paul Barth who designed the first guitar amplified by electricity in 1931. In 1932 electric guitars first became commercially available. First used mainly by jazz groups, they quickly spread in popularity.
While guitars have many commonalities, they are available in distinct styles.
There have been legendary guitars created through the years. Gibson Les Paul guitars are highly thought of, and Fender Stratocasters found favor with many rock bands in the 60’s and 70’s. Popular brands today include:
Iconic electric guitars throughout history have included Bo Diddley’s Gretsch “Twang Machine”, Prince’s “Cloud” guitar, Paul McCartney’s violin shaped left-handed Hofner Bass Guitar, Jimmy Page’s Gibson Les Paul, and Jimi Hendrix’s Stratocaster. Electric guitars have been an important part of our lives, and continue to play a critical role in modern music.