The electric guitar has shaped the sound of many modern musical genres, and at the same time has inspired generations of musicians. Invented in 1932, it soon became a stable presence in jazz big bands. It made it possible for performers to play single notes and still be heard while playing together with a large ensemble.
The common factors that the acoustic and electric guitar share are the neck and the strings. The body of an electric guitar, though, can be hollow or made of solid wood. The middle of the body, underneath the strings, is fitted with (usually two) electric pickups, connected to an amplifier through a jack (unbalanced) cable, which carries the audio signal. The strings are made of metal.
The Electric Guitar; a Powerful Symbol of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Many famous guitar performers are linked to a specific guitar model. For example, Eric Clapton was rarely seen on stage without his Fender Stratocaster named Blackie. At the same time, AC/DC’s Angus Young built his sound playing the famous Gibson SG model.
It is probably the most popular instrument among music fans and musicians. If you walk into a recording studio or a music school, you will probably find a stack of guitar related journals sitting in the magazine holder; the press industry has dedicated many publications to this instrument.
A Versatile and Polyphonic Instrument
The electric guitar is used in many contemporary genres; rock, funk, heavy metal, and electric blues, just to name a few. This instrument usually plays a crucial role in shaping the sound of the arrangements.
The most used guitar sounds include:
- Strumming; while the left hand holds a chord position, the strings are played all at once, using the fingers or a plectrum.
- Riffs; a riff may include a series of single notes played in a repeated pattern or a combination of fast chords.
- Solos; usually placed in the middle of the song. It is when the guitarist performs a melodic pattern based on the underlying harmony of the song, often showing his/her virtuoso skills.
A Musician’s Favorite
Many young musicians choose the electric guitar to approach music studies. Thanks to the vast offers in terms of models and prices, it is possible to buy a guitar and the related gear (usually an amplifier, cables, and stand), without investing a fortune.
It is the perfect instrument to learn the basics of melody, rhythm, and harmonic progressions. After some lessons, a student can already strum a few chords and use it to accompany some of his/her favorite songs.