Around the 16th century, the guitar was a popular musical instrument among the middle and lower classes of Europe, and as its popularity increased, it began to undergo a change in shape. Luthiers began building instruments with simple strings rather than courses and experimented with their shape until, in the 19th century, the body of the guitar was enlarged and flattened.
In the 20th century, the wooden pegs that regulated the tension of the strings were replaced by metal pegs. Now we have the way the modern electric guitar is based.
The first electric guitars were made in the 1930s in response to a request from guitarists in bands whose rhythmic styles could not be heard above other instruments. The main problem with these electric guitars was that the feedback was coming from the amplifier from the vibration of the guitar body. This challenge started the evolutionary process of the solid body electric guitar.
The first electric guitars had sonic holes in the body that were smaller than the sonic holes of conventional guitars. In 1924, Lloyd Loar, a Gibson factory engineer, used a magnet to transform the vibrations of the guitar strings into electrical signals, which could be amplified through a speaker. It was now possible to build guitars that did not have sound holes but could be heard clearly through an amplifier. Amateur guitarists were able to get their hands on electric guitars thanks to the efforts of Paul Barth, George Beauchamp, and Adolph Rickenbacker, who founded the Electro String Company in 1931. Their guitars resembled steel guitars and were played on the guitarist’s lap. using a slide.
Modern electric guitars are made of many thin layers of wood glued together. The top layer is usually a more attractive wood to give the guitar a nice look, and the other layers are a wood that gives a good tone such as poplar or ash. The use of laminates gives the instrument a robust body and tonal quality that would be impossible in a single piece of wood. However, the original solid body guitar was made from a single piece of wood. In 1941, the Les Paul transformed a railroad tie into an amplified string instrument. He called it “The Registry”. When he started making his instrument, he stuck with the conventional guitar form to give his market a familiar image to identify with. The Les Paul invention marketed as the Gibson Les Paul remains extremely popular.
In the 1940s, the Fender Broadcaster electric guitar came to the world. No one realized until Arthur Smith used a station to record “Guitar Boogie” in 1949. After being renamed the Telecaster, it was released in 1950. Another Fender model, the Stratocaster, caught the attention of guitarists. with its distinctive tone and light weight. It is still the second most popular guitar in the world.
Ibanez, Jackson, Paul Reed Smith, ESP, and Yamaha have made solid-body electric guitars with original designs, distinctive shapes, and new materials mixed with modern technologies to produce more efficient and versatile electric guitars. Today’s electric guitars produce tones that range from futuristic music to almost acoustic sounds.
In the 1960s, effects boxes introduced fuzz, delay, echo, and wah-wah sound to the arsenal of sounds available to the modern guitarist. A pedal operated by the guitarist’s foot turns the effects on or off. Guitars now contain software that allows guitars to sound like other types of guitars or reproduce the sound of other musical instruments. With developments like the latest self-tuning guitars, maybe the old joke about a guitarist “phoning” a solo will come true!