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The History Of The Guitar

.. to the late 1800s, but did not gather full force until after World War I. Recordings made all kinds of music available to people who had no access to any other music except for local and touring bands. The second advance was the radio. From 1920 to 1925 the two were in heated competition, with radio forbidding its artists to make records and vice versa. The music industry began and many different styles became popular, such as popular music from Broadway and Tin Pan Alley in New York.

Such styles as race or blues, and early jazz later revived as Dixieland, and country music gained footholds in the music marketplace. In the 1920s the guitar began to emerge as the common denominator- the most versatile and portable instrument, best able to fill a role in an ensemble or accompany a solo performance. Players with different styles on every type of music appeared, among them Eddie Lang in jazz, Lonnie Johnson in blues and Jimmie Rodgers and Maybelle Carter in country. 6 The 1930s would be the most important decade in the history of the guitar, with more successful innovations than any other period of time. The Impending rise was signaled by the appearance of the first tenor guitars.

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Just as the tenor banjo, or mandolin-banjo as it was called earlier, owed part of its initial popularity to the ease with which a mandolin player could switch to it. It offered a shortcut for the tenor banjo players to switch to the increasingly popular guitar. Popular music of the 1920s was becoming louder and louder. The invention of the electronic amplification raised the volume of radios and record players. The little parlor guitar from the previous century just could not cut it in the popular music of the day. In 1928 Andres Segovia first performed in the United Stated, turning the world of classical and semi-classical music on its ear. He brought a practically new style of music.

As with many later guitar stars, Segovia had a guitar as influential as the music he played on it. It was made in Spain. in 1850 when C.F Martin was perfecting his x-bracing pattern and developing the American flat top guitar, Antonio de Torres in Spain was perfecting fan bracing and other designs that would characterize the modern classical guitar. The muted resonance of a typical American parlor guitar was no match for the hardy, robust sound of Segovias guitar. The new guitar left the American parlor guitar with no protection from the onslaught of new designs. 7 The importance of volume cannot be overstated.

The quest for a louder guitar would be the driving force behind all the innovations of the 1920s and 30s: the resonator guitars of National and Dobro, Martins dreadnought-sise flat tops, and Gibsons advanced wider archtops and large bodied flat tops. When the limits of the acoustic guitar were reached the quest for volume would spark the invention and evolution of the electric guitar. Although the experimentation on the acoustic guitars continues, the standard acoustic guitars of today were all well developed by the end of the 1930s. The sign of the electric guitar was in the 1930s. People such as Les Paul and Eddie Durham were experimenting with the actual products.

Durham carved out the inside of an acoustic guitar and put a resonator that he had cut out of a tin pan and placed it inside the guitar. He found that when he struck the strings the sound was greatly increased. By 1932 the Embryonic Rickenbacker company persuaded several of its acquaintance publicize their new lap, steel electric guitar. Eddie Durhams Hitting The Bottle played on this instrument was cited as the first amplified guitar on record. By 1936 he was using a guitar with an electric pickup and had tried converting radio and phonograph amps. That same year the most reputable guitar company, Gibson, would introduce the ES150. Although it was almost identical to the existing L50 acoustic, the presence of an integral bar pickup close to the fingerboard meant this 8 guitar was evolutionary.

This Gibson model made the electric guitar acceptable. Pickup technology was primitive, Rickenbackers pickup was of a horseshoe design, where-by the magnets actually surrounded the strings. Walter Fuller and Gibson combined and designed a more practical pickup using two solid nickel magnets below the strings and a one piece steel bar was surrounded by the pickup coil. This directed the magnetic field toward the strings. After a few years a man by the name of Leo Fender showed up on the scene and improved the electric guitar.

His improvements greatly increased its acceptance and popularity with both the musicians and listeners. In 1950 the Fender Company introduced the broadcaster, shortly after to become the telecaster. It pioneered the latest design of bolt on neck and a solid body, electric design. This began a new type of music called Rock and Roll. And so the birth of the electric guitar changed music, but what the people didnt know is that it would only get better.

In 1954,in addition to the telecaster, which was still being produced and is still being produced, Fender introduced the most copied body style of the guitar ever. The introduction to the stratocaster brought forth some of the greatest guitarists ever known. It featured the first double cut away, making it easier to reach all of the high strings and also had a third pickup added to it. Then in 1960, one man came along and changed the sound of the guitar forever, Jimmi Hendrix. With his 9 explosive riffs and incredible volume he turned the guitar world upside down.

He began experimenting with ideas to get his guitar to make different sounds and came up with the infamous fuzz face and wah wah pedals which he used to make the guitar almost speak to the audience. Many other legendary guitarists made a name for their selfs with this guitar such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Eddie Van Halen, all with similar but greatly different styles of playing. The last major invention of the electric guitar was in 1964 when Rickenbacker introduced the first twelve string electric guitar. From the beginning of its existence to the present day the guitar has taken on more forms and changes than any other instrument to date. Changing in size, shape, material and every other way imaginable. But one thing that hasnt changed is the impact of a well played guitar riff on ones attitude and emotions.

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