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The Electric Guitar

A History of an American Icon

edited by André Millard

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Since the guitar was first electrified in the 1930s, it has become an American icon and has transformed the soundtrack of our lives with its wide range of sounds—from seductive twang to howling distortion. Relatively inexpensive, easy to learn, and fun to play, the electric guitar is a truly democratic instrument. Millions have purchased Rickenbackers, Gibsons, Fenders, and other brands of guitars over the decades, fueling daydreams of fame and fortune.

In The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon, scholars working in American studies, business history, the history of technology, and…

Since the guitar was first electrified in the 1930s, it has become an American icon and has transformed the soundtrack of our lives with its wide range of sounds—from seductive twang to howling distortion. Relatively inexpensive, easy to learn, and fun to play, the electric guitar is a truly democratic instrument. Millions have purchased Rickenbackers, Gibsons, Fenders, and other brands of guitars over the decades, fueling daydreams of fame and fortune.

In The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon, scholars working in American studies, business history, the history of technology, and musicology come together to explore the electric guitar's importance as an invention and its peculiar place in American culture. Documenting the critical and ever-evolving relationship among inventors, craftsmen, musicians, businessmen, music writers, and fans, the contributors look at the guitar not just as an instrument, but as a mass-produced consumer good that changed the sound of popular music and the self image of musicians.

Avoiding the familiar stories, The Electric Guitar covers the careers and influence of guitar heroes such as Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix, but it also looks at lesser known but equally influential guitarists, such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Ike Turner. It also explains the importance of record producers such as Lee Hazlewood, effects pioneers like Roger Mayer, and electronics engineers such as Jim Marshall—all of whom played vital parts in constructing the sounds we associate with the electric guitar. From inventor's workbench to factory floor to recording studio, André Millard and his colleagues trace the development of the instrument, its use across musical genres, and its profound impact on popular culture and American identity.

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The Electric Guitar

edited by André Millard

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Reviews

Reviews

One will be intrigued by the abundance of tidbits and pieces of little-known guitar-oriented trivia... A worthy contribution to historical, sociological, and musicological scholarship.

This is a rich, complex exploration of the subject.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
7
x
10
Pages
248
ISBN
9780801878626
Illustration Description
35 color illus., 12 b&w illus.
Author Bio
Featured Contributor

André Millard

André Millard is a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is the author of several books, including The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon, also published by Johns Hopkins.
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