Category: Instrument History

Electric Guitar Technology 101

By: Kenny Auyoung

It is a curious paradox of the music industry: guitarists, particularly rock guitarists, are often thought of as trendsetters when it comes to fashion and culture; but when it comes to their instruments, they are notoriously conservative.

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Innovations such as active electronics, guitar synthesizers and Steinberger’s intrepid steps into the field of headless instruments in the 80’s have failed to make much of a dent in the market.

Gibson and Fender continue to dominate the electric guitar market much as they did in the 1950’s and 60’s. Even with the entry of new competitors into the market over the years such as Ibanez, Paul Reed Smith and Charvel/Jackson, the electric guitar has remained essentially unchanged with one to three magnetic pickups and a mess of wires connecting them to the controls. But things may be about to change!Continue reading Electric Guitar Technology 101

A Brief Description of Terms Used In Guitar Playing

By Courtney Pancost

It is said that the forerunner of the guitar, the lute, was created by the Greek god, Apollo. In India, it is believed that the sitar, another stringed instrument from which the guitar is descended, is sacred to the goddess Saraswati.
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And one of the most popular tales about the guitar is the story of how it was pressed into service to play a hymn of praise to Jesus Christ at a Christmas Eve mass when the organ of the church broke.

It’s no wonder that the guitar has a history of association with the divine. The range and styles of music that can be played on the classic stringed instrument is incredible.

From the intricate fire and beauty of classical Spanish and flamenco guitar to the down-home country sounds of good finger-pickin’, the guitar is a versatile and beautiful instrument.

Modern-day guitars have a hollow or solid body, a neck with frets, and a tuning mechanism that is called the machine head. They may be acoustic, or electric, and are one of the most popular instruments in the world.Continue reading A Brief Description of Terms Used In Guitar Playing

A Brief History of Fender Guitars

By Michael Casamento

Perhaps no other guitar maker has touched the hearts of so many players and collectors as Fender. By producing excellent guitars at reasonable prices, Fender has been the instrument of choice for many guitarists throughout the world.
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Both the famous and not so famous have relied on Fender guitars to define their signature sounds.

The Fender company was founded by Leo Fender, and produced its first solid body electric guitar in 1951. This guitar was called the Telecaster, and was soon followed by the Precision Bass, and the legendary Stratocaster in 1954.

Over the years many changes would take place at Fender which had a great impact on the types and quality of instruments they produced.

The first “mile-stone” year for Fender came in 1965. During this year, Fender was bought by corporate giant CBS. Quality began to decline during CBS’s reign, and although Fender still remained popular among players, CBS lacked the commitment and understanding necessary to satisfy the needs of serious musicians.Continue reading A Brief History of Fender Guitars

A Brief History Of Gibson Guitars

By Michael Casamento

Gibson guitars have been around forever. It’s funny, but although Gibson has produced some of the most amazing guitars in history, perhaps the company’s largest contribution to music has been through their advancements in pickup technology.
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Gibson’s first electric guitar the ES-150 was produced in 1936, and is still considered one of the best sounding electric jazz guitars in the world.

In 1946 Gibson introduced the P-90 single coil pickup, which was eventually used on the first Les Paul model in 1952. The Les Paul was Gibson’s first solid body electric guitar.

In 1957 Gibson introduced the legendary Humbucker pickup on the Les Paul model, and an instant classic was born. The P-90 and the Humbucker quickly became the pickups of choice for Gibson’s expanding line of solid body electric guitars.

1961 marked the introduction of one of Gibson’s most successful models ever, the double cutaway SG. This was followed by the Firebird, and Flying V models, each a classic in its own right. In addition to electrics, Gibson produces some of the finest acoustic guitars available.
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Gibson’s commitment to excellence, and support of top musicians is demonstrated most deeply through its well known Custom Shop. The Custom Shop produces specialty instruments for artists, and discerning musicians.Continue reading A Brief History Of Gibson Guitars