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Electric guitar

An electric guitar is a fretted stringed instrument with a


Electric guitar
neck and body that uses a pickup to convert the vibration of its
strings into electrical signals. The vibration occurs when a
guitarist strums, plucks, fingerpicks, or taps the strings. It is
sensed by a pickup, most commonly by a magnetic pickup that
uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction. The
signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a
loudspeaker, so it is plugged into a guitar amplifier before
being sent to a loudspeaker, which makes a sound loud
enough to hear. The output of an electric guitar is an electric
signal, and the signal can easily be altered by electronic
circuits to add "color" to the sound or change the sound. Often
the signal is modified using effects such as reverb and
distortion and "overdrive", with the growling sound of the
latter being a key element of the sound of the electric guitar as 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom
it is used in blues and rock music. electric guitar
String instrument
Invented in 1931, the amplified electric guitar was adopted by
Other names Guitar, electric
jazz guitarists, who wanted to play single-note guitar solos in
guitar, solidbody
large big band ensembles. Early proponents of the electric
guitar
guitar on record included Les Paul, Lonnie Johnson, Sister
Rosetta Tharpe, T-Bone Walker, and Charlie Christian. During Classification String instrument
the 1950s and 1960s, the electric guitar became the most (fingered or picked
important instrument in pop music.[1] It has evolved into an or strummed)
instrument that is capable of a multitude of sounds and styles Hornbostel 321.322
in genres ranging from pop and rock to country music, blues Sachs (Composite
and jazz. It served as a major component in the development classification chordophone)
of electric blues, rock and roll, rock music, heavy metal music Developed 1930s
and many other genres of music.
Playing range
Electric guitar design and construction vary greatly in the
shape of the body and the configuration of the neck, bridge,
and pickups. Guitars may have a fixed bridge or a spring-
loaded hinged bridge that lets players "bend" the pitch of
notes or chords up or down or perform vibrato effects. The (a standard tuned guitar)
sound of a guitar can be modified by new playing techniques
such as string bending, tapping, hammering on, using audio feedback, or slide guitar playing. There are
several types of electric guitar, including the solid-body guitar, various types of hollow-body guitars, the
six-string guitar (the most common type, usually tuned E, A, D, G, B, E, from lowest to highest strings),
the seven-string guitar, which typically adds a low B string below the low E, and the twelve-string electric
guitar, which has six pairs of strings.

Popular music and rock groups often use the electric guitar in two roles: as a rhythm guitar, which plays
the chord sequence or progression and riffs and sets the beat (as part of a rhythm section), and as a lead
guitar, which is used to perform instrumental melody lines, melodic instrumental fill passages, and solos.
In a small group, such as a power trio, one guitarist switches between both roles. In larger rock and metal
bands, there is often a rhythm guitarist and a lead guitarist.

Contents
1 History
2 Six-string guitar chromatic note table
3 Construction
3.1 Bridge and tailpiece systems
3.2 Pickups
3.3 Guitar necks
4 Sound and effects
4.1 Built-in sound shaping
4.2 Guitar amplifier
4.3 Effects units
4.4 Modern amplifier techniques
4.5 Digital and software-based effects
4.6 Synthesizer and digital guitars
5 Playing techniques
6 Types
6.1 Solid-body
6.2 Chambered-body
6.3 Semi-acoustic
6.4 Full hollow-body
6.5 Electric acoustic
6.6 String, bridge, and neck variants
7 Uses
7.1 Popular music
7.2 Jazz and other more complex styles
7.3 Contemporary classical music
7.4 Vietnamese traditional music
8 Electric Guitar Manufacturers
9 See also
10 References
11 Sources
12 External links
History
Many experiments at electrically amplifying the vibrations of a string instrument were made dating back
to the early part of the 20th century. Patents from the 1910s show telephone transmitters were adapted
and placed inside violins and banjos to amplify the sound. Hobbyists in the 1920s used carbon button
microphones attached to the bridge; however, these detected vibration from the bridge on top of the
instrument, resulting in a weak signal.[2] With numerous people experimenting with electrical
instruments in the 1920s and early 1930s, there are many claimants to have been the first to invent an
electric guitar.

Electric guitars were originally designed by acoustic guitar


makers and instrument manufacturers. Some of the earliest
electric guitars adapted hollow-bodied acoustic instruments
and used tungsten pickups. The first electrically amplified
guitar was designed in 1931 by George Beauchamp, the
general manager of the National Guitar Corporation, with
Paul Barth, who was vice president.[3] The maple body
prototype for the one-piece cast aluminium "frying pan" was
built by Harry Watson, factory superintendent of the National
Guitar Corporation.[3] Commercial production began in late
summer of 1932 by the Ro-Pat-In Corporation (Electro-
Patent-Instrument Company), in Los Angeles,[4][5] a
partnership of Beauchamp, Adolph Rickenbacker (originally
Rickenbacher), and Paul Barth.[6] In 1934, the company was
renamed the Rickenbacker Electro Stringed Instrument
Company. In that year Beauchamp applied for a United States
patent for an Electrical Stringed Musical Instrument and the
The "Frying Pan", 1932
patent was issued in 1937.[7][8][9][10]

By early-mid 1935, Electro String Instrument Corporation had


achieved mainstream success with the A-22 "Frying Pan" steel guitar, and set out to capture a new
audience through its release of the Electro-Spanish Model B and the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts, which
was the first full 25" scale electric guitar produced.[7][8][9][10] The Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts provided
players a full 25" scale, with 17 frets free of the fretboard. It is estimated that fewer than 50 Electro-
Spanish Ken Roberts were constructed between 1933 and 1937; fewer than 10 are known to survive
today.[7][8][9][10]

The need for the amplified guitar became apparent during the big band era as orchestras increased in
size, particularly when acoustic guitars had to compete with large, loud brass sections. The first electric
guitars used in jazz were hollow archtop acoustic guitar bodies with electromagnetic transducers. Early
electric guitar manufacturers include Rickenbacker in 1932; Dobro in 1933; National, AudioVox and
Volu-tone in 1934; Vega, Epiphone (Electrophone and Electar), and Gibson in 1935 and many others by
1936.
The solid-body electric guitar is made of solid wood, without
functionally resonating air spaces. The first solid-body Spanish
standard guitar was offered by Vivi-Tone no later than 1934. This
model featured a guitar-shaped body of a single sheet of plywood
affixed to a wood frame. Another early, substantially solid Spanish
electric guitar, called the Electro Spanish, was marketed by the
Rickenbacker guitar company in 1935 and made of Bakelite. By 1936,
the Slingerland company introduced a wooden solid-body electric
model, the Slingerland Songster 401 (and a lap steel counterpart, the
Songster 400).

The earliest documented performance with an electrically amplified


guitar was in 1932, by Gage Brewer, a musician based in Wichita,
Kansas.[2] He had an Electric Hawaiian A-25 (frypan, lap steel) and a
standard Electric Spanish from George Beauchamp of Los Angeles.
Brewer publicized his new instruments in an article in the Wichita
Beacon of 2 October 1932 and through performances that month. The
Fender Stratocaster has
first recordings using the electric guitar were by Hawaiian-style
one of the most often
emulated electric guitar players, in 1933. Bob Dunn of Milton Brown's Musical Brownies
shapes[11][12] introduced the electric Hawaiian guitar to Western swing with his
January 1935 Decca recordings, departing almost entirely from the
Hawaiian musical influence and heading towards jazz and blues.
Alvino Rey was an artist who took this instrument to a wide audience in a large orchestral setting and
later developed the pedal steel guitar for Gibson. An early proponent of the electric Spanish guitar was
jazz guitarist George Barnes, who used the instrument in two songs recorded in Chicago on 1 March 1938,
"Sweetheart Land" and "It's a Low-Down Dirty Shame". Some incorrectly attribute the first recording to
Eddie Durham, but his recording with the Kansas City Five was made 15 days later.[13] Durham
introduced the instrument to a young Charlie Christian, who made the instrument famous in his brief life
and would be a major influence on jazz guitarists for decades thereafter.[14]

Gibson's first production electric guitar, marketed in 1936, was the ES-150 model ("ES" for "Electric
Spanish", and "150" reflecting the $150 price of the instrument, along with matching amplifier). The ES-
150 guitar featured a single-coil, hexagonally shaped "bar" pickup, which was designed by Walt Fuller. It
became known as the "Charlie Christian" pickup (named for the great jazz guitarist who was among the
first to perform with the ES-150 guitar). The ES-150 achieved some popularity but suffered from unequal
loudness across the six strings.

Early proponents of the electric guitar on record include Alvino Rey (Phil Spitalney Orchestra), Les Paul
(Fred Waring Orchestra), Danny Stewart (Andy Iona Orchestra), George Barnes (under many aliases),
Lonnie Johnson, Floyd Smith, Big Bill Broonzy, T-Bone Walker, George Van Eps, Charlie Christian
(Benny Goodman Orchestra), Tampa Red, Memphis Minnie, and Arthur Crudup.

A functionally solid-body electric guitar was designed and built in 1940 by Les Paul from an Epiphone
acoustic archtop. His "log guitar" (so called because it consisted of a simple 4x4 wood post with a neck
attached to it and homemade pickups and hardware, with two detachable Epiphone hollow-body halves
attached to the sides for appearance only) shares nothing in design or hardware with the solid-body
Gibson Les Paul introduced in 1952. However, the feedback associated with hollow-bodied electric guitars
was understood long before Paul's "log" was created in 1940; Gage Brewer's Ro-Pat-In of 1932 had a top
so heavily reinforced that it essentially functioned as a solid-body instrument.[2] In 1945, Richard D.
Bourgerie made an electric guitar pickup and amplifier for professional guitar player George Barnes.
Bourgerie worked through World War II at Howard Radio Company, making electronic equipment for the
American military. Barnes showed the result to Les Paul, who then arranged for Bourgerie to have one
made for him.

Six-string guitar chromatic note table


This table shows the layout of pitches on a standard tuning six-string guitar, which is tuned E, A, D, G, B,
E, going from the lowest-pitch, thickest string to the highest - pitch, thinnest string. The table depicts a
guitar fretboard as it would appear to an observer looking at a guitar that is on its side and upside-down,
thus giving the table the same appearance that a guitarist would see when holding the instrument in
playing position. Zero is the nut; 5 is the fifth (tuning) fret. This table only shows up to the twelfth fret.
Most electric guitars have additional frets beyond the twelfth fret so each string can produce notes above
an octave.

Construction
Electric guitar design and construction vary greatly in the shape of the body and the configuration of the
neck, bridge, and pickups. However, some features are present on most guitars. The photo below shows
the different parts of an electric guitar. The headstock (1) contains the metal machine heads (1.1), which
use a worm gear for tuning. The nut (1.4)a thin fret-like strip of metal, plastic, graphite or bone
supports the strings at the headstock end of the instrument. The frets (2.3) are thin metal strips that stop
the string at the correct pitch when the player pushes a string against the fingerboard. The truss rod (1.2)
is a metal rod (usually adjustable) that counters the tension of the strings to keep the neck straight.
Position markers (2.2) provide the player with a reference to the playing position on the fingerboard.[15]

The neck and fretboard (2.1) extend from the body. At the neck joint (2.4), the neck is either glued or
bolted to the body. The body (3) is typically made of wood with a hard, polymerized finish. Strings
vibrating in the magnetic field of the pickups (3.1, 3.2) produce an electric current in the pickup winding
that passes through the tone and volume controls (3.8) to the output jack. Some guitars have piezo
pickups, in addition to or instead of magnetic pickups.
Some guitars have a fixed bridge (3.4). Others have a spring-
loaded hinged bridge called a vibrato bar, tremolo bar, or
whammy bar, which lets players bend notes or chords up or
down in pitch or perform a vibrato embellishment. A plastic
pickguard on some guitars protects the body from scratches or
covers the control cavity, which holds most of the wiring. The
degree to which the choice of woods and other materials in the
solid-guitar body (3) affects the sonic character of the
amplified signal is disputed. Many believe it is highly
significant, while others think the difference between woods is
subtle. In acoustic and archtop guitars, wood choices more
clearly affect tone.

Woods typically used in solid-body electric guitars include


alder (brighter, but well rounded), swamp ash (similar to
alder, but with more pronounced highs and lows), mahogany
(dark, bassy, warm), poplar (similar to alder), and basswood
(very neutral).[16] Maple, a very bright tonewood,[16] is also a
popular body wood, but is very heavy. For this reason it is
often placed as a "cap" on a guitar made primarily of another
wood. Cheaper guitars are often made of cheaper woods, such
as plywood, pine or agathisnot true hardwoodswhich can
affect durability and tone. Though most guitars are made of
wood, any material may be used. Materials such as plastic,
metal, and even cardboard have been used in some
instruments.

The guitar output jack typically provides a monaural signal.


Many guitars with active electronics use a jack with an extra
contact normally used for stereo. These guitars use the extra
1. Headstock
contact to break the ground connection to the on-board
1.1 machine heads
battery to preserve battery life when the guitar is unplugged. 1.2 truss rod cover
These guitars require a mono plug to close the internal switch 1.3 string guide
and connect the battery to ground. Standard guitar cables use 1.4 nut
a high-impedance 1/4-inch (6.35-mm) mono plug. These have 2. Neck
2.1 fretboard
a tip and sleeve configuration referred to as a TS phone
2.2 inlay fret markers
connector. The voltage is usually around 1 to 9 millivolts.
2.3 frets
2.4 neck joint
A few guitars feature stereo output, such as Rickenbacker
3. Body
guitars equipped with Rick-O-Sound. There are a variety of 3.1 "neck" pickup
ways the "stereo" effect may be implemented. Commonly, but 3.2 "bridge" pickup
not exclusively, stereo guitars route the neck and bridge 3.3 saddles
pickups to separate output buses on the guitar. A stereo cable 3.4 bridge
then routes each pickup to its own signal chain or amplifier. 3.5 fine tuners and tailpiece
assembly
For these applications, the most popular connector is a high-
3.6 whammy bar (vibrato arm)
impedance 1/4-inch plug with a tip, ring and sleeve 3.7 pickup selector switch
configuration, also known as a TRS phone connector. Some 3.8 volume and tone control knobs
3.9 output connector (output jack)
studio instruments, notably certain Gibson Les Paul models,
(TS)
incorporate a low-impedance three-pin XLR connector for
3.10 strap buttons
balanced audio. Many exotic arrangements and connectors 4. Strings
exist that support features such as midi and hexaphonic 4.1 bass strings
pickups. 4.2 treble strings

Bridge and tailpiece systems


The bridge and tailpiece, while serving separate purposes, work closely together to affect playing style and
tone. There are four basic types of bridge and tailpiece systems on electric guitars. Within these four types
are many variants.

Hard-tail
A hard-tail guitar bridge anchors the strings at or directly behind the bridge and is fastened securely to
the top of the instrument.[17] These are common on carved-top guitars, such as the Gibson Les Paul and
the Paul Reed Smith models, and on slab-body guitars, such as the Music Man Albert Lee and Fender
guitars that are not equipped with a vibrato arm.

Floating tailpiece
A floating or trapeze tailpiece (similar to a violin's) fastens to the body at the base of the guitar. These
appear on Rickenbackers, Gretsches, Epiphones, a wide variety of archtop guitars, particularly Jazz
guitars, and the 1952 Gibson Les Paul.[18]

Vibrato arms
Pictured is a tremolo arm or vibrato tailpiece style bridge and tailpiece system, often called a whammy
bar or trem. It uses a lever ("vibrato arm") attached to the bridge that can temporarily slacken or tighten
the strings to alter the pitch. A player can use this to create a vibrato or a portamento effect. Early vibrato
systems were often unreliable and made the guitar go out of tune easily. They also had a limited pitch
range. Later Fender designs were better, but Fender held the patent on these, so other companies used
older designs for many years.

With expiration of the Fender patent on the Stratocaster-style vibrato, various improvements on this type
of internal, multi-spring vibrato system are now available. Floyd Rose introduced one of the first
improvements on the vibrato system in many years when, in the late 1970s, he experimented with
"locking" nuts and bridges that prevent the guitar from losing tuning, even under heavy vibrato bar use.

String-through body
The fourth type of system employs string-through body anchoring. The strings pass over the bridge
saddles, then through holes through the top of the guitar body to the back. The strings are typically
anchored in place at the back of the guitar by metal ferrules. Many believe this design improves a guitar's
sustain and
timbre. A few
examples of string-
through body
guitars are the
Fender Telecaster
Thinline, the
Fender Telecaster
Deluxe, the B.C.
Detail of a Squier-made Fender Tune-o-matic with "strings through
Rich IT Warlock
Stratocaster. Note the vibrato arm, the body" construction (without
the 3 single-coil pickups, the volume and Mockingbird, stopbar)
and tone knobs. and the Schecter
Omen 6 and 7
series.

Pickups
Compared to an acoustic guitar, which has a hollow body, electric guitars make much less audible sound
when their strings are plucked, so electric guitars are normally plugged into a guitar amplifier and
speaker. When an electric guitar is played, string movement produces a signal by generating (i.e.,
inducing) a small electric current in the magnetic pickups, which are magnets wound with coils of very
fine wire. The signal passes through the tone and volume circuits to the output jack, and through a cable
to an amplifier.[19] The current induced is proportional to such factors as string density and the amount of
movement over the pickups.

Because in most cases it is desirable to isolate coil-wound


pickups from the unintended sound of internal vibration of
loose coil windings, a guitar's magnetic pickups are normally
embedded or "potted" in wax, lacquer, or epoxy to prevent the
pickup from producing a microphonic effect. Because of their
natural inductive qualities, all magnetic pickups tend to pick
up ambient, usually unwanted electromagnetic interference or
EMI.[20] The resulting hum is particularly strong with single-
coil pickups, and it is aggravated by the fact that many vintage Pickups on a Fender Squier "Fat
guitars are insufficiently shielded against electromagnetic Strat" guitara "humbucker" pickup
on the left and two single-coil
interference. The most common source is 50- or 60-Hz hum
pickups on the right.
from power transmission systems (house wiring, etc.). Since
nearly all amplifiers and audio equipment associated with
electric guitars must be plugged in, it is a continuing technical challenge to reduce or eliminate unwanted
hum.[21]

Double-coil or "humbucker" pickups were invented as a way to reduce or counter the unwanted ambient
hum sounds (known as 60-cycle hum). Humbuckers have two coils of opposite magnetic and electric
polarity to produce a differential signal. Electromagnetic noise that hits both coils equally tries to drive
the pickup signal toward positive on one coil and toward negative on the other, which cancels out the
noise. The two coils are wired in phase, so their signal adds together. This high combined inductance of
the two coils leads to the richer, "fatter" tone associated with humbucking pickups.

Piezoelectric pickups use a "sandwich" of quartz crystal or other piezoelectric material, typically placed
beneath the string saddles or nut. These devices respond to pressure changes from all vibration at these
specific points.

Optical pickups are a type of pickup that sense string and body vibrations using infrared LED light. These
pickups are not sensitive to EMI.

Some "hybrid" electric guitars are equipped with additional microphone, piezoelectric, optical, or other
types of transducers to approximate an acoustic instrument tone and broaden the sonic palette of the
instrument.

Guitar necks
Electric guitar necks vary in composition and shape. The primary metric of guitar necks is the scale
length, which is the vibrating length of the strings from nut to bridge. A typical Fender guitar uses a 25.5-
inch scale length, while Gibson uses a 24.75-inch scale length in their Les Paul. While the scale length of
the Les Paul is often described as 24.75 inches, it has varied through the years by as much as a half inch.

Frets are positioned proportionally to scale lengththe shorter the scale length, the closer the fret
spacing. Opinions vary regarding the effect of scale length on tone and feel. Popular opinion holds that
longer scale length contributes to greater amplitude. Reports of playing feel are greatly complicated by
the many factors involved in this perception. String gauge and design, neck construction and relief, guitar
setup, playing style and other factors contribute to the subjective impression of playability or feel.

Necks are described as bolt-on, set-in, or neck-through,


depending on how they attach to the body. Set-in necks are
glued to the body in the factory. They are said to have a
warmer tone and greater sustain. This is the traditional type of
joint. Leo Fender pioneered bolt-on necks on electric guitars
to facilitate easy adjustment and replacement. Neck-through
instruments extend the neck the length of the instrument, so
that it forms the center of the body, and are known for long
A bolt-on neck
sustain and for being particularly sturdy. While a set-in neck
can be carefully unglued by a skilled luthier, and a bolt-on
neck can simply be unscrewed, a neck-through design is difficult or even impossible to repair, depending
on the damage. Historically, the bolt-on style has been more popular for ease of installation and
adjustment. Since bolt-on necks can be easily removed, there is an after-market in replacement bolt-on
necks from companies such as Warmoth and Mighty Mite. Some instrumentsnotably most Gibson
modelscontinue to use set-in glued necks. Neck-through bodies are somewhat more common in bass
guitars.
Materials for necks are selected for dimensional stability and rigidity, and some allege that they influence
tone. Hardwoods are preferred, with maple, mahogany, and ash topping the list. The neck and
fingerboard can be made from different materials; for example, a guitar may have a maple neck with a
rosewood or ebony fingerboard. In the 1970s, designers began to use exotic man-made materials such as
aircraft-grade aluminum, carbon fiber, and ebonol. Makers known for these unusual materials include
John Veleno, Travis Bean, Geoff Gould, and Alembic.

Aside from possible engineering advantages, some feel that in relation to the rising cost of rare
tonewoods, man-made materials may be economically preferable and more ecologically sensitive.
However, wood remains popular in production instruments, though sometimes in conjunction with new
materials. Vigier guitars, for example, use a wooden neck reinforced by embedding a light, carbon fiber
rod in place of the usual heavier steel bar or adjustable steel truss rod. After-market necks made entirely
from carbon fiber fit existing bolt-on instruments. Few, if any, extensive formal investigations have been
widely published that confirm or refute claims over the effects of different woods or materials on electric
guitar sound.

Several neck shapes appear on guitars,


including shapes known as C necks, U
necks, and V necks. These refer to the
cross-sectional shape of the neck
(especially near the nut). Several sizes of
fret wire are available, with traditional
A neck-through bass guitar players often preferring thin frets, and
metal shredders liking thick frets. Thin
frets are considered better for playing
chords, while thick frets allow lead guitarists to bend notes with less effort.

An electric guitar with a folding neck called the "Foldaxe" was designed and built for Chet Atkins by Roger
C. Field.[22] Steinberger guitars developed a line of exotic, carbon fiber instruments without headstocks,
with tuning done on the bridge instead.

Fingerboards vary as much as necks. The fingerboard surface usually has a cross-sectional radius that is
optimized to accommodate finger movement for different playing techniques. Fingerboard radius
typically ranges from nearly flat (a very large radius) to radically arched (a small radius). The vintage
Fender Telecaster, for example, has a typical small radius of approximately 7.25 inches. Some
manufacturers have experimented with fret profile and material, fret layout, number of frets, and
modifications of the fingerboard surface for various reasons. Some innovations were intended to improve
playability by ergonomic means, such as Warmoth Guitars' compound radius fingerboard. Scalloped
fingerboards added enhanced microtonality during fast legato runs. Fanned frets intend to provide each
string with an optimal playing tension and enhanced musicality. Some guitars have no fretsand others,
like the Gittler guitar, have no neck in the traditional sense.

Sound and effects


While an acoustic guitar's sound depends largely on the vibration of the guitar's body and the air inside it,
the sound of an electric guitar depends largely on the signal from the pickups. The signal can be "shaped"
on its path to the amplifier via a range of effect devices or circuits that modify the tone and characteristics
of the signal. Amplifiers and speakers also add coloration to the final sound.

Built-in sound shaping


Electric guitars usually have one to four magnetic pickups. Identical pickups produce different tones
depending on how near they are to the neck or bridge. Bridge pickups produce a bright or trebly timbre,
and neck pickups are warmer or more bassy. The type of pickup also affects tone. Dual-coil pickups sound
warm, thick, perhaps even muddy; single-coil pickups sound clear, bright, perhaps even biting. Guitars
don't require a uniform pickup type: a common mixture is the "fat Strat" arrangement of one dual-coil at
the bridge position and single coils in the middle and neck positions, known as HSS
(humbucker/single/single). Some guitars have piezoelectric pickup in addition to electromagnetic
pickups. Piezo pickups produce a more acoustic sound. The piezo runs through a built-in equalizer (EQ)
to improve similitude and control tone. A blend knob controls the mix between electromagnetic and
piezoelectric sounds.

Where there is more than one pickup, a pickup selector switch is usually present. These typically select or
combine the outputs of two or more pickups, so that two-pickup guitars have three-way switches, and
three-pickup guitars have five-way switches (a Gibson Les Paul three-pickup Black Beauty has a three-
position toggle switch that configures bridge, bridge and middle [switch in middle position] and neck
pickups). Further circuitry sometimes combines pickups in different ways. For instance, phase switching
places one pickup out of phase with the other(s), leading to a "honky", "nasal", or "funky" sound.
Individual pickups can also have their timbre altered by switches, typically coil tap switches that
effectively short-circuit some of a dual-coil pickup's windings to produce a tone similar to a single-coil
pickup (usually done with push-pull volume knobs).

The final stages of on-board sound-shaping circuitry are the volume control (potentiometer) and tone
control (which "rolls off" the treble frequencies). Where there are individual volume controls for different
pickups, and where pickup signals can be combined, they would affect the timbre of the final sound by
adjusting the balance between pickups from a straight 50:50.

The strings fitted to the guitar also have an influence on tone. Rock musicians often prefer the lightest
gauge of roundwound string, which is easier to bend, while jazz musicians go for heavier, flatwound
strings, which have a rich, dark sound. Steel, nickel, and cobalt are common string materials, and each
gives a slightly different tone color. Recent guitar designs may incorporate much more complex circuitry
than described above; see Digital and synthesizer guitars, below.

Guitar amplifier
The solid-body electric guitar does not produce enough sound for an audience to hear it in a performance
setting unless it's electronically amplifiedplugged into an amplifier, mixing console, or PA.
Guitar amplifier design uses a different approach than sound
reinforcement system power amplifiers and home "hi-fi" stereo
systems. Audio amplifiers generally are intended to accurately
reproduce the source signal without adding unwanted tonal
coloration (i.e., they have a flat frequency response) or unwanted
distortion. In contrast, most guitar amplifiers provide tonal
coloration and overdrive or distortion of various types. A
common tonal coloration sought by guitarists is rolling off some
of the high frequencies. Along with a guitarist's playing style and A Fender Bassman amp head
with a 15" speaker cabinet.
choice of electric guitar and pickups, the choice of guitar amp
model is a key part of a guitarist's unique tone. Many top
guitarists are associated with a specific brand of guitar amp. As well, electric guitarists in blues, rock and
many related sub-genres often intentionally choose amplifiers or effects units with controls that distort or
alter the sound (to a greater or lesser degree).

In the 1950s and 1960s, some guitarists began exploring a wider range of tonal effects by distorting the
sound of the instrument. To do this, they used overdrive increasing the gain of the preamplifier beyond
the level where the signal could be reproduced with little distortion, resulting in a "fuzzy" sound. This
effect is called "clipping" by sound engineers, because when viewed with an oscilloscope, the wave forms
of a distorted signal appear to have had their peaks "clipped off", in the process introducing additional
tones (often approximating the harmonics characteristic of a square wave of that basic frequency). This
was not actually a new development in the musical instrument or its supporting gear, but rather a shift of
aesthetics, such sounds not having been thought desirable previously. Some distortion modes with an
electric guitar increase the sustain of single notes and chords, which changes the sound of the instrument.
In particular, distortion made it more feasible to perform guitar solos that used long, sustained notes.

After distortion became popular amongst rock music groups, guitar amplifier manufacturers included
various provisions for it as part of amplifier design, making amps easier to overdrive, and providing
separate "dirty" and "clean" channels so that distortion could easily be switched on and off. The distortion
characteristics of vacuum tube amplifiers are particularly sought-after in blues and many rock music
genres, and various attempts have been made to emulate them without the disadvantages (e.g., fragility,
low power, expense) of actual tubes. Distortion, especially in tube based amplifiers, can come from
several sources: power supply sag as more power is demanded than the supply can provide at a steady
voltage, deliberate gain over drive of active elements, or alterations in the feedback provisions for various
circuit stages.[23]

Guitar amplifiers have long included at least a few effect units, often tone controls for bass and treble, an
integrated tremolo system (sometimes incorrectly labeled (and marketed) as vibrato), and/or a
mechanical spring reverb unit. In the 2010s, guitar amps often have onboard distortion effects. Some
2010-era amps provide multiple effects, such as chorus, flanger, phaser and octave down effects. The use
of offboard effects such as stompbox pedals is made possible by either plugging the guitar into the
external effect pedal and then plugging the effect pedal into the amp, or by using one or more effects
loops, an arrangement that lets the player switch effects (electrically or mechanically) in or out of the
signal path. In the signal chain, the effects loop is typically between the preamplifier stage and the power
amplifier stages (though reverb units generally precede the effects loop an amplifier has both). This lets
the guitarist add modulation effects to the signal after it passed through the preamplifierwhich can be
desirable, particularly with time-based effects such as delay. By the 2010s, guitar amplifiers usually
included a distortion effect. Effects circuitry (whether internal to an amplifier or not) can be taken as far
as amp modeling, by which is meant alteration of the electrical and audible behavior in such a way as to
make an amp sound as though it were another (or one of several) amplifiers. When done well, a solid state
amplifier can sound like a tube amplifier (even one with power supply sag), reducing the need to manage
more than one amp. Some modeling systems even attempt to emulate the sound of different
speakers/cabinets. Nearly all amp and speaker cabinet modeling is done digitally, using computer
techniques (e.g., Digital Signal Processing or DSP circuitry and software). There is disagreement about
whether this approach is musically satisfactory, and also whether this or that unit is more or less
successful than another.[24][25]

Effects units
In the 1960s, the tonal palette of the electric guitar was further
modified by introducing effect units in its signal path, before
the guitar amp, of which one of the earliest units was the fuzz
pedal. Effects units come in several formats, the most
common of which are the stompbox "pedal" and the
rackmount unit. A stomp box (or pedal) is a small metal or
plastic box containing the circuitry, which is placed on the
floor in front of the musician and connected in line with the
patch cord connected to the instrument. The box is typically
controlled by one or more foot-pedal on-off switches and it A Boss distortion pedal in use
typically contains only one or two effects. Pedals are smaller
than rackmount effects and usually less expensive. "Guitar
pedalboards" are used by musicians who use multiple stomp-boxes; these may be a DIY project made
with plywood or a commercial stock or custom-made pedalboard.

A rackmount effects unit may contain an electronic circuit nearly identical to a stompbox-based effect,
but it is mounted in a standard 19" equipment rack, which is usually mounted in a road case that is
designed to protect the equipment during transport. More recently, as signal-processing technology
continuously becomes more feature-dense, rack-mount effects units frequently contain several types of
effects. They are typically controlled by knobs or switches on the front panel, and often by a MIDI digital
control interface.

Typical effects include:

Effects such as stereo chorus, phasers and flangers, which shift the pitch of the signal by a small and
varying amount, creating swirling, shimmering and whooshing noises
Effects such as octavers, which displace pitch by an exact musical interval
Distortion, such as transistor-style fuzz, effects incorporating, emulating vacuum tube distortion or
overdrive
Filters, such as wah-wah
Envelope shapers, such as compression/sustain or volume/swell
Time-shift effects, such as delay and reverb
Modern amplifier techniques
In the 1970s, as effects pedals proliferated, their sounds were combined with tube amp distortion at
lower, more controlled volumes by using power attenuators, such as Tom Scholz's Power Soak, as well as
re-amplified dummy loads, such as Eddie Van Halen's use of dummy-load power resistor, post-power-
tube effects, and a final solid-state amp driving the guitar speakers.

Recent amplifiers may include digital technology similar to modern effects pedals, including the ability to
model or emulate a variety of classic amps.

Digital and software-based effects


A multi-effects device (also called a "multi-FX" device) is a single
electronics effects pedal or rack-mount device that contains many
electronic effects. In the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, multi-FX
manufacturers such as Zoom and Korg produced devices that were
increasingly feature-laden. Multi-FX devices combine several effects
together, and most devices allow users to use preset combinations of
effects, including distortion, chorus, reverb, compression, and so on. This The Zoom 505 multi-
effect pedal
allows musicians to have quick on-stage access to different effects
combinations. Some multi-FX pedals contain modelled versions of well-
known effects pedals or amplifiers.

Multi-effects devices have garnered a large share of the effects device


market, because they offer the user such a large variety of effects in a
single package. A low-priced multi-effects pedal may provide 20 or more
effects for the price of a regular single-effect pedal. More expensive multi-
effect pedals may include 40 or more effects, amplifier modelling, and the
ability to combine effects and/or modelled amp sounds in different
The Boss GT-8, a combinations, as if the user was using multiple guitar amps. More
higher-end multi-effect expensive multi-effects pedals may also include more input and output
processing pedal; note jacks (e.g., an auxiliary input or a "dry" output), MIDI inputs and outputs,
the preset switches and
and an expression pedal, which can control volume or modify effect
patch bank foot switches
parameters (e.g., the rate of the simulated rotary speaker effect).
and built-in expression
pedal.
By the 1980s and 1990s, software effects became capable of replicating the
analog effects used in the past. These new digital effects attempt to model
the sound produced by analog effects and tube amps, with varying degrees of quality. There are many free
guitar effects computer programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Now, computers with sound
cards can be used as digital guitar effects processors. Although digital and software effects offer many
advantages, many guitarists still use analog effects.

Synthesizer and digital guitars


In 2002, Gibson announced the first digital guitar, which performs analog-to-digital conversion
internally. The resulting digital signal is delivered over a standard Ethernet cable, eliminating cable-
induced line noise. The guitar also provides independent signal processing for each individual string. In
2003, modelling amplifier maker Line 6 introduced the Variax guitar. It differs in some fundamental
ways from conventional solid-body electrics. It has on-board electronics capable of modelling the sound
of a variety of unique guitars and some other stringed instruments. At one time, some models featured
piezoelectric pickups instead of the conventional electromagnetic pickups.

Playing techniques
The sound of a guitar can not only be adapted by electronic
sound effects but is also heavily affected by various new
techniques developed or becoming possible in combination
with electric amplification. This is called extended technique.

Extended techniques include:

String bending. This is not unique to the electric


instrument, but it is greatly facilitated by the light strings
typically used on solid-body guitars.
Neck bending, by holding the upper arm on the guitar
body and bending the neck either to the front or pulling it
back. This is used as a substitute for a tremolo bar,
although not as effective, and the use of too much force
could snap the guitar neck.
The use of the vibrato bar (whammy bar or tremolo arm),
including the extreme technique of dive bombing. The
tremolo arm varies string tension to raise or lower pitch. A prepared guitar
Instead of bending individual notes, this lets the player
bend all notes at once to sound lower or higher.
Tapping, in which both hands are applied to the fretboard. Tapping may be performed either one-
handed or two-handed. It is an extended technique, executed by using one hand to tap the strings
against the fingerboard, thus producing legato notes. Tapping usually incorporates pull-offs or
hammer-ons as well, where the fingers of the left hand play a sequence of notes in synchronization
with the tapping hand.
Hammering on the string with the fretting hand.

Pinch harmonics or artificial harmonics, sometimes called


"squealies". This technique involves adding the edge of the
thumb or the tip of the index finger on the picking hand to the
regular picking action, resulting in a high-pitched sound.
Volume swell, in which the volume knob is repeatedly rolled
to create a violin-like sound. The same result can also be
accomplished through the use of an external swell pedal,
although the knob technique can enhance showmanship and
conveniently eliminate the need for another pedal.
Use of audio feedback to enhance sustain and change
timbre. Feedback has become a striking characteristic of The hammer-on technique
rock music, as electric guitar players such as Jeff Beck, Pete
Townshend and Jimi Hendrix deliberately induced feedback
by holding their guitars close to the amplifier. Lou Reed created his 1975 album Metal Machine
Music entirely from loops of feedback played at various speeds. A good example of feedback can be
heard on Jimi Hendrix's performance of "Can You See Me?" at the Monterey Pop Festival. The entire
guitar solo was created using amplifier feedback.[26]
Substitution of another device for the plectrum, for instance the cello bow (as famously used by
Jimmy Page) and the e-bow, a device using electromagnetic feedback to vibrate strings without
direct contact. Like feedback, these techniques increase sustain, bring out harmonics and change
the acoustic envelope.
Sustainers built into the guitar itself.

Use of a slide or bottleneck. The term slide refers to the motion of


the slide against the strings, while bottleneck refers to the
material originally used for such slides: the necks of glass bottles.
Instead of altering the pitch of a string in the normal manner (by
pressing the string against a fret), a slide is placed upon the
string to vary its vibrating length and thus its pitch. The slide can
be moved along the string without lifting, creating continuous
transitions in pitch.
Sometimes guitars are even adapted with extra modifications to
alter the sound, such as Prepared guitar and 3rd bridge.
Palm muting of the strings using
the picking hand

Other techniques, such as axial finger vibrato, pull-offs, hammer-


ons, palm muting, harmonics and altered tunings, are also used
on the classical and acoustic guitar. Shred guitar is a genre
involving a number of extended techniques.
Slide guitar

Types

Solid-body
Unlike acoustic guitars, solid-body electric guitars have no
vibrating soundboard to amplify string vibration. Instead,
solid-body instruments depend on electric pickups and an
amplifier (or amp) and speaker. The solid body ensures that
the amplified sound reproduces the string vibration alone,
thus avoiding the wolf tones and unwanted feedback
associated with amplified acoustic guitars. These guitars are Paul Reed Smith Standard 22
generally made of hardwood covered with a hard polymer
finish, often polyester or lacquer. In large production facilities,
the wood is stored for three to six months in a wood-drying kiln before being cut to shape. Premium
custom-built guitars are frequently made with much older, hand-selected wood.

One of the first solid-body guitars was invented by Les Paul. Gibson did not present their Gibson Les Paul
guitar prototypes to the public, as they did not believe the solid-body style would catch on. Another early
solid-body Spanish style guitar, resembling what would become Gibson's Les Paul guitar a decade later,
was developed in 1941 by O.W. Appleton, of Nogales, Arizona.[27] Appleton made contact with both
Gibson and Fender but was unable to sell the idea behind his "App" guitar to either company.[28] In 1946,
Merle Travis commissioned steel guitar builder Paul Bigsby to build him a solid-body Spanish-style
electric.[29] Bigsby delivered the guitar in 1948. The first mass-produced solid-body guitar was Fender
Esquire and Fender Broadcaster (later to become the Fender Telecaster), first made in 1948, five years
after Les Paul made his prototype. The Gibson Les Paul appeared soon
after to compete with the Broadcaster.[30] Another notable solid-body
design is the Fender Stratocaster, which was introduced in 1954 and
became extremely popular among musicians in the 1960s and 1970s for its
wide tonal capabilities and more comfortable ergonomics than other
models.

Chambered-body
Some solid-bodied guitars, such as the Gibson Les Paul Supreme, the PRS
Singlecut, and the Fender Telecaster Thinline, among others, are built
with hollows in the body. These hollows are designed specifically not to
interfere with the critical bridge and string anchor point on the solid body.
In the case of Gibson and PRS, these are called chambered bodies. The
motivation for this may be to reduce weight, to achieve a semi-acoustic Gittler electric guitar, a
tone (see below) or both.[31][32][33] bodyless guitar without
fingerboard or neck

Semi-acoustic
Semi-acoustic guitars have a hollow body (similar in depth to a solid-body
guitar) and electronic pickups mounted on the body. They work in a
similar way to solid-body electric guitars except that, because the hollow
body also vibrates, the pickups convert a combination of string and body
vibration into an electrical signal. Whereas chambered guitars are made,
like solid-body guitars, from a single block of wood, semi-acoustic and
full-hollowbody guitars bodies are made from thin sheets of wood. They
do not provide enough acoustic volume for live performance, but they can
be used unplugged for quiet practice. Semi-acoustics are noted for being
able to provide a sweet, plaintive, or funky tone. They are used in many
genres, including blues, funk, sixties pop, and indie rock. They generally
have cello-style F-shaped sound holes. These can be blocked off to prevent
feedback, as in B. B. King's famous Lucille. Feedback can also be reduced
by making them with a solid block in the middle of the soundbox.

Full hollow-body
Full hollow-body guitars have large, deep bodies made of glued-together
sheets, or "plates", of wood. They can often be played at the same volume
as an acoustic guitar and therefore can be used unplugged at intimate gigs.
They qualify as electric guitars inasmuch as they have fitted pickups.
Historically, archtop guitars with retrofitted pickups were among the very Fender Esquire
earliest electric guitars. The instrument originated during the Jazz Age, in
the 1920s and 1930s, and are still considered the classic jazz guitar
(nicknamed "jazzbox"). Like semi-acoustic guitars, they often have f-shaped sound holes.
Having humbucker pickups (sometimes just a neck pickup) and usually
strung heavlly, jazzboxes are noted for their warm, rich tone. A variation
with single-coil pickups, and sometimes with a Bigsby tremolo, has long
been popular in country and rockabilly; it has a distinctly more twangy,
biting tone than the classic jazzbox. The term archtop refers to a method
of construction subtly different from the typical acoustic (or "folk" or
"western" or "steel-string" guitar): the top is formed from a moderately
thick (1 inch or 23 cm) piece of wood, which is then carved into a thin
(0.1 in, or 23 mm) domed shape, whereas conventional acoustic guitars
have a thin, flat top.

Electric acoustic
Some steel-string acoustic guitars are fitted with pickups purely as an
alternative to using a separate microphone. They may also be fitted with a
Epiphone semi-acoustic
piezoelectric pickup under the bridge, attached to the bridge mounting
hollow-body guitar
plate, or with a low-mass microphone (usually a condenser mic) inside the
body of the guitar that converts the vibrations in the body into electronic
signals. Combinations of these types of pickups may be used, with an integral mixer/preamp/graphic
equalizer. Such instruments are called electric acoustic guitars. They are regarded as acoustic guitars
rather than electric guitars, because the pickups do not produce a signal directly from the vibration of the
strings, but rather from the vibration of the guitar top or body.

Electric acoustic guitars should not be confused with semi-acoustic guitars, which have pickups of the
type found on solid-body electric guitars, or solid-body hybrid guitars with piezoelectric pickups.

String, bridge, and neck variants

One-string
The one-string guitar is also known as the Unitar. Although rare, the one-string guitar is sometimes
heard, particularly in Delta blues, where improvised folk instruments were popular in the 1930s and
1940s. Eddie "One String" Jones had some regional success. Mississippi blues musician Lonnie Pitchford
played a similar, homemade instrument. In a more contemporary style, Little Willie Joe, the inventor of
the Unitar, had a rhythm and blues instrumental hit in the 1950s with "Twitchy", recorded with the Rene
Hall Orchestra.

Four-string
The four-string guitar is better known as the tenor guitar. One of its best-known players was Tiny Grimes,
who played on 52nd Street with the beboppers and played a major role in the Prestige Blues Swingers.
Multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis (musician) of Dirty Three and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is a
contemporary player who includes a tenor guitar in his repertoire.
The four-string guitar is normally tuned CGDA, but some players, such as Tiny Grimes, tune to DGBE to
preserve familiar 6-string guitar chord fingerings. The tenor guitar can also be tuned like a soprano,
concert, or tenor ukulele, using versions of GCEA tuning.

Seven-string
Most seven-string guitars add a low B string below the low E.
Both electric and classical guitars exist designed for this tuning. A
high A string above the high E instead of the low B string is
sometimes used. Another less common seven-string arrangement
is a second G string situated beside the standard G string and
tuned an octave higher, in the same manner as a twelve-stringed
guitar (see below). Jazz guitarists using a seven-string include
George Van Eps, Lenny Breau, Bucky Pizzarelli and his son John
Pizzarelli.
Stephen Carpenter playing a 7-
Seven-string electric guitars were popularized among rock players
string electric guitar in 2009
in the 1980s by Steve Vai. Along with the Japanese guitar
company Ibanez, Vai created the Universe series seven-string
guitars in the 1980s, with a double locking tremolo system for a seven-string guitar. These models were
based on Vai's six-string signature series, the Ibanez Jem. Seven-string guitars experienced a resurgence
in popularity in the 2000s, championed by Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Slayer, KoRn, Fear Factory, Strapping
Young Lad, Nevermore, Muse and other hard rock and metal bands. Metal musicians often prefer the
seven-string guitar for its extended lower range. The seven-string guitar has also played an essential role
in progressive metal rock and is commonly used in bands such as Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation
and by experimental guitarists such as Ben Levin.

Eight- and nine-string


Eight-string electric guitars are rare but not unused. One is played by Charlie Hunter, which was
manufactured by Novax Guitars. The largest manufacturer of eight- to 14-string instruments is Warr
Guitars. Their models are used by Trey Gunn (ex King Crimson), who has his own signature line from the
company. Similarly, Mrten Hagstrm and Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah used 8-string guitars made
by Nevborn Guitars and now guitars by Ibanez. Munky of the nu metal band KoRn is also known to use
seven-string Ibanez guitars, and it is rumored that he is planning to release a K8 eight-string guitar
similar to his K7 seven-string guitar. Another Ibanez player is Tosin Abasi, lead guitarist of the
progressive metal band Animals as Leaders, who uses an Ibanez RG2228 to mix bright chords with very
heavy low riffs on the seventh and eighth strings. Stephen Carpenter of Deftones also switched from a
seven-string to an eight-string in 2008 and released his signature STEF B-8 with ESP Guitars. In 2008,
Ibanez released the Ibanez RG2228-GK, which is the first mass-produced eight-string guitar. Jethro
Tull's first album uses a nine-string guitar. Bill Kelliher, guitarist for the heavy metal group Mastodon,
worked with First Act on a custom mass-produced nine-string guitar.

Ten-string
B.C. Rich manufactures a ten-string six-course electric guitar, the Bich, whose radical shape positions the
machine heads for the four secondary strings on the body, avoiding the head-heaviness of many electric
twelve-string guitars. However many players bought it for the body shape or electrics and simply removed
the extra strings. The company recognized this and released six-string models of the Bich, but ten-string
models also remain in production.

Twelve-string
Twelve-string electric guitars feature six pairs of strings, usually with each pair tuned to the same note.
The extra E, A, D, and G strings add a note one octave above, and the extra B and E strings are in unison.
The pairs of strings are played together as one, so the technique and tuning are the same as a
conventional guitar, but they create a much fuller tone, with the additional strings adding a natural
chorus effect. They are used almost solely to play harmony and rhythm parts, rather than for guitar solos.
They are relatively common in folk rock music. Lead Belly is the folk artist most identified with the
twelve-string guitar, usually acoustic with a pickup.

George Harrison of the Beatles and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds brought the electric twelve-string to
notability in rock and roll. During the Beatles' first trip to the United States, in February 1964, Harrison
received a new 360/12 model guitar from the Rickenbacker company, a twelve-string electric made to
look onstage like a six-string. He began using the 360 in the studio on Lennon's "You Can't Do That" and
other songs. McGuinn began using electric twelve-string guitars to create the jangly, ringing sound of the
Byrds. Both Jimmy Page, the guitarist with Led Zeppelin, and Leo Kottke, a solo artist, are well known as
twelve-string guitar players.

Third-bridge
The third-bridge guitar is an electric prepared guitar with an additional, third bridge. This can be a
normal guitar with, for instance, a screwdriver placed under the strings, or it can be a custom-made
instrument. Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth plays with a third bridge.

Double-neck
Double-neck (or, less commonly, "twin-neck") guitars enable guitarists to play both guitar and bass guitar
or, more commonly, both a six-string and a twelve-string. In the mid-1960s, one of the first players to use
this type of guitar was Paul Revere & the Raiders' guitarist Drake Levin. Another early user was John
McLaughlin. The double-neck guitar was popularized by Jimmy Page, who used a custom-made, cherry-
finished Gibson EDS-1275 to perform "Stairway to Heaven", "The Song Remains the Same" and "The
Rain Song", although for the recording of "Stairway to Heaven" he used a Fender Telecaster and a Fender
XII electric twelve-string. Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Mike + the Mechanics is also famous for his
use of a double-neck guitar during live shows. Don Felder of the Eagles used the Gibson EDS-1275 during
the Hotel California tour. Muse guitarist and vocalist Matthew Bellamy uses a silver Manson double-neck
on his band's Resistance Tour. Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson is also known for using double-neck guitars in
the live performance of several songs. In performances of the song "Xanadu" during the band's 2015 R40
anniversary tour, Lifeson played a white Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck guitar with six-string and twelve-
string necks, while bassist Geddy Lee performed with a double-neck Rickenbacker guitar with four-string
bass and twelve-string guitar necks.
Uses

Popular music
Popular music typically uses the electric guitar in two roles: as a
rhythm guitar to provide the basic chord progression and rhythm,
and a lead guitar that plays melody lines, melodic instrumental
fill passages, and |solos. In some bands with two guitarists, both
may play in tandem, and trade off rhythm and lead roles. In
bands with a single guitarist, the guitarist may switch between
these roles, playing chords to accompany the singer's lyrics, and a
solo.

In the most commercially available and consumed pop and rock A Gibson EDS-1275
genres, electric guitars tend to dominate their acoustic cousins in
both the recording studio and live venues, especially in the
"harder" genres such as heavy metal and hard rock. However the
acoustic guitar remains a popular choice in country, western and
especially bluegrass music, and it is widely used in folk music. Even
metal and hard rock guitarists play acoustic guitars for some ballads and
for MTV unplugged acoustic performances.

Jazz and other more complex styles


Jazz guitar playing styles include rhythm guitar-style "comping"
(accompanying) with jazz chord voicings (and in some cases, walking
basslines) and "blowing" (improvising solos) over jazz chord
progressions with jazz-style phrasing and ornaments. The accompanying
style for electric guitar in most jazz styles differs from the way chordal
instruments accompany in many popular styles of music. In rock and
pop, the rhythm guitarist typically performs chords in dense and regular
fashion to define a tune's rhythm. Simpler music tends to use chord
voicings focused on the first, third, and fifth notes of the chord. In
contrast, more complex music styles of pop might intermingle periodic
chords and delicate voicings into pauses in the melody or solo. Complex
guitar chord voicings are often have no root, especially in chords that
Gibson Les Paul has
have more than six notes. Such chords typically emphasize the third and been used in many
seventh notes of the chord. These chords also often include the 9th, 11th genres, including rock,
and 13th notes of the chord, which are called extensions, or color notes. country, pop, soul, rhythm
and blues, blues, jazz,
When guitarists who play jazz and other more complex styles improvise, reggae, punk, and heavy
they use scales, modes, and arpeggios associated with the chord metal
progression. The must learn how to use scales (whole tone scale,
chromatic scale, etc.) to solo over chord progressions. Soloists try to
imbue melodic phrasing with the sense of natural breathing and legato phrasing used by players of other
instruments. Jazz guitarists are influenced by trumpet , saxophone, and other horn players. Celtic
fingerstyle players are influenced pipes and fiddles.

Jazz guitarists typically play hollow-body instruments, but also use solid-body guitars. Hollow-body
instruments were the first guitars used in jazz in the 1930s and 1940s. During the 1970s jazz fusion era,
many jazz guitarists switched to the solid body guitars that dominated the rock world, using powerful
guitar amps for volume.

Contemporary classical music


Until the 1950s, the acoustic, nylon-stringed classical guitar
was the only type of guitar favored by classical, or art music
composers. In the 1950s a few contemporary classical
composers began to use the electric guitar in their
compositions. Examples of such works include Luciano
Berio's Nones (1954) Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen
(195557); Donald Erb's String Trio (1966), Morton
Feldman's The Possibility of a New Work for Electric Guitar
Electric guitars with acoustic guitars
(1966); George Crumb's Songs, Drones, and Refrains of in the background
Death (1968); Hans Werner Henze's Versuch ber Schweine
(1968); Francis Thorne's Sonar Plexus (1968) and Liebesrock
(196869), Michael Tippett's The Knot Garden (196570); Leonard Bernstein's MASS (1971) and Slava!
(1977); Louis Andriessen's De Staat (197276); Helmut Lachenmann's Fassade, fr grosses Orchester
(1973, rev. 1987), Valery Gavrilin Anyuta (1982), Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint (1987), Arvo Prt's
Miserere (1989/92), Gyrgy Kurtg's Grabstein fr Stephan (1989), and countless works composed for
the quintet of stor Piazzolla. Alfred Schnittke also used electric guitar in several works, like the
"Requiem", "Concerto Grosso N2" and "Symphony N1".

In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, a growing number of composers (many of them composer-performers
who had grown up playing the instrument in rock bands) began writing contemporary classical music for
the electric guitar. These include Frank Zappa, Shawn Lane, Steven Mackey, Nick Didkovsky, Scott
Johnson, Lois V Vierk, Tim Brady, Tristan Murail, and Randall Woolf.

Yngwie Malmsteen released his Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in 1998, and Steve Vai
released a double-live CD entitled Sound Theories, of his work with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra
in June 2007. The American composers Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca have written "symphonic"
works for large ensembles of electric guitars, in some cases numbering up to 100 players, and the
instrument is a core member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars (played by Mark Stewart). Still, like many
electric and electronic instruments, the electric guitar remains primarily associated with rock and jazz
music, rather than with classical compositions and performances.[34] R. Prasanna plays a style of Indian
classical music (Carnatic music) on the electric guitar.

In the 21st century, European avant garde composers like Richard Barrett, Fausto Romitelli, Peter
Ablinger, Bernhard Lang, Claude Ledoux and Karlheinz Essl have used the electric guitar (together with
extended playing techniques) in solo pieces or ensemble works. Probably the most ambitious and perhaps
significant work to date is Ingwe (20032009) by Georges Lentz (written for Australian guitarist Zane
Banks), a 60-minute work for solo electric guitar, exploring that composer's existential struggles and
taking the instrument into realms previously unknown in a concert music setting.

Vietnamese traditional music


In Vietnam, electric guitars are often used as an instrument in ci lng music (traditional southern
Vietnamese folk opera), sometimes as a substitute for certain traditional stringed instruments like the
n nguyt (two-stringed lute) when they are not available. Electric guitars used in ci lng are played in
finger vibrato (string bending), with no amplifiers or sound effects.

Electric Guitar Manufacturers


B.C.Rich Duesenberg Guitars
Epiphone Ibanez
Gibson ATELIER Z
Gretsch ARIA
Suhr Guitars
ESP guitars
James Tyler Guitars
Caparison guitars
Steinberger
Killer Guitars
Kramer Guitars
COMBAT GUITARS
Schecter
Charvel GUYATONE
Jackson guitars Greco guitars
D'Angelico G-Life Guitars
Dean guitars Sugi Guitars
Tom Anderson Guitarworks TEISCO
Fender guitars DEVISERA
PRS Guitars
Nil
Parker Guitars
Bacchus
Melancon
VANZANDT
Mosrite
Fernandes Guitars
Rickenbacker
Robert Benedetto Fender Japan
Washburn guitars Fujigen
Karl Sandoval MOON GUITARS
Mayones momose
Zemaitis Guitars Yairi Guitars
VOX YAMAHA
Hfner Tokai Guitars

See also
Bass guitar
Bahian guitar
Distortion (guitar)
Effects pedal
Electric pipa
Electromagnetic induction
Electronic tuner
Guitar harmonics
Guitar synthesizer
Guitar amplifier
Keytar
List of guitars
Pickup
Sitarla An electric guitar store
Stars and Their Guitars: A History of the
Electric Guitar (documentary film)
Vintage guitar
Guitar portal

References
1. Hempstead, Colin; Worthington, William E. (2005). Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Technology,
Volume 2 (https://books.google.com/books?id=0wkIlnNjDWcC&pg=PA793). Taylor & Francis. p. 793.
ISBN 1-57958-464-0.
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Sources
Broadbent, Peter (1997). Charlie Christian: Solo Flight The Seminal Electric Guitarist. Ashley Mark
Publishing Company. ISBN 1-872639-56-9.

External links
ON! The Beginnings of Electric Sound Generation (http://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/on) an
exhibit at the Museum of Making Music, National Association of Music Merchants, Carlsbad, CA
some of the earliest electric guitars and their history, from the collection of Lynn Wheelwright and
others
King of Kays (http://www.Kingofkays.com) Vintage guitar's from America, Japan, and Italy. Pictures,
history, and forums.
The Invention of the Electric Guitar (http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/electricguitar/index.
htm) Online exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History

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