Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound, & Revolution of the Electric Guitar

Brad Tolinski and Alan Di Perna. Doubleday, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-54099-5
Tolinski (Light & Shade) and Di Perna (Guitar Masters), former editor-in-chief and current contributor, respectively, of Guitar World, construct a comprehensive history of the electric guitar, tracing its roots in George Beauchamp’s experiments in search of a way to amplify a guitar’s vibrations. His prototype, the Frying Pan, along with a partnership with Adolph Rickenbacker, led to the production of electric guitars in 1932, preceding rock music by 20 years. The book explores Leo Fender’s and Les Paul’s innovative designs, which developed guitar bodies. Exploring the birth of rock music, the amplification of Muddy Waters’s blues marks a turning point. At $25, the DeArmond electromagnetic pickup enabled Waters and other struggling blues musicians to electrify their music. Chet Atkins’s endorsement of Gretsch guitars, specifically the 6120 model, introduced the electric guitar to country audiences, influencing the burgeoning rockabilly scene. The authors engagingly explore the importance of amplifiers on artists’ sounds, particularly the Vox amps used by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix’s manipulation of feedback. Beat-up thrift shop guitars used by experimental bands such as Sonic Youth and more traditional garage rock groups such as the White Stripes are highlighted, representing a path for innovating guitar sounds in an era when prices have rendered classic models largely inaccessible. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2016
Release date: 10/25/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7352-8549-1
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-385-68582-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-101-97039-3
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-385-68584-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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