Have you ever wondered about the history of the electric guitar? It resulted in the fact that guitarists wanted to hear a much louder volume when playing the instrument. The “big band” era of modern music made the electric guitar useful since the acoustic guitar’s hollow body at that time could be heard well versus the other instruments.
Another related issue was the work of guitar makers or “luthiers.” Before electric guitars with solid bodies existed they did experiments by amplifying the sound of acoustic guitars through microphones or something called “tungsten pickups.” The latter was used for the modification of acoustic instruments that would be modified. They were usually put within the sound hole located under the strings.
Some major developments happened in the 1940s related to the development of the electric guitar. Leo Fender created an electric guitar with a solid body and one pickup in 1946. During that time Les Paul was also developing concepts for an electric guitar with a solid body. It would later be called a “log guitar” since it was constructed from a block of wood with 4×4 dimensions connected to a guitar neck.
The Fender company rolled out a prototype of a solid body electric guitar known as the Esquire. The unit contained a single pickup and in 1951 it was re-introduced as the Broadcaster then again as the Telecaster.
During this era there were actually other prototypes of electric guitars on the market. However, the Telecaster was a first of its kind since it was the world’s first mass-produced, and solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar on the market.
Then Fender unveiled the Precision Bass during the same year. The unit included frets and the instrument could be played like a guitar. It could also be plugged into an amp. This gave bass players a game-changing option besides an acoustic bass.
In 1952 Gibson Guitar Corporation gave Les Paul an endorsement to play and add his signature to the company’s first solid body electric guitar. They didn’t look like Les Paul’s Gibson guitar known as the “log guitar.” Guitarists who liked using humbucker pickups often picked the Les Paul model. Guitarists like Jimmy Page, Clash, and Pete Towshend played/endorsed Les Paul Signature guitars.
Another major event happened in 1954. That’s when Fender rolled out the Stratocaster. IT became quite popular with musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and several others. Other guitar makers often copy the Stratocaster. That’s also the case of the Gibson Les Paul and Telecasters guitars due to the quality and innovation of the instruments.
A decade ago in 2007 Gibson rolled out the company’s first Robot Guitar. The instrument features robotic tuning machines that are connected to pegs. They tune the guitar to several tuning options in just seconds. Gibson then rolled out the Dark Fire guitar soon afterwards. It’s like the Robot Guitar but has tuning machines that are faster/smaller. There’s also a piezo bridge that produces electric/acoustic tones. This was another innovation from Gibson and shows why it’s one of the leaders in the guitar industry.