According to the Smithsonian Institute, “electronic amplification is one of the most successful innovations brought around at the end of the 1930s.” The 1920s had a rise in the popularity of dance music, and the recording industry was getting started. This was also the start of the Big Band Era (guitaristsource.com). Guitar makers started experimenting to develop a new, louder, guitar.
Electrical amplification was developed by the radio industry in the 1920s (howstuffworks.com). In 1931, George Beauchamp and Adolf Rickenbacker would go on to develop an electromagnetic pickup they would later use to create the electric guitar. This first model would go on to be called the “Frying Pan”, because of its resemblance to the cookware. This first model was often played flat on the lap (howstuffworks.com). Eventually, electric guitars began commercial production in the 1930s (Goertzen 435). In 1939, Les Paul, an acoustic guitarist, developed a new type of electric guitar by placing the old pickup on a solid block of wood. This new solid body guitar didn’t have the feedback problems that the hollow-bodied electric guitars had. Also, it had a greater sustain than earlier models (howstuffworks.com).
In order for an electric guitar to work, it needs a pickup and an amplifier. Pickups are electro-magnetic pieces on the guitar’s body, and they are usually found on the guitar’s body in between the bridge and the fretboard. These electro-magnets create magnetic fields, which then proceed to pick up the vibrations of the string (livescience.com). This is how the electro-magnets in the electric guitar received the name “pickup”. The setup of the electric pickup varies from guitar to guitar, one model having a magnetic strip under all of the strings, and another having single magnets placed under each string (livescience.com). After the pickup gathers the strings’ vibrations, it then transfers them into electronic pulses (Goertzen 435). These pulses are then sent to an amplifier. An amplifier, or amp for short, is a piece of equipment that boosts the electronic sound signals that are sent in from the guitars’ pickup (livescience.com). Also, the amplifier replaced the acoustic sound box found in acoustic guitars, giving the electric unlimited power. The amplifier can also modify and make changes to the sound, allowing anyone who plays it to fit the sound to their own personal taste and liking.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, “It was often debated over whether or not the electric guitar...