How did the electric guitar changed america?

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Gustave Little asked a question: How did the electric guitar changed america?
Asked By: Gustave Little
Date created: Wed, Jun 16, 2021 12:58 PM
Date updated: Thu, Jun 23, 2022 11:22 AM

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How did the electric guitar change popular music and culture?

  • When the electric guitar arrived in the late 1930s and then became far more viable in the 1940s and ’50s, it changed the face of popular music, and therefore culture, in ways that have never been undone. The guitar is the single most popular musical instrument in the world today, but that wasn’t the case in the 1920s and ’30s.

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As guitarists embraced the electrified instrument, the perception and uses of the guitar began to change dramatically. For instance, Oklahoma musician Charlie Christian adapted the language of jazz soloing, previously performed mostly on woodwinds, brass and piano, to the electric guitar’s fretboard, moving the instrument to a featured spot on the bandstand.

At about this same time, Europeans brought a steel-stringed version of the Spanish instrument when they immigrated to America. There, the modern guitar took on a new shape and a new place in history, with the invention of the flat top, archtop and modern electric guitar.

Again, it was the electric guitar that took precedence over the acoustic. This is because the first truly electrically amplified guitar was created right as the Great Depression was taking hold in the USA. America needed something new — a new sound — to deal with the heavy mental and financial burden brought on by the Depression.

Continuing the theme of rebelliousness and change set up in the 50s, the electric guitar became the creative weapon of choice against “normal” society. Guitar legends like Jimi Hendrix, not to mention the many British guitar legends practicing at this time like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, would look for new and creative ways to express themselves with their instruments.

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