Electric Guitars

  • Always be aware of what are your favorite guitar players' instruments. Probably you can't afford exactly the same guitar but at least you can try to get closer to the sound you have in mind.
  • Read and listen on the net to as many guitars as you can. But never  buy without actually touching and trying the guitar. Find out what others have to say about the guitar you want, there are lots of users' reviews on the net.
  • In the music store or at someone's home (if you try a second - hand guitar), play as loud as possible, listen to the sustain and eventual buzzing. Play over all the frets, on every string, there are many guitars that buzz or are out of tune. Also play all of the pick-up combinations, a lot of guitars get pick-up noise. You should like the sound in low, middle and treble registers.
  • Ask for warranty if you buy from a store.
  • Don't dismiss used guitars. They may look battered because they are good and were played a lot.

A little history:

An electric guitar is a type of guitar with a solid or semi-solid body that utilizes electromagnetic " pickups " to convert the vibration of the steel-cored strings into electrical current. The current may be electrically altered to achieve various tonal effects prior to being fed into an amplifier , which produces the resultant sound.

In contrast to most stringed instruments , the solid-body electric guitar does not rely as extensively on the acoustic properties of its construction to amplify the sound produced by the vibrating strings; as such, the electric guitar does not need to be naturally loud, and its body can be virtually any shape. In fact, since all the sound produced by the amplifier comes from string vibrations detected by the electric pickups, an electric guitar that produces minimal acoustic sound will actually have maximal sustain. (Since less of the energy from the string oscillations is radiated as sound energy.)

Electric guitars were originally designed by an assortment of luthiers , electronics buffs, and instrument manufacturers, in varying combinations. Some of the earliest electric guitars used tungsten pickups and were manufactured in the 1930s by Rickenbacker . The popularity of the electric guitar began with the Big band era, the amplified instruments being necessary to compete with the loud volumes of the large brass sections common to jazz orchestras of the thirties and forties. Initially, electric guitars consisted primarily of hollow "archtop" acoustic guitar bodies to which electromagnetic transducers had been attached.

The version of the instrument that is most well known today is the "solid body" electric guitar: a guitar made of solid wood, without resonating airspaces within it. One of the first solid body electric guitars was built by musician and inventor Les Paul in the early 1940s, working after hours in the Epiphone Guitar factory. His "log" guitar, so called because it consisted of a simple rectangular block of wood with a neck attached to it, was generally considered to be the first of its kind until recently, when research through old trade publications and with surviving luthiers and their families revealed many other prototypes, and even limited production models, that fit our modern conception of an 'electric guitar.' At least one company, Audiovox, built and may have offered an electric solid-body as early as the mid-1930s. Rickenbacher (later spelled 'Rickenbacker') offered a solid Bakelite electric guitar beginning in 1935 that, when tested by vintage guitar researcher John Teagle, reportedly sounded quite modern and aggressive.

Gibson, like many luthiers, had long offered semi-acoustic guitars with pickups, but it was in 1954 that the Gibson Les Paul , the instrument that would become their trademark, was introduced to the market. In the late 1940s , electrician and amplifier maker Leo Fender , through his eponymous company, designed the Fender Telecaster . In 1954 Fender introduced the Stratocaster , or Strat , which had become by the late sixties the most widely played guitar on the market. Fender is also credited with inventing the electric bass , although solidbody electric basses had appeared elsewhere as prototypes and limited production models.

Unlike the more traditionally styled and crafted Gibson instruments, Fender's guitars and basses pioneered the modular, and hence much less expensive, method of guitar making in which the body and neck of the guitar were crafted separately, using commonly available woodworking tools, and then bolted together to form a complete guitar. Today, the design of electric guitars by most companies echoes one of the two classic designs: the Les Paul or the Stratocaster.

There are several different types of guitars available, and each has a characteristic sound. Often, a guitarist will play one type of guitar but ask you to make it sound like another type of guitar. This can be very difficult but not always impossible. It's crucial that you're familiar with these basic guitar sounds.

Even within the basic electric guitar types, there are many different combinations of pickups and design configurations. The type of wood, style of body and precision of assembly all play an important part in the sound of the instrument. All considerations aside, we can still break the electric guitar sounds into three recognizable categories:

Stratocaster: single coil:

Les Paul: double coil:

Hollow body electric jazz guitar: double coil: