History of Electric Guitars

  • Robert Johnston

    Robert Johnston
    Robert Johnston was a pre-WWII blues guitarist known for songs such as "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Walkin' Blues". There is also a common belief that Johnston sold his soul at the crossroads to the devil to become a skilled musician.
  • More Noise

    More Noise
    Musicians had a need for guitars to be louder. The quiet sound of an acoustic guitar could easily be drowned out by the horns of the bands they were in.
  • Charlie Christian

    Charlie Christian
    A Jazz guitarist named Charlie Christian attached a pickup to his acoustic guitar with the hopes of playing solos in his band. This is often noted as the beginning of electric guitars.
  • First Electric Guitar

    First Electric Guitar
    Adolph Rickenbacker created the first electric guitar. He used steel strings as well as wired coils and magnets to create a louder noise. (This is also how telephones used to work.) This guitar was given the nickname of "Frying Pan"
  • Patent

    The Rickenbacker Guitar Company filed a patent for an "Electrical Stringed Musical Instrument." The patent would be granted in 1937.
  • Spanish Style

    Spanish Style
    Lloyd Loar released the Spanish Style guitar. This guitar notably inspired Orville Gibson.
  • Gibson

    Orville Gibson developed the ES-150 electric guitar. This guitar resembled modern electric guitars but was hallowed bodied which created feedback.
  • Coils

    Electric guitars began to use magnetic single and double coil pickups to create a better sound. These coils are known as pickups.
  • Fender

    Leo Fender created the Esquire which was the first solid bodied electric guitar. The solid body helped remove feedback. The Esquire would later be renamed the Broadcaster.
  • Scotty Moore

    Scotty Moore
    Best known as Elvis's guitar player in the 50's, Scotty Moore was known for his rockabilly style in songs such as "That's Alright" and "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • Gibson Les Paul

    Gibson Les Paul
    John Huis developed the first solid body guitar to reduce feedback. This guitar would be endorsed by the famous musician Les Paul.
  • Chuck Berry

    Chuck Berry
    Chuck Berry was well known for his rock n' roll guitar style of the 1950's in songs such as "Johnny B. Goode", and "Carol."
  • Stratocaster

    Fender created what is now knows as one of the most famous guitars called the Stratocaster.
  • Jimmy Page

    Jimmy Page
    Best known as the guitarist in Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page uses folk, blues, and rock to perform songs such as "Friends" and "You Shock Me".
  • Amps

    Companies began creating separate amplifiers that allowed for new genres of rock to exist.
  • New Designs

    New Designs
    In the following decades, guitars continued to advance in technology as well as release in new shapes and designs.
  • Eric Clapton

    Eric Clapton
    Known for his electric blues and rock guitar styles, Eric Clapton is known for many songs such as "Layla" and "Lay Down Sally".
  • Jimi Hendrix

    Jimi Hendrix
    Jimi Hendrix combined the styles of blues, funk, and psychedelic rock to make songs such as "All Along the Watchtower" and "Bold as Love".
  • Brian May

    Brian May
    Known as the guitarist for Queen, Brian May preformed many rock n' roll songs such as "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Another one Bites the Dust".
  • Eddie Van Halen

    Eddie Van Halen
    Another hard rock guitarist, Eddie Van Halen is known for his guitar playing in songs such as "Jump" and "Eruption".
  • Tony Iommi

    Tony Iommi
    As the guitarist for Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi is a heavy metal guitarist who plays guitar for songs such as "Iron Man" and "Paranoid".
  • Angus Young

    Angus Young
    As the guitarist for AC/DC, Angus Young is best known for hard rock songs such as "Back in Black" and "Thunderstruck".
  • Prince

    Prince combined many styles to create a variety of songs such as "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry". His distinctive style helped bring him fame.
  • Slash

    Slash is the guitarist for the band Guns and Roses. He performs many hard rock songs such as "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Sweet Child of Mine."
  • Kurt Cobaine

    Kurt Cobaine
    Kurt Cobain is known for being the frontman of Nirvana. He, along with his band, helped grunge music become popular throughout the '90's.