If rock and roll can ever raise your interest, then you need the electric guitar as an absolute requirement to become a star. These instruments drive the sound, the look and the attitude that define rock music. Wanting to purchase one, let’s look around some of the most famous brands for electric guitars available now.
While the electric guitar certainly existed in the early days of jazz, it remained merely an instrument in the rhythm section for the most part. A few artists stepped out with their stylings, Scotty Moore being a good example, but not too many. Amplification was an attempt to compete with the blaring horn sections, and the instrument remained rather low key.
Then along came the serious application of electricity to strings, and rock and roll began its crawl to dominance in the worlds of popular music. As far as popularity goes, there are two brands that still stand “necks and frets” above all the rest, and are what the rest aspire to be like. These are Gibson and Fender, respectively.
It was the great Les Paul who pioneered the solid body electric guitar that we all know and love today. The problem was that the amplification of a hollow bodied version led to unwanted feedback and poor tone problems. Paul reasoned that by eliminating the hollow body design that he could create a wholly electric sound. He was proven absolutely correct, and the Gibson Les Paul that bears his name is the highest in rock guitar royalty.
Running a close second are Fender guitars. Following up on the solid body designs, Leo Fender began his own line of guitars with great success. They differ considerably from Gibsons due to their unique, and somewhat thinner, tone, but many players have elevated them into the upper echelons of the rock hierarchy. Two of the most notable Fender players are Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.
After the rock revolution was accomplished it was a good time for others to enter the competition. Some brands have had tremendous success in their own right, largely due to their unique tones and construction styles. Rickenbacker made some great jangly guitars and were employed by such great bands as the Beatles and the Byrds. Gretsch makes fine instruments that have always found favor with the country music set.
As things progressed guitars became a bit more aggressive, with some good sounds being produced by some truly outlandish designs. BC Rich was a pioneer in flashy axes, and remains popular as a result. ESP is a market favorite, as are Kramer and Charvel. These later guitars are also valued for being affordable, while the Gibsons and Fenders can be prohibitively expensive.
Popular electric guitar brands have become so for very good reasons. One, they had a unique sound that was all their own, and that sound is still very good to the average listener. Second, they looked great, and all of rock and roll is about image as much as anything else. And the newer models can provide these same traits without costing nearly as dearly. For anyone who wants to rock, you will never go wrong with a good guitar.
Looking for the right electric guitar? Be sure to check out my reviews on the Gibson ES335 Memphis electric guitar and the Gibson Firebird V electric guitar.
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