For generations the electric guitar has been an international symbol of freedom, danger, rebellion, and hedonism. Read more...
For generations the electric guitar has been an international symbol of freedom, danger, rebellion, and hedonism. In Play It Loud, veteran music journalists Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna bring the history of this iconic instrument to roaring life. It's a story of inventors and iconoclasts, of scam artists, prodigies, and mythologizers as varied and original as the instruments they spawned.
Play It Loud uses twelve landmark guitars each of them artistic milestones in their own right to illustrate the conflict and passion the instruments have inspired. It introduces Leo Fender, a man who couldn't play a note but whose innovations helped transform the guitar into the explosive sound machine it is today. Some of the most significant social movements of the twentieth century are indebted to the guitar: It was an essential element in the fight for racial equality in the entertainment industry; a mirror to the rise of the teenager as social force; a linchpin of punk's sound and ethos. And today the guitar has come full circle, with contemporary titans such as Jack White of The White Stripes, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys bringing some of the earliest electric guitar forms back to the limelight.
Featuring interviews with Les Paul, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and dozens more players and creators, Play It Loud is the story of how a band of innovators transformed an idea into a revolution."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Tolinski (Light & Shade) and Di Perna (Guitar Masters), former editor-in-chief and current contributor, respectively, of Guitar World, construct a comprehensive history of the electric guitar, tracing its roots in George Beauchamp’s experiments in search of a way to amplify a guitar’s vibrations. His prototype, the Frying Pan, along with a partnership with Adolph Rickenbacker, led to the production of electric guitars in 1932, preceding rock music by 20 years. The book explores Leo Fender’s and Les Paul’s innovative designs, which developed guitar bodies. Exploring the birth of rock music, the amplification of Muddy Waters’s blues marks a turning point. At $25, the DeArmond electromagnetic pickup enabled Waters and other struggling blues musicians to electrify their music. Chet Atkins’s endorsement of Gretsch guitars, specifically the 6120 model, introduced the electric guitar to country audiences, influencing the burgeoning rockabilly scene. The authors engagingly explore the importance of amplifiers on artists’ sounds, particularly the Vox amps used by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix’s manipulation of feedback. Beat-up thrift shop guitars used by experimental bands such as Sonic Youth and more traditional garage rock groups such as the White Stripes are highlighted, representing a path for innovating guitar sounds in an era when prices have rendered classic models largely inaccessible. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (Oct.)