A Brief History Of The Electric Guitar

The invention of the electric guitar revolutionised the music industry.


Many people associate the electric guitar with famous 20th-centurymusicians and it can be argued that it was one of the most iconic instruments of the time. Here’s a brief history of the electric guitar and its rise in popularity.


The electric guitar was primarily invented for the desire to play the guitar and hear it at a louder volume. This was a rather big desire during the big band era in the 1930’s. The acoustic guitar struggled during this era to be heard and there was a need to increase the volume of the guitar.


Electric Guitars can be first traced back to Rickenbacker and Beauchamp in the 30’s. They are considered to be the people who first commercially created a viable modern amplifiable electric guitar.  Their hollow body amplified guitars were produced for the big bands. The first documented performance using an electrically amplified guitar was by Gage Brewer in Kansas, in 1932. By 1946 Leo Fender-designed a solid body electric guitar. Although there were other solid body prototypes around this time, Fender’s Telecaster electric guitar became the first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar. Gibson Guitars followed in pursuit, releasing their own solid body guitar by 1952.


The 20th century saw advancements in technology and a newfound sophistication in musical instruments. By the 60’s and 70’s, the electric guitar had become a much-loved instrument.  The following years saw legendary musicians Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page change the music industry with the electric guitar their partner in crime.  These musicians attracted worshipping followers that fell in love with the sounds of the electric guitar. The aggressive sound of the electric guitar became a characteristic of the genre rock and roll.


For many years the electric guitar appeared on the stage of many famous bands and musicians. Unfortunately, the electric guitars of this time were too expensive for ordinary buyers, thus creating a demand for affordable options. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that Japanese manufacturers released reasonable priced electric guitars that still had good sound quality. In doing this it put pressure on American companies like Gibson and Fender. This finally pushed them to produce their own affordable lines of the instrument. 


The electric guitar is played the same way as an acoustic guitar. The only difference is that it uses a pick up to convert the vibrations of the strings into electrical impulses which then can be amplified. The strings are usually made out of metal and the guitars are made with solid, semi-hollow and hollow bodies. An instrument cable (or wireless) is plugged into an amplifier. Most modern electric guitars feature 6, 7 or 8 strings. Without an amp, electric guitars make very little noise.



Today, electric guitars remain a key musical instrument. You can find the key sounds of the instruments in a variety of genres. There is little to indicate that the guitars reign is over and instead reports have shown that in many markets guitar sales are on the rise and have many more optimistic times ahead. Even with today’s music scene favouring pop stars and rappers, the sounds of the guitar and more specifically the electric guitar remain loved by many around the world.


At Music Mart, we have a huge selection of electric guitars for sale, from makers like Fender, Gretsch, Ibanez, Yamaha and Cort. We offer a large range of styles and budgets perfect for all levels of competency, even left-handed models.


If you would like to learn more about our electric guitars, contact the MusicMart team today!