Electric guitars are used in various forms and styles of music including pop, country, rock and roll, jazz or blues. These guitars are used largely in rock music, and are a bit more forgiving than are acoustic guitars. Depending on the venue, they are one of the most common guitars used in the 20th century.
The strings used on electric guitars are steel strings as on acoustic guitars, but usually of a much lighter gauge so they are generally easier on your fingers. The guitars themselves are much heavier than are acoustic guitars. The wood is heavier and the electronic parts on the inside add weight to the guitar, as well. While the specific wood type for the body, neck and fingerboard is less of a factor in electric guitars, the wood chosen for a particular electric guitar does contribute its distinctive sound and as well as the feel of the guitar in your hands and even in your style of playing. The neck of the electric guitar must also take more stress due to the heavy body of the guitar.
Because of the type of strings used on the electric guitar, they are considered to be easier to play. The lighter gauge of the strings for the electric guitar makes picking and strumming much simpler. The trade-off, of course, is the weight of the guitar and ability to be heard by larger audiences.
Electric guitars are slightly more expensive than are acoustic guitars but quality electric guitars can be found in the lower price ranges, as well. The important thing to remember in planning to purchase an electric guitar is that they only sound good with an amplifier, so you must count on purchasing one of those as well as the guitar.
While various historians would argue about the time frame, electric guitars became popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s. At that point, rock n’ roll was the prevailing culture in the world of music. Electric guitars became a necessity in the competition with the amplified instruments used by jazz orchestras. They quickly became popular, even though there were some difficulties with their construction. The body of the electric guitar would vibrate because of the amplified sounds that came through the speakers, to which they were connected, causing what we know as feed-back. Electric guitars don’t work with microphones, but with special pickups on the body of the guitar that senses the movement of strings. These pickups also tend to pick up the various electrical noises of the room, giving the guitar a bit of a “hum” which can be a very large or very small depending on where the guitar is being played. Several different designs for electric guitars were tried and left unused because of this difficulty in the decades before the 70’s. However, the Les Paul by Gibson and the Stratocaster by Fender rose above the other models to help eliminate some of these difficulties and secured their place in electric guitar history.
There are many types of electric guitars: solid body, hollow body and metal body. The solid body electric guitar is actually carved from hardwood and has a lacquer finish. The guitars with the metal bodies are affected by the “weight relief” holes that are bored into the solid metal guitars or they are chambered metal so that the guitar will not weigh so much. The hollow bodied electric guitars are said to add resonance and sustain to the guitar while being lighter in weight for the guitarists handling of the instrument. The hollow body electric guitars have the pick-ups mounted in such a way that they convert the combination of the string and the instrument’s body vibration into the electrical signal sent to the amplifier.
These guitars are great instruments to have around. They can be played for large audiences and their versatility of style is excellent. Earphones are a great addition to the guitar and the amplifier for the student who lives in the house with others that don’t necessarily want to hear the instrument played all night or all day. With this one upgrade, the electric guitar is a great addition to the other instruments in my household!