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The electric guitar’s classic shape and form has become an iconic image for rock and roll, displayed in neon, on t-shirts, and tattoos. The popularity of the game Guitar Hero has shown just how much influence and power the electric guitar has, and how much revered and respected it continues to be.
The electric guitar has evolved from its humble beginnings in the 1930’s. Guitar brand names such as Fender and Gibson have become synonymous with the instrument and have become household names all over the world. From many of these companies, classic guitar shapes were developed and have now become recognized forms of the brand names. Let’s take a look at the most famous of them:
Fender Stratocaster (strat) – This is possibly the most recognized, classic guitar shape. Its form has become an icon of the guitar age and has been celebrated in museums and as part of art exhibitions. With a curved shape (it was famously known as the ‘Comfort Contour Body’ of the Fender guitars) and cutaways allowing easier access to the higher frets the Strat was developed in the 1950’s and was the favoured instrument of Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton and many other players.
Fender Telecaster – Another guitar from the Fender family, the Telecaster is the longest reigning solid-body guitar in the world. With a flatter body and a grittier sound than the Strat, the Telecaster is the guitar of choice for many country music musicians. Sometimes the name is abbreviated to Tele.
Gibson Les Paul – The Gibson Les Paul was also born during the 1950’s and became influential in the rock and roll movement of that era. Les Paul – a renowned jazz musician from the 1950’s – was heavily involved in the guitar’s early development and who became the name behind the instrument.
Gibson SG – The Gibson SG was originally a redesign of the Les Paul and was aimed at being a competitor to the Fender Stratocaster that had become hugely successful. The original body of the Les Paul was made narrower, and the guitar was given cutaways in the shape of horns to give access to upper frets. Unfortunately, Les Paul himself wasn’t a fan, and so the SG or Solid Guitar was born.
Gibson Flying V – This unique guitar with its inverted ‘V’ shape was part of a ‘modernist’ genre of guitar design types developed by Gibson and became the heavy metal guitar during the 1970’s. More recently, the late Dimebag Darrell from Pantera became a pioneer for the Flying V.
There are many other guitar styles that have been made, but interestingly most manufacturers produce electric guitars that are based on at least one of the above iconic designs.
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write by John Davis