Electric Guitar Body History

The Electric Guitar

The electric guitar is a marriage of twentieth-century technology to the time-honored convenience and playability of the classical and Spanish guitar. The first electric versions of the acoustic guitar were made in the early 1900s. a result of ongoing efforts by inventors, tinkerers and musicians. In the 1950s. Leo Fender developed the first mass-produced and affordable electric guitar.

The Ridcenbacker, the world’s first electric guitar, was later nicknamed the Frying Pan

The Ridcenbacker, the world’s first electric guitar, was later nicknamed the 'Frying Pan'.
First created in 1954 by Leo Fender, the Stratocaster is a design classic Electric Guitar.

First created in 1954 by Leo Fender, the Stratocaster is a design classic Electric Guitar

How Does Electric Guitar work?

Electric guitars make sound by creating electromagnetic induction through pickups containing copper wire wrapped around a magnet The discovery by Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry in 1831 of electro-magnetic induction brought about many technological benefits, including the invention of the telephone some 45 years later. Some say that it was not long before guitar players were experimenting with telephone receivers attached to acoustic guitars in an effort to become amplified.

Some history: The First Electric Guitars

Some of the earliest electric guitars adapted hollow-bodied acoustic instruments and used tungsten pickups. This type of guitar was first manufactured in 1931 by the Electro String Instrument Corporation under the direction of Adolph Rickenbacher and George Beauchamp. The guitar was called a Rickenbacker.

Another early solid-body electric guitar was designed and built by musician and inventor Les Paul In the early 1940s. His ‘log guitar consisted of a simple 4x4 wood post with a neck attached to it and home-made pickups and hardware. The instrument was patented and is often considered to be the first of its kind, although it shares nothing in design or hardware with the solid-body Les Paul' model sold by Gibson.

Esquire was the first solid-body electric guitar

The Esquire was the first solid-body electric guitar manufactured by Fender in 1950

In 1946. radio repairman and amplifier-maker Clarence Leonidas Fender, better known as Leo Fender, designed the first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar with a single magnetic pickup, which was initially named the Esquire. This was a departure from the typically hollow-bodied Jazz-oriented instruments of the time and immediately found favor with country & western artists in California. The two-pickup version of the Esquire was called the Broadcaster. However. Gretsch had a drum set marketed with a similar name (Broadkaster). so Fender changed the name to Telecaster.

Modern Electric Guitar Pickups

A magnetic pickup consists of a permanent magnet wrapped with a coil of a few thousand turns of fine enamelled copper wire. The single-coil pickup can have subtle variances in tone, even when mass-produced successfully, as were the classic pickups of the original Telecaster and Stratocaster. That's why some Strats may sound magnificent and others merely acceptable. One problem with single-coil electromagnetic pickups is that they pick up hum along with the musical signal.

Single-coil pickups on a Fender Stratocaster

Single-coil pickups on a Fender Stratocaster. These are used to detect the vibrations of a guitar string that can then be amplified.

The desire for a guitar that could reject this unwanted hum led to the development of the humbucking pickup concurrently and independently by Gibson and Gretsch. A humbucking pickup generally comprises two standard pickups wired together with identical coils bathed in fields of opposite magnetic polarity. The two coils are wired to cancel the hum produced by each. The signal from the vibrations of the guitar strings is captured by both pickups and added together, doubling the output Side effects are a rounder tone with fewer highs than that produced by a Strat or Tele, and a hotter signal more easily able to overdrive an amp for a warm distortion effect.


Single-coil pickups on a Fender Stratocaster

A super humbucker V2 pickup on an Ibanez Studio electric guitar. Humbucking pickups are generally made up of two single pickups wired together.