Monday, December 7, 2009

Sam's Report

(Sam is one of my friend's sons.)

Hey Barret its sam im doing a report on the invention of the electric guitar a musical innovation and heres some questions: How do you think the electric guitar changes Jazz? Do you think rock would be as it is if it werent for the electric guitar? Do you think the electric guitar made a huge difference in music or not?

Hi Sam,

The electrification of the guitar made it loud enough to move out of its previous role as a supporting rhythm instrument in jazz bands and into sharing the lead spot with saxes, trumpets, and clarinets. One of the first major jazz guitarists was Charlie Christian with Benny Goodman's band. Musicians still study Charlie Christian's playing today. The guitar is a good instrument to play jazz on because it can provide chordal accompaniment like a piano, and also play expressive single note lines like a sax or trumpet, or shift quickly between both roles in rapid succession, sometimes even doing both at once. A good example of this chord-melody style of playing was Joe Pass.

The popularization of solid-body electric guitars and basses by Les Paul and Leo Fender made even louder volumes possible without feedback problems. This in turn made it easier for bands to play loud enough to fill a venue with sound with fewer microphones and less equipment needed overall. Rock music in part became successful because entertainment for a large audience could be provided by just 4 or 5 musicians instead of a bigger group. Instead of a big bus and a large entourage, you could start with a van and a few dedicated members.

The electric guitar has advantages over other instruments in its tonal flexibility; it's a very expressive instrument, with body types, pickups, effects, and amplifiers all creating huge variety in tone. It's also got lots of visual appeal because 1) you can move around the stage or dance while playing it, and 2) its playing position makes it easy for people to watch each note being produced. This is harder to see on a keyboard or wind instrument.

The answer to your final question is yes. Without electric guitar there are many kinds of music that would probably not even exist: rock, metal, punk, and modern blues.

Barrett Tagliarino

Barrett Tagliarino