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The Electric Guitar is a modified version of the Acoustic Guitar, consisting of the same basic construction of body, fretted fingerboard, six strings and a head with the tuning machines mounted to allow the tension of the strings to be altered, resulting in a different note being produced. The key differences between electric and acoustic guitars are in the nature of the body. Electric guitars have pickups that receive the vibrational sound signal from the string, transmitting it through electrical circuits and amplifying it through a powered amplifier. The requirement for speakers and other equipment can make the electric guitar slightly less versatile than the acoustic guitar, but these limitations are balanced by the extensive range of sounds that can be produced and the potential for amplification of the signal. There are a variety of styles available, from solid body speed machines through to hollow body jazz guitars with electric pickups.
The electric guitar evolved from the Rickenbacker’s of the 1930’s and has roots in blues, rock and roll, and virtually all guitar music that has come into being over the last thirty years.
Famous Electric Guitar Musicians/Compositions:
It is the instrument of choice for rock stars, played by Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and John Lee Hooker to name a few. Notable blues guitarist Chris Thomas King has an exquisite collection of songs played for the hollow body electric guitar, in a haunting blues style. Recreations of ‘Hard Time Killing Floor Blues’, ‘Rock Island Line’ and ‘Midnight Special’ are exquisite guitar pieces. ‘Surfing with the Alien’ is a brilliant piece from Joe Satriani, and ‘Eruption’ from Eddie van Halen demonstrates the lightning fast playability of a 1980’s shred guitar.
The electric guitar has several cousins that operate on similar fundamental principles, requiring pickups and amplification in order to be heard. These stringed instruments range from the Electric Violin to the Electric Bass Guitar and the more obscure renditions of the format like the Stick Bass and the Double Neck Bass/Guitar. The same basic principles of strings vibrating over an electric pickup to provide signal apply to all of these. Unlike an acoustic guitar fitted with an internal pickup, the electric instrument has dedicated pickups for each string, and will use different circuitry to process the signal.
When looking after your guitar, you should ensure to keep it in its case when it is not in use. Pickups can corrode if they have too much moisture near them, guitar necks can warp if they spend too much time in adverse conditions such as strong sunlight. By keeping your investment protected in a safe place it will last for many years. Many electric guitars are collectable items that will actually increase in value with time, if they are kept in good condition. Occasionally oiling the fingerboard with Orange Oil, which is not actually the Oil of Oranges but a synthetic mixture of petrochemical products, will ensure that moisture is excluded from the wood and the neck stays true.