By the longtime editor-in-chief of Guitar World and a veteran rock journalist, an unprecedented history of the electric guitar, its explosive impact on music and culture, and the people who brought it to life.
Spanning a century and encompassing some of guitar's greatest builders and players, from Les Paul to Keith Richards to Eddie Van Halen, Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna bring the evolution of the guitar to roaring life. This is a story of inventors and iconoclasts, of scam artists, prodigies and mythologizers, as varied and original as the music they spawned.
Play It Loud uses twelve landmark instruments, each of them a milestone in the progress of the electric guitar, to illustrate the chaos, conflict and passion it has inspired. It introduces Leo Fender, a man who couldn't play a note, but whose innovation helped transform the classical guitar into the explosive sound machine it is today. Some of the most significant social movements of the 20th century are indebted to the guitar: it was an essential part of Beatlemania and Woodstock; a mirror to the rise of the teenager as a social force; a linchpin of the punk movement's sound and ethos. And today the guitar has come full circle, with contemporary titans such as Jack White of The White Stripes and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys bringing some of those earliest electric guitar forms back to the limelight.
For generations, the electric guitar has been an international symbol of freedom, danger and hedonism. Play It Loud is the story of how a band of innovators transformed a simple notion into a singular cultural force.