PERFORMING ARTS

Amplified: A Design History of the Electric Guitar

Reaktion. Nov. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781789142747. $35. MUSIC
COPY ISBN
Atkinson (design & design history, Sheffield Hallam Univ., UK; Computer) strives to separate fact from myth in this well-researched, accessible exploration of the electric guitar. Focusing exclusively on the instrument’s design, with little attention given to music or accessories such as sound pedals and amplifiers, the author starts with patents for primitive exponents in 1890. He covers major developments of signature manufacturers such as Gibson and Fender, how the industry broadened to Britain and Japan, the onset of mass production and boutique makers, and the recent inclusion of synthesizers. Atkinson also devotes a chapter to materials and technologies. Readers learn how the basic instrument is created, with fascinating highlights such as the integration of automobile engineering techniques and evocative new body shapes. Beautiful color photographs, contemporary advertisements, and examples of musicians displaying their own favorites add interest.
VERDICT Acknowledging the significant role guitar historian Tony Bacon has played in this arena through his more popularly oriented publications, Atkinson’s more academic contribution to the literature is decidedly welcome. His rigorous scholarship and clear affection for the subject shine.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?