History of the Development of Electric Stringed Musical Instruments

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Steven Errede, The Guitar

Author : Steven Errede

Source : Paper, Dpt of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The history of the development of electric stringed musical instruments – in particular, the electric guitar and the electric bass is a fascinating one. It is a story of the interplay between man’s discovery of the basic, fundamental laws of physics and new physical phenomena and the creative, constructive synthesis and assimilation of this new knowledge into our culture for the enhancement and evolution of our cultures’ music, taking it in completely new directions.  The development of the electric guitar obviously occurred from the collective desire of musicians to electrify (and thereby amplify) the sound of their guitar, in order to better match the intrinsic volume levels of other instruments often used in bands. The historical
path of how this occurred is a very interesting story!
Hawaiian music was initially introduced into America by U.S. servicemen returning from overseas tours of duty in the Hawaiian islands, in the aftermath the Spanish-American war (April 21-August 12, 1898), in which Cuba was liberated from Spanish rule, Puerto Rico and Guam were ceded by Spain to the United States, the Philippines were sold to the U.S. for $20M, and the Hawaiian Islands were formally annexed by a resolution on July 7, 1998 from then-President William McKinley, which was rapidly approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, with a transfer of sovereignty on August 14, 1898. American sailors, while stationed in Hawaii, upon hearing Hawaiian music, were completely enamored with it. Some of them also learned how to play it, and thus brought Hawaiian music back to the U.S. with them when they returned. Hawaiian music rapidly became extremely popular amongst the American public, at the turn of the 20th century.



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