Electric Guitars At The Music Zoo
The Music Zoo boasts a selection of electric guitars like no other. Whether you're shopping for your dream, one-of-a-kind custom shop piece, just starting out, or a working musician who needs quality and value, we're the destination with the best mix of the unique and the everyday must-haves. Buy your next electric guitar online at The Music Zoo or visit our New York showroom to shop today - we're an authorized dealer for all your favorite electric guitar brands, and our used inventory is always packed to the brim.
Electric Guitar History
The dawn of the electric guitar occurred in the big band era of the 1930s. The first "volume wars" had developed, and guitarists needed to be heard over the loud brass and woodwind instruments. Gibson, Rickenbacker, and National were the first guitar builders to add electric guitar "pickups" to their acoustic hollowbody archtop and lap steel guitars - such as Gibson's Charlie Christian pickup featured in the ES-150 or the "Frying Pan" pickup installed in the Rickenbacker Hawaiian lap steel guitar. Thus, the revolution had begun - and by the late '40s Leo Fender introduced the first mass produced solid body electric dubbed the Broadcaster - a feedback resistant example that was becoming a requirement for new emerging musical genres. Gibson followed shortly after with their first solid body - the Les Paul, in 1952. An instrument unlike any other, the popularity of the electric guitar subsequently exploded! Gretsch, Danelectro, Guild, Yamaha, and many others also began building guitars in this era, and by the '70s and '80s, electric guitars were being produced worldwide by new manufacturers such as Ibanez, Music Man, ESP, Chavel/Jackson, and Paul Reed Smith. Today, due to advancements in the manufacturing process, it's easier than ever to grab an affordable started guitar, but it's still just as easy to own a special hand-crafted piece.
Types of Electric Guitars
Hollowbody electric guitars were at the beginning of it all. The Gibson ES-150, first mass marketed in 1936, was essentially a hollow acoustic archtop loaded with a new electromagnetic "bar" pickup which was eventually dubbed the Charlie Christian pickup. Hollowbody electrics have always been associated with jazz and blues genres, as their resonant acoustic-like bodies tend to produce excellent clean tones. You can grab a big "jazz box" like the Gibson ES-175, Gretsch New Yorker, or a D'Angelico archtop, but smaller and more ergonomic creations also exist, such as the Epiphone Casino and the Gibson ES-125T or ES-330. Still, the deep and warm tones of a hollowbody are shared across all its permutations.
The solid body electric guitar was pioneered by Leo Fender and shortly followed by Gibson's partnership with the beloved guitarist Les Paul. Players needed a more ergonomic and feedback resistant instrument - and up until this time the big hollowbody electric guitars did not fit the bill. The introduction of the Broadcaster, Telecaster, Les Paul, SG, Stratocaster, and subsequent classics helped usher in a new era of music with more twang, dirt, and volume! Today, solid body electrics span even larger musical boundaries and have evolved to handle the modern tones and construction requirements players need. You can still solo over an E Blues progression with today's solid bodies, jam on your favorite hard rock riffs, as well as deliver complete sonic devastation with high gain, extended range, and drop-tuned instruments.
For those looking for a balanced middle ground, the semi-hollow electric guitar can give you the best of both worlds. A demand for these "hybrids" appeared first in the late '50s - when Gibson pioneered the ES-335. These electrics were mostly hollow, but boasted a feedback reducing block of wood that usually spanned the center of the guitar body. Semi-hollow electrics allowed players to produce rich and warm hollowbody tone from an instrument that would sustain longer and also handle higher amounts of overdrive and more volume. These guitars are some of the most versatile, and have been used for everything from jazz and blues to heavy metal!
The guitar industry has always aligned closely with its players and artists. Many guitar manufacturers produce electric guitars that are either inspired by or built with these famous artists that often times helped put the guitars themselves on the map! Remember, technically the Les Paul was the first artist model electric guitar, as it was co-created by Les. While Fender's first two artist model guitars, the Eric Clapton and the Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocasters appeared in the late '80s and early '90s, the '50s and '60s produced other artist model electrics such as the Gretsch Chet Atkins, the Kay Barney Kessel, and the Mosrite Ventures model. Modern day artist model electric guitars are still a huge hit - much of Ernie Ball Music Man's lineup is dedicated to artist models, and hard rock and metal guitarists have plenty of their own signature models today as well. The Music Zoo's selection of artist models is simply unmatched!