Geordie from Killing Joke once said that the guitar is the perfect polyphonic instrument, because it’s as rhythmically accurate as a drum, yet you can play chords on it. I’d go a step further and say that the electric guitar is the ultimate instrument, period. It makes other instruments seem so…limited. Try playing a few chords on your saxophone or getting some vibrato out of your piano and you’ll understand what I mean. Also, the electric guitar has a range of timbres unheard of in classical instruments, and exceeded only by the synthesizer. Since the guitar is dependent on its electronics for much of its sound, choices of equipment can make the guitar sound beautiful or ugly, mellow or aggressive. I love it. I love the dark sparkle of fat altered jazz chords played on some hollow-bodied beast, I love the shimmer and cluck of a country shredder abusing a Telecaster, and I love plugging my Les Paul into my Mesa and cranking it until my pant legs are flapping in the breeze.
Another great thing about the electric guitar is that, for about $1500, you can have an absolute professional quality instrument, the instrument your heroes play. For $5000, you can have a hand-crafted gem that represents the pinnacle of the guitar builder’s art. Hell, for $200 you can get something perfectly playable, not to mention suitable for covering in stickers. Try walking into your local luthier’s shop and see how much violin $1500 will buy you. Because of their low price and ready availability, electric guitars have changed the world. There’s something very leveling and empowering about an instrument that most 15 year old kids can afford, yet remains the instrument of choice for millionaires. In much the same way that guerilla soldiers all over the world seem to tote AK-47s – because they’re cheap and plentiful – the electric guitar has become the weapon of choice for musical rebels everywhere. The face of music has changed more in the sixty years since the advent of the electric guitar than in the three hundred years prior. There are really only two kinds of music out there today: music that has been changed radically thanks to the electric guitar (e.g. jazz, blues, country) and music that wouldn’t even exist without it (e.g. rock and roll, heavy metal).
I’m done. Go plug in and play your guitar. \m/:mad:\m/