The electrification of the guitar had an enormous impact on American popular music. As the Country Blues traveled to the industrial North in the 1930s and 40s, pioneers such as T-Bone Walker and Muddy Waters began plugging in their instruments. In the process, they redefined the sound of the Blues. The electric or “urban” Blues in turn helped popular music inch ever closer to the Rock and Roll revolution.
In this lesson, students will trace some of the technological developments that made the electric guitar possible. Using a variety of Internet sources, students will conduct research into some of the early models, including the hollow-bodied Gibson ES-150, introduced in 1936, and the Fender Telecaster, the first mass-marketed solid-body electric guitar, introduced in 1952, at the dawn of the Rock and Roll era. They will explore not only how these instruments transformed the Blues sound, but how they laid the groundwork for the development of the electric guitar as an essential Rock and Roll instrument.
In addition, this lesson will also help students identify and evaluate the reliability of Internet resources, which they will use to conduct original research about early electric guitar models.