THE BIRTH OF THE ELECTRIC GUITAR
How did the electric guitar transform Blues music from the 1940s forward?
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.
Image pages: B.B. King Gibson ad, 1972 | Buddy Guy Guild ad, 1979 | Gibson ES-250 ad, 1940 | Les Paul and Mary Ford Gibson ad, 1953 | Ray Charles Fender ad, 1967 | Rickenbacker 12 string guitar | Ro-Pat-In Frying Pan Guitar, 1932 | T-Bone Walker, Hamburg, Germany, 1972 | Wes Montgomery Gibson ad, 1967
Upon completion of this lesson, students will:
College and Career Readiness Reading Anchor Standards for Grades 6-12 for Literature and Informational Text
College and Career Readiness Writing Anchor Standards for Grades 6-12 in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening for Grades 6-12
Core Music Standard: Responding
Analyze: Analyze how the structure and context of varied musical works inform the response.
Interpret: Support interpretations of musical works that reflect creators' and/or performers' expressive intent.
Evaluate: Support evaluations of musical works and performances based on analysis, interpretation, and established criteria.
Core Music Standard: Connecting
Connecting 11: Relate musical ideas and works to varied contexts and daily life to deepen understanding.