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255 × 200 × 30 mm
272 pages
129 illustrations, 114 in colour
15 Feb 2021

Amplified A Design History of the Electric Guitar Paul Atkinson

The electric guitar is an exceptional object. Its sound is heard every day by hundreds of millions of people. Yet this beloved instrument started as an experimental project, hand-built by lone inventors and warily regarded by audience and players alike. Amplified traces the history of the design and development of the electric guitar as it became a mass-produced object made, sold and played all over the world. Paul Atkinson shows how, over the years, amateur makers, part-time tinkerers, musicians, enthusiasts, designers and corporations have developed its design, its looks and its sound.

Featuring new interviews with players and makers, and many illustrations sure to inspire ‘guitar envy’, this book shows how the electric guitar went from an instrument to an icon.

‘Atkinson strives to separate fact from myth in this well-researched, accessible exploration of the electric guitar . . . Readers learn how the basic instrument is created, with fascinating highlights such as the integration of automobile engineering techniques and evocative new body shapes. Beautiful color photographs, contemporary advertisements, and examples of musicians displaying their own favorites add interest . . . Decidedly welcome. Atkinson’s rigorous scholarship and clear affection for the subject shine.’ — Library Journal

‘For me, a truly compelling, fact-packed read all about how guitars are made, look, sound and play. Paul Atkinson admirably recounts a century of history, invention and experimentation by experts and amateurs of a revolutionary instrument. Highly recommended for anyone who has a guitar, and for anyone who wants one.’ — KT Tunstall, singer-songwriter and guitarist

‘Paul has put a fantastically exhaustive amount of work into this book for all of us global guitar nerds to enjoy. It’s so much fun to dive into it full immersion, and glean everything from details on iconic artist guitars to strange inventions from creatives on the fringe!’ — Jennifer Batten, guitarist (Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck)

‘A great resource for all guitar players, tinkerers and enthusiasts. Paul Atkinson's well-researched book provides essential and fascinating facts of this unique instrument's development over the course of more than a century.’ — Paul Brett, rock guitarist, journalist, guitar designer

‘Paul Atkinson has dug deep into the history of the electric guitar to create a detailed view of the ways in which makers and musicians have tried—and in many cases succeeded—to move its design forward. This engaging new book will be required reading for anyone interested in the development of one of the most popular and revolutionary instruments ever created.’ — Tony Bacon, guitar historian and author

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Paul Atkinson is Professor of Design and Design History at Sheffield Hallam University. He is the writer of the BBC guitar documentary Cigar Box Blues: The Makers of a Revolution (2019).

Chapter One: Emergence
Chapter Two: The Holy Trinity
Chapter Three: Expansion
Chapter Four: Diversity
Chapter Five: Technology

Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements