By a pair of veteran music writers, an unprecedented history of the electric guitar, its explosive impact on music and culture, and the people who brought it to life
BRAD TOLINSKI was the editor-in-chief of Guitar World, the
world's bestselling magazine for musicians, for twenty-five years.
He is the author of Light & Shade- Conversations with Jimmy
ALAN DI PERNA is a longtime contributor to Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado and has written for Rolling Stone, Creem, Billboard, Guitar Player, and other leading music publications. He is the author of Guitar Masters- Intimate Portraits.
"Every guitar player will want to read this book twice. And even
the casual music fan will find a thrilling narrative that weaves
together cultural history, musical history, race, politics,
business case studies, advertising and technological discovery. It
could serve just as easily as a text on entrepreneurship and
corporate R&D in the 20th century as it could a weekend
--Daniel Levitin, Wall Street Journal
"A lively and fascinating history....You're going to want
to keep your tablet or phone nearby as you read it, because you'll
be absolutely compelled to find and listen to the signature songs
and riffs referenced throughout the volume. The authors do a great
job of introducing just enough technical information to make their
points, while keeping explanations clear enough so that those of a
nontechnical bent--like this reviewer--can follow them. Tolinski
and Di Perna have produced a book that lives up to the urgent,
innovative, all-encompassing spirit of its subject."
--Minneapolis Star-Tribune "More than the story of an iconic instrument, Play It Loud is a cultural history, calling up the tastes, styles and fads, the economics and even the geopolitics of 90 years of music-making."
--Dallas Morning News "A brief tour of rock history, led by the instrument most associated with that screaming, swaggering genre....Getting to know the instruments behind the music you love is a worthwhile endeavor. Better still is getting to know the people behind those instruments, and Play It Louddoes a good job of cracking the legend of Les Paul to reveal the mad scientists, itinerant tinkerers and passionate musicians behind the development and evolution of the electric guitar."
--Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star "Fast, fun and informative, this book delivers lots of quick bits on your favorite hits--just like a good 45 used to."
--Houston Press "The electric guitar--from the Resonator of the 1920s and Charlie Christian's jazz playing in the 1930s, through Les Paul and the heyday of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page--unfolds in the pages of Play It Loud. The book... tells its story through both technical developments and the inventors and musicians who made it all happen."
--Salon "The definitive book about the history and business of the electric guitar."
--Forbes.com "The authors... bring freshness to chestnuts through technical nuggets aplenty.... The electric guitar changed the world, and Tolinski and di Perna impressively reveal its epic story."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Providing a holistic overview packed with contextual insights, music journalists Tolinksi and di Perna skillfully pinpoint the watershed innovations and key musicians who turned a novelty into a mainstay of popular music...An engaging introduction to a fun topic with broad appeal."
--Library Journal (starred review) "A comprehensive history of the electric guitar, tracing its roots in George Beauchamp's experiments in search of a way to amplify a guitar's vibrations... The authors engagingly explore the importance of amplifiers on artists' sounds, particularly the Vox amps used by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix's manipulation of feedback."
--Publisher's Weekly "Play it Loud is a dynamic history of the electric guitar, but more important, it's about the artists who painted the universal tones, colors, textures, and movements on the world canvas, through their fingertips, into a consciousness revolution to our hearts and minds. Brad and Alan get inside the note of the political and cultural significance of the guitar."
--from the foreword by Carlos Santana, Grammy Award-winning artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee "Play It Loud is a fascinating, elegantly written, page-turning account of how a musical weakness--the guitar's inherently low volume--led to the development of the instrument that transformed contemporary music and culture: the electric guitar. It's all here--the history, the science, the musicians, and of course, the stringed beauties and the sounds they helped create. An essential addition to any serious guitarist's library."
--Jonathan Kellerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Murderer's Daughter "It's all here: everything knowable now becomes known about the plugged-in ax that changed the world. A comprehensive history of the electric guitar in cultural context is something long wanted, awaited and needed. At long last, it has arrived."
--Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top guitarist/vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductee "Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna's Play It Loud is a marvelous survey of how the electric guitar has rocked its way into the hearts and minds of millions of music lovers. This is a rich trove of unforgettable anecdotes and vignettes. Highly recommended!"
--Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Rightful Heritage