The complete story of how we came to have loud, fuzzy, distorted guitars

The complete story of how we came to have loud, fuzzy, distorted guitars
It fired up fine, but there was something wrong with the circuitry or perhaps the speaker cone. But it did sound kinda cool. In 1951, Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm were heading up to Sun Studios in Memphis to do some recording when their amplifier fell off the roof of their station wagon. Winding wires around magnets turned into pickups, which then sent pure, clear tones to an amplifier. And there were also some happy accidents. [This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca – AC]
When Les Paul and Leo Fender introduced their electric guitars in the early 1950s, they were looking for a way to compete with louder instruments like horns, drums, and even the piano. Others weren’t so sure this was the best use of electricity. They retrieved it from the side of the road and hoped it still worked when they reached the studio. Bluesmen like Elmore James, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters also experimented with getting fatter sounds off their guitars through the 1950s. Junior Barnard, a Western-swing player, tried to dirty up his guitar sound as early as 1945 by messing with his pickups and amplifiers in ways that surely voided any warranty. In 1954, this was considered the ideal sound for the electric guitar: a louder version of a steel-stringed acoustic. No longer did it deliver a pure sound from the guitar. Keep reading.