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Publisher's Summary

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.

For generations the electric guitar has been an international symbol of freedom, danger, rebellion, and hedonism. In Play It Loud, Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna bring the history of this iconic instrument to roaring life. It's a story of inventors and iconoclasts, of scam artists, prodigies, and mythologizers as varied and original as the instruments they spawned.

Play It Loud uses 12 landmark guitars - each of them artistic milestones in their own right - to illustrate the conflict and passion the instruments have inspired. It introduces Leo Fender, a man who couldn't play a note but whose innovations helped transform the guitar into the explosive sound machine it is today. Some of the most significant social movements of the 20th century are indebted to the guitar: It was an essential element in the fight for racial equality in the entertainment industry; a mirror to the rise of the teenager as social force; a linchpin of punk's sound and ethos. And today the guitar has come full circle, with contemporary titans such as Jack White of The White Stripes, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys bringing some of the earliest electric guitar forms back to the limelight.

Featuring interviews with Les Paul, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and dozens more players and creators, Play It Loud is the story of how a band of innovators transformed an idea into a revolution.

©2016 Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)
"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)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • c
  • 27-12-2016

Great history lesson for electric guitar enthusia!

Where does Play It Loud rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's definitely one of the best music oriented non-fiction books available.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All the people, guitars and events in the book were very interesting.

Which character – as performed by Rob Shapiro – was your favorite?

All equally good.

Any additional comments?

It would have been great if it also included audio clips of the guitars and music referenced in the book. For example, it would help to hear the difference between a single coil vs humbucking pickups, a Gibson Les Paul vs a Fender Strat, sample riffs, techniques, etc. I would buy an updated version of this audiobook if it included all the musical, audio examples described in the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Don
  • 20-10-2017

Over The Top Good!

A well researched account of the history of the guitar from both the musicians and craftsman perspectives. I’m on my second read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Divemaster Julio
  • 31-03-2017

Great book, well spoken but slow

If you are into guitars this is a good book.
Two things that would make this a great audiobook:
Faster voice (you can actually achieve this through the app by setting speed to 1.25)
Second, include sound bytes of the actual artist playing the guitar in mention.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aztex
  • 19-04-2018

Excellent Power Chords in Every Key!

Almost perfect book that sheds light on almost every facet of electric guitars!

If you play electric guitar, if you have an interest in music history, if you like stories of self made geniuses GET THIS BOOK NOW!

Funny because I have been buying some semi vintage guitars recently and now discover the sellers were quoting THIS book to impress me with their knowledge!

My only gripes would be is it doesn't go into concert sound and contributions of Owsley Stanley. Should have been at least a page or two.

Also could have been a bit about the evolution of effects pedals etc... and the extremes say David Gilmour have taken tone.

It opted for a more rounded approach incorporating some modern players take with is 100% legit! I'd remove nothing but only add those components to flesh it out a bit more!

Over all one of the best listens (I have well lover 100 audio books and rank this top 5!) and I'm starting it all over again right now!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew T Linville
  • 14-09-2018

great book

the narrarater did a great job. the facts n history of guitars were on point. this book is very informative on guitar and music genre births.

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  • R. parry
  • 04-05-2018

not bad<br />

kinda meandered but gave me some new perspective on some important guitarists and some guitars.

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  • Brucec
  • 07-04-2018

A must listen

This has been probably my most enjoyed listen on audible. If you are a musician or would like to be one or have any interest in rock music and/or guitars - I would highly recommend.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SHAWN
  • 17-03-2018

Excellent History Lesson...

If you are a die hard guitar nerd, a player, or have a passing interest in the instrument, you might find this book quite enjoyable..

I own quite a few of the brands and models mentioned in this book, and as another reviewer mentioned, it is honestly very cool to now know some of the true history behind the instrument when I pick it up and play it. Almost gives you a closer relationship with the instrument in a way.. To know its roots, inception and its path before this particular instrument ended up in my hands or hanging on my wall..

Enjoyed this one immensely...

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  • Barry Guitar
  • 07-12-2017

Great overview

Well-done and comprehensive overview with some new details. Nice job of research and presentation.

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  • Dr. Ron
  • 31-10-2017

Great Book and Audible Performance

This is the definitive history of the electric guitar. Wonderfully written and read. The true gold standard in documenting music history.

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  • LJLC
  • 12-02-2017

Keep up with the rest.....

What did you like best about this story?

This book allows you to tell the overblown "rock star" in your band, that he's wrong. It's an education, and well worth hearing.

What about Rob Shapiro’s performance did you like?

I wasnt bored.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Too much to memorise!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful