Here's an ode to a piece of gadgetry rarely covered on GuitarWorld.com, something that has brought a whole new world of sounds to guitarists' fingertips: the guitar synthesizer, aka the guitar synth. First of all, exactly what is a guitar synth? To quote Norm Leet, who wrote an authoratative feature on the topic for Roland's UK website, "a guitar synth is a synth module whose input device is a guitar instead of a keyboard."
Nineteen hundred and seventy-three is one of those rare years — like, say, 1968, 1969, 1971 and 1991 — that saw the release of an impressive assortment of seminal rock albums. As we wrote two years ago in our 1971 roundup, "Even for a year that falls squarely in the heart of the 'classic rock' era, it was a particularly classic year."
Luckily, musicians in search of quality signature gear — from guitars to amps to effects to pickups — don't have to worry about that nonsense. Generally, gear manufacturers work closely with their signature artists, in some cases, right down to the tiniest of details (Some artists repeatedly send back the prototypes until they're perfect).
Most guitarists at one point or another in their development have gone through some sort of “I want a custom guitar” phase. Whether it’s a funky paint job or a radical new shape, a custom ax presents the opportunity to express yourself. Or, in the opinion of some, the opportunity to say, “Hey, look at me, I’m a horse’s arse!”
Let's face it, bringing a 100-watt guitar amp to your average weekend bar gig is a lot like taking a Lamborghini to Shop Rite for Sunday-afternoon grocery shopping. You simply don't need all that power.
Whether you began on an electric or an acoustic guitar, there's no doubt the latter will eventually find its way into your hands at some point. The nature of the acoustic guitar's efficiency (no amp!) makes it a commonality among players, collectors and dorm-room guys looking to impress girls. Even the most devout shredder will be tempted to noodle on a dreadnought — particularly in front of the aforementioned girls.
Since the guitar's inception, there have undoubtedly been talented players that could make the instrument sing, but it wasn't until the mid '60s and the arrival of the wah pedal that one could make it cry.