The 50 greatest moments in electric guitar history

Jimmy Page onstage with Led Zeppelin in 1971, bow in hand, blowing people's minds.
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

An acoustic guitar is a wonderful thing. It’s expressive, it makes a beautiful noise and it’s portable. You can take it anywhere and it will work just fine, from a New York City subway station to the top of Whiskey Dick Mountain in Washington. Its only drawback is it’s a little quiet. One-on-one, a piano, a trumpet or tuba will kick its mellow ass. 

As early as 1890, guitarists knew they needed amplification if they were going to be heard. And they were right. Once the instrument found its way to a wall socket, the guitar became an unstoppable force powering the music of Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and… Cannibal Corpse! 

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Brad Tolinski

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Brad was the editor of Guitar World from 1990 to 2015. Since his departure he has authored Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page and Play it Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound & Revolution of the Electric Guitar, which was the inspiration for the Play It Loud exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2019.