Book Review: The Birth of Loud

This book chronicles the birth of the solid-body electric guitar in great detail, working through the intertwined lives and connections between the main actors that led to the birth of guitar classics such as the Gibson Les Paul and SG models as well as Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster.

The research that went into the book was enormous, which is aptly demonstrated by filling a good 1/3 of the content with references. I red this on Kindle, so I don‘t know if the last third of the book was possibly printed in small print, but on the Kindle, I was a bit irritated by finding the book end at 60%.

While I’m griping: it turned out that the book did include photographs, but these were kept to a section at the back of the book. I don‘t know why the publisher chose to do it this way - possibly to save on production costs by putting all the full-color pages together. It is really too bad, as a number of them would have been great to reference while reading the text (such as the photo of a guitar built by Paul Bigsby).

Also, while the book goes into extreme detail about the ideas behind models like the Telecaster and Stratocaster, other Fender models like the Jazzmaster or the Duo-Sonic seem to just pop into existence - it would have been nice to dedicate at least a little text passage to their design path, even if they - to this day - are in another popularity universe compared to the Tele or Strat.

Other than that, the book is an absolute must-read for anyone that is a guitar buff or interested in the history of the solid-body electric guitar. It was very well written, a real can‘t-put-this-down.

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