Play It Loud | Penguin Random House Canada

Play It Loud

An Epic History of the Style, Sound, and Revolution of the Electric Guitar

Publisher: Anchor Canada
By the longtime editor-in-chief of Guitar World and a veteran rock journalist, an unprecedented history of the electric guitar, its explosive impact on music and culture, and the people who brought it to life.

Spanning a century and encompassing some of guitar's greatest architects and players, from Les Paul to Keith Richards to Eddie Van Halen, Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna bring the evolution of the guitar to roaring life. This is a story of inventors and iconoclasts, of scam artists, prodigies and mythologizers, as varied and original as the music they spawned.
     Play It Loud uses twelve landmark instruments, each of them a milestone in the progress of the electric guitar, to illustrate the chaos, conflict and passion it has inspired. It introduces Leo Fender, a man who couldn't play a note, but whose innovation helped transform the classical 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 part of Beatlemania and Woodstock; a mirror to the rise of the teenager as a social force; a linchpin of the punk movement's sound and ethos. And today the guitar has come full circle, with contemporary titans such as Jack White of The White Stripes and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys bringing some of those earliest electric guitar forms back to the limelight.
     For generations, the electric guitar has been an international symbol of freedom, danger and hedonism. Play It Loud is the story of how a band of innovators transformed a simple notion into a singular cultural force.


"Play It Loud is a dynamic history of the electric guitar, but more important, it's about the artists who painted the universal tones, colors, textures, and movements on the world canvas, through their fingertips, into a consciousness revolution to our hearts and minds. Brad and Alan get inside the note of the political and cultural significance of the guitar." —from the foreword by Carlos Santana, Grammy Award–winning artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee

"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

"Every guitar player will want to read this book twice. And even the casual music fan will find a thrilling narrative that weaves together cultural history, musical history, race, politics, business case studies, advertising and technological discovery." —Daniel Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music and A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

"Play It Loud is a fascinating, elegantly written, page-turning account of how a musical  weakness—the guitar's inherently low volume—led to the development of the instrument that transformed contemporary music and culture: the electric guitar. It's all here—the history, the science, the musicians and, of course, the stringed beauties and the sounds they helped create. An essential addition to any serious guitarist's library." —Jonathan Kellerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Murderer’s Daughter

"Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna's Play It Loud is a marvelous survey of how the electric guitar has rocked its way into the hearts and minds of millions of music lovers. This is a rich trove of unforgettable anecdotes and vignettes. Highly recommended!" —Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Rightful Heritage

"Every guitar player will want to read this book twice. And even the casual music fan will find a thrilling narrative that weaves together cultural history, musical history, race, politics, business case studies, advertising and technological discovery. It could serve just as easily as a text on entrepreneurship and corporate R&D in the 20th century as it could a weekend vacation read." —The Wall Street Journal 

"The electric guitar changed the world, and Tolinski and di Perna impressively reveal its epic story." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Providing a holistic overview packed with contextual insights, music journalists Tolinksi and di Perna skillfully pinpoint the watershed innovations and key musicians who turned a novelty into a mainstay of popular music. . . . An engaging introduction to a fun topic with broad appeal." —Library Journal, starred review

"The definitive book about the history and business of the electric guitar." —

"More than the story of an iconic instrument, Play It Loud is a cultural history, calling up the tastes, styles and fads, the economics and even the geopolitics of 90 years of music-making." —The Dallas Morning News