The solid body electric guitar. The solid body guitar originated from early, amplified acoustic guitars. These were simple acoustic instruments with pick-ups attached to them. Like so many innovations and changes in the history of the guitar, the solid body came about as a result of the quest for greater volume.
At the heart of the solid-body electric guitar is the magnetic pick-up.
It is this pick-up that responds directly to the vibrations of the strings and transforms this energy into electrical impulses which are then amplified and transmitted into a loudspeaker.
For this to happen efficiently, the pick-up should be positioned and fixed in a very stable position, and should not be disturbed by vibrations coming from the body of the guitar.
For example, it was discovered that when a pick-up was fitted to the sound-board on an acoustic guitar, two big problems arose. First, the pick-up moved as the sound-board vibrated. The second problem was, speaker “feedback”.
Speaker feedback is when a loud piercing sound travels from the pick-up into the speaker and resonates back to the pick-up.
With electric guitars the solution was found by increasing the mass of the guitar body so that it has the ability to receive and transmit vibrations without creating feedback. Guitar manufacturers have through many various experiments with prototype instruments discovered that electric guitars with a solid body made from a high density hardwood reduced the problems dramatically to a manageable level.
With the solid-body guitar, there is far more scope for designers to improve the models than there is for acoustic guitars design.
The reason for this is because an acoustic guitar has to be constructed with certain design parameters if it is to produce sufficient volume and an acceptable tone.
But with the solid body guitars once the pick-up is stable and the mounting for the necessary components cannot move from string vibrations, then what shape or form it takes is limited only by practicability and the designers imagination.
It is worth noting for anyone who is at present contemplating purchasing an electric solid body guitar to realize that the materials used particularly in the body has a very serious effect on the sound it makes when played.
It is also worth noting that there are inferior solid body guitars on the market, they are fine for learning on, but it would be wise to purchase a really good guitar once you have mastered the basic fingering of notes and chords.
My advice to you would be to bring someone with you who knows about guitars before you spend your hard earned money.