What was the first guitar designed for rock?

Jack Clayton

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Just thinking about this today, and I realized I don't know.

Famously, Leo Fender designed almost everything with the goal of cleaner tone for country and jazz players. The Les Paul was supposed to be for jazz. The Beatles played Gretsches and Casinos. Almost all of the instruments we consider to be iconic rock emblems weren't originally meant to be.

I know eventually everybody was making shredder axes in the 80s, but I actually have no idea what the first guitar was that was designed from the ground up with rock and roll in mind.

Anyone know?
 

oldunc

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As a corollary question, what are the qualities that would make a guitar a rock guitar? Not sure if there's an answer- for me, rock more or less ended with the Beatles, but the needs- or at least the usual qualities- for a rockabilly guitar seem very different from those for a metal guitar- andd so forth.
 

Peegoo

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You can play rock and roll on a 'rockabilly' guitar because guitars are not designed to be pigeonholed into a single musical genre. That would be like describing a Telecaster as, "only good for country music." Somebody get Mike Stern, Ted Green and Jim Campilongo on the phone.

Certain styles of guitar are often heavily associated with specific styles of music not because of functionality and tone, but of fashion. Many people break those fashion rules because they understand rules are made to be broken. Billy Duffy of The Cult is one example: he plays heavy rock on Gretsch White Falcons.
 

Fiesta Red

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You can play rock and roll on a 'rockabilly' guitar because guitars are not designed to be pigeonholed into a single musical genre. That would be like describing a Telecaster as, "only good for country music." Somebody get Mike Stern, Ted Green and Jim Campilongo on the phone.

Certain styles of guitar are often heavily associated with specific styles of music not because of functionality and tone, but of fashion. Many people break those fashion rules because they understand rules are made to be broken. Billy Duffy of The Cult is one example: he plays heavy rock on Gretsch White Falcons.
^What he said.
 

Jack Clayton

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As a corollary question, what are the qualities that would make a guitar a rock guitar? Not sure if there's an answer- for me, rock more or less ended with the Beatles, but the needs- or at least the usual qualities- for a rockabilly guitar seem very different from those for a metal guitar- andd so forth.
I honestly don't know. I think most people consider the Les Paul, the Tele and the Strat, all to be rock guitars. But they weren't rock guitars by the intent of the designers, and that's kinda the source of my curiosity.
 

oldunc

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Sure, you can play any music on any guitar- heck fire, people play metal on ukuleles. But the OP is positing a specifically rock guitar, it would be interesting to hear what people would put into a "rock guitar" design; I would suppose that answers would vary considerably.
 

SomeGuyNamedRob

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Just thinking about this today, and I realized I don't know.

Famously, Leo Fender designed almost everything with the goal of cleaner tone for country and jazz players. The Les Paul was supposed to be for jazz. The Beatles played Gretsches and Casinos. Almost all of the instruments we consider to be iconic rock emblems weren't originally meant to be.

I know eventually everybody was making shredder axes in the 80s, but I actually have no idea what the first guitar was that was designed from the ground up with rock and roll in mind.

Anyone know?

My best guess would be the Explorer or Flying V. Impossible to say without some type of historical record or interview with a designer/company exec confirming.
 

Cosmic Cowboy

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The Tele.

Rock came from country and blues. At the time, they called it rockabilly.

The players used Teles primarily. As time went on, some players found their tone using humbucking hollowbody jazzboxes plugged into Tweed twins and got an even raunchier tone.

But do to feedback issues, the guys that were really peeling the paint with their tone were largely playing teles.
 

David Barnett

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i don't know, but the closest it seems would be the SG. even that didn't happen quickly. but rock existed when the SG was invented and it came very much to be a "rock guitar".

Even the SGs were originally Les Paul models:

l.jpg


Not much rock 'n roll goin' on there.
 

stxrus

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From an ergonomic point I’d say the SG. It was a breakaway from the Les Paul due to sagging sales. Les hated them and the SG (Superior Guitar-my nomenclature) came into being and screamed, “Let’s Rock!!!!!”

Never let the truth or facts get in the way of a good story
 

Old Plank

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I like the Flying V/Explorer answer best so far ... but what about Rics? Were models like the 330 originally designed for anything other than RnR?
 

Burlington Dave

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Just thinking about this today, and I realized I don't know.

Famously, Leo Fender designed almost everything with the goal of cleaner tone for country and jazz players. The Les Paul was supposed to be for jazz. The Beatles played Gretsches and Casinos. Almost all of the instruments we consider to be iconic rock emblems weren't originally meant to be.

I know eventually everybody was making shredder axes in the 80s, but I actually have no idea what the first guitar was that was designed from the ground up with rock and roll in mind.

Anyone know?

My uneducated guess would be the Stratocaster
 




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