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The Electric Guitar – Marketplace Icon
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Marketing.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5447-3661
2015 (English)In: Consumption, markets & culture, ISSN 1025-3866, E-ISSN 1477-223X, Vol. 18, no 5, 402-410 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The electric guitar is an ubiquitous part of contemporary consumer culture. In thisMarketplace Icons contribution, we illuminate the iconicity of the electric guitar and what lies behind its thick layers of distorted riffs, mad soloing escapades and eccentric onstage performances, specifically within the rock genre. The genesis of electric guitar playing involves a series of technological alterations of the guitar that freed it from a mere background instrument allowing for new musical roles. It quickly became apparent that all the technical solutions designed to get rid of what was defined as unwanted noise could be turned “against” the clean tone and instead be used to create a unique sound. The control of these noise elements, such as feedback and distortion, became a core element of mastering the modern electric guitar. Rather than just being a marketplace icon, we argue that the electric guitar is fetishized because both its audio quality – the loudness and the potential roughness of the sound – and its visual looks and onstage performances symbolizes youthful rebellion, the essence of rock and roll.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 18, no 5, 402-410 p.
Keyword [en]
marketplace icon, guitar, music, fetish, pop culture
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119621DOI: 10.1080/10253866.2015.1046255ISI: 000359856300002OAI: diva2:847056
Available from: 2015-08-19 Created: 2015-08-19 Last updated: 2015-09-14Bibliographically approved

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