Play It Loud

  • by Brad Tolinski, Alan di Perna, Carlos Santana - foreword
  • Narrated by Rob Shapiro
  • 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

By a pair of veteran music writers, an unprecedented history of the electric guitar, its explosive impact on music and culture, and the people who brought it to life.
For generations the electric guitar has been an international symbol of freedom, danger, rebellion, and hedonism. In Play It Loud, Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna bring the history of this iconic instrument to roaring life. It's a story of inventors and iconoclasts, of scam artists, prodigies, and mythologizers as varied and original as the instruments they spawned.
Play It Loud uses 12 landmark guitars - each of them artistic milestones in their own right - to illustrate the conflict and passion the instruments have inspired. It introduces Leo Fender, a man who couldn't play a note but whose innovations helped transform the 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 element in the fight for racial equality in the entertainment industry; a mirror to the rise of the teenager as social force; a linchpin of punk's sound and ethos. And today the guitar has come full circle, with contemporary titans such as Jack White of The White Stripes, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys bringing some of the earliest electric guitar forms back to the limelight.
Featuring interviews with Les Paul, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and dozens more players and creators, Play It Loud is the story of how a band of innovators transformed an idea into a revolution.

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What the Critics Say

"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)
"The authors... bring freshness to chestnuts through technical nuggets aplenty.... The electric guitar changed the world, and Tolinski and di Perna impressively reveal its epic story." (Kirkus Reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great history lesson for electric guitar enthusia!

Where does Play It Loud rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's definitely one of the best music oriented non-fiction books available.


Who was your favorite character and why?

All the people, guitars and events in the book were very interesting.


Which character – as performed by Rob Shapiro – was your favorite?

All equally good.


Any additional comments?

It would have been great if it also included audio clips of the guitars and music referenced in the book. For example, it would help to hear the difference between a single coil vs humbucking pickups, a Gibson Les Paul vs a Fender Strat, sample riffs, techniques, etc. I would buy an updated version of this audiobook if it included all the musical, audio examples described in the book.

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- c

Great book, well spoken but slow

If you are into guitars this is a good book.
Two things that would make this a great audiobook:
Faster voice (you can actually achieve this through the app by setting speed to 1.25)
Second, include sound bytes of the actual artist playing the guitar in mention.
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- Divemaster Julio

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-25-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio