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Electric Guitars And Muscle Cars

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By Dave Ashton

There has always been this inextricable link between muscle cars and electric guitars. Maybe the links comes from them both hitting their popularity around the same time perods, but there are many parallels between electric guitars, the music they make and muscle cars.

This was all brought front of mind again for me when I recently received an email from Fender guitars advertising their latest guitar and amp package named the ‘Mustang GT’ with one of the packages called the ‘GT 40.’ Hmmmm, those words sounds familiar. Ok, the Mustang’s a pony car, but we are doing a bit of lumping in here category-wise.

We wrote about this in the past. ZZ Top Rides: Dirty Guitars And Hot Rods probably one of the most famous bands to associate cars and guitars. We also wrote about how guitars of the 60’s used the same paint as cars of the times. Look at any vintage Fender guitar from the 60’s and it reflects those popular car paint colors. This fashion carries on today with many car shows and custom vehicles showing off both cars and guitars together. Just check out the new Ibanez Joe Satriani JS2480 in ‘muscle car red or muscle car orange.’ G&L guitars released a line of instruments in vintage muscle car colors back in 2015 – Sublime Green, Go Mango, Plum Crazy and Panther Pink, straight from the Mopar catalogue. It’s one of the reasons why both sit so well visually together. Cars and guitars follow the same lines and colors, they almost changed together with the times and fashion.

Rock ‘n’ roll started to get very loud and brash in the 60’s just as muscle cars started to get ridiculous displacement and loud as thunder. By 1970 the arguable height of muscle cars, Jimi Hendrix had laid down his body of work, along with displaying a huge variety of Fender guitars to the world. Fender guitars arguably led the way with the Stratocaster started in 1954 with many early guitar catalogue showing teenagers with guitars next to the likes of a Thunderbird convertible, straight into the hot rod/car culture of the time.


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Many other rock ‘n’ roll acts became the soundtracks of many a muscle car and the main weapon of choice on the songs was the electric guitar. Led Zepplin arguably produced their finest works in the classic muscle car era. By 1970 GM had the huge 454ci. V8 and Mopars had the 426ci. Hemi. Ford the FE 428ci. V8. Just like vintage guitars, these engines are still revered today. The sound and look of cars, guitars and rock and roll became inextricably linked.

Electric guitars can even mimic the sound of a muscle car revving up. Use heaps of distortion, dip that whammy bar, then and bring it slowly back up. It’s a trick used many a time by guitarists for decades.

Watch any muscle car video and it generally has a distorted, electric guitar soundtrack of some kind. The high-energy response fits so well together, the music, the instruments and the cars. Doing a quick search online for ‘muscle cars and guitars’ there are simpler loads of images of both standing together, which makes me think this could be a great addition to every cars and coffee event. Display your guitars, along with your cars.

If you check out Walt Grace vintage car museum, they have an equal amount of vintage electric guitars and cars on display . This article from guitar player magazine links up guitars and hot rods displayed very nicely.

The build and ongoing influence of both will have close ties forevermore. Cars and guitars just simply go together like cheese and onion or any other de-facto culinary combo. They are both functional works of art and have grown up with popular culture, being symbols of freedom and equality. Loud, brash and in your face, both have the ability to make you feel like you’re in your prime years, whatever your age. So, if you own one, try and get the other, it’s a match made in heaven.

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