Sexy Rock Guitar: The Psychedelic Sound of the 60s and 70s

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking to add some sex appeal to your guitar playing? Then you need to check out the psychedelic sounds of the 60s and 70s! From Jimi Hendrix to Carlos Santana, these guitar legends made the world sit up and take notice with their unique style and blistering solos. So if you want to inject some serious attitude into your playing, then make sure to check out our sexy rock guitar blog!

The Psychedelic Sound

Rock guitar changed in the late 1960s with the advent of psychedelia. Psychedelic music expanded the possibilities of rock guitar and had a big influence on the development of rock guitar in the 1970s. In this article we’ll explore the history and impact of psychedelic rock guitar.

The Electric Guitar

In the late 1940s, the electric guitar began to replace the acoustic guitar as the primary instrument in rock and roll. With the help of amplifier feedback, guitarists were able to create new and wild sounds never before heard on records. This new sound was heavily influential in the development of psychedelic rock in the 1960s and 1970s.

The electric guitar allowed bands to create songs with a heavier sound than was possible with acoustic instruments. This new sound had a profound impact on the development of rock music, and it continues to be an integral part of the genre today.

The Birth of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psych rock or simply psyrock, is a musical genre that emerged in the mid-1960s. Characterized by distorted guitars, feedback, and mind-altering effects such as trip music and lightshows, psychedelic rock was at the forefront of the countercultural revolution that took place during the ‘60s.

The genre can be traced back to 1965, when American band The Electric Prunes released their debut album I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night). The record was heavily influenced by psychedelic drugs such as LSD and featured distorted guitars, echo effects, and extended jams. It is considered one of the first ever psychedelic rock albums.

The Prunes’ album was followed by a string of other groundbreaking records including The Beatles’ Revolver (1966), The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (1966), and Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). These albums established psychedelia as a viable musical genre and paved the way for subsequent artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and The Doors to find success with their own brand of psych rock.

Psychedelic rock continued to be popular throughout the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, with bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple incorporating elements of the style into their own music. However, by the mid-1970s, the genre had begun to decline in popularity as punk rock rose to prominence. Despite this decline, psychedelic rock has continued to influence subsequent generations of musicians and remains an important part of popular music history.

The Psychedelic Sound of the 60s and 70s

The Psychedelic Sound of the 60s and 70s was a term used to describe the unique and experimental sound of rock guitar during those decades. The sound was characterized by its use of feedback, distortion, extensive use of reverb and other effects, and often modal playing. Psychedelic rock music was often used as a vehicle for social change and drug exploration, and many of the most iconic bands of the era were known for their rebellious attitude and hedonistic lifestyle. ThePsychedelic Sound of the 60s and 70s was a term used to describe the unique and experimental sound of rock guitar during those decades. The sound was characterized by its use of feedback, distortion, extensive use of reverb and other effects, and often modal playing. Psychedelic rock music was often used as a vehicle for social change and drug exploration, and many of the most iconic bands of the era were known for their rebellious attitude and hedonistic lifestyle.

The Psychedelic Guitarists

Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Jimmy Page. These three men defined what it means to rock out on a guitar. They made the electric guitar sexy and brought a new level of blues-infused rock and roll to the masses. They were all psychedelic guitarists who changed the sound of music forever.

Jimi Hendrix

Though considered one of the most important and influential rock guitarists of all time, Jimi Hendrix’s career was relatively short-lived. He first burst onto the music scene with his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967 and released a string of groundbreaking and popular albums, including ‘Are You Experienced’, ‘Axis: Bold as Love’, and ‘Electric Ladyland’. His unique style of playing, which incorporated feedback, distortion, and other effects, was unlike anything that had been heard before and influenced a generation of guitarists. Hendrix tragically died at the age of 27 after overdosing on drugs, but his legacy continues to live on through his music.

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American musician who first became famous in the 1960s and 1970s with his band, Santana. He is a highly influential guitarist, and his style of playing fuses Afro-Cuban rhythms with rock, blues, and jazz. He is also known for his use of Latin percussion instruments such as timbales and congas.

Santana’s biggest hits include “Evil Ways”, “Black Magic Woman”, “Oye Como Va”, and “Smooth”. He has won 10 Grammy Awards, and he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century. A major figure in the development of blues rock and psychedelic rock, he has helped shape the sound of popular music for over five decades.

Born in Ripley, Surrey, Clapton began playing guitar at an early age. He joined his first band, the Roosters, in 1964. Two years later, he joined the Yardbirds, who would go on to become one of the most groundbreaking and influential groups of the 1960s. With his signature style of blues-infused rock guitar, Clapton helped propel the Yardbirds to success with hits like “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul.”

In 1966, Clapton left the Yardbirds to pursue a solo career. His debut album, Fresh Cream, was released later that year to critical and commercial acclaim. Over the next few years, Clapton continued to release innovative and successful albums such as Disraeli Gears (1967), Wheels of Fire (1968), and Slowhand (1977).

In 1986, Clapton founded a supergroup called The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan. The group released two albums before disbanding in 1990.

Throughout his illustrious career, Eric Clapton has won numerous awards and accolades, including 18 Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a solo artist and twice as a member of a group (The Yardbirds and Cream). In 2004, he was ranked #4 in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

The Psychedelic Bands

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the psychedelic sound was at its peak. With electric guitars wailing and feedback squealing, the psychedelic sound was created by bands like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Cream. This sound was the result of the marriage of rock and roll with the new, mind-altering drugs of the time.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways that led to ambitious and experimental endeavours. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication following their initial success with “Please Please Me”, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the counterculture of the 1960s.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London, England, in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bass guitar), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. The band’s primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became the group’s manager. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and has been on guitar ever since. Since Wyman’s departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as touring bassist. The Stones have not had an official keyboardist since 1963; however, they have employed several guest keyboardists for recording sessions and live performances.

The Rolling Stones were at the forefront of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the United States in 1964 and were identified with the youth rebellion of the 1960s. They were instrumental in making blues a major part of rock and roll,[8][9] and of changing the sound of electric blues. Their 1967 song “Paint It Black” became an international hit.[10] During this period they were first introduced on stage as “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”. From 1983 to 1987 Watts’ quiet lifestyle led to a rift between him and Jagger.[11][12] Following an acrimonious departure from Collins’ management company Blackhill Enterprises after 1971,[13] Jagger formed The Rolling Stones Music Company Ltd., under which their albums were now self-produced by Jagger with Richards as executive producer.[14][15] This new material was well received by critics[16][17] although it sold less than previous releases.[18][19] At this time Jon Astley was hired as engineer/co-producer under Richards’ direction; he would be promoted to co-producer for 1986’s Dirty Work once it became apparent that Jagger would not achieve his aim of completely self-producing their next album.[20][21]

Aftermath (UK version) (1966)
Between the Buttons (UK version) (1967)
Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)
Beggars Banquet (1968)
Let It Bleed (1969)

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bass player and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

The Psychedelic Era

The Psychedelic Era was a time when people were experimenting with mind-altering drugs and music. The music of the time was influenced by the drugs that were being taken. Rock guitarists were creating new sounds with their guitars that were unlike anything that had been heard before. This new sound was sexy, and it was the sound of the 60s and 70s.

The Summer of Love

1967 was a watershed year for music, fashion and culture, and is widely regarded as the peak of the psychedelic era. It was the Summer of Love, when young people converged on San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district to celebrate peace, love and music. The fashion was bold and colorful, the music was loud and intoxicating, and the atmosphere was one of unrestrained joy and experimentation.

The 60s were a time of social upheaval, and the music reflected that. Psychedelic rock pushed boundaries both musically and lyrically, exploringnew territoriesthat had never been explored before. The result was a sound that was both fresh and exciting, yet strangely familiar.

The Beatles were arguably the most influential band of the psychedelic era, and their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is often cited as the defining work of the genre. Other important bands of the era include The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd.

The psychedelic era came to an end in the early 70s as the hippie dream began to fade and social tensions started to boil over into violence. But the music lives on, and continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

The Woodstock Festival

In the summer of 1969, 400,000 people gathered at a farm in Bethel, New York for the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. The event, which featured 32 of the era’s most popular bands, was widely regarded as a defining moment of the 1960s. The Woodstock festival is widely credited with popularizing the psychedelic sound of the 60s and 70s.

The End of the Psychedelic Era

The psychedelic era is usually thought to have ended with the closures of the Haight-Ashbury drug scene in San Francisco and the Los Angeles music scene centered around Sunset Strip in late 1967. The Summer of Love was over, and many hippies left San Francisco and returned to their hometowns. Psychedelic bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane continued to perform live concerts, but their music no longer had the same appeal as it did during the peak of the psychedelic era.

The last vestiges of psychedelia were probably seen in early 1968 with the release of The Beatles’ double album The Beatles (better known as the “White Album”), which contained several psychedelic tracks. The Doors released their psychedelic masterpiece Waiting for the Sun later that year, but by thenpsychedelic music was already on its way out, supplanted by more hard-edged styles such as acid rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock.

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