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Explore the tools used to create your favorite styles of music in zZounds' gear guides

Do You Know Your Music History?

Dig deep into your favorite styles with our gear guides

From blues and jazz, to classic rock and metal, to reggae, hip-hop, and beyond, zZounds traces the history of our favorite genres through the instruments used to create them. Read on to learn more about the history of the musical styles you love!

Folk History: Tradition and Authenticity in Music

History of Folk Music
From England's rolling hills to America's majestic mountains, no music spans space and time quite like folk. What started out as an oral tradition in both nations was transformed by the influence of acoustic guitars and other folk instruments, resulting in a varied style which keeps evolving to this day.

Blues History: Get Your Mojo Workin'

History of Blues Music
With its long and storied history encompassing many different styles and performers, the story of the blues is the story of America. The blues' distinctive sound and feel has been shaped by the instruments themselves -- from the steel-string acoustics of folk blues, to the wailing harps and screaming tube amps of heavy blues. These authentic instruments, amps, and effects will give you the tone and the sound you need to play the blues like a professional.

Jazz History: Deep Grooves, and the Tools that Made Them

History of Jazz Music
Never the kind of music to stand still, jazz has morphed countless times in its 100-plus-year history. Along the way, its reputation has changed from tawdry brothel music to dance sensation to complex, cerebral art. Jazz artists are always incorporating new instruments and equipment, giving each era its own vocabulary. Whether it's a puffy-cheeked trumpet player or a DJ sweating over a laptop, jazz artists always bring soul to their instruments -- get a closer look at the tools of the trade in our guide!

Classic Rock History: More Than a Feeling

History of Classic Rock Music
From timeless rock radio staples to the neo-classic hits of more recent times, what we consider classic rock has been shaped by taste-making radio DJs who had the luxury of hand-picking any songs they thought could be hits, no matter the style, without the genre-constraining limitations of today's radio stations. Grow your hair out long, throw on some dusty old vinyl from your parents' record collection, and check out our history of classic rock!

Reggae History: The Sound of Jamaica

History of Reggae Music
Fusing the percussive Caribbean rhythms of calypso and soca with the off-beat tempos and soulful vocals of American R&B bands, reggae's blend of multiple styles creates a singular sonic signature that is the sound of Jamaica. Between laid-back-yet-powerful rhythms and soaring, gospel-influenced vocals, you'll hear any number of electric and acoustic instruments weaving together. Follow our guide to find the instruments that create reggae's many moods.

Prog Rock History: A Heaviness Complex

History of Progressive Rock Music
Blending musical virtuosity, technical knowledge, and extreme musical intellect, progressive rock is a touchstone for musicians who value big dreams and extreme musical achievement. To play prog rock requires much experience as a listener and as a player, but an open mind, quality gear, and knowledge of the style will go a long way. Check out this history of prog rock -- and some of the most essential gear for creating it -- and you'll be on your way to playing in this classic rock style.

Metal History: From Heavy, to Heavier, to Heaviest

History of Metal Music
Once feared by parents and politicians alike, Metal has become a respected art form as well as a multi-million-dollar industry -- with thousands of bands playing hundreds of styles around the world. With metal's continuing influence on popular music, there's little chance the world's love of punishing riffs, gruff vocals, and pummeling drums will go away any time soon. Pick up these guitars and amplifiers to start your journey to the depths of sonic brutality!

Indie Rock History: Sound Alternative

Gear of Indie Rock
Indie rock's roots reach back to punk's do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit, with early indie bands shunning mainstream labels in favor of handling booking, touring, and recording on their own. The modest means of most indie artists led them to abandoned old gear at pawn shops for bargain-basement prices. Ironically, those instruments are now considered iconic and demand top dollar. Luckily for those who weren't around in the '80s and early '90s to snatch up cheap old guitars, many manufacturers have reissued their older designs -- without the vintage price tag. So pick up a new version of an old guitar, get creative, and discover your own alternative sound.

Hip-Hop History: How Technology Shaped an Entire Movement

History of Hip-Hop Music
From its inception -- be it with spoken-word poets preaching against injustice, Jamaican ex-pats sowing the seeds of rap by "toasting" during instrumental breaks in DJ sets, or producers taking go-go, funk, and disco tracks to 12-inch lengths -- the hip-hop genre has been built on hard work, dedication and a need to create change. Follow our buying guide to find our favorite tools of the trade for sampling, beat production, and DJing.