An electric guitar is a guitar-shaped musical instrument, which functions like a normal guitar (with frets and strings), but which lacks a resonating cavity. As a result, if played without amplification, an electric guitar has a muted, tinny sound.
Electric guitars are fitted with devices called "pickups", which detect the vibration of the strings and turn it into a small electrical signal. This signal is then fed to an amplifier and a loudspeaker in order to provide sufficient acoustic volume. Since the amplifiers and speakers can be as large as desired, the instrument can be set up to play very loudly.
It is often the case that the signal is run through one or more processors before amplification, in order to alter its characteristics. These processors can range from simple distortion generators that simulate the sound of a small, over-driven amplifier/speaker setup, to phase shifters, "wah wah" pedals, compressors, and so on.
The typical sounds produced by electric guitar players are often associated with rock and roll music.
Popular video games today, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, simulate the electric guitar.