How the Electric Guitar was Born

By: Vincent Roarden

The history of the electric guitar goes back to the 1930s and has ever since changed the way music is played and sounds.

It was during 1930s that the first electric guitar was fashioned. From then on, it has drastically affected the course of the music of 20th Century. The electric guitar was at first brought down by critics, but the ability to play it with more inventiveness and personality won the hearts of the music community.

The rise of the electric guitar coincided with the increase in jazz orchestras. It was originally produced and designed by a collection of electronic aficionados, instrument producers and guitar manufacturers.

The first electric guitar was designed by Les Paul, who experimented with microphones attached to guitars. The very first time that such a guitar was played in public was in Wichita, Kansas by Gage Brewer.

The two instruments that Brewer used were from George Beauchamp in Los Angeles. Brewer continued to advertise the guitars, writing an article about them in Wichita Beacon and using the at another performance in October. But it was not until another five years that the electric guitar was to be recorded for the very first time.

George Barnes was the first to record two songs on a electric guitar in 1938. The songs were called Sweetheart Land and It's Low-Down Dirty Shame. Eddie Durham is often credited with the first recording, but his was 15 days later.

In 1931, Paul Barth, Adolph Rickenbacker, and George Beauchamp established the company that developed the first electric guitars which became available to the general public.

The guitars that this company was produced were affectionately called "Frying Pans". They were made from cast aluminum and were rested on a person's lap when played with a steel slide. They actually sounded quite modern according to today's guitarists who have been able to play vintage versions of the guitar.

The first commercially successfully guitar was made by a radio repairman named Leo Fender. As a solid-bodied guitar it was different from the hollow Jazz-style guitars that had been made previously. Called the "Esquire" it quickly became a favorite of Californian country and western guitarists.

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