1948 Bigsby solid body electric guitar

Who was Paul Bigsby? Who was Les Paul? Who was Leo Fender?

Paul Bigsby was an American inventor who was a pioneer of the solid body electric guitar. He built such a guitar for singer, songwriter and guitarist Merle Travis in 1948. This instrument made brand new guitar sounds, with more volume, and with no electronic feedback. Later, Bigsby designed and built, and then mass-produced, the Bigsby Vibrato Guitar Tailpiece, which was installed and featured on many different electric guitar brands and models.

Les Paul log solid body electric guitar

Les Paul was an American guitarist, guitar builder, inventor, and also a pioneer of the solid body electric guitar. He taught himself how to play the guitar, and created many innovative electric sound effects for use in live performance and in the recording studio.

Early Fender Lap Steel

Leo Fender was an American inventor, musical instrument builder, and electric guitar and amplifier manufacturer who was also a pioneer of the electric solid body lap steel and six string guitar. What Henry Ford was to the automobile, Leo Fender was to electric solid body guitars and amplifiers. Fender founded the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Co. the electric guitars, electric bass guitars, and guitar amplifiers he mass-produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s are still widely used today. The Fender Telecaster, the grandchild of the Fender Esquire, Broadcaster and Nocaster, was the first mass-produced solid body electric guitar.

Fender Broadcaster guitar and Amp

In 1951, Fender introduced the Fender Precision Electric Bass, followed by the Fender Stratocaster Electric guitar in 1954, and the Fender Jazz Electric Bass a few years later. His mass-produced Fender Bassman amplifier was the direct ancestor of the later guitar amplifiers that dominated Rock & Roll Music.

It is interesting that all three of these men not only knew one another, they were fast friends who shared a love for experimenting and building electric sound machines. They got together and hung out often at Les Paul’s home workshop where they designed and tinkered with getting new sound effects from their guitars and amps such as echo, tremolo and reverb.

In the next few emails we will get to hear some of those brand new guitar sounds of the early 1950s.

Rock on!


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