The Invention of the Electric Guitar – Great Online Feature of the Lemelson Center

Electric guitars were first used during the 1930s, today an electric guitar can be found in almost every rock band.

A great online feature about the invention of the electric guitar can be found at the site of the Lemelson Center:

Sometimes, but typically it is a far more complex process. Amplifying the sound of a guitar by means of electricity, for example, involved many inventors and musicians working since the 1920s to develop, design, and popularize a louder instrument.

The electric guitar may be the most important and popular instrument of the last half-century in American music. Certainly its introduction brought a major change to American musical technology and has shaped the sound and direction of modern musical styles.

About the Lemelson Center

The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation was founded in 1995 at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History through a generous gift from the Lemelson Foundation.

The Lemelson Center’s mission:

  • To document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation
  • To encourage inventive creativity in young people
  • To foster an appreciation for the central role of invention and innovation in the history of the United States

In the archive of British Pathe you can find movies with some of the first electric guitars in the world. I have previously written about those videos (see below). For this post I have selected a movie about the making of an electric guitar in Great Britain in 1965:


History of the Guitar – Playlist

Additional information

More historical movies about electric guitars on the site of British Pathe:


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