In 1933, Loyd Loar took guitar fabrication to a new level with his amplified Vivitone instruments. Around the 1930s, there was a growing need for louder guitars as big band music with rhythm guitars was becoming more popular and audiences were growing. Master musician and a luthier at Gibson-Mandolin Guitar Company, Loyd Loar, decided around this time to leave Gibson and pursue his ideas with the establishment of his own company, Vivitone. His Vivitone acoustic-electric was the first electric guitar crafted, and it, as well as his other instruments, were amplified by his own coil wound pickups; however, while recognized now as one of the great luthiers, alongside the creator of the Stradivarius, the marketplace at that time was not yet ready for his designs. It wouldn’t be until the late 1930s and early 1940s that interest in the electric guitar would begin to take off with the help of guitarists like Charlie Christian. In the early 1930s the Banjo-Era was still in full swing, along with the sound of Hawaiian guitars. In 1931, it was George Beauchamp who created the first electric-consumer guitar known as “the frying pan,” which was manufactured and sold by Rickenbacker Co. Unlike Loar’s acoustic-electric guitar, Beauchamp’s was a solid body with an electromagnetic pickup and was accepted by the market because of its Hawaiian sound.

Around that same time, a man by the name of Les Paul was experimenting with pickups, and in 1937 he made his first solid-body electric guitar. Satisfied with his invention, he took to the factories to create what was called “the Log.” It was composed of a neck attached to a solid rectangle of timber with two pickups mounted on the solid wood. As a finishing touch, Paul added two hollow wings of a guitar body to the sides of the timber for comfortable playing. Then he pitched his twin-pickup design to Gibson, but they were only interested in acoustic-electric guitars at the time, but come 1952 they would produce a solid body guitar with the help of Les Paul and name it after him. But it was still the 1940s and Les Paul had a shared interest in the solid-body electric guitar with two others, Paul Bigsby and Leo Fender.

In 1946, Leo Fender started the Fender Electrical Instrument Company. (Previously he was making PA systems and instruments for his business, Fender’s Repair Service.) One year later, Paul Bigsby made a solid-body, single-pickup guitar for Merle Travis, and in 1948, Leo Fender started marketing the “Broadcaster.” The “Broadcaster” was a modern solid-body two-pickup electric guitar, which Fender later named the “Telecaster.”

As the 1940s approached its end and with the 1950s just around the corner, the electric guitar gained significant interest among the people. 1952 arrived, and Gibson started marketing solid body guitars with Les Paul. Then came 1953. Fender produced the 3-pickup solid-body Stratocaster, and one year later the humbucking pickup came out.

Innovation for the electric guitar was moving ever more rapidly, but not so much in guitar manufacturing. Distortion and sound-altering became the new focus of the era as Rock and Roll was on the rise.

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