First ever production solid bodied guitar?

Posted by Geoff on Mon, 06/25/01 - 21:30:56.

Can you please tell me the 1st ever production solid bodied guitar. I know fender claim the position but Im positive there was something else prior to that in 1946?? Was there a Les Paul solid bodied guitar produced before fenders. Was there any ohter brand involved??



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Re: First ever production solid bodied guitar?

: Can you please tell me the 1st ever production solid bodied guitar. I know fender claim the position but Im positive there was something else prior to that in 1946?? Was there a Les Paul solid bodied guitar produced before fenders. Was there any ohter brand involved??

Re: First ever production solid bodied guitar?

It was a les paul, the tele was one of the first, but not the first.

Re: First ever production solid bodied guitar?

The first PRODUCTION solid body guitar was the Fender Broadcaster. The Broadcaster's name was changed to Telecaster because at the time Gretsch made a guitar called the Broadkaster, and it was almost a copyright infringement or something.

However, well prior to that Rickenbacker was making solid body lap steel guitars (sometimes called the Frying Pan model because of the shape), I think they were introduced around 1946 or so. The Broadcaster/Telecaster came out I think in '50 or '51.

The Gibson Les Paul was introduced in 1952 to compete with Fender. The Les Paul Guitar itself was partially an outgrowth of an experiment that Les Paul the player had put together...he'd made a crude solid body guitar (called "The Log") some time in the '40s, and had in fact tried to interest Gibson and several other makers into producing something like it, but they all passed on the idea.

Additionally, in the late '40s, Paul Bigsby made a few solid body guitars for people, including Merle Travis. I have video of Merle playing a solid body Bigsby guitar that was originally filmed in the '40s. It's interesting to note that Paul Bigsby lived and worked in Southern California, and was a contemporary of Leo Fender (in fact I think they knew each other). The Bigsby guitar that Merle Travis played also had a Six on a side peghead that is remarkably close to what Fender later made. It's probable that Leo Fender saw some of Paul Bigsby's designs/guitars, and I know that Bigsby didn't want to get into the guitar making business full time, and therefore Leo borrowed Paul's idea, changed it around some, and started making solid body electrics on his own.

In essence, the solid body had several designers, some of whom knew or were aware at least of each other. As I first stated though, the first production solid body guitar (six string, and not a lap steel) was the Fender Broadcaster, renamed the Telecaster.

: It was a les paul, the tele was one of the first, but not the first.

Re: First ever production solid bodied guitar?

Leo Fender was doing sound for the Cliffie Stone Home Town Jamboree when he saw Merle Travis playing the
Bigsby Guitar. Paul Bigsby custom made Merle Travis the guitar after he drew th guitar for Paul on a napkin.

The Bisgby Guitar was really something special because
it is the first guitar that started the revolution and changed the face of music.

Not to discredit the Frying Pan which had the first pickup .........the Bigsby Guitar was really way ahead of everyone.

It is often referred to as a solid-body however it is a heel-less neck-thru body design and is semi-hollow not solid........throughout the years many people have assumed it is solid. Far from the fact! It is actually quite hollow. I have had the opportunity to x-ray the 2nd 1948 Bigsby serial # 81848 and actually have found this guitar to be hollow.

There is actually a gret resonant quality to this guitar un like any other guitars I have come across.

Bigsby pre-dated Leo Fender design by 3 years becasue he actually started them in 1947........ He also pre-dated the Gibson Les Paul by 5 years ..........

Ted McCarty ........then President of Gibson mentioned that Leo Fender was copying the Paul Bigsby guitar and was on free ground........ So Gibson came up with there version and sought out Les Paul to endorse it.... The birth of Les Paul Guitar!!

Both Fender Broadcaster and Gibson Les Paul guitars share some very similiar construction attributes of the Bigsby Guitar.

1. Fenders picked up the idea of string thru-the body
2. Six in line headstock and shape

Gibson had copied
1. similiar shape of the Bigsby and the single cutaway

However the Bigsby was contructed very differently than both guitars.

Thanks to R.C. Allen who has been my friend, mentor
and fellow guitar builder buddy I've had the priveldge to learn about the Bigsby instruments.

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