George Delmetia Beauchamp
March 18, 1899
Coleman County, Texas, United States
|Died||March 20, 1941 (aged 42)|
Los Angeles, California, United States
George Delmetia Beauchamp (pronounced BEE-chum; March 18, 1899 – March 30, 1941) was an American inventor of musical instruments and a founder of National Stringed Instrument Corporation and Rickenbacker (originally Rickenbacher) guitars.
He was born in Coleman County, Texas on March 18, 1899. Beauchamp performed in Vaudeville, playing the violin and the lap steel guitar, before he settled in Los Angeles, California. During the 1920s, he experimented with the creation of electric lap steel guitars, electric guitars, electric bass guitars, electric violins, and instrument amplifiers. In 1931 he joined with Paul Barth and Adolph Rickenbacker to form the Ro-Pat-In Corporation to produce and sell electrified string instruments. In 1937 Beauchamp secured a United States patent for the electric guitar. The resulting instrument, the Rickenbacher A-22 (and A-25) lapsteel--known as the "frying pan"--is widely regarded as the first mass-produced electric guitar.
He died of a heart attack in 1941 while deep-sea fishing near Los Angeles. He was survived by his wife, Myrtle, and two children, Frances and Nolan.
Catalogues from the Electro String Instrument Corporation show a range of electric instruments. In 1932, Beauchamp's Ro-pat company marketed the electric lap steel guitar. The electric guitar was supposedly marketed the same year; early catalogues showing the instrument are not dated.
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