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How A Frying Pan Changed the Guitar

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It’s called the Rickenback Frying Pan and it had a huge effect on not only country music, but jazz, blues and rock. It was a patent granted in 1937 and the Rickenback Frying Pan had nothing to do with food or anything in the kitchen. It was a device that transformed the guitar.

The problem with an acoustic guitar is that it gets lost when it’s surrounded by other instruments. Brass, woodwinds and other strings are just so much louder than an acoustic guitar. So how do you make it louder?

Inventor G.D. Beauchamp worked on the problem for five years. He was a partner in the Adolph Rickenback Instrument Company and he came up with an electromagnet placed at the base of the guitar strings that would pick up the vibrations of the strings, convert those vibrations into an electric current and then reproduce those vibrations thru an amplifier. Pretty similar to the way a telephone works.

To satisfy the patent claims that this device was different from the way a phone works Beauchamp had to revise the wording a number of times, but finally it was on this date in 1937 the Rickenback Frying Pan was granted a patent and forever changed the sound of music.

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