Electrified: The Guitar Revolution
The history of music's greatest invention and the world's most popular musical instrument. From the early days of the Model U and Frying Pan to the guitar wars of Fender and Gibson, experience the evolution of the electric guitar through vintage footage, interviews with rock historians and rousing live performances.
"History of the Guitar" from National Inventors' Month 2010
Curator emeritus Gary Sturm brings some of the Museum's most "rocking" objects out of storage for a unique up-close look at electric and acoustic guitars. Sturm discusses Prince's Yellow Cloud, the Gibson ES-150, and more. This presentation was part of the National Inventors' Month events in August of 2010, presented by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Electric Guitar: Its Makers and Its Players
The Lemelson Center presents this 1996 video field trip in cooperation with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Meet guitar maker Paul Reed Smith and guitar player G.E. Smith, who demonstrate their crafts and share stories about some of the people involved in developing and popularizing the electric guitar. Moderated by Bob Santelli, former director of education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Video: 30 minutes, 2004
Teacher's resource guide (PDF document. File size: 820K. Download time: less than 1 min. @ 56K)
Books and Articles
Millard, Andre, ed. The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
Smith, Monica M. "The Electric Guitar: How We Got From Andres Segovia to Kurt Cobain." American Heritage of Invention and Technology 20, no. 1 (Summer 2004): 12-21.
Electrified, Amplified and Deified radio program by Smithsonian Productions
Our thanks to the following organizations for their participation in Lemelson Center's 1996 electric guitar programs:
Experience Music Project
Fender Musical Instruments Corp.
Fred Gretsch Enterprises
Guitar Player magazine
Guitar World magazine
Hamer at "Electrified, Amplified, and Deified"
Martin Guitar Company
Music Educators National Conference
National Reso-Phonic Guitars
Paul Reed Smith Guitars
Rickenbacker International Corp.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
20th Century Guitar magazine
Vintage Guitar magazine