The First Electric Guitarists

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The new instrument gave the first electric guitarists a means to finally deliver their burning energies. It was loud. Melodies and solos were possible. New sounds were possible. New ways of musical expression such as sustained notes and bendings were possible.

On March 1st, 1938, jazz guitarist George Barnes entered guitar history with the recording of “Sweetheart Land” and “It’s a Low-Down Dirty Shame” in Chicago. These were the first recordings featuring an electric guitar ever.

The First Electric Guitarists

Two weeks later, Eddie Durham made another historical recording with an electric, with the Kansas City Five. It was also Eddie Durham who introduced young Charlie Christian to the instrument.

In a time when many purists disdained the electric guitar, guitar hero Charlie Christian, made his Gibson ES-150 widely popular and established the electric archtop as an acknowledged soloist instrument.

You may enjoy from this creative period by listening to Charlie Christian’s recordings, as well as the works of other great guitarists from the first generation such as jazz guitarists Oscar Moore, Al Casey, Tiny Grimes and Floyd Smith, bluesmen Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker, and country pickers Noel Boggs and Merle Travis