Unfortunately accepted History is often found to be wrong, as more information comes to light.
Lauderic Caton's contribution have most definitely been overlooked.
As I have written about before here the electric pickup was probably first invented by Lauderic Caton in the UK long before any one in the USA. ( Lauderic was an inveterate tinker of electronics, he was always building electronic devices. Lauderic was skilled/trained in electronics he was also an remarkable jazz guitar player. )
Lauderic's pickup was manufactured and sold as stand-alone item to be affixed to an acoustic guitar. They was marketed and sold well in Africa and the Caribbean. Many of the guitarists in 1930/40's West Coast African society bands used Lauderic's pickups.
Lauderic claimed that his designed had been stolen by Gibson and was the basis of the "Charlie Christian pickup".
There certainly is good evidence to back-up his claim as he was granted a British Patent for his pickup in the late 1920's/1930, long before anyone else filed a patent elsewhere. (Bear in mind, the filing of a patent takes considerable time, from filing to granting, and Lauderic's pickup had been on sale with Patent pending for a number of years.).
Lauderic told me he wanted to file a lawsuit against Gibson for infringement but was persuaded that he had almost zero chance of winning in the US courts on the early 1930s of a Black British man versus a White US corporation, and abandoned the effort.
I was fortunate to know Lauderic, in the last years of his life he was very reclusive but still maintained a sharp intellect, still tinkered with electronics and playing guitar.
> Unfortunately accepted History is often found to be wrong, as more > information comes to light.
Especially Guitar lore/history. So many stories have been told over the years, and it's hard to tell which, if any, are really correct. For example, I read the Tele/Bigsby story from a history of the electric guitar book (I forget which one), and the link I posted has it slightly different.
Anyway, your post here is fascinating, and I thank you for sending it along!
The frying pan wasn't a Spanish guitar. Their electrics were hollow, with pickups.
I have read that the first solid body Spanish guitar was Les Paul's log. But the first commercially successful solid body Spanish was the Tele. Merle's Bigsby guitar predated it (1946) apparently. I haven't heard of an earlier solid body that could be purchased.
It is a bit surprising that it took so long after the frying pan for someone to think about a solid body electric Spanish.
--- In jazz_gui...@yahoogroups.com, John Amato <jamato316@...> wrote: