George Beauchamp

George Delmetia Beauchamp (/ˈbəm/[citation needed]; March 18, 1899 – March 30, 1941) was an American inventor of musical instruments. He is known for designing the first electrically amplified stringed instrument to be marketed commercially. He was also a founder of National Stringed Instrument Corporation and Rickenbacker (originally Rickenbacher) guitars.

George Beauchamp
George Delmetia Beauchamp

(1899-03-18)March 18, 1899
Coleman County, Texas, United States
DiedMarch 20, 1941(1941-03-20) (aged 42)


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. The most notable of these, the Rickenbacher A-22 (and A-25) lapsteel guitar – known as the "frying pan" – is widely regarded as the first mass-produced electric guitar. Production of the instrument began in 1932. In 1937, Beauchamp secured a United States patent for his version of the electric guitar.

Beauchamp married Myrtle Johnston in 1917. They had two children, Frances and Nolan. He died of a heart attack in 1941 while deep sea fishing near Los Angeles.


  • 1929: Patent applied for the single-cone dobro guitar, patent #1,808,756
  • 1930: Patent applied for metal finger picks (now commonly used for steel guitars and banjos), patent #1,787,136
  • 1934: Patent applied for the electric lap steel guitar (nicknamed the "frying pan"), patent #2,089,171
  • 1936: Patent applied for the electric guitar (called the electro Spanish guitar, which was a hollow-body electric guitar)
  • 1936: Patent applied for the electric violin (called the electro violin)

Catalogues from the Electro String Instrument Corporation show a range of electric instruments. In 1932, Beauchamp's Ro-Pat-In company marketed the electric lap steel guitar. The electric guitar was supposedly marketed the same year; early catalogues showing the instrument are not dated.[citation needed]


  • Rickenbacker by Richard Smith (1988)
  • "The 1930s". Inventions that Shook the World. 31 August 2011.

External linksEdit