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Electric Guitar Heroes

Oklahoma and the enhancement of an instrument



 



Bob Dunn, who toured between the World Wars with the Panhandle Cowboys and Indians, was an early adapter and virtuoso of the electric steel guitar. His Jan. 27, 1935, studio recording of the tune “Taking Off” with Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies is considered the first recording to use an electrically amplified instrument. Vintage Guitar magazine credits him as “the amplified guitar’s first stylist,” noting that, “In a way, Dunn was a sort of Jeff Beck of the steel guitar; his solos were often otherworldly, with cascades of arpeggios, jarring staccato notes and Hawaiian chime effects blasting through the mix of instruments.”
 

THE CLAIM: Robert Lee Dunn, born Feb. 8, 1908, in Braggs, Okla., invented the electric steel guitar.

THE SOURCE: The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, published by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

STATUS: False.

THE TRUTH: Dunn did not, however, invent the instrument. Credit goes to Texas-born George Delmetia Beauchamp — a vaudeville performer who experimented with ways to have his guitar heard above an orchestra — for creating the first string-driven, electro- magnetic guitar. Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna, authors of the 2016 Random House book Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound and Revolution of the Electric Guitar, note that the Beauchamp design became the basis of the first commercially produced electric guitar, the RO-PAT-IN A-25 “Frying Pan,” which hit the market in 1932. RO-PAT-IN (inspired by the term ElectRO-PAtent-INstruments) would evolve into Rickenbacker International, which continues manufacturing instruments today.

In an unexpected twist, the first documented public performance of an electric guitar does have an Oklahoma connection. According to Guitar Aficionado magazine, the first-ever concert to feature the instrument occurred in Kansas on Oct. 31, 1932, at Wichita’s Shadowland Pavilion. The performer, guitarist Gage Kelso Brewer, was born in 1904 in Gage, Oklahoma Territory.

Brewer’s pioneering performance featured two RO-PAT-IN prototypes – the electric Spanish prototype and the A-25 Frying Pan – that he had obtained from his friend George Beauchamp. An Oct. 2, 1932, article in the Wichita Beacon marveled at the technological wonder, which was promoted in a series of Halloween-themed concerts as a combination of “natural personal technique and electrical perfection.” Although the A-25 was destroyed in a 1935 fire, Brewer’s electric Spanish model is now at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, the centerpiece of its exhibition titled “The Electric Guitar – Wichita’s Instrument!” Rock on.


Editor’s note: Oklahoma is rich with history, lore and fun facts, but some of them aren’t quite factual. In this series, M.J. Alexander hunts for the accuracy – or lack thereof – behind some of our state’s stories.

 

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Calendar

December 2017

Ted Moore Auto Group has signed up six of its automotive dealership stores to collect food for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma this holiday season. The food drives will be held in the stores at...

Cost: Free

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Ted Moore Auto Group
Telephone: 405.609.3455
Contact Name: Michelle Gray
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

The spectacular Oklahoma holiday tradition returns with a stunning set and sparkling costumes in Lyric's production of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. Go on a magical journey...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

Rockin' vibes with Oklahoma's Adam Miller. NOIR serves craft cocktails, delish food, and BRUNCH after 10:30p! No Cover! Smoke- and Vape-Free

Cost: Free

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: NOIR Bistro & Bar
Telephone: 405.208.4233
Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Our working ceramics studio boasts six working instructors, several studio volunteers and countless students. The ceramics program offers classes for students of all skill levels and runs open...

Cost: Free to browse

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. The ~25 artists featured in the exhibit also attend the ArtNow event so that guests can learn about...

Cost: Free to view

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Ted Moore Auto Group has signed up six of its automotive dealership stores to collect food for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma this holiday season. The food drives will be held in the stores at...

Cost: Free

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Ted Moore Auto Group
Telephone: 405.609.3455
Contact Name: Michelle Gray
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Our working ceramics studio boasts six working instructors, several studio volunteers and countless students. The ceramics program offers classes for students of all skill levels and runs open...

Cost: Free to browse

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. The ~25 artists featured in the exhibit also attend the ArtNow event so that guests can learn about...

Cost: Free to view

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Ted Moore Auto Group has signed up six of its automotive dealership stores to collect food for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma this holiday season. The food drives will be held in the stores at...

Cost: Free

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Ted Moore Auto Group
Telephone: 405.609.3455
Contact Name: Michelle Gray
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. The ~25 artists featured in the exhibit also attend the ArtNow event so that guests can learn about...

Cost: Free to view

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Our working ceramics studio boasts six working instructors, several studio volunteers and countless students. The ceramics program offers classes for students of all skill levels and runs open...

Cost: Free to browse

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Ted Moore Auto Group has signed up six of its automotive dealership stores to collect food for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma this holiday season. The food drives will be held in the stores at...

Cost: Free

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Ted Moore Auto Group
Telephone: 405.609.3455
Contact Name: Michelle Gray
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

Oklahoma City native Ginna Dowling will install a visual storytelling called Hieroglyphics 2017: The Spirit of Our People, based on what Dowling calls “contemporary community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The spectacular Oklahoma holiday tradition returns with a stunning set and sparkling costumes in Lyric's production of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. Go on a magical journey...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Our working ceramics studio boasts six working instructors, several studio volunteers and countless students. The ceramics program offers classes for students of all skill levels and runs open...

Cost: Free to browse

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. The ~25 artists featured in the exhibit also attend the ArtNow event so that guests can learn about...

Cost: Free to view

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Ted Moore Auto Group has signed up six of its automotive dealership stores to collect food for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma this holiday season. The food drives will be held in the stores at...

Cost: Free

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Ted Moore Auto Group
Telephone: 405.609.3455
Contact Name: Michelle Gray
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

Oklahoma City native Ginna Dowling will install a visual storytelling called Hieroglyphics 2017: The Spirit of Our People, based on what Dowling calls “contemporary community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The spectacular Oklahoma holiday tradition returns with a stunning set and sparkling costumes in Lyric's production of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. Go on a magical journey...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

The City Cabaret OKC returns this December with their sure-to-sell-out holiday sensation, "Retro Wonderland," at the Paramount Theatre between Main & Sheridan in Oklahoma City's...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Paramount Theatre OKC
11 North Lee Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This year, we’re proud to present a series of Christmas cult classics and holiday hidden gems designed to combat shopping fatigue, winter blues, and Mannheim Steamroller-induced insanity....

Cost: $9 adults, $7 seniors

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. The ~25 artists featured in the exhibit also attend the ArtNow event so that guests can learn about...

Cost: Free to view

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

Oklahoma City native Ginna Dowling will install a visual storytelling called Hieroglyphics 2017: The Spirit of Our People, based on what Dowling calls “contemporary community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The spectacular Oklahoma holiday tradition returns with a stunning set and sparkling costumes in Lyric's production of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. Go on a magical journey...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

The City Cabaret OKC returns this December with their sure-to-sell-out holiday sensation, "Retro Wonderland," at the Paramount Theatre between Main & Sheridan in Oklahoma City's...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Paramount Theatre OKC
11 North Lee Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

What do you get when you mix the twisted mind of Brian Hamilton, the morally askew producers who brought you “Screw the Eggnog, Pass the Rum” and the musical stylings of Michael Todd...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Paramount Theatre OKC
11 North Lee Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This year, we’re proud to present a series of Christmas cult classics and holiday hidden gems designed to combat shopping fatigue, winter blues, and Mannheim Steamroller-induced insanity....

Cost: $9 adults, $7 seniors

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. The ~25 artists featured in the exhibit also attend the ArtNow event so that guests can learn about...

Cost: Free to view

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops, and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village, offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »

More information

Oklahoma City native Ginna Dowling will install a visual storytelling called Hieroglyphics 2017: The Spirit of Our People, based on what Dowling calls “contemporary community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The City Cabaret OKC returns this December with their sure-to-sell-out holiday sensation, "Retro Wonderland," at the Paramount Theatre between Main & Sheridan in Oklahoma City's...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Paramount Theatre OKC
11 North Lee Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

The spectacular Oklahoma holiday tradition returns with a stunning set and sparkling costumes in Lyric's production of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. Go on a magical journey...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

What do you get when you mix the twisted mind of Brian Hamilton, the morally askew producers who brought you “Screw the Eggnog, Pass the Rum” and the musical stylings of Michael Todd...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Paramount Theatre OKC
11 North Lee Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This year, we’re proud to present a series of Christmas cult classics and holiday hidden gems designed to combat shopping fatigue, winter blues, and Mannheim Steamroller-induced insanity....

Cost: $9 adults, $7 seniors

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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