June 7, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Paul Bigsby. Although Paul has been gone these past 50 years, his legacy lives on through his innovative ideas and designs, many that have had a profound influence on the world of musical instruments.
Paul was born on December 12, 1899 in Elgin, Illinois.  He was many things: a successful motorcycle racer, expert pattern-maker, machinist, inventor, poet, guitar-maker, and musician. Most widely known for inventing the Bigsby True Vibrato tailpiece, Paul also made the first modern electric solidbody guitar for musician Merle Travis in 1948.  Paul Bigsby was the “man who could build anything.”
Merle Travis Guitar Built by Paul Bigsby
Back in 2011, Premier Guitar magazine included Paul Bigsby as one of the industry’s ‘Forgotten Heroes’.  The article detailed contributions made by Paul Bigsby to the world of modern music by focusing on some of his most enduring designs.  Included are details of how he modified the pedal steel guitar into the configuration we know today, used an aluminum case for the shielding of pickups, placed all 6 tuning machines on a single side to promote tuning stability, and, of course, designed the world-famous Bigsby True Vibrato. The article also discusses Paul’s relationship with Leo Fender and the similarities of a few design components found on most modern electric guitars.  A nicely-crafted article on Paul and how he contributed to the world of electric guitars! You can check out the Premier Guitar article HERE!

 

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