Through the history of music and guitars, there are bits and pieces of interesting information that all fans enjoy knowing about. There is no single listing of this, so here is a compilation of some fun facts about electric guitars:
From June 29 to July 9, 2006, the M & I Bank paid a tribute to rock’n’roll’ and Summerfest which is the World’s Largest Music Festival. Two 18-story electric guitars located on two sides of M&I Bank’s headquarters lit up the Milwaukee skyline.
In a wedding ceremony in London in 2001, Guitar fan Chris Black married his Stratocaster.
Jimi Hendrix’s tombstone has a Fender Stratocaster carved on it.
The world’s smallest guitar is 10 micrometers long with strings 50 nanometers (100 atoms) wide.
It is said that Les Paul, soon after prototyping the electric guitar that made him famous, got really drunk one night and made an electric banjo that strangely did not earn him as much recognition as his previous efforts.
Another Les Paul fun fact – Les Paul had a car accident in 1948 and asked the doctor to set his arm permanently in a guitar-playing position.
A Gibson solid body with no serial number is a 1952. Gibson didn’t use any serial number in 1952.
Epiphone, originally a Greek violin company, made banjos from 1923 and in the 1930’s switched to guitars. Epiphone was the only banjo company to successfully switch to guitar production.
Leo Fender was a saxophonist, not a guitarist; the current head of the Corporation is also a saxophonist!
To test the strength and durability of guitar necks, in 1950, Leo Fender balanced the guitar neck between two chairs and stood on it.
Fender uses alder, not the more usual ash for guitars. Alder trees don’t grow large enough to make guitars anywhere except Oregon, within an area only 200 miles by 50 miles.
In a peak year Fender makes over a quarter of a million guitars. They are the largest manufacturer of electric guitars in the world. Fender also makes banjos, mandolins and violins.
The Fender factory makes around 90,000 strings per day. This is over 20,000 miles a year, enough to circle the world. They also make around 950 guitar necks a day!
The Telecaster was originally called the Broadcaster but this clashed with a drum kit of the same name. While the new name was considered, Fender produced guitars with no name on the headstock, and these “Nocasters” are collector’s items.
The highest price paid for an electric guitar at auction, was $959,500 at Christie’s in July 2004 for Eric Clapton’s ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster. The previous record was for Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia’s custom-made ‘Tiger’ – $957,500 in 2002.
To design the Experience Music Project/SciFi Museum at Seattle Center, Frank O. Gehry went straight to the source of rock ‘n roll: the guitar. He bought a couple of electric guitars, cut them up and used the pieces for an early design model. The final design still carries the bright reds and blues of those guitar pieces.