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The History of the Electric Guitar According to Jimmy Dillon

Jimmy Dillon's History Of The Electric GuitarI recently came across one of Jimmy Dillon’s guitar courses, and in the process stumbled across his “History of the Electric Guitar” diagram, that’s setup like a tree of life.

It’s a remarkable piece of work that no doubt took him hours and hours to create, and I can’t post the full thing here because of copyright, however you can get a copy for yourself by signing up here.

It’s important to note that this isn’t an empirical history… this is very much done by Jimmy to reflect his own development and influences as a guitar player. By the way, if you’ve never heard of Jimmy Dillon before, he’s a fabulous player that has shared the stage with many of the greats, including Clapton, John Lee Hooker, and many more.

The History of the Electric Guitar tree is quite fascinating though. If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ve no doubt heard me talking about how the blues is foundational to nearly all the modern types of music that we have, and Jimmy really backs up that view… because the entire trunk of the tree is the blues!

Another fascinating thing about the history of the electric guitar is that it is all so recent. The first magnetic pickup was invented in 1924, and from there we’ve had incredible development of the instrument over the years, with it only really taking off in the last 50 years or so.

If you think of it, how many other instruments are still at such an early stage in their development? Most instruments were first invented hundreds of years ago, and have long since matured, however the electric guitar is still changing constantly, which is pretty cool, if you ask me.

Anyways, I recommend checking out Jimmy Dillon’s “History of the Electric Guitar” picture as it has to have well over a hundred names various guitar players on it… all arranged by who influenced the other etc. He’s also got an audio file that explains it all that you can download there as well.

You can download a copy of Jimmy Dillon’s “History of the Electric Guitar” here.

What do you think? What’s your own version of the history of the electric guitar?

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  1. http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=7479

    Tutmarc, Paul (1896-1972), and his Audiovox Electric Guitars

    Here’s an article for you on history of electric. I like Leo and Les as much as anybody. You should see Les and Mary playing together on Youtube. I never knew she played. I wouldn’t have known about this early history from Guitar Player. Back in the 90’s I was reading my weekly Evangel church magazine and there was this article about Paul Tumarc and the electric intstruments. He and Les were doing similar things at the same time. John Clayton Cleburne, Tx.

    The tree is very nice. I think all the Marx bros. were musicians.

  2. John, are you Louise’s son and Theresa’s husband? If so, I’d like to reconnect, since I’ve lost contact. I’m in Kansas City, MO for many years now, and love being such a musical and artistic city. If it’s you, I hope you are doing well.

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