500 S Arthur Ave, Suite 700, Louisville, CO 80027
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The British Are Coming!

The trio enlisted the help of a local production engineer named Adolph Rickenbacker set to work making guitars. Unfortunately, by 1929, the company had splintered due to personal differences. Dopyera left to found Dobro, and Beauchamp was in the unemployment line. He’d make National regret firing him, however. All he’d do with his suddenly-clear schedule was develop the first electric guitar pickup.

After months of winding prototype pickups using a repurposed washing machine motor and a sewing machine, Beauchamp finally arrived at a final design with two horseshoe magnets and six polepieces–one for each string. With his design finished, Beauchamp had Harry Watson, National’s former factory superintendent, build him a wooden body in a few hours using simple hand tools. Their final product–dubbed “The Frying Pan”–didn’t look too pretty, but it was a six-string milestone: the first electric guitar.