O.W. Appleton

1999 - Invetor

When one thinks of the words "rock and roll", the first instrument that usually comes to mind is the guitar. Iowa is the proud home of the gentleman that invented the first marketable solid body electric guitar in the world, Mr. O.W. "App" Appleton.

As a traveling musician at the age of 16, O.W. moved to Burlington, Iowa in 1936 and opened his App's School Of Music business.

Besides being a working musician and teacher, he was also an inventor. He enjoyed coming up with ideas on how to improve on musical instruments.

In the Winter of 1941-42, App created and built what has turned out to be the first ever solid body electric guitar. He carved the body from a block of solid wood and added a Gibson's neck. He used a Gibson neck, as they were the only company that offered an adjustable truss rod for a guitar neck.

This all took place a full decade before Gibson unveiled their Les Paul solid body guitar and four years before Leo Fender unveiled his Fender Broadcaster.

How is it that we never heard of App's invention, without legal help he was not able to get a patent for his unbelievable invention, thus Fender and Gibson hit the market first

Honoring achievements, educating youth, and inspiring artists.

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