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Electric Guitar Video Documentation,
November 9, 1996 to November 16, 1996

Extent and Forms of Material: 7.5 cubic feet, including audio and video recordings (15 boxes)
Creator: Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
Abstract: This week-long event explored the intersection of technology and music in the 20th century; it included oral and video histories, exhibitions, concerts, and a symposium discussing the cultural significance of the electric guitar as instrument, technology, and symbol.
Repository: Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; archivescenter@si.edu ; 202-633-3270; www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives
Collection Number: AC0610
Processing Note: Processed by Alison L. Oswald, March 1998, revised April 1999, 2006
© 2007 by the Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved.

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Information for users of the collection

Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use. In Series 1, Oral Histories, the Les Paul oral history interviews are restricted; see repository for details.
Physical Access: Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an “as needed” basis, as resources allow. Originals located at off-site storage area.
Technical Access: Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes and CD-ROM.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use.
Preferred Citation: [Title and date of item], Electric Guitar Video Documentation, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX

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In-depth information about the collection

Administrative/biographical history
Scope and content
System of arrangement
Languages
Acquisition information
Custodial history
Access points
Container listing

Administrative/biographical history

Just the words "electric guitar" can conjure up images in our minds. Jimi Hendrix playing "The Star-Spangled Banner." The neighbor's kid whose band practices in the garage. Leather jackets, motorcycles, and slicked-back hair. A Fender Stratocaster. Or a Gibson Flying V or Les Paul. Music that is, depending on your generation, either too loud or not quite loud enough. Rock and roll. Jazz. Blues. Country. The sound of an electric guitar is familiar to most of us. How did that happen? Why has the work of the people who invented, designed, and popularized this instrument become so much a part of everyday life?

These questions and others were raised during Electrified, Amplified, and Deified: The Electric Guitar, Its Makers, and Its Players, the second in the Lemelson Center's annual series on New Perspectives on Invention and Innovation. From November 9-16, 1996, the Center, in cooperation with the National Museum of American History Division of Cultural History, sponsored concerts, movies, interviews, makers' displays, an exhibit, and a symposium, all spotlighting those inventors and players who plugged in and forever changed the sound of American music.

Read more about the symposium.


Scope and content

The collection contains original, master, and reference videos in several formats: BetaCam SP, 3⁄4” U-matic, 1⁄2” VHS, digital audio tape (DAT), and compact disks (CD). The collection documents Electrified, Amplified, and Deified: The Electric Guitar, Its Makers, and Its Players, as part of the Lemelson Center’s series of New Perspectives. Through a series of public events, the Lemelson Center explored the intersection of technology and music in the 20th century. The week-long event included oral and video histories, exhibitions, concerts, and a symposium discussing the cultural significance of the electric guitar as instrument, technology, and symbol and an electronic fieldtrip for school age children.

The collection is arranged into four series: Series 1, Oral Histories, 1996; Series 2, Symposium and Other Programs, 1996; Series 3, Innovative Lives and Electronic Fieldtrip Presentation, 1996; and Series 4, Miscellaneous, 1996, undated. Each series is further divided into subseries arranged by format—BetaCam SP, digital audio tape (DAT), 3⁄4” U-Matic, and 1⁄2” VHS. The symposium footage has multiple camera angles resulting in Camera A and Camera B.

The oral histories contain interviews with some of the best known electric guitar manufacturers, luthiers, and accessory makers discussing major twentieth-century technological and cultural trends. The interviews were conduct by Reuben Jackson, Marge Oustrushko, Robert Santelli and Matt Watson. The interviewees include: Junior Brown; John Ingram; Duke Kramer; Ted McCarty; Pat Metheny; Les Paul; G.E. Smith; Paul Reed Smith; Joe Louis Walker; and Tom Wheeler.

Les Paul was interviewed as part of the Lemelson Center’s series Portraits of Invention. Legendary guitarist and innovator Les Paul discusses his work with Marc Pachter, Counselor to the Secretary of the Smithsonian. Additionally, Les Paul discusses his work with Matt Watson.

The Acoustic Guitar Concert held at NMAH’s Hall of Musical Instruments on November 14, 1996, included a performance by Howard Aldin, guitarist. Martha Morris, Deputy Director, NMAH; Art Molella, Director, Lemelson Center; and James Weaver, Curator, NMAH provided opening remarks.

The symposium, New Sounds, and other programs explored events surrounding the invention of the electric guitar, past and present technological innovations, and contributions made by early pioneers of guitar making. Two evening concerts included performances by some of the country’s finest electric guitarists—Howard Aldin, Jim Hall, Junior Brown, Joe Louis Walker, and The Ventures.

New Sounds explores the intersection of technology and music in the 20th century, focusing on the invention and diffusion of the electric guitar. The symposium brings together inventors, historians, and musicians for a day of conversation and inquiry.

The morning sessions addressed Inventing and Popularizing the Electric Guitar with National Museum of American (NMAH) Curator, Charles McGovern, and Innovators and Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion with participants Ted McCarty, Duke Kramer, John Hall, Richard R. Smith, and moderator Tom Wheeler.

The afternoon sessions addressed The Electric Guitar in Context with an introduction by NMAH archivist, Reuben Jackson, and historians, Susan Horning, James Kraft, and Rebecca McSwain discussing relationships among invention, economics, labor, race, and technological enthusiasm. After the session the panelists fielded audience questions.

The Innovative Lives Presentation and Electronic Fieldtrip were presented in cooperation with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. Robert Santelli, Director of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, along with Paul Reed Smith and G.E. Smith, described the invention of the electric guitar, demonstrated the different types of music played on a variety of guitars, and answered student questions about musical innovation and the electric guitar. Student’s participation included: Kenmore Middle School (Arlington, VA); Robert Frost Middle School (Rockville, MD); Paul Junior High School (Washington, D.C.); Elkhart Community Schools (Indiana); and Cleveland, OH area middle schools.

The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation was founded in 1995 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History through a generous gift from the Lemelson Foundation. The Center’s mission is: to document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation; to encourage inventive creativity in young people; and to foster an appreciation for the central role invention and innovation play in the history of the United States. The Innovative Lives series brings together Museum visitors and especially, school age children, and American inventors to discuss inventions and the creative process and to experiment and play with hands-on activities related to each inventor’s product. This collection was recorded by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.


System of arrangement

Series 1, Oral Histories, 1996
Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, 1969 (originals)
Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, 1996 (masters)
Subseries 3, Digital Audio Tape (DAT), 1996 (originals)
Subseries 4, 1⁄2” VHS, 1996 (reference copies)
Subseries 5, CD-ROMs, 1996 (reference copies)
Series 2, Symposium and Other Programs, 1996
Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, 1996 (originals)
Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, 1996 (masters)
Subseries 3, 3⁄4” U-matic SP, 1996 (masters)
Subseries 4, 1⁄2” VHS, 1996 (reference copies)
Series 3, Innovative Lives and Electronic Fieldtrip Presentation, 1996
Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, 1996 (original)
Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, 1996 (masters)
Subseries 3, 1⁄2” VHS, 1996 (reference copies)
Series 4, Miscellaneous, 1996, undated
Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, undated (originals)
Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, undated (masters)
Subseries 3, Digital Audio Tape (DAT), 1996 (originals)
Subseries 4, 1⁄2” VHS, undated
Subseries 5, CD-ROM (reference copy), 1996


Acquisition information

This collection was created by the Lemelson Center and NMAH staff from the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment in November of 1996.


Custodial history

Transferred to the Archives Center from the Lemelson Center in 1996.


Access points

Subjects/Topical:
Electric Guitar—1920-2000
Guitar—20th century
Music—20th century
Musical instruments—20th century
Musical instruments industry—20th century
Musicians

Subjects/Names:
Aldin, Howard (performer)
Brown, Junior (interviewee, performer)
Gruhn, George (moderator)
Hall, John (interviewee)
Horning, Susan, historian (presenter)
Jackson, Reuben (interviewer)
Kraft, James, historian (presenter)
Kramer, Duke (interviewee)
McCarty, Ted (interviewee)
McSwain, Rebecca (presenter)
Metheny, Pat (performer)
Millard, Andre (moderator)
Marge Oustrushko (interviewer)
Paul, Les (interviewee)
Sanetelli, Robert (interviewer)
Smith, Paul Reed (interviewee, performer)
Smith, G.E., (interviewee, moderator)
Smith, Monica (interviewee)
Smith, Richard R. (interviewee)
Wheeler, Tom (moderator)
Watson, Matthew (interviewer)

Form/Genre:
Videotapes—1990-2000


Container listing







Box Format  
    SERIES 1, ORAL HISTORIES, 1996
    Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, 1996 (originals)
1 OV 610.10-12 Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
6 OV 610.49 Ingram, John, undated
1 OV 610.8-9 Kramer, Duke, 1996 November 15
  OV 610.5-7 McCarty, Ted, 1996 November 15
1 OV 610.1-4 Paul, Les, 1996 November 13 (Restricted)
6 OV 610.47-48 Reed Smith, Paul, undated
    Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, 1996 (masters)
8 MV 610.5-6 Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
  MV 610.5 Kramer, Duke, 1996 November 15
  MV 610.3-4 McCarty, Ted, 1996 November 15
  MV 610.1-2 Paul, Les, 1996 November 13 (Restricted)
    Subseries 3, Digital Audio Tape (DAT), 1996 (originals)
7 DAT 610. 1 Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 1:32:16
  DAT 610.2 McCarty, Ted, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 1:12:14
  DAT 610.3 Metheny, Pat, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 18:25
  DAT 610.4 Parker, Ken and Fishman, Larry, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 1:35:10
  DAT 610.5 Walker, Joe Louis, 1996 November 14
Total Running Time: 43:56
  DAT 610.6 Wheeler, Tom, 1996 November 14
Total Running Time: 40:22
    Subseries 4, 1/2” VHS, 1996
12 RV 610.5 Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 1:00:20
  RV 610.6 Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 52:04
  RV 610.9 Ingram, John, undated
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 10:18
  RV 610.4 Kramer, Duke, 1996 November 15
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 36:47
  RV 610.5 Kramer, Duke, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time:
  RV 610.6 Kramer, Duke, 1996 November 15
Time code burn in
Total Running time: 52:04
  RV 610.3 McCarty, Ted, 1996 November 15
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 1:02:19
  RV 610.4 McCarty, Ted, 1996 November 15
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 36:47
  RV 610.1 Paul, Les, 1996 November 13 (Restricted)
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 56:34
  RV 610.2 Paul, Les, 1996 November 13 (Restricted)
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 1:00:43
    Subseries 5, CD-ROMs, 1996 (reference copies)
15 1 RCD 610. 1
Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 1:09:48
    RCD 610.2
Brown, Junior, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 22:55
  2 RCD 610.3
McCarty, Ted, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 1:12:14
  3 RCD 610.4
Metheny, Pat, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 17:35
  4 RCD 610.5
Parker, Ken and Fishman, Larry, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 1:19:58
    RCD 610.6
Parker, Ken and Fishman, Larry, 1996 November 15
Total Running Time: 16:29
  5 RCD 610.7
Walker, Joe Louis, 1996 November 14
Total Running Time: 43:17
  6 RCD 610.8
Wheeler, Tom, 1996 November 14
Total Running Time: 40:42
    SERIES 2, SYMPOSIUM AND PROGRAMS, 1996
    Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, 1996 (originals)
2 OV 610.13-18A Hall of Musical Instruments/Acoustic Guitar Concert,
1996 November 14
Howard Aldin, Guitar performance
3
4
OV 610.19-23
OV 610.32-36
Symposium—New Sounds
Morning Session, 1996 November 16
3
4
OV 610.24-27
OV 610.37-38
Symposium—Electric Guitar in Context
Afternoon Session, 1996 November 16
3
4
OV 610.28-30
OV 610. 39-41
Symposium—Innovators and Players
Innovators demonstrate state-of-the-art guitar technology.
Afternoon Session, 1996 November 16
3 OV 610.31 Jazz Giants and Bay Blues Concert, 1996 November 16
Audience feedback about concert
1 RV 610.7 Hall of Musical Instruments/Acoustic Guitar Concert with Howard Aldin,
1996 November 14
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 50:26
13
13
RV 610.10-12
RV 610.17-19
Symposium—New Sounds
Morning Session, 1996 November 16
13
14
RV 610.13
RV 610.20
Symposium—Electric Guitar in Context
Afternoon Session, 1996 November 16
13
14
RV 610.15
RV 610.21
Symposium—Innovators and Players
Innovators demonstrate state-of-the-art guitar technology.
Afternoon Session, 1996 November 16
13 RV 610.16 Jazz Giants and Bay Blues Concert, 1996 November 16
(with audience feedback about concert)
    SERIES 3, INNOVATIVE LIVES PRESENTATION AND ELECTRONIC FIELDTRIP, 1996
    Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, 1996 (originals)
5
OV 610.42-46
Innovative Lives Presentation and Electronic Field Trip, 1996 November 15
    Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, 1996 (masters)
9 MV 610.22-26
Innovative Lives Presentation and Electronic Field Trip, 1996 November 15
10 MV 610. 27-29 Innovative Lives Presentation and Electronic Field Trip, 1996 November 15
    Subseries 3, 1⁄2” VHS, 1996
14 RV 610.22-31 Innovative Lives Presentation and Electronic Field Trip, 1996 November 15
6 OV 610.49 SERIES 4, MISCELLANEOUS, 1996, UNDATED
    Subseries 1, BetaCam SP, undated (originals)
    Paul Reed Smith Guitar (PRS) Guitar Factory Tour, undated
    Subseries 2, BetaCam SP, undated (masters)
11 MV 610.48 Close-ups of the exhibit, From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar and voice-over of Monica Smith, co-curator.
Total Running Time: 20:00
    Subseries 3, Digital Audio Tape (DAT), 1996
7 DAT 610.7 G.E. Smith discussing of From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar, 1996 November 14
Total Running Time: 36:00
    Subseries 4, 1/2” VHS, undated
13 RV 610.8 Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitar Factory Tour
Time code burn in
Total Running Time: 30:19
    Subseries 5, CD-ROM (reference copy), 1996
15 7 RCD 610.9
G.E. Smith discussing of From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar, 1996 November 14
Total Running Time: 36:51

 

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Last Update: 21 Sept 2007

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