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.
Fun Facts About Electric Guitars:
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.