In the 1920s, George Beauchamp searched for someone who could build a louder, improved guitar for him and came across violin repairman John Dopyera. John and Rudy Dopyera began constructing various guitars for Beauchamp before they created a successful prototype called the “the tri-cone.” Beauchamp suggested manufacturing these instruments, and then soon did.
Unfortunately, the Dopyeras and Beauchamp had a falling out in the late 1920s and Beauchamp, along with others, was fired. Needing a new project and company, he began experimenting with PA systems and microphones.
With the help of Paul Barth and Harry Watson, Beauchamp invented the first fully electric guitar. It was nicknamed the “Frying Pan.” He was anxious to manufacture the instrument and called on his friend Adolph Rickenbacker to help out. Then, in 1931, Rickenbacker and Beauchamp founded the Rickenbacker International Corporation (RIC) and created the first modern electric guitars.
To learn all about Rickenbacker’s history, check out their website: http://www.rickenbacker.com/history_early.asp