Until recently it went unrecognized that a small mid-western city gave rise to the twentieth century’s most remarkable musical instrument, the Electric Guitar. Enterprising Wichita Guitarist, Orchestra Leader and Music Educator, Gage Brewer made a trip to California in the late summer of 1932 and acquired the first electric guitars from their inventor and whisked them to Wichita for a triumphal introduction through a series of Halloween performances locally. It would take several years for the instrument to catch on but Brewer proceeded through a career spanning five decades prominently featuring the instrument.
Newspaper accounts from early October ‘32 tell of Brewer receiving two pre-production instruments from Beauchamp and how he planned to debut them in this mid-western city of 100,000. Accounts from Wichita seventy-five years ago described the never before heard instrument as electrical perfection and similar to the music heard from a pipe-organ.
WSCHM celebrates the 75th year of this technological achievement and those who first participated in the development and use of the electric guitar. Featured in the exhibit are Brewer’s early instruments and many other of the earliest developed during the 1930s. “Campaign for Volts” runs through Halloween this year.
Wichita & Sedgwick County’s Museum for Local History located downtown in the old City Building across from the library at the S.E. corner of Main Street and William.