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Article

Laurence Libin

(b Coleman County, TX, March 18, 1899; d at sea nr Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 1941). American inventor of musical instruments. He was co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation and the Rickenbacker guitar company. He played the violin and the lap steel (‘Hawaiian’) guitar in vaudeville before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked with John and Rudy Dopyera to develop an acoustically amplified guitar, probably inspired by Stroh models. An early model with a Victrola horn failed, but trials using conical aluminium resonators within a metal guitar body (a prototype of the three-cone Dobro guitar) proved successful and attracted investors. Production of metal-body guitars under the name National soon involved Adolph Rickenbacker’s nearby tool and die shop....

Article

Carvin  

Matthew Hill

Firm of musical instrument manufacturers and distributors, primarily of electric guitars, amplifiers and sound-reinforcement equipment. The company was founded in 1946 in Los Angeles, California by Hawaiian guitarist Lowell C. Kiesel (b Eustis, NE, 22 Feb 1915; d San Diego, 28 Dec 2009) as the L.C. Kiesel Company. In the late 1940s the company relocated to Gothenburg, Nebraska. In ...

Article

Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in ...

Article

Laurence Libin

American manufacturer and brand of acoustic and electric guitars, other plucked string instruments, and electric guitar accessories. The company originated in 1873 in Smyrna, Turkey, where the Greek immigrant Kostantinos Stathopoulo opened a store selling and repairing string instruments. His son Anastasios opened an independent workshop about ...

Article

Hohner  

Hugh Davies and Christoph Wagner

German manufacturer of harmonicas, accordions, keyboard instruments and guitars. It was founded in 1857 in Trossingen by the clockmaker Matthias Hohner (b 1833; d Trossingen, 1903), who was not so much an innovator as a perfector of other people’s inventions, which he then marketed successfully. He learnt how to make his first harmonica after visiting a friend’s workshop. For almost half a century he focussed on this single product, which was exported to more than 100 countries around the world. The biggest market was the USA, which in ...

Article

Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments. Matsujiro Hoshino founded the company in 1908 as a book and sheet music store (Hoshino Shoten) that from 1929, as Hoshino Gakki Ten, also sold guitars by Salvador Ibáñez imported from Spain. Under direction of Hoshino’s son Yoshitaro Hoshino, the company began manufacturing Ibanez-brand guitars in ...

Article

Arian Sheets

American manufacturer of bowed and fretted string instruments based in Columbus, OH. It is significant as one of the first factory-based producers of bowed string instruments to use machine carving for the fabrication of such components as the front, back, and scroll. An announcement was made in ...

Article

Laurence Libin

Manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments, headquartered in Taiwan. The company, part of a conglomerate that also includes K. H. S. Investing Co., Ltd, K. H. S. Trading Co., K. H. S. Audio Co., Ltd, Aeolus Music Corp., and Musix Co., Ltd, was founded in ...

Article

Martin Krivin and Margaret Downie Banks

Firm of instrument makers. It was founded as the H.N. White Company (Cleveland) in 1893 by Henderson Nelson White (1873–1940), an instrument repairman, amateur musician, and businessman. White created the company’s first instrument, a trombone, in consultation with trombonist Thomas H. King (...

Article

Korg  

Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in ...

Article

John Thomas

Instrument makers of Swedish birth. From the late 1800s through the early 1940s Carl Johan Ferdinand Larson (b Sweden, 31 Dec 1867; d Chicago, IL, 4 Sept 1946) and (Peter) August Larson (b Sweden, 24 April 1873; d Chicago, IL, 16 June 1944...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

German firm of harpsichord and piano makers . Karl Maendler (b Munich, 22 March 1872; d Munich, 2 Aug 1958) began as a piano maker. He married Susanne Schramm, daughter of M.J. Schramm, and on 1 April 1903 became the sole owner of his father-in-law's piano firm in Munich. It is probable that the firm had already produced harpsichords (one labelled ‘M.J. Schramm’ is known to exist), but Maendler built up this side of the business, producing his first harpsichord in ...

Article

Tony Bacon

British amplifier manufacturer. After requests from British rock guitarists and bass players who needed an affordable amplifier capable of high sound levels, the drum teacher and music shop owner Jim Marshall teamed up with his service engineer Ken Bran in 1962 to produce a British-made musical instrument amplifier based on the Californian-made Fender Bassman. Marshall and Bran’s amplifiers were soon developed into the famous ‘Marshall stack’, consisting of an amplifier head containing the valves, circuitry and controls sitting on top of two ‘four-by-twelve’ cabinets, each containing four Celestion 12-inch (30·48 cm) loudspeakers. Delivering 50 watts RMS and frequently more, the ‘stacks’ provided exactly the sort of high power demanded by emerging players such as Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Players such as these were playing electric guitars through Marshall amplifiers at increasingly extreme volume levels in the late 1960s as venues became larger and outdoor festivals more popular. Marshall also produced ‘combo’ amplifiers which combined the amplifier and loudspeakers within one cabinet. Building on the fame of their early innovations, Marshall has become a leading supplier of equipment wherever high quality and high volume amplification is required....

Article

Jaak Liivoja-Lorius and Philip J. Kass

French firm of violin and bow makers and dealers. Charles-Nicolas Maucotel (b Mirecourt, France, 1 Nov 1807; d after 1860) served his apprenticeship with Blaise Mast in Mirecourt and later worked for Gand in Paris (from 1834) and for William Davis in London (from ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Somerset, KY, 1910; d Twin Falls, ID, April 1, 2001). American guitar company executive and pioneer in the development of electric guitars. An engineering graduate of the University of Cincinnati (1933), he worked for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., first as an accountant and eventually as director of purchasing for the retail division. During World War II he was an army engineer. He became general manager of the Gibson Guitar Corporation in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

English keyboard instrument manufacturer and dealer, located in Lewisham, London. In 1796 James Morley started a music lending library in Greenwich. His sons made and sold pianos and other instruments; one son, George Morley (1790–1852), registered his firm for making, tuning, and repairing harps in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic instrument manufactured by Suzuki in Hamamatsu, Japan, from 1981. It resembles a zither or autoharp, both visually and in playing technique. The instrument offers 27 chords, selected by pushbuttons that are ‘strummed’ in arpeggiated form on a touch-plate. It also incorporates ‘walking bass’ and electronic percussion units. In ...

Article

Edmund A. Bowles

American firm of instrument makers. In 1849 Joseph Rogers, an Irish parchment-maker and musician, established a tannery (eventually located in Farmingdale, New Jersey) to manufacture high-quality animal skin for the fast-growing banjo and drum industry. For this purpose he used superior calfskin, and the best of his banjo heads became famous. The business prospered for several generations, but by the late 1930s the decline of the banjo’s popularity created a need to diversify the product line, so Rogers began to turn out drums and drum accessories. When Roger’s great-grandson, Cleveland Rogers, died without heirs in ...

Article

Roland  

Hugh Davies

Japanese company of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Osaka in 1972 by the electronics designer Ikutaro Kakehashi (who had co-founded Ace Electronic Industries in Osaka in 1955, marketing rhythm machines and Ace Tone electronic organs); it was named after the legendary medieval French hero. Expansion was rapid, and by the early 1980s the company employed over 500 people in Osaka alone. During the period ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital instruments. The name Samick (‘three benefits’) refers to benefits to the company, its customers, and the national economy. Founded in 1958 by Hyo Ick Lee (d 1990) as a Baldwin piano distributor, the Samick Piano Co. began building uprights from imported parts under the name Horugel in ...