Bigsby, Paul (Adelburt )
- Arian Sheets
(b Elgin, IL, Dec 12, 1899; d Downey, Los Angeles, CA, June 7, 1968). American maker of fretted stringed instruments. He created electric lap steel, Spanish, and pedal steel guitars that became influential because of their novel designs and their use by mid-20th century Western swing musicians. His signature Bigbsy tremolo tailpiece, patented in 1953, was included as standard equipment on guitars by major American manufacturers, including Gibson, Gretsch, Fender, and Epiphone.
Bigsby moved with his family to Los Angeles in the early 1910s and began his career as a patternmaker in a machine shop. He achieved early success as a motorcycle racer and a designer at Crocker Motorcycle Company. Bigsby also performed with Western swing groups on guitar and upright bass in the 1940s, and saw opportunities to improve the design of the instruments. He built his first instrument, a double-eight-string lap steel guitar, for Joaquin Murphy, slide guitarist for Spade Cooley, in ...