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Hugh Davies

(b Cropsey, IL, Jan 9, 1886; d Chicago, IL, Sept 14, 1943). American musician and pioneer in the development of the electric guitar. He studied music at Oberlin College and for several years performed professionally on string instruments under management of the Chicago Musical Bureau. From 1911, while performing and composing for the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co. of Kalamazoo, Michigan, he developed ideas for improving and diversifying mandolin construction. After post-World War I musical studies in Paris he returned to Chicago, where he resumed work for Gibson (as a designer and acoustical engineer from 1919) and in 1921 received a master’s degree in theory and composition from the American Conservatory of Music. Later, Loar taught acoustics at Northwestern University for 13 years and published a number of method books and musical arrangements.

Having failed to convince Gibson of the potential success of an electric guitar based on an electrostatic pickup that he had developed in ...

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Benjamin Vogel

(b Korneuburg, Austria, 1811; d Warsaw, Poland, April 3, 1862). Austrian-born violin maker and musician, active in Warsaw. He was a son and pupil of Johann Michael Rudert (b Arnholtz-Grün, Saxony, 8 Aug 1781; d Warsaw, 24 Oct 1854), a Saxon violin and string maker, active in Korneuburg, Vienna, and from 1818 in Warsaw. After having worked with his father and studied the violin with Josef Bielawski at the Warsaw Conservatory (c1821–2) Henryk opened his own workshop in 1833. He was one of the best luthiers on Polish soil in the mid-19th century; he made violins after Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri and his own models, ‘square’ violins after those of the French luthier La Prevotte, violas, cellos, double basses, guitars, double-neck bass guitars, zithers, guitar-cello (a kind of bowed guitar with sympathetic strings), and philomela (a violin-like bowed zither with metal strings and low bridge). Known mostly for violin-family instruments and guitars of high quality, often decorated with silver and ivory inlays and carvings, he won awards at local exhibitions as well as a silver medal in Moscow (...