Rickenbacker Frying Pan Lapsteel guitar – U.S.A. – 1931

Rickenbacker Frying Pan 1931 - The Guitar Database


Electric Solid Body Lapsteel guitar


Production models made of aluminum

Maple fretboard

Horseshoe Magnets


This is one of the most important musical instruments of the 20th century. Some say this Frying Pan was the first electric guitar. The guitar went into production in 1931 and had a magnetic element.
Guitarist George Beauchamp had previously made a name for himself as the co-inventor of the principles of the cone-resonator before starting to experiment with magnetic guitar pickups, using a single coil and wrapping the wire around two large horseshoe-shaped magnets. Beauchamp asked a colleague from National to manufacture a maple body and neck so that the instrument could be quickly assembled and the electronics placed. Beauchamp called the guitar the Frying Pan.
The six-stringed instrument was small and played horizontally on your lap by moving a small metal rod over the strings and striking the strings with the other hand.
The first Frying Pans came in two models: the A-25 and the smaller A-22. They were sold under the Rickenbacker label and included a small amplifier and speaker. Within two years, the same principles were applied to Rickenbacker’s first electric Spanish guitars.

Last updated on 27 April 2020
1994 reads