Guitar Heroes of Wichita (2010 exhibit)

The quest for better music through louder instruments pre-dates recorded history. By the 1920s it became apparent that through applied electronics this dream might be realized. Many new devises were being developed for use in the emerging power grid. Sound amplification was a high priority from the beginning with pubic address, successfully executed at the inauguration of President Harding (1921); in theater with the advent of the “talkies” in motion pictures (1927) and the successful amplification of the guitar (1931).

Wichita guitarist Gage Brewer was watching these developments closely and was the first to acquire pre-production electric instruments developed by his friends in Los Angeles, George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker. He brought the new Electro guitars back to Wichita for a grand public introduction proclaiming them “electrical perfection” with a sound having “the quality, fullness and harmony of a pipe organ”. It would take nearly another decade for the instrument to become widely appreciated.

Since that time, the electric guitar has become perhaps the most significant musical instrument of the past century. Brewer’s introduction of the instrument through a series of local Halloween concerts in 1932 is now recognized for its historical importance. This exhibit examines the careers of some electric guitarists who have followed Brewer in the town where the instrument made its debut.

This exhibit celebrates electric guitar players in the city where the instrument was first introduced to the world on Halloween 1932. Wichita’s own “Guitar Heroes” celebrated in this special temporary exhibit include: Gage Brewer (who introduced the electric guitar to the world – via Wichita, Kansas*), Floyd Dalrymple, Bud Victory, Jerry Hahn, Barry Harris, Clif Major, Pat McJimsey, Mark “Shark” Shelton, and Bill Goffrier.