The Rickenbacher A-22 Electro Hawaiian Guitar, nicknamed "Frying Pan", is one of the most historically important 20th century electric guitars. Indeed it was the first commercially successful electrified string instrument.
The guitar was designed as a lap steel as Hawaiian music and Western cowboy songs made up a significant portion of the popular guitar music at that time. George Beauchamp himself was known to perform Hawaiian style music on stage. In this way, lap steels came to play a significant role in the early development of the electric guitar.
The instrument, officially the model A-22, earned its nickname because its circular body and long neck make it resemble a frying pan. It features a full-sized guitar neck and a round body containing a pickup, a volume knob and later models also a tone control knob. The A-22 contains one single-coil, horseshoe-magnet pickup. The pickup is shielded by a two-piece cover, which mounts to the body slightly above each end of the pickup and crosses over the strings. The underside contains a plug for the amplifier cord and a cavity containing the inner-workings of the pickup.
The fingerboard is integral with the neck and has raised ridges for frets and inlayed dot markers. The entire instrument is fabricated in one piece of cast aluminium with the strings thru body, with separate chromed metal nut and saddle.
Introduced in 1932, the Frying Pan hardly looked like the invention that would enable the birth of Rock ’n’ Roll some 20 years later. Two models of this guitar existed: Electro Hawaiian (Frying Pan) LapSteel A-22 and A-25. The A-22 model has a 22.5" scale length, and the A-25 model has a 25" scale length.
This guitar comes from the guitar collection of late Hughie Thomasson of The Outlaws.
The guitar was paired with Rickenbacher amps. (see TYS electric guitar collection Rickenbacher M-10).