Made by Paul Bigsby and played by Speedy West

MIM added a recently restored 1948 T-8 console pedal steel guitar, the first pedal steel made by inventor and electric guitar pioneer Paul Bigsby, to its special exhibition, The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon. Played by western swing artist Speedy West, the guitar fell into disrepair and had been neglected for years until musician, historian, and collector Deke Dickerson rediscovered it. After matching the instrument’s wood grain with archival photos, Dickerson realized he had found Speedy West’s long-lost original Bigsby guitar. The rare instrument features three eight-string necks and four foot-operated “tone changer” pedals, enabling a wide range of chords and melodies.

“Deke was one of the earliest supporters of this exhibition, and this final piece really completes our initial vision of celebrating the origins and pioneers of the electric guitar,” says Richard Walter, MIM’s curator for the United States / Canada and Europe.