by Bud Tutmarc
I was born in Centralia, WA on July 11, 1924.
My father, Paul H. Tutmarc, Sr., was a professional musician, singer, dance band leader, banjo player and Hawaiian Steel guitarist. My Mother was a
beautician owning her own beauty shop.
My father taught the Hawaiian Steel guitar in our home. From the time I was two years old, I would lie behind the davenport and listen to him teach many, many
students to play the steel guitar.
When I was six years old, he placed a Knuttsen steel guitar in my hands and said, "play it". And, I did. I already had his instruction book memorized
so once I had the guitar on my lap and the picks and steel in my hands, I started my life long association with the Hawaiian Steel guitar.
In 1931 my father invented the very first electric guitar. Naturally it was an
Hawaiian steel guitar since they were never loud enough against the accompaning
instruments. He electrified zithers, pianos and rhythm guitars. In 1933 he
made the very first electric bass. It was the size and shape of a cello, a solid
body handcarved out of soft white pine. He always felt sorry for the bass fiddle
player as he would always have to travel by himself once he "stuffed"
his bass fiddle in his car. The other fellows in the band would ride three or four guys
in one car and have a grand time traveling to a dance job. My father felt that
the electric bass, the size of a cello, was still too large to carry around so he
made a 42 inch, solid body electric bass and advertised them all over in a brochure he
had printed in 1935. I played one of his electric basses in John Marshall Junior High School
in 1937 and 1938.
In November of 1935, my father was invited to play his electric Hawaiian Steel guitar in a local,
Seattle church, Hollywood Temple. The invitation came from
Emerald Baunsgard, the man who did the wood work on my fathers guitars. After
playing each Sunday night for a few weeks, he insisted that our entire family
come to church and hear what the minister was saying from the pulpit regarding
how we should be living and accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. On the first
Sunday of December, 1935, our entire family, Mom, Dad, Sister and me, went
forward to the altar and accepted the Lord as our Savior.
Sol Hoopii had always been my dad's idol! My dad had every record ever made by
Sol, and wore them out playing them so many times so that he could learn to play
like Sol Hoopii. I was raised on Sol's music since I could remember and was a little
remiss to think that since I had become a Christian I shouldn't be
listening to Sol's (very jazzy) music. What a thrill it was to our entire family when we heard
that Sol Hoopii had also given his heart to the Lord and was now a Christian, serving the Lord
now with his music. His conversion took place on Easter Sunday in 1939. What a thrill it was
for me to meet Sol Hoopii PERSONALLY in Seattle in November of 1942. We played together,
traveled together and I consider him the greatest steel guitarist this world will ever know!
Paul Tutmarc and the Electric Guitar Origins Story with Pictures
Sol Hoopii Recordings
Bud Tutmarc Hawaiian Recordings