How Alvino Rey introduced the guitar world to influences in the 1930s by making him speak with his instruments

While the talk show box achieved its greatest popularity in the early part of the ’70s thanks to Bob Hill, the concept existed in a variety of forms long before its device came to market.

The effect was first popularized, if not invented, by Alvino Ray, in the late 1930s, using a throat contact microphone to make his steel guitar speak. Ray connects the microphone in reverse to act as a speaker and feeds the amplified signal to him. During his performance, his wife, Louise, stood offstage, wearing the instrument and uttering the words to the song while Ray’s steel guitar tones emerged from her lips.

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