people agree that Van Shipley was the first electric guitarist
in India and the first to record instrumental versions of
film songs beginning sometime in the early 1950s. The name
Van Shipley is Methodist, he is from Lucknow UP. He designed
his own electric eight string steel guitar in the 1940’s.
The reason he did this was that he’d studied Indian
classical music under Ustad Alaudin Khan, the leading classical
musician in India, who was also a contemporary of Ravi Shankar.
He also studied the violin with a German teacher. This Western
style influence is what compelled Van Shipley to design
his own electric violin as well. He owned a Gibson E5, given
to him as a gift over 50yrs ago. That’s why he wanted
to play Indian classical music on guitar. He wanted to hear
a particular the drone, so he made an eight string guitar,
instead of a five string. His guitar was a solid guitar,
designed to his style at the time, it was futuristic. He
listened to all types of music and played Indian classic
on Western instruments.
Shipley was based in Bombay with his wife and family but
sadly, he passed away at the age of 78 on the morning of
the 8th of March 2008 in his home. His daughter Ingrid is
an artist and musician who lives in New York, and his nephew
Valentine is a singer/songwriter in India.