This article investigates the two radically different innovation paths chosen by Gibson and Fender, the two major electric guitar manufacturers, during the period 1945–1984. The beginning of this period corresponds both to the entrance of Fender in a market then dominated by Gibson and to the birth of the electric guitar. The article shows that the period 1945–1958 is one of intensive innovation, albeit of a different type, from both manufacturers. Fender’s innovation was inspired by engineering and electronics, while Gibson’s was rooted in craftsmanship and tradition. These very few years, which defined what electric guitar is, were then followed by a period of innovation deadlock (1958–1984). This article demonstrates that this was not due to a lack of innovative activities, but, instead, to a growing misunderstanding of consumer needs and to sterile attempts to capture each other’s market share.