App's Music House, and more...

O. W. Appleton started playing piano in grade school. By high school he picked up the ukulele, the baritone uke, the banjo and what would become his favorite, the guitar. He could eventually teach all stringed instuments except the violin.

He played in orchestras (doing both the musical arranging and booking the band) until 1926, when his son, Jamie F. Appleton II was born.

After 1926 he taught music in homes in several nearby towns, then rented a studio at 323 1/2 N. Fourth St., Burlilngton, Iowa.  That led to him opening his own retail store, App's Music House.   Around 1950 he moved the business to 205 S. Main Street. "App's Music House" was on the first floor, and his teaching department, "App's School of Music," was on the second floor.  Sometime between 1955 and 1956 the business moved again to Washington and Third, where the retail store was on the main floor, and App's School of Music was in the basement.

During those years he he taught several generations of young musicians, using music books that he himself wrote, including an unique and easy-to-follow beginners method book (Still available... please contact us.) He also taught a detailed course on harmony.

And all the while. O.W. continued designing and inventing.

In 1972, he sold his business and retired to Arizona.

Here are some pictures through the years of the amazing O.W. "App" Appleton:


O. W. Appleton, circa 1916


O. W. Appleton, circa 1921


O. W. Appleton, circa 1925, posing with instruments made by his father, Jamie F. Appleton.




The guitar in the photo above. Built by Jamie F. Appleton, O.W.'s father.




The all-wood banjo in the photo above. Built by Jamie F. Appleton, O.W.'s father.






Cliff Warner's Country Club Orchestra - O. W. Appleton on banjo
Appleton played banjo in the orchestra because his favorite instrument, the guitar, was not loud enough to be heard over the horns. This experience eventually lead him to design his own electric guitar.




The 1921 Paramount Style B plectrum banjo, serial #707, that O.W. is holding in the Orchestra photo above.




205 South Main Street store, opening day, 1950
second from left: Jamie Appleton II - far right: Inez & O.W. Appleton





The Appleton Music Store
205 South Main Street, Burlington, Iowa



The Appleton Music Store
Washington & Third St, Burlington, Iowa



The APP Guitar - a pine body, with many many coats of shellac.
Built in 1941.


** For more pictures of the APP Guitar Click Here!! **



The APP Guitar at The Country Music Hall Of Fame, early 1982
left to right: Andrew Appleton (O.W.'s grandson), Jamie Appleton II (O.W.'s son),
and Anna Appleton (O.W.'s great-granddaughter)