Eldon Shamblin was an American guitarist and arranger, particularly important to the development of Western swing music as one of the first electric guitarists in a popular dance band.
Born in Clinton, Oklahoma, Shamblin learned guitar at a young age and learned to read music at his sister's piano. He became interested in Jazz when he heard Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. In time he purchased transcriptions of Eddie's solos and learned them when he became interested in arranging, a skill he later proved to be in demand for as the Big Band era swept the nation. As a teenager he migrated from Weatherford, OK to Oklahoma City where he played some of the roughest dives and nightclubs and landed a daily 15 minute radio show where he sang and accompanied himself on his guitar. Eventually he wound up playing in hotel bands there in OK City with jazz musicians playing selections that were soon to become classics. His local fame spread and he soon was known as the other great guitarist in Oklahoma, the first being a young Charlie Christian who was playing in venues down in the Deep Deuce area of 2nd St and also with groups that had programs on some of the same radio stations as Eldon. Charlie played in a lot of the nightclubs on the 'other' side of town where few white people ventured. Likewise Blacks seldom were seen in the 'white' section. In the Deep Deuce area the color lines were often completely forgotten as in mixed races Jam sessions at Salathiel's Barn where Charlie was known to have played with steel guitarist Noel Boggs and pianist Clarence Cagle, both of whom figured into the Western Swing music of Bob Wills and other bands of the genre. Ironically, some of these artists played in clubs which were across the alley from one another, often well within earshot of the back door. Music being a bond between races it's said that Eldon & Charlie possibly heard one another either on the air or across the alleys.