Jim Dunlop Sr, founder of the Jim Dunlop company, has passed away aged 82. He will be remembered as one of the greatest innovators of the guitar world, one of his most famous inventions being the Tortex nylon pick, a tool used by just about everyone who picks strings.
The world has lost one of its great innovators with the passing of Jim Dunlop, inventor of many tools that guitarists keep in their top draw.
Dunlop was a Scottish immigrant in California when he started his company as a part-time venture in 1965. With a background in engineering and a passion for playing guitar, he used his know how to solve real problems faced by guitarists at the time.
His first product was a tuning device called the ‘Vibro tuner’, which didn’t quite take off, but before long he began working on a capo, the 1000 series, which were a huge success and are still for sale to this day.
Dunlop started his business from his own living room, however, he found continuing success when he entered the pick market in 1972, with the now widespread Tortex nylon pick. This enabled him to move to Benicia, California to pursue his company full-time.
He expanded into the pedal market in the 1980s, re-releasing the Cry Baby Wah, which became the world’s best selling pedal effect. Dunlop also bought and revived MXR, releasing modern renditions of old favourites such as the Phase 90. The company also breathed new life into Way Huge in 2008, which continues to make favourites such as the Swollen Pickle and the Pork Loin.
Upon learning the news of Dunlop’s death, many prominent guitarists have extended their condolences.
Slash summed it up well in a Twitter post: “RIP #JimDunlop the innovator who’s company Dunlop Manufacturing has supplied me with just about every guitar accessory I have ever used. We’re going to miss you man.”