R.I.P Jim Dunlop – Remembering the Guitar Gear Innovator

by Alec Plowman, Feb 13, 2019 . 3 min read

R.I.P Jim Dunlop – Remembering the Guitar Gear Innovator

The guitar world has lost a legend. Jim Dunlop – guitar plectrum and guitar pedals pioneer – has died. A cause of death for the 82 year old is not yet known.

Legacy

Dunlop has been a force in the guitar world for the past 50 years. Born in Scotland in 1982, he relocated to Canada as an adult. But, it was the warmer climes of North America that ultimately called to him. In the 1960s, he and his then-pregnant wife relocated to the United States, borrowing money from the credit union so that they could cross the border:

“To get across the border, you had to prove you had $1,600 in your bank account. I only had $600 in the bank at that time, so I went straight to the credit union and borrowed $1,000. Then I went to the American consulate general in Montreal, showed them the $1,600 in my account, and they stamped my papers and said, ‘You’re free to go.’ I went right back to the credit union and paid the $1,000 back in full, and we crossed the border with $600 and a final destination: San Francisco.”

History

Dunlop started out in America working as mechanical engineer. But, he soon moved into the world of musical instruments, founding his namesake company in 1965. He found early success making capos for twelve string guitars. But, what is probably his most notable contribution to the guitar market would come later, when he made his first foray into pick manufacturing.

By listening to guitarists and some savvy research and development, Dunlop turned the pick market on its head. Experimenting with different shapes, materials and thicknesses, as well as introducing distinctive gauges, he was able to create a range of plectrums that catered to different guitarists’ needs.

In the 1980s, Jim further innovated in the guitar world by entering the effects market. Acquiring staple brands such as MXR and CryBaby, he improved the consistency and quality control of effects units, while expanding the range of pedals on the market.

Tribute

Dunlop have paid tribute to their founder in a statement on their official Instagram page.

“Remembering Jim Dunlop, 1936–2019: Jim dedicated his life to making it easier and more enjoyable for musicians to express themselves. Driven by a fearless, innovative spirit, he tirelessly sought out ways to improve and expand the options available to players around the world. Today, we remember his contribution to music history.”

R.I.P Jim Dunlop.

Main photo credit: Dunlop Manufacturing Inc. 



Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Submit

Check out some other similar articles

Take advantage of our biggest backer-exclusive discounts and get your hands on this next-generation automatic tuner. Back the Kickstarter campaign today and be the first to receive the Roadie 3.

The 6 famous songs that use dominant 7th chords have a special quality to them. A big chunk of that particular flavor is thanks to the use of dominant chords.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 26, 2021 . 7 min read

These 5 facts about Guns N’ Roses can help us understand why they became one of the biggest rock bands ever.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 16, 2021 . 6 min read

These 7 facts about Jimi Hendrix partially show why he is such a massive influence on guitar players. They also reveal a very unique career that is impossible to be duplicated.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 12, 2021 . 6 min read

This guide to understanding the types of electric guitars will shed light on a topic that can be confusing for many.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 9, 2021 . 4 min read

Today we’re going to talk about 5 ways musicians get inspired. The term inspiration refers to being mentally stimulated to do something, especially in the creative realm.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 2, 2021 . 4 min read

A list of the best fingerstyle guitarists is a tough one to make. Instrumental fingerstyle guitar has crawled its way into the mainstream more and moreover the last few years, but it’s still swamped by almost every other genre.

Evan Ceretti
Jun 29, 2021 . 6 min read

There’s a ton of stuff you need to learn if you’re a guitar beginner. You have to learn the riffs, chords, and different finger techniques before you even learn to play your first song.

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 25, 2021 . 4 min read

We recently covered how different kinds of arthritis can affect your guitar playing. We also provided some tips on how to avoid it.

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 21, 2021 . 3 min read

Johnny Cash, one of country music’s most influential singers sadly passed away in 2003; His words and music live on, continuing to have a profound effect on listeners.

Evan Ceretti
Jun 14, 2021 . 5 min read

Wondering what are the 5 most covered songs of all time? Spoiler alert! They’re not the ones you would think.

Frederik Nielsen
Jun 7, 2021 . 4 min read

The 4 lies musicians tell themselves are truly baffling. Each of them are indefensible and together they form a sure stairway to failure. However, all these lies have a common denominator: lack of any kind of work ethic.

Rodrigo Sanchez
May 24, 2021 . 4 min read

These 4 legendary recording studios that are active today have survived a plethora of adversities.

Rodrigo Sanchez
May 21, 2021 . 4 min read

These 5 hit songs disliked by their songwriters are a true study into human nature. You wrote a song, it became a massive hit, and now you hate it? That’s right! It happens more often than you’d think.

Rodrigo Sanchez
May 14, 2021 . 4 min read

The top 5 young guitar players today seem to defy the odds. You need a lot of time to get really good at something like playing an instrument.

Rodrigo Sanchez
May 10, 2021 . 3 min read

These 5 inspirational books for musicians can be considered modern classics. They are a fantastic resource to feed our drive and keep us inspired.

Rodrigo Sanchez
May 3, 2021 . 4 min read

The 5 jazz albums every music fan should have are a collection of incredible music by incredible artists. These records marked a moment in history and continue to inspire generations of music lovers across the globe.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Apr 30, 2021 . 4 min read

Have you ever wondered why so many learn how to play Wonderwall by Oasis on guitar? This song is a decade-defining anthem that has transcended generations.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Apr 23, 2021 . 4 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!