Members of Metallica, Five Finger Death Punch, Trivium, Pantera, Chickenfoot and many other acts took to social media to pay tribute to Jim Dunlop, the founder of Dunlop Manufacturing and the enormously influential innovator of picks, capos, and other guitar accessories who died this week at the age of 82.
Five Finger Death Punch bassist Chris Kael wrote, “Many of you don’t know Jim Dunlop. But, if you’ve ever been to a @FFDP show and caught one of our guitar picks, you’ve held a piece of Jim right there in your hand. Thanks @jimdunlopusa for your support over the years. Your life lives on through your work, my friend! #RIP.”
Born in Scotland in 1936, Dunlop first traveled to Canada as a young man and then California. By the 1960s, he had started a family and was working as a machinist and then mechanical engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. During off hours, he turned his lifelong interest in music to creating accessories for guitar players.
In 1965, he founded Dunlop Manufacturing and became a maker of guitar picks, expanding the options available to guitar players of the time, introducing strict quality control and a wider variety of gauges than had ever been available before. His Tortex Pick is still the Number One pick in the world today.
In the 1980s, Dunlop acquired several other gear brands, most notably Cry Baby pedals, and expanded their offerings while introducing a new level of quality and consistency. Dunlop Manufacturing is now one of the world’s largest pedal companies, working closely over the years with artists like Slash, Kirk Hammett and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott.
Dunlop’s first wife Bernice passed away in 2001. He is survived by his wife of seven years, Linda, as well as two children and three grandchildren. The family is asking that memorial contributions be made to MusiCares in his name.