Members of DREAM THEATER, PANTERA, TESTAMENT, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION and CHICKENFOOT are among the musicians who have reacted to the passing of Jim Dunlop. The founder of Dunlop Manufacturing and enormously influential innovator of picks, capos, and other guitar accessories died at the age of 82.
Born in Scotland in 1936, Jim traveled to Canada as a young man looking for new opportunities. There he met his bride and mother of his children, Bernice, and the two of them headed to California for warmer weather. 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.
Jim's fearless, innovative spirit led him to turn his hobby into a livelihood, and in 1965, he founded Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc. Finding local success with handmade capos, he made the life-changing decision to become a maker of guitar picks when his obsession for precision drove him to design guitar picks gauged by their true thickness. Jim made a personal commitment to 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. He blended the advice of musicians with his precise engineering intuition as he experimented with numerous shapes and materials so that players could find the right pick and get the most out of it. One of the greatest triumphs to come from that experimentation was Tortex Picks, which is the No. 1 pick in the world today.
In the 1980s, Jim boldly entered the effects market, assembling a crack team of engineers and securing top-quality parts. He acquired beloved brands such as Cry Baby and MXR and expanded their offerings while remaining true to their legacies and introducing a level of quality and consistency where it had never existed before. Taking on electronics blew the door wide open for Jim's company, leading to collaborations with the family of Jimi Hendrix and numerous artists such as Eddie Van Halen, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and Slash to make the sounds of the world's top players available to everyone around the world. Today, Dunlop Manufacturing is one of the world's largest pedal companies.
It would be difficult to find a guitar player who hasn't been affected by Jim's thoughtful innovations. Ever attentive to their needs, Jim will live on in the many products that he created to provide people with a better playing experience.
Jim was widowed by Bernice, in 2001 and is survived by Linda, wife of 7 years; daughter Jasmin Powell, married to Glenn; son Jimmy Dunlop, married to Elizabeth; and grandchildren Alyssa Powell, Krista Powell and Max Dunlop.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to MusiCares in Jim's name.
Photo courtesy of NAMM
???— Kirk Hammett (@KirkHammett) February 8, 2019
Jim Dunlop -
purveyor of the cry baby wah pedal https://t.co/DSUXevNlg9
Thank you Jim Dunlop Sr. for all of the joy and innovation you’ve brought to the world of guitar. I owe so much of my sound and technique to the amazing Dunlop picks I’ve played with ever since I picked up the... https://t.co/0GkOmlzZtt— John Petrucci (@JPetrucci) February 7, 2019
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 https://t.co/uFxqed1R17— Chris Kael (@5FDPChrisKael) February 7, 2019
A few @jimdunlopusa wares that it’s hard to Imagine being on stages and in studios without over the years. Unlike guitars, amps,— Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) February 8, 2019
pickups etc, these tools of the trade are mostly hidden from listeners, yet no less essential. Thanks Jim Dunlop Sr. @jimdunlopusa R.I.P #jimdunlop pic.twitter.com/YSddKsfzNY
Rest In Peace Jim Dunlop. A true legend in this industry. My condolences go out to his entire family in this very sad time. pic.twitter.com/B526MnOg8M— Joe Bonamassa (Official) (@JBONAMASSA) February 7, 2019
@LivingColour sends condolences to Jimi Jr, Jasmine, & the worldwide musical Dunlop Family. It’s impossible to overstate the impact of the innovative work of the Crybaby Highlander— Vernon Reid (@vurnt22) February 7, 2019
Rest In Peace ✌?
Jim Dunlop Sr., Music Gear Innovator, Has Died https://t.co/rcx1P2okvf @Loudwire
Aw man RIP Jim Dunlop dammit. Guitar wouldn’t be the same without him— Brendon Small (@_Brendonsmall) February 8, 2019
#JimDunlop was an innovator who helped shape the music we love. We are so sad to hear of his passing. Our thoughts are with the @jimdunlopusa family. All our love. ❤️ - Team BG— Buddy Guy (@TheRealBuddyGuy) February 7, 2019
Photo: March 2018 in Sacramento when Jim presented BG with a one-of-a-kind gold plated #crybabywah. pic.twitter.com/IhEOqMMY5s
Rest In Peace to one of the heroes of the music world. #jimdunlop | #Repost @jimdunlopusa with @get_repost— Matthew kiichichaos Heafy (@matthewkheafy) February 8, 2019
Remembering Jim Dunlop, 1936–2019: Founder of Dunlop Manufacturing pic.twitter.com/eUeZoBp12W
RIP Jim Dunlop Sr. Both Dimebag Darrell & Rex Brown used Dunlop Tortex picks and Dime had his signature pedal, Cry Baby From Hell with Jim Dunlop Guitar Products. He will be missed!Posted by Pantera on Thursday, February 7, 2019
Want to send all my love out to the Jim Dunlop Guitar Products family.. not only have you been the best to work with...Posted by Rita Haney on Thursday, February 7, 2019