Melbourne E. “Mel” Bay

Melbourne E. “Mel” Bay

Bunker, Reynolds County, Missouri, USA
Death 14 May 1997 (aged 84)
Missouri, USA
Burial De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 80610411 View Source

Son of Albert Monroe Bay and Edith Amanda Bryson. He was a musician and music book publisher in Kirkwood Mo.
The following provided by: Sherrie Bari: "Mel Bay took up guitar at the age of 13 and learned by watching what few guitarists he knew and copied their hand positions on the fretboard,learning chords in this manner. He then took up tenor banjo,ukulele,mandolin,and Hawaiian guitar.
Once he felt he had a good handle on his playing,he performed whenever he could-his first gig being for a "snake oil" salesman in and around the neighborhood where Mel lived. Playing banjo until he had drawn a crowd,Mel would quit playing and the salesman started his patter.
Knowing he's have to be in a big city to make it as a musician,Mel moved to St Louis in the 1930's and played with numerous local and traveling bands. He landed several guitar staff positions on several radio stations. He even fronted his own trio for many years.
After WWII,Mel was asked to write instructional guides on playing guitar for veterans who were learning on the G.I. bill. In 1947 Mel Bay Publishing was formed. Mel Bay claimed at one time to know every guitar teacher in America on a first name basis. His guitar books caught on in a huge way in the 1950's. Mel also wrote books on how to play the ukulele as well as other stringed instruments. There are very few people today who have not learned something about guitar,tenor banjo or ukulele without help from Mel's books. He is, in a real sense,the George Washington of music book method."

Bio by: Donald Lindsey Eoff

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