Guitarist Eddie Lang introduced the popular string instrument to a wider audience and forever changed the way that people listened to music. His versatility and musical talent made it possible for the humble guitar to rise to an elevated status in the jazz, blues, and classical genres. His career included collaborations with with such renowned artists as Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Bix Biederbecke, Benny Goodman, King Oliver, Bessie Smith, and Paul Whiteman.
He also played under the name “Blind Willie Dunn” on a number of blues records with Alonzo “Lonnie” Johnson, an African-American blues and jazz singer, guitarist, violinist, and songwriter. Eddie Lang showed no tolerance for racism and appeared on more recording sessions with black musicians than any other white musician of his time.
The jazz guitar virtuoso became friends with legendary singer Bing Crosby and often served as his accompanist. Eddie Lang’s most famous association was with childhood friend and violinist Joe Venuti, with whom he recorded many titles.
Eddie Lang’s career was cut short in 1933 when complications arose after what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy. He was only 30 when he died.
Jazz Guitar Virtuoso
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The Strumstick string instrument was designed in 1981 by Bob McNally, an accomplished musician, recording artist, and plastics engineer. His goal was to make it easy for anyone, particularly non-musicians, to learn to play music.
Bob began designing musical instruments in the 1970s. One of his previous designs, The Backpackers Guitar®, was licensed to world-famous guitar maker C. F. Martin and Co., Inc. in 1994.
Learning is Easy and Fun
Designed to be simple with only three strings, the Strumstick plays in just one key (or scale). Most string instruments are designed to be played by experts, with the notes needed for all 12 keys. Unlike more complicated instruments, there are no wrong notes. This makes learning easy and fun.
The frets are spaced to give you the notes of a major scale, plus one extra note that is handy to have. The other two strings make a background (a drone) which harmonizes with whatever you play on the fretted string. Chords are created automatically.
More Strumstick Facts
Bob McNally also created the Space Guitar, a version of his backpacker guitar designed for a Space Shuttle mission in 1994. It was the first American guitar in space, and the first musical instrument ever designed to go to space.
Are you learning to play the acoustic guitar? Learn the basics and grow your confidence with the Strumstick. Think of it as training wheels for guitar! If you already play another string instrument, the Strumstick can be used as a creative tool for composition. You can also play it for simple relaxation. Rediscover the simple joy of playing that brought you to music in the first place.
Awesome Beginning Instrument
Kids love the Strumstick! Are you looking for a beginning string instrument for a child? The best-selling D-33 model is a perfect choice. It’s lightweight, rugged, and easy to play. With a little supervision, kids as young as 3 are able to make music with it right from the start.
The Strumstick opens a door to the study of music. It’s fun to play, and much easier to learn than the guitar or ukulele. Each instrument comes with written and audio instructions, with plenty of online follow up and support. Give this easy string instrument a chance, and you’ll be making music in no time.
McNally D-33 Grand Strumstick
Listen to the Strumstick
Introduction by Bob McNally
Strumstick creator Bob McNally introduces his best-selling D-33 model, which is longer and wider with a deeper tone. The G-29 is shorter and a little narrower with a brighter tone. Most people choose the D-33 as their first Strumstick. The G-29 can be used to add another “voice” and a different pitch range.
Are you looking for unique gift ideas for your favorite guitarist? Maybe you’re a guitar player and you’d like to treat yourself to something special? We’re assembling an ever-growing collection of the best guitar gifts for guitarists and music lovers alike. Many of our gift selections are customizable with the recipient’s name for a truly personal touch.
We’ve got awesome guitar gifts for every budget. Find the ideal gift for your favorite guitar player. Check out the cool T-shirts, trucker hats, cotton canvas tote bags, coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets, posters, colorful buttons, jewelry, business cards, cooking aprons, guitar accessories, and more unique guitar gifts.
We’ve created more than 2,000 products for string musicians and fans. Some of our best guitar gifts are shared on this page, along with our top picks from other designers. Click on the banner to view the complete String Kings Music Guitar collection.
Shirts are always a welcome gift, especially when they depict a favorite string instrument. These shirts are available in dozens of styles and colors for all ages and body types. Click on any design to see the available options.
Guitarist tote bags are a stylish yet practical gift. They’re perfect for organizing and transporting sheet music and small guitar accessories. Most bags are available in a wide selection of sizes, colors, and styles.
Mugs are one of our favorite affordable guitar gifts. Everyone can use a few mugs. Click on any mug to see how the design looks from different angles. Experiment with sizes, styles, and colors to create a personal gift for your favorite guitarist.
Classic cotton-poly twill blend aprons are another of our top picks for practical guitar gifts. Choose from several style and color options. Spacious front pockets hold plenty of utensils and cooking tools. Aprons are machine washable and proudly made in the U.S.A.
Here’s one of our favorite inexpensive gift ideas for guitarists. Who doesn’t need a couple of refrigerator magnets? Standard size square magnets measure 2 by 2 inches, and round magnets are typically available in three sizes. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper. A scratch and UV-resistant Mylar coat keeps each magnet looking new for years to come.
Top quality printed business cards are available in sets of 100 on your choice of eight types of premium card stock. Printed information can be easily personalized for any performer or music teacher. Classic business cards measure 2 by 3.5 inches, and skinny and chubby profile cards are available for some styles. Click on any design to see more options.
Buttons are another of our favorite cool guitar gifts. Standard sized square buttons measure 2 inches by 2 inches. Round buttons are available in several sizes. Designs are printed on 100% recycled paper, then covered with scratch and UV-resistant Mylar for years of enjoyment. Some styles allow you to choose a new background color for complete customization.
Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac
Stevie Nicks wrote this song during a visit to the Rocky Mountains in Aspen, Colorado. At the time she was a struggling artist, weighing the options of going back to school or continuing her professional association with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. “Landslide” was featured on Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 album, launching the entire band into rock and roll history.
Stevie Nicks It was my 16th birthday–my mom and dad gave me my Goya classical guitar that day. I sat down, wrote this song, and I just knew that that was the only thing I could ever really do–write songs and sing them to people.
The lap steel guitar is a string instrument derived from and similar to the guitar. On a conventional guitar, players create sounds by pressing strings against the fretboard. When playing a lap steel or lap pedal guitar, players alter the pitch by pressing a bar against the strings. The instrument is typically placed on the player’s lap. It can also be placed on a stool in front of the player.
Lap steel and pedal steel guitars are associated with many types of music including bluegrass, blues, country, Hawaiian, jazz, and rock. How does it work? The player holds a metal or glass slide in one hand, which is moved along the strings. The other hand is used to pluck or pick the strings.
More Lap Steel Guitar Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a lap steel guitarist.
Notable lap steel guitarists include Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead), George Harrison and John Lennon (The Beatles), Barbara Mandrell, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), and Ron Wood (The Rolling Stones).
The guitar is a string instrument that plays a critical role in many music genres including bluegrass, blues, country, flamenco, folk, jazz, jota, mariachi, metal, pop, punk, reggae, rock, and soul. Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, have had a lasting impact on popular culture.
More Guitar Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a guitarist.
Notable guitarists are far too numerous to name here, though Jimi Hendrix is often singled out as the greatest ever.
Brazilian guitarist, arranger, and composer Oscar Castro-Neves plays the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic Waters of March (Águas de Março) on the Ramsey Lewis Legends of Jazz series on PBS. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Oscar is considered a founding figure in the Bossa Nova music style. He was just 16 when his song Chora Tua Tristeza became a national hit.
We Love Guitars
Looking for more guitar facts? Here are some of our favorite pages about guitars for you to enjoy:
The bass guitar is a string instrument that establishes the beat for many styles of music. Blues, country, funk, fusion, gospel, jazz, Latin, metal, pop, punk rock, reggae, and rock all feature the beat of the bass guitar. The popular string instrument is known by many names including bass, electric bass, and electric bass guitar.
More Bass Guitar Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a bassist.
Notable bassists include Sheryl Crow, Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), Julian Lennon, Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings), John Patitucci (Chick Corea), Prince, Kenny Rogers (Kenny Rogers and The First Edition), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Esperanza Spalding, Peter Tork (The Monkees), Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen, Sammy Hagar), Wolfgang Van Halen (Van Halen), Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols), and Stevie Wonder.