Mel Bay (1913 - 1997) is one of the legendary figures in the history of the modern guitar. Born in the little Ozark town of Bunker, Missouri, he grew up in De Soto and aspired to a career in engineering. The Great Depression of 1929, however, eradicated his savings and those of his family, so he ventured to St. Louis and began his professional music career. As he was skilled on guitar, tenor banjo, plectrum banjo, mandolin, ukulele and Hawaiian steel guitar, he performed and taught incessantly, instructing up to 100 students per week. In 1947, Mel Bay wrote his groundbreaking Orchestral Guitar Chord System, now titled Rhythm Guitar Chord System, and founded his publishing company, Mel Bay Publications, Inc. The Chord System was soon followed by the first volume of his flagship Modern Guitar Method. After being told by the leading music distributors that "There was no future for the guitar," he began selling his books directly to anyone wanting to play the instrument, at times distributing them from the trunk of his car on working vacations. The end result has been sales in the tens of millions over a span of 70 years. Mel Bay, sometimes called "The George Washington of the Guitar," received many honors during his distinguished career, including: "The Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Guitar Foundation of America, "The Owen Miller Lifetime Achievement Award" from the American Federation of Musicians, and posthumously in 2011, an induction to and star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Perhaps the part of his legacy of which he would have been most proud is that, throughout the world, it is difficult to find an accomplished guitarist who has not been influenced by a Mel Bay book.