Mel Bay bought his first guitar at age thirteen, taught himself to play and was performing publicly within a few months. He moved to St. Louis in 1933, where he fronted his own trio and taught up to 100 students per week. In 1947 Bay published his landmark instruction manual The Orchestral Chord System for Guitar, soon followed by Modern Guitar Method. Marvels of simple yet thorough instruction, Bay’s various guitar manuals sold over 25 million copies. Called “the George Washington of the guitar” by Guitar Player magazine, Mel Bay promoted guitar popularity worldwide by making the instrument easily accessible to novice players while helping expert musicians improve their technique.