The History of the Touch guitar


Dave Bunker: Touch Guitarist/Luthier/Entertainer

In this picture of Jimmy Schuster with his father Art playing one of my early Touch Guitars(Duo-lectar) is one of my favorites. Jimmy was one of the best This is the very first Double Neck touch type musical instrument ever patented, Notice the date in the script below the photo (1956). This first Touch Guitar which I patented as the Duo-Lectar™ was made by my Father Joe Bunker and I in 1955. We didn't have money to buy fret wire so we made the frets out of an old chain saw stinger (blade).

The upper neck was a 24.5" Guitar neck and the lower neck was a 30" six string bass neck, later Irby Mandrell, Barbara's great father talked me into making the bass neck into a four string 32" scale, Irby even helped me build that model, also notice the first ever string mute on the upper guitar neck, this actually was the basis for the first patent #2,989,884 which was granted on June 27, 1961.

Lots of controversy exist over who did what and when on the Touch/Tap Method of play, well here it is" and this is right, Actually Merl Travis was one of the first artist to play using two hands on the fingerboard. The first artist to really bring it out and do something with was Jimmie Webster, who wrote the first touch System method book for a single neck type electric guitar played with two hand tapping. I was the first to build and patent one you could tap on both necks which was made posible by damping each neck at the nut as refered to in patent #2,989,884 filed in 1957 and issued in 1961 and also wrote and copyrighted the first double neck Method Book, One of the earlier great contributors has been Emmett Chapman with the Stick design, which is probably the best known of the touch/Tap type instruments. Some great Artist followed like, Edward VanHalen and others. Most of the touch/Tap style instruments incorporated my manual mute (Duo-Lectar ™) into there instruments.  

One Gentleman who pursued the history of Touch style play was Traktor Topaz. I have copies of the original Jimmie Webster book and of my own method book if anyone is interested.

Thanks, Dave Bunker