View Full Version : Another Good Man Gone...

Rick Turner
10-23-2014, 07:43 AM
I just learned that my old friend, Mandolin Brother Stan Jay, just passed away from a rare form of lymphoma.

Stan was one of the first guys who, along with Hap Kuffner (his former partner in Mando Bros.) George Gruhn, Stan Werbin, Fred Oster, Jim Baggett, and Richard Johnston and Frank Ford, understood what was special about "vintage instruments", especially compared to what the factories were putting out in the 1960s and '70s. He was one of the inventors of the vintage instrument business, and nobody did it with more humor along with deep knowledge. His descriptions of instruments in his newsletter were priceless. Stan also oversaw one of the best repair departments for fretted instruments in the US.

I first met him in our mutually shared Greenwich Village days in the mid 1960s. We always took a bit of time out at NAMM shows whether or not he was carrying my instruments at Mando Bros., and he did ultimately become an anchor dealer of my guitars.

I'll miss his smile, wit, and warm heart.

10-23-2014, 07:56 AM
Well said, Rick. While I can't claim Stan Jay as a friend, I met him on many occasions as I made regular pilgrimage to Mandolin Brothers on Staten Island. Stan usually greeted you at the door with a smile on his face and the exhortation to "Play everything in the store!" For those who have never been there, that included instruments worth tens or even hundreds of thousands. Whenever a Guitar Center weenie give me the stink-eye because I want to play the 4-figure guitar behind the counter, I think of Stan Jay thrusting a $50,000 D'Angelico archtop into my hands and insisting that "I just had to try it." Stan will also be remembered for the florid, often comical prose he used to describe the instruments he sold, first in his newsletter, and later in his website.

Stan doesn't seem to be as well-known in ukulele circles as perhaps some others, but make no mistake, Stan is one of the people who defined the acoustic music market we know today. He was a fine man, and we are fortunate that Mandolin Brothers survives him, a legacy that hopefully will go on for many years to come.

10-23-2014, 08:44 AM
Condolences on the passing of your friend. :(

10-23-2014, 07:04 PM
Sorry to hear that, Rick. Prayers and well wishes sent. Condolences to Stan, his family and you along with all of Stan's friends. Cancer is an evil disease. Ric

10-24-2014, 12:22 AM
The passing of those close to us always reminds us of our own mortality.

I'm sorry to hear of the death of a friend that had such powerful memories for you, Rick. Good times of yesteryear.

Godspeed, Mr. Jay.

mm stan
10-24-2014, 12:50 AM
Sorry to hear about your friend Rick...my condolences..may he rest in peace.. wow you lived in NYC before...

10-24-2014, 02:41 PM
Had an email from Santa Cruz Guitars today with a letter from Richard Hoover...

I have a typed letter from Stan Jay Dated April 1979. It reads in part:
“Congratulations! Your new company has attracted the attention of
Mandolin Brothers. We shall now proceed to put you on the map….”

This was a happy day that launched a beautiful friendship between Stan and me that led to the validation of his prediction. Stan Jay’s seal of approval in this pre-internet age was equal to that of Tony Rice, Eric Clapton and Roger Siminoff of Fret’s magazine. Stanley brought our story to the world when self-promotion was limited to how many letters one could write.

When he discovered us half a decade into our career we were the only ‘Alt Brand’ on the landscape and Stanley took a personal interest in our safety and success. During these years we spoke often and shared houses and friendships between our families. Stanley’s stewardship and sage counsel spared us potentially fatal missteps and rightfully questioned our hubris at a time when there was no other model for what we were doing.

Stanley was a very fun man because he genuinely loved others. Smart as heck but never condescending, he could make uproarious fun of the self-styled expert and the rock headed ignorant, though never publicly and never a with knife in it.

As anyone of our generation has experienced; the intensity of many relationships is weighted back in the day. As Stanley and I gained confidence and security in our careers we didn’t have the former sense of necessity or urgency for each other’s consolations. Dozens of new boutique brands would vie for his iconic attention and Santa Cruz Guitar Co. would become my international thrill ride. We both now had people to handle the business that we used to do together and our friendship settled to the level of a soft glow fueled by our memories. It is here that we remember to say; “If you love someone…now is the time to tell them”.

The vintage market may be the product of many hands though it is quite possible that it would not have happened without the knowledge and love from our dear pal Stanley. If one finds any flaw in his legacy, as we say in Staten Island,… fawgeabowit!

Richard Hoover
October 2014
Santa Cruz, Ca.

10-26-2014, 08:14 AM
Stan was a great guy and this is truly sad news. I'll never forget the first time I went to Mandolin Bros. with my dad when I was 15. Stan encouraged me to play absolutely anything I wanted. Anything. Just for fun I picked up an archtop worth as much as a starter home and played some Ramones on it, and Stan walked over and asked "wanna plug it in?" It was surreal. Stan was the curator of the greatest totally hands-on stringed instrument museum in the world and he never judged me or my family for hanging out there for hours and only buying a T-shirt and some strings. Stan & co. were also some of the only folks around with the guts to carry good quality ukes (Kamaka, Fluke, and some bizarre vintage stuff) long before they were in style. I'll miss his great sense of humor and his passion for all things with strings. Here's hoping his family and long-term staff can carry on the legacy.