We just received the news that music industry mainstay and Quick-Change Capo inventor, Milton Kyser, passed away last week. The following tribute is from his friends and family at Kyser Musical Products in Tyler, Texas.
At 6 pm on January 23rd, 2014 Milton Kyser peacefully passed away with loving family members praying at his side. After 80 awe-inspiring years on this earth, Milton has gone home.
In 1974, Milton Kyser had an idea. He wanted to build a better capo. After personally drafting plans for the tooling and machinery he'd need, he flew to Germany and oversaw their creation.
In 1978, he was awarded a patent for his Quick-Change and converted his garage into a design and production workshop - what he calls his first "factory".
Sales started slowly, but word of the device's convenient "quick-change" feature won over players, first locally, and eventually through a growing network of dealers.
Within five years, Milton moved the business to a small shop in Grand Prairie, near Dallas, starting with just four workers. In 1998, to meet growing demand for this invention, Milton built a new facility in the small east Texas town of Canton. The new space expanded offices and production capabilities and added employees, bringing the current workforce to around forty employees.
In June 2012, Milton handed the reins of Kyser Musical Products, Inc to his great niece, Meredith Hamlin. As President / CEO, Meredith has rounded out the Kyser executive team with Larry Hunt -- COO, James Paul Thompson -- CFO, and Max Lintner -- Executive Business Development Manager. Randall Williams, who has been with Kyser for nine years, continues to grow the company globally as Director of International Sales.
In July 2013, the entire Music Industry community helped wish Milton a Happy 80th Birthday in person at a Summer NAMM All-Star Gala in Nashville, TN.
Up until very recently, Milton would go to the Kyser manufacturing facility and also the distribution center each and every work day. It's what he loved to do. It was his life. He was so very proud of his business.
“If I'm not working, I don't know what else to do. My work is my hobby and it makes me happy." - Milton Kyser.
From an elderly person's health perspective, the past several months have been challenging for Milton. Although his health wouldn't allow him to move about freely, visit the job sites, and check on production, he remained in good spirits and always made efforts to connect with the loved ones who surrounded him.
We, as a company, are so incredibly grateful for Milton's ingenuity, creativity, and passion for life, love, family and his musical products.
Kyser is honored to continue to be a part of and also to grow Milton's legacy in an industry which he truly loved.
Our continuing mission is to make the best quality musical products we can -- right here in the USA -- products Milton Kyser would be proud of.
A memorial service will be held at 10AM on Friday, February 7th at New Harmony Baptist Church, 10251 FM 724, Tyler, TX 75704, 1-903-593-5811.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Milton, please do so at Hospice of East Texas, 4111 University Blvd, Tyler, TX 75701, 1-903-266-3400.
Kyser Musical Products