Born in 1900, Roy Smeck was a real fan-favorite on the vaudeville circuit during the first half of the twentieth century, with his skill on the banjo, guitar, steel guitar, and especially the ukulele earning him the nickname “Wizard of the Strings.”
To supplement his act Smeck also developed novelty dances and what could be called “trick playing” to stand out from his contemporaries, some of which can be seen in action in the video clip below.
Filmed in the 1930’s, Roy can be seen performing “Rubenstein’s Melody in F,” using a whole manner of techniques that are more commonly associated with modern guitar players including; percussive effects and finger tapping. The later which is usually linked with electric guitar (and in particular 80’s shred). However as we previously covered our story on Vittorio Camardese in 1965, this technique goes back a bit further than most probably realise.