- acoustic guitars
- electric guitars
- lap steel guitars
Slingerland was founded by HH Slingerland around 1912 as a Chicago distributor of ukuleles and ukulele music. They initially imported the ukuleles from Germany but had to start in house manufacturing keep up with demand. In 1923, they bought their first factory building at 1815 Orchard Street, initally making ukuleles, then banjos, and finally guitars. The factory moved into the neighboring properties as they expanded and by the mid-20's they claimed to be the world's largest and most modern-equipped banjo factory.
In 1927 Slingerland began making drums (in response to drum manufacturer Ludwig moving in on the banjo business). Slingerland owned other guitar brands (including May Bell and College-Pal) and many of the Slingerland, May Bell and College-Pal guitars were actually made by Harmony or Regal. By around 1936 Slingerland was producing both Spanish and lap steel electric guitars (the Songster model) these were perhaps the earliest known commercially produced electric guitars.Slingerland stopped making stringed instruments in 1940 in order to focus on making percussion instruments. The company remained in the Slingerland family until 1970. In the 1970s and 1980s, Slingerland changed ownership several times until it was acquired from Gretsch by the Gibson musical instruments company in 1994.