Hello fans and fellow players,
I’d like to start this newsletter off by thanking all our disc jockey friends that play the kind of music we love. Country music can be pretty well found anywhere, but western swing is pretty hard to dig up. Steel players everywhere have a friend in deejay Mike Gross in the northeast United States that has a country western internet music show that everyone can enjoy.
Mike is an extremely steel guitar conscious guy that MCs steel guitar shows wherever he gets close enough to one to do so. I really like to pick on Mike because he has a real hard New England accent and I’m very used to hearing southwestern accents in the western swing field. Mike does a wonderful job and I would highly advise that you listen to his show.
While watching RFD out of Branson, Missouri, a young steel guitar playing friend of mine took a nice solo on a song called Diggy Diggy Low. His name is Tyler Hall and he is a freakishly wonderful young player. Tyler has a wonderful career ahead of him and I’m wishing him well, however I’m not sure he’s going to be needing my well wishing the way he plays.
A few minutes later I called my store from my easy chair at home and heard steel guitar in the background, so I asked my secretary who was playing. She said, “Oh, it’s that Tyler Hall again.”
I thought to myself, boy I just can’t get away from this guy, but after hearing a little more, I decided I didn’t want to get away from him. He’s a wonderful player and even nicer person. It’s nice to see Tyler and Eddie Dunlap hanging around together. It reminds me of Jimmy Day and Buddy Emmons and their friendship fifty five years ago.
It seems to be easier to learn steel guitar if you have someone there to compete with at every turn because every time one of you learns something, the other one can learn it as well.
It’s pretty nice having this store as I catch myself learning from others and having them learn from me. I remember back when steel guitar was first becoming a popular instrument. Players didn’t do this. They hoarded their knowledge which hurt everybody.
I remember I could always ask the great pros any questions and have them answered immediately. It was the fellow amateurs that were very tight with their limited knowledge that had the attitude “I’m not going to help anybody.” I can see today that the future of steel guitar could be very bleak if we don’t do a better job of playing and sharing knowledge about it.
I’ve heard several bandleaders say, “I don’t need one of those whiny effects machines in my band. If I don’t hire one, it leaves me more room to hire a musical instrument.” This really irks me because these guys don’t realize a good steel player can play parts, instrumentals, great fills and intros and also great rhythm if asked to do so. Also remember, steel guitar has no limitations, the player does.
When somebody tells me they don’t want a steel guitar in their band, what they are really saying is they don’t want somebody that can’t play steel guitar in their band and unfortunately most of them don’t even know what a steel guitar is supposed to sound like. They don’t realize what an asset steel guitar can be in the hands of a talented player.
So if you’re having trouble getting a job, there might be a very good chance that some below average player has muddied the water up ahead of you. If you’re a good player, keep learning more. If you’re not, work harder. You can’t blame steel guitar for not working.
Sometimes it’s a band leader that doesn’t realize how good the steel player is because he’s never even heard a good player. That’s when they make remarks like “I don’t want one of these whiny things in my band.”
If he had a player like Curly Chalker blow him off the bandstand one night with big chords and playing any song that was ever written and then turn around and play a fast single string solo that’s fast enough to show the lead player up badly, there would be no excuse not to hire a steel player.
As most of you realize, there are many bands today that are on television that have steel players with very questionable talent. These guys are not doing much to forward the name of steel guitar. The best thing we can do as players is get to where we play much better and root them out of their cushy jobs. This can be done with good personality and great playing.
We cannot expect to work and make good money and be that famous guy like we all look up to if we don’t buckle down and learn what the three Ts are. Taste, tone and timbre. Remember the three Ts, play the right thing at the right time, don’t pump your volume pedal and make everybody proud of you.
Even though a lot of this week’s newsletter has been aimed at the professional players, it applies to everyone that plays in a band and takes money for what he or she is doing. Being nice to everyone in the band including the band leader and club owner is as important as what you play.
Even though you may have to grit your teeth real hard to do it at times, every one of you are important to me as is your job and overall career behind steel guitar. Count on me for anything I can do for you.
We have free shipping within the continental United States on any guitar you buy between now and the end of February.
Check out our monthly specials at www.steelguitar.net/monthlyspecials.html and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.
Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday