Distortion Effects; Eddie Lange; Vic Lawson

If you don’t think older effects on steel and lead guitars were appreciated in country music, I just had a inquiry on the Marty Robbins “Don’t Worry About Me” song asking how the steel player got the sound he got on the turnaround. Actually, he showed up for the recording session with an amplifier with a torn speaker. The speaker had been damaged by a player who had borrowed it the night before.

During rehearsal of the song, he just went right ahead and played the song the way he would’ve normally and laughed like he knew it would never be accepted. To his surprise, the producer, Marty himself and all the musicians thought it was wonderful. So he replayed it to get it as perfect as possible. Remember there was no overdubbing in those days, the whole band had to do it right at one time.

It might be a very good idea from time to time for steel players to experiment with different effects.

A few years later after much pressure from musicians world-wide, guitar companies decided to get into the effects business. Now there are many different kinds of distortion effects. Boss itself, puts out at least six different distortions that work for steel guitar and make it sound like a rock n roll guitar as we all know. The violin effect can be obtained with the correct one of these units.

The steel guitarists favorite effect has always been the Boss Tone which was made in the late sixties by a company named Jordan and then bought out by Sho-Bud because it seemed like no one but steel players were buying that particular unit.

Then when the Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company went out of business, the manufacturing was handed over to other companies. The unit that I’m talking about has always looked the same, only the stick-on name had been changed. It has always been called a Boss Tone however. Too bad they’re no longer made.

As far as the lead players that I talked about in my last newsletter, most were road players and studio players only and never made any recordings of their own. Bobby Davis even as great as he was, never recorded as a solo artist, so there are no known recordings of Bobby. However, Jimmy Bryant did several with Speedy West.

Somebody asked me about Eddie Lange. I’ve never mentioned Eddie in this newsletter before, however he is a very fine player that worked with Hank Jr. for awhile. Eddie is a real character and after he left Hank, he came to Nashville and went to work with a very talented female singer. He ended up producing her record for the major label that she had signed to.

He turned into a very notable success overnight. As far as what Eddie is doing at the moment, I don’t know because I haven’t seen him in a couple years, however he has many friends in town and is as crazy in a good way as anyone I can ever remember, including Jimmy Day.

If Eddie is on my newsletter list, he should give me a hollar.

In local Nashville news, our own Vic Lawson was named Steel Player of the Year by the Broadway Music Awards, which are given for live performances on Broadway.

Bobbe Seymour

www.steelguitar.net
info@steelguitar.net
www.youtube.com/bobbeseymour

Listen To Steel Guitar Music Streaming 24 Hours A Day!

Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Second and Third Saturday each Month Open 9AM – 2PM
Closed Sunday

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Bobby Davis and other great Nashville guitarists

Speaking of weather! It’s been anywhere between zero and 60 degrees here in Nashville. I don’t know where it stands for you, however watching the news, you may be in one of those horrible locations.

I was just thinking the other day about the incredible guitar players I have met in my career and I occasionally get asked about some of these players I’ve worked with. In 1969 the first time I went to work with Ray Price, I drove from Hendersonville down to Nashville to meet the Price bus.

I stepped onto the bus about 10 minutes late and was walking down the aisle since the whole bus was open with no bunk bed or lounge area. A heavy set Indian looking guy looked up at me from the floor of the bus and he asked, “Who are you?”

I said, “I’m Bobbe Seymour, steel guitar player.”

He got a big smile on his face, stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Bobby Davis. I’m the lead guitar player.”

I about fell over because I’d heard about Bobby Davis for many years. When I was in the Air Force in Oklahoma there were musicians on the base where I was stationed that would go to Plainview, Texas on the weekends just to hear Bobby play. He was a legend among guitar players and had a great reputation from working with Jim Reeves and several other Nashville guys.

I liked his playing so much after working with him with Ray Price that I would give him the bridge on Night Life because when Ray would sing “Listen to the blues he’s playing”, Bobby’s version of that great Buddy Emmons solo was much better than mine.

He was the beginning of great guitar players that I would be working with in LA, Vegas, Texas and Nashville. Players just to mention a very few, such as Steve Gibson now with the Opry, Jimmy Capps also with the Opry. And of course, one most of you know named Jimmy Bryant. The great Phil Baugh that did that wonderful intro with George Jones’ He Stopped Loving Her Today and Steve Rodriguez/Davis I was honored to work with.

Unfortunately, some of these players liked booze as much as they liked their guitars.

Thinking about all these players that played several instruments very well. Many lead players and steel players have come to town to become studio engineers or owners. One of the very famous ones in Nashville is Gene Breeden (www.genebreeden.com). One of the great engineers from Texas that came to Nashville for awhile is Steve Palousec. Steve was another great player that joined the club of players with Ray Price for awhile.

Fred Carter, the band leader for Simon & Garfunkel that did part of the intro on the movie Mrs. Robinson starring Ann Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman. Fred was the owner of Nugget Studios in Goodlettsville, Tennessee where I used to get many sessions. One of Nashville’s greatest engineers Snake Reynolds, worked at Nugget Studios for Fred. Nugget Studios clothed and fed me many of my first years in Nashville.

Fred Carter was also the father of famous country singer Deana Carter. It’s so interesting to see how families of great musicians seem to intertwine in the music business. For instance, Doug Seymour, the steel guitarist is my uncle. Doug is in New York.

My father, Bob Seymour had many big bands throughout his career, all pop and jazz. The music world is a wonderful community to be part of no matter where you are. We are all connected by the same melody.

One great things about doing these newsletters is hearing from you players from the past and present. I’m hearing from great players I’ve known all my life and meeting new players everyday that are just starting that I know will be my friends until Gabriel blows his horn. I just hope Gabriel keeps his union dues up.

Bobbe Seymour

www.steelguitar.net
info@steelguitar.net
www.youtube.com/bobbeseymour

Listen To Steel Guitar Music Streaming 24 Hours A Day!

Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Second and Third Saturday each Month Open 9AM – 2PM
Closed Sunday

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Memories

I received a phone call from steel guitarist Paul Wade from Las Vegas. I’ve known Paul since the late sixties but have not kept in very good touch. It’s wonderful to hear from old friends even though I haven’t heard from them in a long time. I remember several very good players from Las Vegas. Counting the ones that were just working the strip for a month or so, I’ve always had several great friends to visit when I came through town with a Nashville or Texas band.

I hadn’t heard from Paul in many years and was surprised to hear that he had left Vegas and moved to Fresno, California.

Also, steel players that I’ve met while coming through their towns with bands that I have either been helping out or working steady with from Nashville. I never forget a friend steel guitarist that I have met years ago on the road. I might forget where I left my keys five minutes ago, but I remember every steel player, most of which I think very much of.

Remember, I am retaining my remembrances of you like you do me.

I was working a live radio show with Tracy Lawrence in Russellville, Kentucky the night that he was signed by Atlantic Records. It seems like he is a standard now and has turned into one of the big boys. Tracy was very nice to work with and I would not hesitate to recommend anyone working with him.

Another new tidbit. I have not heard of The Jones Boys, George Jones’ band lately and don’t know if they have disbanded or if they are staying together to be some other stars band. Any good word on this, I would appreciate it. I was not in the store yesterday when the newest steel player from the Jones Boys came by. I would like to hear what the status was of this nice country group.

Hearing from western swinger Herb Steiner from west Texas, he was thanking me for mentioning the fiddle players Leon Boulanger, Johnny Gimble and Jimmy Belkin and he mentioned Bob Wommack, a wonderful trumpet player. I’d also like to say since Herb mentioned it, Johnny Gimble is not doing very well lately. This is bad news for all the players in Austin, Nashville and Dallas who enjoyed his wit and music on the bandstand and off.

I remember walking into a studio for a 10 o’clock session one morning at the Shelby Singleton studio on Belmont and Johnny looking at me and giving me a big smile. He put his hand out and said, “You’re a sore sight for eyes.” He had many witty things he was always coming up with along with many quick, on the spot arrangements.

I was a member of The Southernaires Western Swing Band at the Southern Club in Lawton, Oklahoma for a good while in the late ’50s and early ’60s on and off. I met many great western swing musicians during this stint. I just found out that Herb Steiner also was a member of this group along with Chuck Caldwell on steel.

Chuck Caldwell played a double neck Gibson non-pedal with a straight pick and played fast like Curly Chalker and Joaquin Murphey. He also used a flat bar as I remember.

I had worked with the group when it had as many as 12 players at one time which means we were a pretty full sounding band. I didn’t work with a group this large again until I went to work with Ray Price the last time in 1987.

Ron Middlebrook from Center Stream Publishing is doing a book on the old tube type Standels. His web address is www.centerstream-usa.com. This should be an interesting book when it’s finished and be very similar to that wonderful Bigsby book that was put out a few years ago.

A friend of mine Mike Dunn from Kingsport, Tennessee asked a question I think all of you would enjoy hearing the answer to. Here is the email I got from Mike.

Hi, Bobbe.
Thanks for expounding on the subject of stage presence. I suppose it falls somewhere neatly between being a fool and looking like the guy on stage playing solitaire on a very pretty table. I had another question that I thought might be of interest to many who don’t frequent studios. What are your thoughts regarding using a direct box and local rack or pedal effects (delay, reverb, etc.), versus using a mic on an amp in the studio? Since tone is a function of all parts of your rig, including the amp, it seems to make sense that this may be the way to get your “true” sound. However, amps, and some effects pedals are inherently noisy, and may be problematic for the engineer. What do most of the big studios expect: dry, with no effects from a direct box; the “finished” sound, including your effects and amp? There just seems to be any number of ways that this could be configured, but there must be a tried and true way. Thanks for all you do for steel guitar- and us players!

Mike Dunn
Kingsport, TN

The recording engineers in Nashville generally like to have the tone as dry as possible, in other words, don’t like to have a steel player using any effects. This I feel is a shame since I have a way that I build my own tone and it involves my own effects or system of doing so.

I feel some of the greatest engineers let the steel player build his own tone and records it the way it is, but there are some engineers that prefer to just have a dry tone and do it their own way. I’m almost never satisfied with what they come up with.

I did a master session with Stan Hitchcock one day for a major label. I’d just gotten my new steel guitar. I set it up and was getting just exactly the sound I wanted, a stereo tone with delay on one side and dry on the other. Together on playback, they sounded wonderful, but a year or so later when the album came out, the sound was pretty bad.

I called the engineer and asked him what he’d done to my tone and he said he didn’t remember and asked me if I had sent him a stereo signal. I said yes I did. He said, “Well we needed another track for the backup vocals and noticed you had a wet and a dry line coming out from your guitar so I just took one of them.” He took my stereo line for the backup vocals and left me with just a mono line.

Then once we leave the studio, we are always at the mercy of the engineer. From that point on, I always gave him a signal as simple as possible so that they wouldn’t mess it up.

Bobbe Seymour

www.steelguitar.net
info@steelguitar.net
www.youtube.com/bobbeseymour

Listen To Steel Guitar Music Streaming 24 Hours A Day!

Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Second and Third Saturday each Month Open 9AM – 2PM
Closed Sunday

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