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.
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I have to disagree with Bobbe on the story of “Don’t Worry About Me”. A blown speaker does not make that sound, and it wasn’t a steel guitar, either. The effect was caused by a blown component in Owen Bradley’s mixing console, and the instrument was Grady Martin’s baritone guitar. He tried to make a followup hit with the same sound, but that went nowhere:
It’s not hard to reproduce that sound with a modern distortion pedal on the C6th neck. It’s real similar to the fuzz box that The Rolling Stones used on “Satisfaction”.