Hi guys and gals,
This weeks newsletter is a commentary rather than a tip.
More and more I am seeing a tremendous explosion in the appreciation and love of our beloved instrument. New steel guitar fans are jumping on the bandwagon by the minute. People that had no idea what steel guitar was five years ago have found out what that beautiful sound is because of country music videos, rock n roll bands playing live whose lead guitarists have realized the potential of the instrument, the hundreds of steel guitar shows that go on yearly around the world and so on.
It wasn’t but ten years ago that you could carry a steel guitar down the street, out of it’s case and people would look at it and say “What’s that?”. Now the question is, “What brand is it?” or “I know what that is, do you know John Hughey?” Look at some of the people who have played steel guitar and some of the places steel guitar has been played. For instance, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Bobby Black with Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, Paul Franklin with Mark Knopler in Dire Straits, Rusty Young with Poco, Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Nashville Cats”, Buffalo Springfield’s “Teach Your Children” plus players like Sneaky Pete and Red Rhodes have introduced steel guitar to thousands and thousands of rock’n’roll fans who would have never known what it was. Yes sir, steel guitar is enjoying a tremendous explosion in popularity from the way I see it.
Another classical example of a new door opening is Robert Randolph, a 21 year old black Gospel steel guitarist that I have known and encouraged since he was 12 years old who has now been on every major television show, including David Letterman, The Today Show and is doing many live shows the world over as a steel guitar instrumentalist. Notice I haven’t even mentioned country music here which is technically where steel guitar came from in the first place. If country music would go away tomorrow, steel guitar would still be here and continue to grow. Everybody that hears it loves it. All steel guitar related businesses are doing well, are successful and more people seem to be getting into it all the time.
Are you aware of where the value of used steel guitars is going? This is proof of everything I’ve said. I remember accordions selling for $3500. new, in the fifties and sixties. These instruments are not worth the space they take up in the closet today. However, steel guitars of the era are now collectors items worth many times what they sold for as are quality lead guitars from the same era.
The moral of this newsletter edition is … be proud of yourself as a steel player and encourage others to join us in our steel guitar world. After all, we are all ambassadors of the steel guitar and should encourage guitar playing friends and others to join our ranks so that our community continues to grow.
P.S. Remind your guitar playing friends that if they can play guitar, they’re half way to steel guitar.