Lloyd Green, Sho-Bud Changers

Hello fans and fellow players,

I know I promised to do Lloyd Green today, he is a very nice southern man from southern Alabama. He came into prominence by playing on hundreds of recordings over thirty years of time. I’ll keep this fairly short on Lloyd because everybody in the world of steel guitar knows him extremely well, if not on a personal basis, then by the highlights of his career.

Lloyd worked the road a little while with Faron Young in the early sixties, which did not turn out to be a very pleasing job in Lloyd’s life. The road was just not made for him. I personally can attest to his feelings on that and I have very similar feelings about the road myself.

Of course, it’s also well known that Lloyd left Faron and quit one night after he got back from a road trip. He quit by taking the guitar which he had been borrowing from Faron which was a multi-neck Bigsby back to Faron’s house and leaving it on Faron’s front porch with the famous note, “I quit. Lloyd.”

He then answered an ad in the newspaper for a ladies shoe salesman at Cain Sloan department store in downtown Nashville. He was quite success when one of the big singing hillbillies in Nashville decided he’d try him on his recording session. Lloyd must have sounded very good on this recording session because the phone calls started pouring in for recording jobs.

This worked out very good, as a matter of fact so good that Lloyd turned in his notice at the department store and quit working for this major shoe chain and started making his living doing sessions.

Then he took his little double neck eight string Bigsby that he was buying from Shot Jackson on time payments, doubled up on some of the payments to the point where Shot even gave him an added discount on the guitar.

Realizing that everybody wanted these Bud Isaacs type steel guitar sounds, he had David Jackson at Sho-Bud build him a double neck Sho-Bud and soon after had him take the inside neck off his steel guitar so that all he had to carry around was the E9th neck. Several other players in the world realized that this was not a bad idea and also had their C6th neck removed and replaced with a pad to rest their forearms on as they were playing.

About the mid sixties, Lloyd went to being the top steel guitar player in Nashville, Tennessee. Many producers and artists wanted him exclusively, like Aubrey Mayhew, Johnny Paycheck, Carl and Pearl Butler and Roy Drusky. Most had number one hits using Lloyd.

By the late eighties Lloyd had made some some good investments and was able to go into retirement.

I feel that Lloyd really enjoyed having Faron Young use him on his sessions a few years after he left his road job with him. I know Lloyd always kind of felt a little hurt with Faron, but then again I talked to both of them about the parting situation in 1961 and I can understand both of their points of view. I blame Faron mostly because he could be very brash and not very diplomatic at times.

Having worked the road with Faron myself for many jobs, I realized that Faron could be quite aggravating and hard to work for if his personality was not taken with a grain of salt. To me he was just an extremely funny person, but Lloyd took him much more seriously obviously.

Now for a note on the technical side of changers. As we all know, the changer on the end of the guitar that raises and lowers the strings is a very important part of the steel guitar, if not the most important part.

Some changers have three holes to raise each string and two to lower each string, depending on whether you want to raise or lower the string. Others have less, like two raise, one lower and many times the years of the steel guitars are indentified by the type of changer they have.

For instance, if you have a Sho-Bud and someone asks you which one do you have, just saying Pro II or Pro III doesn’t really tell the story because there were two or three models of Sho-Buds that had several different changers installed during their production life.

The changers were made differently. A changer can be called all-pull or push-pull because of the pull rods or push rods under the guitar that run from the cross rod that the pedal is connected to, to the changer. This cross shaft will have what we call a turnbuckle, sometimes referred to as a rod actuator, that goes to the changer. Most often the pull rod will have a nylon tuning nut at the end of the pull rod that goes through the changer.

There is a changer called a two-piece finger and then there’s the three-piece finger style. The early Sho-Bud Professionals and Pro IIs have a two-piece finger. The later ones from 1975 up had a three-piece finger for each string. Both work perfectly.

Lloyd Green personally likes the two-piece finger with the double raise, single lower where most folks like the newer changer which has triple raise holes and double holes to lower. Both have certain advantages.

Every new guitar made today incorporates at least triple raise and double lower, however some have triple lower also. This is hardly needed on most players setups so most manufacturers do not incorporate triple lowers.

In another newsletter we’ll get into the push-pull changer. This uses the pull rod under the guitar to raise the string or convert it to push mechanism to lower the note. These have certain advantages for some people, but are detriments to others depending on the individual’s pedal setup or mental capabilities to handle unorthodox setup.

Next week we’ll be talking about Jimmy Crawford and the JCH guitar that he manufactured.

Check out our monthly specials at www.steelguitar.net/christmasbundles.html and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Bobbe Seymour

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