Idea: Interchangeable Pedal Steel Parts

Hello fellow players,

Here we are the 9th of the new year. Where has time gone? The year is flying by. I’m looking for this year to be another good one, being a little shocked at how good last year was. A lot of the nay-sayers have said how they thought it was definitely going to be a very poor year.

Now we are facing all the fatalists that say December 21st of this year is going to be the end of civilization on this planet. How long have we been hearing that? If it’s the end it doesn’t matter, but don’t quit your playing job because I’ll probably be writing to you in January of 2013.

We were mentioning food in the last newsletter. There is a place where the steel guitar club of northern Tennessee meets on the second Tuesday of every month. It’s called Steamboat Bill’s. It is owned by a true Cajun from the south coast. Many people in this area like it very much.

I can speak highly of the gumbo, either shrimp or pork and chicken. However, the crayfish is probably great too. I don’t know as I will never eat anything that much uglier than I am. It would be a good place for you to try if you come to Hendersonville to eat. It’s on the water about a mile from the store here and has great ambiance and atmosphere.

I have a friend from Ashtabula, Ohio that won’t come within 400 miles of Nashville without eating there. Stan Cosper is a dear friend from his Navy days in Norfolk, Virginia and is quite a connessoir of oceanic food.

I still have some big plans to have an open house here at the store and invite some steel guitar builders to meet and see Nashville’s new players eye to eye and talk about new ideas and things that are coming down the chute.

Speaking of new ideas, I mentioned David Jackson doing a new steel guitar using cables and I’m all for it, however I am also for something I’ve learned from the automobile companies in this country and that is the more parts a company can make their products have in common, the easier it will be to find parts for certain guitars as time goes by.

For instance, if we had at least four or five companies that used the same bell cranks, tuning keys, pickups, same scale fretboards etc. then the easier it would be to keep our guitars perfectly playable. Plus the manufacturers could benefit from mass buying and make guitars less expensively.

You will notice that pretty well all steel guitars use the same style and thread size steel guitar legs these days. There aren’t but about three different styles of tuning keys so many of these items already being standardized among brands. You can see where manufacturers can save some money.

Did you realize that there is only one manufacturer making door handles for automobiles coming out of Detroit? And the Ford glass plant manufactures windows and windshields for about every brand of car made in this country. Of course, we all know how universal tires are.

So just think about how wonderful it would be if steel guitar manufacturers would get together and make their guitars a little bit more uniform. We could still have uniqueness in many ways.

The Camaro and the Mustang are two different cars regardless of door handles being made by the same company, tires being made by only three or four companies, all headlights being made by three or four companies.

Strings, fretboards, tuning keys. So the next time you hear about a revolutionary new steel guitar made in the outback of Pago-Pago, don’t run right out and buy one, then call me in three months for parts.

I’m seeing many people today buy weird, off brand guitars off eBay that barely work. They call me for parts that they would have no chance of ever finding. Everything will have to be custom machined and when I tell them this, their reply usually is, “Yeah, but look how much money I saved.”

Remember, the harder a steel guitar is to build, the harder it’s going to be to find parts for them. The same with the more rare a steel guitar is, the less use it will have in being a professional workhorse. You don’t have to have an Emmons pushpull, however there are several guitars today that sound very good that have good parts interchangeability.

Of course, how many guitars a company has sold can have a big bearing on easy serviceability to all. If you’d like to have a list of which guitars have sold the most, let me know. It can make you a happy steel guitar owner in the future.

Yes, there I was worrying about steel guitar becoming obsolete and extinct and seeing the piano stores in town doing what I think is a great business. But I’m seeing now that this isn’t true. A couple of letters ago I touched on new piano sales being so bad. Upright pianos, spinets and not selling as well as the big grand pianos.

In this strange world of music, we are witnessing the staple of all music, the piano, going through hard times and the change that no one would have ever thought possible a few years ago. I found this video on YouTube to be interesting

Mott Music – Doc Talk

And here is steel guitar still being manufactured and fresh thinkers like the Jackson family still moving upward and onward. Let’s hope that steel guitar has got the future that I think it has. It seems pretty obvious that it has as even I am seeing steel guitar players come from the ranks of pianists.

The world of music is not a contest between piano and steel guitar but how well each are played. Piano has been around longer and it has developed incredible players. Steel guitar only having been moving forward since the 1950’s but having made some tremendous jumps lately, will be nipping at the heels of great music very soon. The pros and cons of both can be debated for years, but at least steel guitar is getting into the contest.

As we all know, this can be a terrible shame, but I’m glad to see steel guitar doing well in the middle of the downswing of other instruments. Gibson standard guitar company seems to be doing very well and I’m hoping always will. I will be touching more in the future on different musical instruments and how they are faring in this world of tough economic times.

For now let me give you free shipping within the continental U.S. on any guitar you buy during the months of January and February. Outside of the lower 48, we’ll figure the difference and save you whatever we can. And during these long, cold winter evenings ahead of us, I encourage you to sit down behind your steel guitar and practice, practice, practice.

See our monthly specials at …

The friend to all bar holders,
Bobbe Seymour

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Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
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