Pack-a-seats, Cabinet Drop, Shot Jackson, Brian Franklin

Hello fans and fellow players,

I had a lot of response back on my tips concerning the pack-a-seat. Some people were saying as simple as they are I can just make my own. If you can, that’s wonderful. But why bother? It will cost you more to make one than it will to buy one and what will you have to brag about afterwards?

The units don’t contribute to tone unless you have the greatest idea in the world to make one totally different and since there are over a hundred parts in each pack-a-seat, why go through the trouble to reinvent the wheel? If you think you’re going to save money, unless you can get all the parts for free, you can’t. If your labor means anything to you, you’ll save even less.

There are a lot of different styles of pack-a-seat and an lot of different ways to go. My favorite is the simplest one that money can buy. Simplicity translates to lightness and as you know lightness is good when it comes to steel guitar. I often wonder why people will spend $2000 – $4000 on a steel guitar, then drag out a raggy looking home-made, wobbly pack-a-seat that looks like poop.

Remember, your pack-a-seat and volume pedal are extremely important parts of your total playing outfit. Modern day pack-a-seats have a tendency to last many years and are very easy to repair if some kind of accident should befall it.

Now when it comes to your steel guitar, does it wiggle back and forth, right or left? If so, make sure the end casting is very tight. It’s amazing as just tightening these up can eliminate 95% of most cabinet drop. For those of you who don’t know what cabinet drop is, it is the bending of the body of the guitar when you step on the pedals to change chords.

This used to be an important thing to everybody, but most people today just ignore it and go on, but anything around six or seven cents of drop in your tuner is really too much because all the strings do not drop evenly. Naturally some guitars are worse than others.

These funny things that can go on with steel guitars are also things that go on with other instruments. It makes me remember antics the founder and designer of Sho-Bud guitars, Shot Jackson and the things he did to us players at the Opry. Things like hooking our amplifier up to back curtain of the Opry stage so when it up at the beginning of an artist’s show, your amplifier would go up with it.

He would also hook your guitar up to the side curtain that goes across the stage, so about the time you hit the theme song, you’d have to jump up and chase your guitar across the stage. He also loved to take new fretboards, put them on your guitar but not in the right place. Putting them on about half a fret off was always enough to end your playing in tune. This was a wonderful guy that would do about anything to you, but most of all he’d also do a lot of good things for you.

Being the father of the great Sho-Bud Company and of two of the greatest sons and the head of the great Jackson family, he had the respect of everyone in Nashville and naturally worldwide. He died in the early nineties of overwork. Every time I hear his name and think of him, I get a big smile on my face.

He is one of the big reasons that I love old Sho-Bud guitars, even though it was his sons Harry and David that built most of these great guitars. Harry and David are now building the Jackson steel guitar.

For those who wanted to know how to tune in to Mike Gross’ show, he is a deejay on KSEY-FM and you can replay his programs via podcasts at Please send him a note and let him know that Bobbe Seymour appreciates him too.

I think many of you will be familiar with the name Brian Franklin. He is the astounding guitar player who works for Kenny Rogers. I’ve known Brian for many years here in Nashville and have admired him for his inborn talent and wonderful personality.

I know many of you in the world wonder what kind of people some of these players are in Nashville. Well let me tell you, most of them are as nice as people can get and Brian Franklin is even nicer than that. His father builds the Franklin Steel Guitar and his brother is a very popular studio musician in Nashville.

If you ever get a chance to see Kenny Rogers and wonder who the little young kid is playing guitar, it’s Brian. Try to go backstage and talk to him. A more helpful, nicer person you’ll never find. A lead guitar playing rascal. Tell him I sent you.

Check out our monthly specials at and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.

The friend of all bar holders,
Bobbe Seymour

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