Jackson Steel Guitar Party, Remembering Jeff Newman

Hello fans and fellow players,

Last year when we had the steel guitar party that the Jackson’s hosted, everybody was mad at me for not letting them know it, but here I am telling you all again, anything you ever wanted to know about steel guitar, the great designers and builders of the Sho-Bud guitar that are now building the Jackson guitar will be here tomorrow, Friday 6th.

We really need as many of you here as we can have. There will be coffee, sodas, birdseye maple sandwiches and walnut cupcakes. Everything with a steel guitar player in mind will be here. Starts about noon, ends at four. If you builders and designers would care to know the why on anything in steel guitar construction or production, this is the place to get it.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing you. Just don’t show up for work, just come straight here for work Friday morning. If you need any secret parts that you’ll never see on our website, just come in and ask for them. There will also be two new Clinesmith guitars on display.

One of the true legends in our business passed on five or six years ago, April 11th I believe, and many of you knew him very well. He was a person named Jeff Newman. Jeff was a guy that you could love or hate in equal proportions, but when it came to sharing brilliant steel guitar playing knowledge, he did about as good a job as anyone there ever was.

He had his own way of teaching and doing things and what he did was definitely not my style, but what does that matter? I’m not sure that everybody should play exactly the same anyway.

I remember little funny stories about Jeff telling people to hold up their right hands just about the time he was getting ready to teach them something. He’d go around the room, slap their right hand and send the student’s picks flying across the floor. He’d run over and stomp on them if they were Dunlop picks and would give you some type of award to play the picks that you bought from him.

He was a weird guy with a lot of strange things that he would do. He might have been fairly expensive, however overall given what you learned, he may have really turned out to be a good value. He and I were not professional friends, but we definitely had great admiration for each other.

When we were younger there were some things that I wanted to punch him in the nose for saying and some things I said I’m sure he would have enjoyed punching me out for. But let me tell you now, I miss this guy so much you wouldn’t believe it. I miss what he has done for the community.

There are a lot of good players out there today that are good because he gave them a swift kick in the butt to get them started down the road of being a great player. So if you knew him or one of his great students, consider yourself very, very lucky. No matter what he ever said, he was probably at least 98% correct.

Did he make a lot of enemies? No, not real enemies but there were a lot of people that took him wrong in his teaching endeavors. I can tell you this, I wish he were here today. The very last evening that he was on this planet, we were both at the steel guitar show and he invited me to come over and sit down with him, which I did, and had a couple hours worth of great conversation with him that made me love him all the more and really miss him today.

Are there things that he taught you guys that I would like to erase? No, not really. Everything that he taught had a lot of meaning, most of which he picked up directly from some of the greatest players in Nashville. To let a man of his quality and caliber drift of into the unknown is a very bad thing to have happen. Even the things he might have said to you that you didn’t care for, are probably things that you should go back and rethink and possibly practice yourself again. It may make you a lot better player.

Over the years I have not said much about Jeff, however I’m saying it now. He was a great technician when it came to playing and teaching. Just like so many that we’ve lost recently, that sarcastic Jeff was a precious, brilliant man that would probably do anything for anyone.

I just wish we had been closer so I could have helped him with his flying. He was a brilliant man that I don’t want anyone to forget. Email me a funny Jeff Newman story that I can share with everybody else on the newsletter if you have one.

Here’s the steel guitar dictionary stolen from Jeff Newman’s website.

ACCIDENTAL: A wrong note played by an arrogant and often confused guitar player who cannot stand to be fallible.

APPLAUSE: The noise made by an audience (often at the wrong time) to express a desire to end the performance and go home.

AUDIENCE: Audiences can be divided into two categories: Those who sleep with their mouths open, and those who sleep with their mouths closed.

ENCORE: A nasty method by which performers get back at the audience for its feigned appreciation in the form of applause. Audiences would be well advised not to applaud at all, so that everyone can get home that much sooner.

FLUTE: A sophisticated pea-shooter with a range of up to five hundred yards and deadly accurate in close quarters.

FRENCH HORN: The French is actually German, and is not to be confused with the English horn, which is French.

GRACE NOTE: Every once in a while, the solo instrumentalist will attempt an interval, jumping from one note to another. In most instances, this is mere guesswork.

MUSIC STAND: An intricate device for propping up music, except at crucial times – such as during a performance. It comes in two sizes – too high or too low.

MUSICIANS UNION: A powerful branch of the Mafia that controls the exorbitant amounts of money paid to musicians, and also the number of coffee-breaks permitted per hour.

A BAND: The result of musicians having discovered that there is safety in numbers.

PERFORMANCE: The main reason for getting together of any number of musicians, usually to perform a piece of music (ideally, all at the same time.).

PRIMA DONNA: The word originates from the most important female role in an opera. Later connotations are towards female country music singers. Derived from an Italian phrase that may be roughly translated as “pain in the neck”, although some have a lower opinion.

PRODIGY: A person who shows tremendous musical talent at a very early age. Those wishing to be considered prodigy material would be well advised to die young, before it becomes apparent that they aren’t going to get any better.

REST: A short period of relative silence in an individual part, useful for turning pages, breathing, coughing, and so forth.

RHYTHM: A faculty in great demand and, unfortunately, very short supply among those involved in music.

TONE CLUSTER: A kind of chordal orgy, a smorgasbord of musical tones. First discovered by a very well-endowed lady pianist, while leaning forward to turn a page.

TUNER: The only device in which a steel guitar player can actually prove that it is the guitar player who is out of tune, and not himself, who is actually out of tune as well, if he has used an adjusted and compensated tuning chart. This is an extremely useful tool that eliminates all unnecessary verbiage and insures that no-one else in the band will ever talk to you again.

MUSICAL SNOB: A person who pretends to know more about music than we pretend to.

WRONG NOTES: It must be understood that this is a relative term, and applies only to those examples performed by someone else.

BANJO HELL: Fifty banjo players gathered into one room, and not one thumbpick.

STEEL GUITAR HELL: Fifty banjo players.

By the way, what did you guys think of Kiss and LL Cool J on the Academy of Country Music Awards? I want to hear your thoughts.

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

The friend of all bar holders,
Bobbe Seymour

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Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday

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1 Response to Jackson Steel Guitar Party, Remembering Jeff Newman

  1. Alma says:

    i pay because i love it! , i was alwalys looking for a passion in my life something i could love , and i found it when i pickedup a gtar for the first time my grandas old guitar (RIP) , and ever since ive been playing , i play mostly blues , bb king , clapton , steve cropper ect , and this website im sure will help me even more to becoming a guitar god , haha

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