Hello fellow players,
One of the first jobs I ever had in Nashville was with Bobby Bare. Bobby was quite a character, still is and doing well. His first release with him was under the name of Bill Parsons. He did a song called All American Boy. This was the story of Elvis Presley in his early career.
I felt I was working for a true superstar when I worked for Bobby. Thinking back at the guitar I was playing, he should’ve fired me the day I pulled it out on the first job. However, steel players everywhere were fascinated by it. It was a double neck with one neck being a 9 string Sho-Bud, the other neck being a 10 string MSA.
I don’t know what name I put on the front, but I remember how great it played and it sounded very good through the 100 watt Magnatone amp that I had. I built the guitar from parts that I collected from other guitars. Kind of like Johnny Cash’s Cadillac, one piece at a time.
I was thinking that other players must be laughing at me, but I guess they weren’t because that was 45 years ago and I still have people asking me about it. That was my first Nashville guitar.
The first guitar that I played in my western swing days was a double neck Bigsby copy that I built from parts that I got from casting parts from Billy Braddy’s double neck Bigsby, then wandered off into building the rest of the guitar while I was in Dallas setting up the MSA factory.
Billy and I took one neck off his double neck Bigsby, took it to the foundry and had another one cast identical to it. This guitar sounded astoundingly good. Tom Morrell was fascinated by this guitar, no matter how he tried, he never could beat me out of it.
I finally sold it to a Dallas musician named Bill, but I can’t remember his last name. It’s amazing how guitars can be copied from one another and still end up sounding very good.
The main guitar that I have today I have had for over 40 years. I got this double ten Emmons guitar from Jimmy Crawford back when he started his doing steel guitar setups. This guitar is probably the greatest guitar I have ever owned over all. Tone is still beyond astounding. I have done thousands of recording sessions with other people and about 30 instrumental sessions under my own name with this guitar.
The guitar is a black Emmons pushpull with 7 pedals and 7 knees. I remember taking it over to Jimmy’s house 3 or 4 weeks after I bought it and asked Jimmy to put some other kind of setup on it. He replied, “Very good. I’d love to.”
At that point, he put on an extremely hard setup to play, but it has provided everything that I ever needed, every chord imaginable on E9th and every chord imaginable on C6th. This guitar has been my bread and butter ever since.
I can get into what this pedal setup is but it would take too long to explain what everything is. It was very hard to learn to get into in the beginning, but now that I’m in it and have lived with it for so long, it’s much better than anything I had every imagined.
This newsletter is to answer many of you that have asked about my guitar and pedal setup over the years. I recommend that everybody stay with something more standard. That’s the way to learn, not playing something off the wall like myself or Doug Jernigan or Jimmy Crawford and others got into way back before standardization.
Many people have called or emailed me saying that they only get one paycheck a month at the end of the month and so I am extending our sale at their request. The sale is ten percent off all GFIs and used guitars in stock, plus free shipping within the continental United States. Also, ten percent off Peavey Nashville 112 amplifiers plus a free amp cover plus free shipping within the continental United States.
Check out our monthly specials at www.steelguitar.net/monthlyspecials.html and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.
Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday