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Steel Guitar News January 12th 2012

Hello fellow players,

I just talked to the Jackson Guitar Company on the phone and the president, David Jackson said he’s excited about the new guitar they have coming out and to be looking for across the board great deals on any new Jackson guitars sold through dealers. The new guitar I’ve been talking to David about for several years now appears as though it’s going to be a genuine little monster. Light weight, inexpensive and very affordable with all the professional amenities.

Since I am a Mullen dealer also, this wonderful little company is also coming out with a new cable operated steel guitar. I’m very much looking forward to seeing all the differences in these two new steel guitars. Mullen has hardly ever done anything wrong, always designed and built great steel guitars. Between these two great builders and the very successful GFI company, we should have the entire gamut totally covered.

The good thing here is we are looking forward to our next big manufacturer’s party for the public which will be showing off these guitars for all you folks that are Nashville’s greatest friends. Anybody who is interested in new guitars and new designs and anything that is pushing our little world forward is welcome to attend. I’m sure there will be plenty of great food, astounding steel guitar players and elbow rubbing between all steel guitar players and the builders.

The last party we threw three years ago was extremely successful with Nashville star singers, players and many steel players from across the United States that helped us eat all the great food which unfortunately we had some left over at the end of the day. Be looking for a notice coming out on this soon.

Again I am being asked questions, some of the most common ones I’ll do my best to answer. These few questions that I would like to answer concern my first learning episodes. In the very beginning of course, I listened to a lot of the radio. I always had a quarter or so to listen to any good steel I found on the jukebox providing my Vespa motor scooter didn’t need a fill-up.

Remember the story I told you all once about Buddy Emmons having to loan me a 0.70 guitar string to use instead of a brake cable for me to be able to get home on my first visit to hearing him play? I needed this string desperately to operate the rear brakes on my scooter as I had about 25 miles of drive home through Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia. It was extremely dangerous to do it with no brakes in heavy traffic.

But instead of putting the string on my scooter, I put it on my steel guitar when I got home. That shows you what a Buddy Emmons fan I was that first day. It’s amazing what a fourteen year old kid will do.

My father managed the music store in downtown Norfolk and that got me discounts on 45 rpm single records. So anything that was exceptionally good, I saved my school lunch money and bought it. When I was learning to play, there were no teaching CDs, tab books or DVDs.

Some of the great records that I bought in that era were everything Jerry Byrd had out on Mercury, Chet Atkins had out on RCA, Merle Travis on Capitol, Bud Isaacs on what Webb Pierce had out and of course, the incredible Les Paul and Mary Ford.

Steel guitar players didn’t really help each other back in those days. As a matter of fact, every steel player seemed to be totally jealous of anybody else learning anything and wouldn’t help a fellow player out to save his life. Nobody would even tell how they tuned their guitar. Looking back I can’t see how steel guitar got started at all.

I would try to play along with Johnny Sibert, Don Helms, Jerry Byrd and many of the other Nashville steel players. Wow! What fun! Then I started hearing a rash of great west coast players that were working with the 8 to 12 piece western swing bands.

Then I saw pictures of double and triple neck steel guitars and when I heard my first Webb Pierce recording with pedal guitar, the rest of my life was doomed. I knew I had been put here on Earth for steel guitar.

Jamming and playing in a band and joining little country bands around town definitely did me a world of good. Of course, when I put my first pedal on my guitar, that exposed me to harmonies, triads and the beginning of elementary chords. I was serious from day one and was familiar with about all the players and their styles. Even listening to lead guitar players such as Chet, Merle and Les helped my playing a lot.

I loved the great old Jerry Byrd style, then Bud Isaacs stole my heart and of course Walter Haines, then Buddy Emmons with their very fast C6th playing warped my head pretty seriously.

I always had a steel guitar that held me back in the beginning. This is one reason I have this steel guitar store now. I want to help everybody I can to get a good steel guitar that will make a good player out of them. I’m very serious about voicing opinions on guitars for all these reasons. If I don’t feel like I’ve sold you something that is going to help you and be good for you for a good while, I’d rather not sell it to you.

I see so many people that have made what I feel are serious mistakes in buying a guitar from Ebay, Craigslist or a neighbor. Some of these guitars are so bad that they will do nothing but discourage a new player totally.

Remember, steel guitar is not one of those instruments that falls under the old adage, “you get what you pay for”. This is not really true as sometimes it’s possible to get a great guitar for very little money and other times, no matter how many thousands you spend, you can end up with a piece of junk.

Why I’m here is reason enough to use me as I have been buying, building and playing steel guitar professionally for many years. Helping a new player or older player is my deal totally.

There are many methods to learn to play. Steel guitar is written out in many of them. What do I recommend? Tab? Notes? Just using my ear? Getting a personal instructor? Or what? The answer to these questions is, we are all different and we all learn in different ways.

I had a real good ear for picking things up when I was beginning. I would hear something I liked and look for it over and over until I found it on the neck of the guitar and then play it over and over. Some of my first songs were from Jerry Byrd’s instrumental albums.

I realize many learning players out there are doing the same thing with my CDs. If I get a phone call at the store and a newer player tells me that they are going to be using my CDs for learning, I would discount these CDs deeply as I do to most of the readers of my tips sheets.

The big message I’m trying to deliver to each and every one of you is I’m here for you. If I’m not helping somebody to learn to play in one way or another, I’m not doing what I was put here for. So call me, email me and I’ll do anything I can to help your playing and love for steel guitar.

Just a reminder that I’m giving you free shipping within the continental U.S. on any guitar you buy during the months of January and February.

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

Your buddy,

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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