Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

Here’s a little story that has pretty well ripped my heart out. Just imagine me as a little kid borrowing a jazz trio record from my father 52 or 53 years ago and me playing this record every day and night. I even went through the United States Air Force without missing a day of playing this incredible jazz trio record.

I’ve mentioned it several times over the years to people, even after goggling the album, I could not find out anything about the players. I knew from the name of the album that they were Milwaukie based, but only after mentioning this in this letter to all you guys have I found out anything at all about it.

Yes, I still have it and I still play it. It was the basis for me learning tunes on my jazz album “As Time Goes By” that I recorded two years ago. So here I was sitting at my computer this morning and an email comes in with the subject line “My dad was in the MIL Combo.” The email was from Paul Milano, the fantastic bass player with this group that went on after this band disbanded to play with some of the finest jazz bands that this country has ever been witness to.

The power of this internet is astounding. Something that I have listened to and loved all my life has suddenly come to light and I’m getting the history on this little trio that I could never get before. All I can say is, Paul, thank you very much and I only hope this kind of thing happens 50, 60 or 70 years down the road with some of the recordings that I have made in the past 10 years.

I think what I’m saying to all the rest of you now is that you should collect all the CDs that you like, don’t throw them away, and learn everything you can from each and every one of them. You will treasure them forever and the good ones will become more valuable over time. Every one of them is a wealth of information. Remember, it’s the older guys that teach the younger guys. Yep. I’m old. Time to pass it on.

This great little jazz album that I got in the mid-fifties, if it were only available on iTunes back then, it would have been lost forever to me, but since I have it in something I can actually hold in my hand and carry with me through the years, I still have it, learn from it and can enjoy it the way I did when I first got it. iTunes might be a good idea for some folks, but not us musicians.

There has been quite a bit of discussion recently and some very fine compliments from several good musicians and players on the steel guitar forum concerning my composing. I sort of have a unique way of writing songs and material. I think in chords and chord progressions first. I’ll come up with a chord progression that I really like because to me, chord progressions are what really make a great song.

It’s the words that make a country song, I’m not a country songwriter. I am more a technical songwriter. I feel great songs can be much greater if they don’t have words to get in the way of the true feel and ambiance of the music.

I’m also not stuck with just major or minor chords. I prefer getting off into something much deeper and more complex because the things that I have to say musically cannot be said with only triads.

When you approach writing a song, there are thousands of great chords and progressions that you can use. The things I have I have to say are much more complex musically than what most songs are.

I love steel guitar and as a little kid growing up I learned to play all of the steel guitar songs, but found that once you learn the first one, you have basically learned them all. My Rhythmatic and my blues albums are a lot deeper than many of the songs that I have heard written in the past.

In my opinion, if you’re going to write a song, especially an instrumental, write it and say something that hasn’t been said before, something interesting and fun to play. Most of the songs I write, I have written in my head on the way to the studio the morning that I recorded them. In other words, once you get a good chord progression down, the song seems to write itself.

Jerry Fessenden of Fessenden Guitars came by last week and fixed us up with a beautiful dark blue wood grain single ten string with a pad, three pedals and four knees and I’ll have to admit the tone is the best I have heard in a long time for a new guitar. The Del Mullen guitars that I love so much, are also great but in a little different way. People that hear and play both of these brands seem to pretty well go nuts for both of them. Add in GFI and you have the gamut pretty well covered.

Many people are now using the Bobro Dobro Simulator to replace the actual Dobro. This is good because of the problems of tuning the Dobro as a separate instrument, amplifying it and having to transport a separate instrument. Having a Bobro eliminates all these problems. The tone is so good from these little units that many people run a Dobro with a pickup on it through a Bobro to get an even better sound.

Marty Stuart even plays lead guitar through a Bobro for that fretted Dobro sound of the seventies that was on so many records. With our new Bobro bar even the sustain and attack of the Dobro is accurately duplicated on a steel guitar. Just playing steel guitar by itself with one of these bars adds the Dobro quality to the steel. It might be a real good idea just to have a Bobro bar handy. These bars are only $39 and make the Bobro sound even more like the Dobro it has been purchased to simulate.

I want to congratulate Tom Bozman of Lake Placid, Florida for ordering a loaded Mullen steel guitar. I’ve got to be nice to Tom because he’ll give me a case of oranges from time to time, sans alligators I hope.

Just as I suspected, Kent Goodson, formerly with the George Jones organization for 28 years, is doing very well and back in the swing of things in Nashville. It seems like George Jones really was holding him back.

I received this very wonderful compliment and I want to share this email with you.

Hi Bobbe,

I’m sure your probably hear this all the time. I just put on my first set of cobra coils this morning and all I can say is WOW! These already are my favorite strings. They just don’t get any better and I don’t think they can, heck my pedals and levers even seem to be lighter. From this moment on as long as their produced, they’re my go to string.

Thanks again

Yesterday, Sunday, the great steel guitarist and Hall of Famer Billy Robinson rented a beautiful club on the lake and threw an incredible birthday party for all his friends. Billy just turned 80 years old, still looks and acts 25. Billy of course, was the steel guitarist with Red Foley and George Morgan, along with having worked with many other artists on the Grand Ole Opry and the Ozark Jubilee.

Billy is still a great player and a fine artist. The feast he threw yesterday, myself and all the musicians in town will probably remember forever. Many steel guitarists showed up to honor Billy and his triumphs for a lifetime spent with steel guitar. A nicer and more intelligent person would be hard to find. Billy designed the beautiful logo and color scheme for the Sho-Bud Christmas Tree amplifier. A very good mind to have on the side of steel guitar.

Check out our monthly specials at 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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