Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

This newsletter will be answering questions from you readers. Dave Anderson in southern California wants to know what my early guitars were that I learned to play on. Well, first of all, since I was an extremely broke little boy at the time, everything I got was either given to me by my father or uncle.

My very first guitar was a Sears Silvertone selling for about $150 at that time. No case, sounded fine but I was sure looking forward to my next one which was a double neck 8 string per neck National, but it had no legs and I didn’t have a stand for it. What I really wanted was a Fender Dual Professional or a triple would’ve been okay, but this guitar never materialized in my early life.

However, my uncle had a single neck Epiphone and a double neck Epiphone that he very cleverly made into a triple neck with one pedal, which was the main staple of my learning for several years and until I got into the Air Force.

While in the Air Force, I bought a triple neck Fender Stringmaster that already had a homemade pedal on the middle neck that went from E to A. This guitar worked pretty well and held until I could get out of the Air Force and got a professional job working in Hobbs, New Mexico with an incredible band where everybody in it was a star. All were well-known players. I was trying to replace Tom Morrell on that job. He moved to Dallas to work with the Starlighters.

>From there months later I also went to Dallas and continued fighting the horribly junky guitar that I had. I was way out of step with the times. Then while on a playing stint in Colorado Springs, I made enough money to buy a Fender 1000, then a triple neck Bigsby and there was no holding me back from that point on.

I’ll always recommend that any new player get as fine a guitar as he can afford from the beginning. I’m sure that my playing would have blossomed sooner if I would have had better guitars from the beginning.

The next question. How did I learn the things that I learned in the beginning? This question has been asked me many times by many different players. How did you actually learn?

One important thing that I did was carry a compact reel to reel tape recorder. Norelco I believe, mid sixties. I would go to hear the finest bands that I could find in Dallas, take the recorder home and play along with it and copy the steel players down the n’th degree. So today I owe much of my playing ability to Maurice Anderson, Tom Morrell and Billy Braddy.

These were guys that I could record on the spot in Dallas where I was living at the time and if I got stumped with something, I could ask them personally and they would show me exactly what they were doing. One hundred percent of what I learned this way was C6th. I applied very little of it to the E9th that I heard on the radio, but I will have to admit that a friend of mine from Duncan, Oklahoma named Ralph Mooney was very inspirational for my E9th playing abilities. He claimed he got most of his knowledge and experience from a California player named Fuzzy Owens.

Now for the next question. Do you stay in touch with these players that helped you with your basic roots? My answer is many of them are no longer with us. Ralph just passed on and left us as did Billy Braddy and Tom Morrell.

Wonderful friend Norm Hamlet who is now a fellow Hall of Fame member called yesterday and he says he’s still with Merle Haggard and loving the job as much as ever, claiming Merle is not just an employer, but a great friend.

Today you don’t have to carry a reel to reel recorder. Today we have play-along tracks that we can buy to learn from. As a matter of fact, I have a series of tracks that I have produced that I recorded with Nashville’s very finest top name recording musicians. You know, the same guys that you’ve heard on hit Nashville tunes for the past thirty plus years, the guys that play the real country music.

These tracks are standard country tunes we all need to know in the keys that they are most normally played. It’s the new tech way to learn great old songs.

Jeff Surratt, builder of the beautiful new Sho-Pro steel guitar came to see me yesterday with an English steel guitar player visitor named Spencer Scott. As I’m sitting here thinking about all the steel players we’ve lost, I am also thinking about these new whiz-kids that are replacing us. They are out on the road today making history, raising Cain, starting trouble and creating stories that they’ll be telling the younger guys about later in life years. Sound familiar?

But rest assured, there’s a new wave coming. Players like Randall Curry, Eddie Dunlap, Chad Udeen, Travis Toy, Tyler Hall, Steve Poluchek (hey Steve, sorry for the way I’m butchering your last name here) and many others.

There is a wonderful undercurrent of steel players in Nashville that are flying under the radar and are making a really good living doing what they love most, playing steel guitar. Players like Stu Basore, Ron Elliott, Cal Sharp, Weldon Myrick, Billy Poe, Tommy Hannun, Mike Cass, Joe Rogers, Jeff Surratt, Tommy Killin, Allen Rudd, Lynn Owsley and Dave Robbins.

These guys may not be right in your face all the time, however they are all great players that are doing well here in town. I feel these guys deserve recognition as much as the highly visible players do. Of course, there are more.

And then we have all the great road players. So as you can see, there are many good steel players working and living in Nashville, Tennessee. If you are striving to be a professional steel guitarist, buy the very best steel guitar you can afford. If you buy from me, I’ll give you the best price I can, plus give you a great trade-in when you move up and you’ll get the best service around. We can take care of you so you can make money.

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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