Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

People ask me all the time how to install new nylon tuners on the end of their guitar because they cannot understand that you can’t just spin them on with your fingers. First of all, they are made out of nylon just so they will not tune very easily. That’s the deal. The harder they turn, the better your guitar stays in tune.

These nylons which is what we call them, are not threaded, but they cut their own threads as you screw them onto the pull rods of the guitar. Sure, it is hard to get them started, however if you do wish to make them a little easier to get started, you can run a number 29 drill a quarter of an inch down into the nylon or get a 6/32 tap and thread the nylon down to about a quarter to three eights inch into the nylon.

About anything you can do to open the nylon up slightly where it doesn’t really hang onto the rod extremely tight will be a good deal. Lubricating the rod and nylon with liquid soap or soap from just a plain bar will help get the nylon on the rod. Then as time goes on, the soap will dry out and the nylon will actually get tighter.

Nylons should last almost forever on the rod. The only thing that makes them need replacement is abuse. Don’t abuse them and you won’t need to replace them. Abuse is turning them too often and too far. A regular George L tuning wrench is designed to be used with your fingers and is a wonderful tool to use for installing and tuning these nylons.

When we send you new nylons, they are fresh, pure and virgin. If you don’t have the facilities to enlarge the end yourself, we can sell them to you already enlarged to screw on easier for a small additional cost. I personally like the nylons to come out to the end of the steel guitar because I hate standing on my head trying to look up into the end of a steel guitar during a show just to find the correct nylon to make a slight tuning adjustment.

Of course, if the nylon is too long, there’s nothing wrong with snipping the nylon to the right length or snipping the actual rod if the rod is too long. Or fix the whole situation once and for all by buying a p-p guitar. (Just kidding.) Let me know if I can ever help you more with this very minor problem.

Shot Jackson pedal installations from ’52 to ’57.

Mr. Shot Jackson, before the Sho-Bud guitar was ever built and before the store on Broadway was ever thought of, was putting what they called the E to A pedal on E necks of Fender and Rickenbacker steel guitars. Shot actually made a lot of money installing pedals that pushed the strings up at the keyhead to get the famous Bud Isaacs style pull.

Bud Isaacs used this on Webb Pierce’s smash hit “Slowly” in the early fifties. Bud did it on a Bigsby guitar, but there were many people around the world that wanted the pedal so they could duplicate this exciting new style. Many songs were being recorded in Nashville using this pedal. As a matter of fact, they started using this pedal in ’53 and of course, it is still being used today on the E9th tuning.

Some very early songs that were recorded with this pedal were songs like Jimmy Dickens “Conscience” and “We Could” and several more by Webb Pierce like “In The Jailhouse Now” and “More and More”, Faron Young’s “Sweet Dreams” and “I Miss You Already” and hundreds of other tunes done by players such as Buddy Emmons, Walter Haynes, Joe Vincent, Howard White and Sonny Burnett.

When I first went to Goodlettsville and opened up Steel Guitar Nashville thirty years ago, I figured I’d be running across several of these Shot Jackson modified guitars with pedals added, but so far in the thirty year history of the store, I have only had two show up.

Johnny Cox bought one helping to preserve the great history of Shot Jackson and Sho-Bud and I just bought one the other day that was pretty complete. On most of these guitars, the bottoms of the guitars are pretty well modified and they look like Swiss cheese with two holes showing on top in the keyhead giving the first clue to the fact that someone had installed a pedal back in the golden years.

Nothing has impacted the world of steel guitar or done as much for it as the style that this E to A chord pedal has done. Oh if I could go back to those days and start over! You might think to yourself, steel guitar must have sounded pretty lame back then, but nothing could be further from the truth. Buddy Emmons, Jimmy Day, Walter Haynes and many other Nashville players played some extremely exciting steel guitar with setups that were not very complicated at all and knee levers were way off in the future.

I didn’t think Jimmy Day was ever going to have a knee lever back in the fifties and early sixties. I still hardly think he needed it.

The guitar that I bought the other day is a ’52 Fender that Shot Jackson did this modification to in the mid-fifties and honestly, it works pretty good. The guitar itself is a very good sounding Fender Dual Professional with an added leg for stability for the pedal so it has two legs on the left end when you’re sitting behind it.

This guitar is fairly slow to setup and take down if you’re going to carry it in the factory case, however I have an employee here that had never seen one, but had no trouble setting it up, so it shouldn’t be any problem for any steel player.

This is a true artifact in the evolution of steel guitar history. You’ll have a hard time finding an old pro player that hadn’t seen one and didn’t know about them. This one is all chrome plated with little rollers in the rods that push the strings up. This definitely should not be a string breaker.

Click here for pictures:

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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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