Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

>From this office where I’m writing this letter, I can many steel guitars out the door. Gorgeous guitars made of birdseye, fiddleback and curly northern Canadian maple. Old Sho-Buds with African ebony necks, purple heart bodies, beautiful English cherry, Zebrawood from South America and many other solid exotic woods that anybody would be proud to have in their house.

I’m expecting the U.S. Government to come crashing through the front door any day and tell us we can’t sell our beautiful vintage steel guitars if we can’t prove the wood came from middle Tennessee.

The Gibson Company that cares to keep quality where we can all be proud of the name by building most of the most sought after guitars in the world, building a product that the finest players of Asia, Europe and wherever great players work and reside, crave, is having to fight the American government to continue to use the great wood that goes into these guitars.

I’m saying this next sentence with a certain amount of humor, but it looks like MSA may have really had the right idea with their Tupperware guitar. I thought they looked great, but didn’t really want to do much experimenting because I really didn’t care for the tone of them. But it was beautiful and durable.

To me, ninety percent of the beauty of steel guitars are the beautiful natural materials that they are made from. When I was a little kid in northern New York State I used to walk across the gymnasium floor and fall in love with the highly figured maple boards that would appear randomly. After awhile, the teachers, coaches and all the students were walking around the floor in their stocking feet looking for highly grained flamed maple.

I had dreams of one night going in and borrowing some of these highly figured boards to take home and build a lapsteel.

Sho-Bud and Bigsby were the two steel guitar brands of the 50’s and 60’s that totally ripped my heart out with natures most beautiful figured maple. I did see some gorgeous big birdseye cherry at one time in my life, but the lumber company sold it before I could get back and buy what they had. It probably ended up in somebody’s fireplace.

Anyway, it’s a horrible shame that the time for building steel guitars, gun stocks and some other highly visible items that don’t take much of this natural resource is drawing to a close. Someday you may only be able to see it in pictures.

Birdseye maple is the most desirable of anything that effects us because it is a tone wood that sounds extremely good and it’s beauty is unsurpassed. The government has not closed in on us yet over the birdseye maple issue since a lot of it is grown here in the United States. However, I’m expecting to see this happen at any time. Can you imagine them coming and knocking on our doors and confiscating our old guitars like they are confiscating Gibsons from the factory now?

First Gibson, then Fender, Paul Reed Smith, Martin, D’Angelico, Epiphone and then what? How long will it be before nice formica will be on the illegal materials list?

These companies that are covering wonderful tone woods like maple with formica may have a foot up on the competition because they are getting the beautiful tone of the maple, but keeping it hidden by packing it under formica which does not hurt the tone in any way and will keep the prying eyes of Big Brother from infringing on our civil liberty.

Well naturally, I feel like I’m being a little bit silly here. I hope so anyway. But I’d still like to talk to George Washington about chopping down that cherry tree and not receiving anymore punishment than he got. He also threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River so history states, but then you have to realize the dollar went a lot further in those days.

When I was but a mere child of two or three years old, my grandfather on my mother’s side built a bed and a chest of drawers out of finely aged New York maple that he cut off his own property and kiln dried himself. I dreamed of making a steel guitar from this wood for many years. Now I’m afraid the government will get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this country very much and I’m a very loyal patriot and have spent much time and I put myself in much danger in the service of my country.

I’d hate to think that government is going to force use to build steel guitars from fiberglass, plastic and other artificial materials. Here’s a link to the Wall Street Journal article for the details.

Now off to another topic. I regret to inform all my great friends I will not be attending the Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis this year because of health problems that I’m having. This is especially hurtful this year because I am one of three players that are going into the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

This is supposed to be a secret, however it has been pretty widely publicized in several places. I’m very sorry that I can’t be there, but it’s a near impossibility for me to get very far away from my doctors. I’ll truly miss all of you that are going as I miss everyone in the world of steel guitar continuously.

I thank you very much for being my friends and please stay in my corner.

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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