Steel Guitar Tips

Hello fellow players,

I�d like to mention the fact that my first employer after I moved to Nashville in the sixties, Mr. Ferlin Husky has died.  Not only was Ferlin my first employer, but a hero to myself and to millions others since I was in grade school.  As a little kid I would go to the big Opry shows that had such artists as Hank Thompson, Ray Price, Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers, the Louvin Brothers which was usually headlined by superstar Ferlin Husky himself.

Little did I know that one day in my early teen years I would be playing steel with this monstrous star.  Ferlin kept us all in stitches trying to figure out if we were talking to him or Simon Crum as we were going down the road together in the car.  Sometimes we�d drive for hundreds of miles and he would sit there and talk to himself through both characters.  I will have to say he treated me very good.  I really miss him because I had some important things I wanted to say to him before he left us, but now I�ll not get the chance to tell him how I appreciated him.

Another person that I admire and is today a great friend that I worked with is the great Jean Shepard.  She had a great hit record with Ferlin called Dear John.  This was a golden hit and is still done by true country singers the world over.  I�m glad we still have Jean with us and was very pleased to find out that she has recently been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  I can�t agree with the board�s choice any more than I do on her induction.  Of course, Ferlin was inducted several years ago.

I�m including an email I got from a great Texas steel player that�s very well known.  Jody Sanders lives a few miles west of the Houston area.  Jody is a pure type of cowboy steel player we all like to think about when we think about Texas steel players.  He is always seen with a great Gunsmoke Stetson hat, western cut shirt and sport coat with blue jeans that are reminiscent of the days when blue jeans were invented for the gold miners back in the 1800s.  

Jody is a hardcore steel guitar lover, promoter and player.  I have and have had many friends in the east Texas area.  Billy Braddy, Ivan Greathouse, Charles Tilley, Al Posey, Jim Evans and of course, Jody Sanders to name only a few.  If I would be forced to live in east Texas for the rest of my life, I�d die with a smile on my face.

This is Jody�s email to me.

Hi Bobbe. Another great newsletter. I am so thankful that my career spanned the "glory" days of country music with bands dressing and acting a whole lot different respect wise etc. E. T. told me once that he owed the success of his career to the people and that the people were showing respect to him when they bought his records and attended his shows. He said he felt obligated to return that respect by giving them his best at his shows which included dressing himself and the Troubadours up for the shows. His opinion was, that a band that went on in T-shirts and raggedy jeans and tennis shoes were showing utter contempt for their audience. See you down the road. Jody. 

I�d like to get technical this week about a piece of equipment that we don�t realize how important it is until it breaks or lets us down.  This is the volume pedal.  There are several different brands of volume pedal and different styles of how they work.  Some of them even have sideways motions that can affect your tone for that famous boo-wah sound of yesteryear.  These double acting pedals were originally pioneered by Paul Bigsby in Downey, California.  Then his friend one township over, Leo G. Fender from Fullerton, California also built a tone volume pedal.

Several of the very famous single-acting pedals built over the years were Sho-Bud which is still highly sought after, Dekley, Mullen, ZB, Franklin, Ernie Ball, MSA and a few light beam or potless pedals have been manufactured, some not very successfully and a couple extremely successfully.  

The Hilton pedal seems to be the king of the potless pedals that is reigning supreme today with the new Mullen pedals that are now getting such respect and attention.  The old Edwards Light Beam pedal, being one of the first and not being much valued today.

The problem with the old style pot pedals is short life span of the pot and the replacements pots being pretty expensive.  However, of the pots that are being made I feel the PEC Canadian brand that we sell here at Steel Guitar Nashville are by far the most reliable and has the longest life.

Some people complain that the pot shafts are too short on the newer pedals for their personal volume pedals, but all you have to do is turn the pulley around and it will line up with the string and be very operational.

In going through my house last weekend, I found that I had quite a collection of used volume pedals.  Bigsby, Sho-Bud, Emmons and some others.  I�m not meaning to collect them, but they just kind of grow in the closets.

It�s not the volume pedal that actually controls the volume.  It�s the potentiometer or pot inside it.  I like pot pedals as long as they�re working fine, however we have had a Hilton potless pedal we use in the store to demo guitars with that has given great, solid performance with no problems for over eight years.  So I may have to say that the potless pedals are the best value, most dependable volume pedals being made today.

We try to keep good values and low prices going on all volume pedals and we sell the pots and parts to overhaul a pedal for as little money as possible.  Let me know if I can help with any problems you may have on this serious accessory.  As inexpensive as volume pedals are compared to your guitar and amp and as troublesome as they can be, it�s not a bad idea to own at least two of them and have a third one waiting in the wings waiting to go to work when necessary.

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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