Sho-Bud, Gretsch, the Jackson Brothers, English steel guitarists
Posted on June 30, 2011 by Bobbe Seymour
Hello fellow players,
As most of you know, the Sho-Bud company was bought by Fret Gretsch in January of ’85 and moved to Ridgeland, South Carolina with the main office being in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fred bought Sho-Bud because it was thrown in on the deal that he was making to Baldwin to reacquire the name of Gretsch.
He didn’t really want Sho-Bud, but somehow Fred ended up with the Kustom company that was in Chinook, Kansas. So Fred ended up with Kustom, Gretsch, Sho-Bud, MCI guitars and somehow, Bigsby. This is fine and a whole lot better than having these names die, but I’d sure like to see him do more with them.
The true originators of the Sho-Bud company and the boys that built so many of these guitars over many years were the sons of the immortal Shot Jackson, David and Harry Jackson. David and Harry are still both in great health and building the new, already legendary Jackson guitar.
There always seems to be a new steel guitar popping up on the market straight out of somebody’s garage or basement, but this Jackson guitar is not one of those. The legendary thinking that went into some of the greatest Sho-Bud guitars is still showing up in these beautiful Jackson guitars.
David and Harry both came into my shop a couple of days ago and like always, we had long talks about the future of steel guitar and the future of designs that are coming. These boys are continually thinking and experimenting as proven by some of the mechanisms that David has recently come up with, like the finger that bends in the middle and requires very little pedal pressure and eliminates the typical wear parts in most all pull designs.
David has many other ideas that he shared with me. I offered my opinion on some of them and told him what I thought the pros and cons would be and at times he would look at me with a sly smile and say something like, “Yes I’m aware of that and I’ve already thought of that.” Pretty amazing minds these boys have and I still have the feeling that David will never get the true glory and recognition that he deserves along with his brother Harry.
The Wright Brothers couldn’t have been any smarter than these two boys. During this visit we discussed the past forty five years of steel guitar development. We discussed patents, who patented what, variation details on the all pull mechanism, who did what and at what time and who the true inventors were.
Names like the Harlan Brothers of Indianapolis, the Kelly patent that David dug up in the archives of the Patent Office and David’s designs of the all pull changer that he came up with to improve upon the systems that were being built at the time.
I remember at a very young age seeing Gene Pooler show up with Johnny Lee Wells at a dance I was also playing in Oklahoma. This was about 1957. Gene showed me his new cable operated Standel Custom steel guitar built by the great Chuck Wright. The changer was beautiful. Multiple raise and lower, tuned with your finger on top, very smooth and tremendous quality in the guitar.
Gene wouldn’t touch the guitar except to play it unless he was wearing his white gloves. The thing that impressed me the most was the design. Nobody ever mentions or says anything about this guitar, but it was definitely a good one. Chuck Wright must have been a very busy, hard working, intelligent being. Chuck is the father the incomparable David Wright, great steel guitarist of this day.
Ben Rubright in Florida, is the proud owner of one of David Jackson’s great guitars. Fred Shannon in west Texas and Charles Tilley of east Texas are friends I would like to mention because of the wonderful things they have done for steel guitar. I also had a visit this week from Bob Vantine. I hadn’t met Bob before. I found him a very interesting steel guitar guy that is primarily a lead guitar player he says. Bob is in middle New York state and member of a very fine steel guitar club in that state.
There are incredible steel guitar players all over the United States here to say nothing of players on other major continents. We have many readers of this newsletter from all over the world and I love the replies I get from all of them. It seems to be a very large force that’s still growing in England and the rest of the world. I’ve heard a lot of these guys play and I’m very astounded at their abilities.
I’d like to mention Basil Enriques, Ken Byng, David Hartley and B.J. Cole. I think it’s wonderful that the world is covered with steel players of such high caliber.
Steel Guitar Nashville, being a store in the Nashville area and serving highly discriminating steel guitarists here and around the world, demands a high quality stock of guitars, working and collector type. We would love to have more non-pedal classic pro guitars of yesteryear and I’m sure we will have in the future, but we seem to sell these old Fenders, Rickenbackers, Gibsons, Nationals and Bigsbys as fast as we get them.
The best thing I can say is that if you’re searching for that elusive user or collector guitar, keep following our webpage changes and I’m sure what you want will turn up.
Check out our monthly specials at http://www.steelguitar.net/monthlyspecials.html and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.
www.myspace.com/bobbeseymourMODEL NUMBERS FOR SHO-BUD PEDAL STEEL GUITARS
6138 Single Neck 10 strings 3 pedals
6139 Single Neck 10 strings 3 pedals, 1 knee lever
6140 Single Neck 10 strings 6 pedals, no knee lever
6141 Double Neck 6 pedals, 1 knee lever-maple body
6142 Double Neck 6 pedals, 1 knee lever-rosewood body
6143 Professional Model Double Neck 10 strings 8 pedals, 2 knee levers
6148 Pro-I Single Neck 10 strings 3 pedals, 2 knee levers
6150 LDG Single Neck 10 strings 3 pedals, 4 knee levers
6152 Maverick Single Neck 10 strings 3 pedals, 1 knee lever
6155 Pro-II Double Neck 10 strings 8 pedals, 2 knee levers
6160 Pro-I Single Neck 12 string 3 pedals, 4 knee levers
6164 Pro-III Double Neck 10 strings 8 pedals, 4 knee levers
6165 Pro-II Double Neck 12 strings 8 pedals, 4 knee levers
6166 Super Pro Double Neck 10 strings 8 pedals, 6 knee levers
http://www.planet.eon.net/~gsimmons/shobud/models.htmlLes modèles Sho-Bud en ordre chronologique
The Sho-Bud Models in Chronological Order1) THE PERMANENT
These were the first pedal steels built by Sho-Bud. Starting out in 1957, Shot Jackson and Buddy Emmons began building cabinets and assembling the pedal mechanism in Madison, Tennessee, just north of Nashville. The cabinets of the first several Permanents were all wood with no metal end plates. Soon after though metal end plates were added to the production. The undercarriage parts were welded together and the pedal setups, unlike today, could not be changed. Eight string, and later nine string cabinets were made with pedals, and by late 1958, the three pedals that we know today on the E9, became standard. Shortly after, the permanent model evolved to the standard ten string. The early permanents had no knee levers and basically consisted of raises only on the pedals(which is still the standard E9 three pedal setup today). During the late 1950's and early 1960's, the C6 neck was also evolving, with the Nashville players adding pedals and strings to eventually becoming standard with 10 strings and 5 pedals. As a result, the double neck soon became the norm and many permanent double necks with pedals were produced through these years. It was not uncommon to see a single neck permanent as well. These pedal steels were very well received by the steel players and became very popular. The permanent, sometimes called the Custom, continued to be produced well into the 1960's. Although Shot Jackson and others were adding knee levers to existing steels since the early 1950's, knee levers were pretty much standard on the Sho-Buds by 1964. Even earlier than this, around 1962 or '63, knee levers were starting to gain in popularity.
Up to this time, steel players sat on a regular chair, piano stool, or bench. With the addition of the knee levers, players found it sometimes difficult to set at the pedal steel and reach the knee levers and pedals all at the same time. Long time Sho-Bud employee, Duane Marrs came up with the idea of a seat specially designed for the pedal steel guitarist. Some what higher than the average chair or stool, this seat was the perfect height for playing the pedal steel. Duane Marrs built a prototype seat that included a storage compartment and called it the pack-a-seat. When Duane approached Shot Jackson about the idea of manufacturing the pack-a-seat that he had invented, they figured out that they would have to charge no less than $35 to cover the expenses to build it. No one thought that the steel players would be interested in such a seat, nor would be willing to pay money for it. But to their surprise, the seat was well received and as knee levers were added to the pedal steels, sales of the pack-a-seat increased and soon became, and still is today, a much needed accessory for the pedal steel guitar.
In Shot's old catalog, the number of necks, strings and pedals affected the price of the Permanent model, because these pedal steels were for the most part, custom built. For a double neck 10 string the price was $480, with extra pedals, $50 each.2) THE FINGERTIP
Around 1963, production started on the Sho-Bud Fingertip. This model was unique because unlike the Permanent, it was possible to change the pedal setup. It was nicknamed the Universal for this reason, and was basically the start of the all-pull undercarriage system. The Fingertip got its name from the fact that you could tune the pedal raises or lowers with your fingertips. On the end of the changer, slotted, finger turntable screws for each of the strings was used to tune the pedals. The changer was designed in such a way that you could raise and lower the same string if so desired. Additional raises or lowers of the same string had to be adjusted in the undercarriage. Although the setup was easy to change, the guitar was very sensitive. It had to be setup and adjusted perfectly in order to stay in tune. Constant adjustment was pretty much a given. But once it was adjusted correctly, it played and sounded great. It had a wonderful tone. Generally, the Fingertip was standard with one, and then later, two knee levers. In 1964, the Jackson family moved the Sho-Bud company to lower Broadway in downtown Nashville. A full service music store featuring Sho-Bud pedal steels and products was offered. Fingertips and Permanents were built and assembled at this store on lower Broadway. The generally accepted era for the Fingertip was from 1963 to around 1967 or possibly later. Suggested prices for these Fingertips during their production run varied from eight to twelve string; single,double, or triple neck. The type of wood and finish, plus any wood inlay work also affected the price. As the Permanent, the Fingertip was considered a custom pedal steel. But for an example, a double-10 listed at $620 and $50 for each additional pedal or knee lever.3) THE BALDWIN CROSSOVER
Sho-Bud became involved with the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company because of its large distribution potential. Baldwin wanted Sho-Bud to produce a pedal steel with their name on it to promote sales, and in 1967 the Baldwin Crossover was introduced. This model of pedal steel like the Fingertip had a wonderful rich tone. The guitar was standard with 6 pedals and one knee lever (generally placed on the right knee), although at this time, players were adding knee levers on a regular basis, and it was not uncommon to see two or even three knee levers. The Baldwin Crossover was a double neck with a shift type lever or gear that the player could move. In one position all the pedals would operate the top neck. Moving the shift lever would disengage the pedals from the top neck to the bottom neck(by moving the shift lever, the pedals "crossed over" to the other neck, thus the term "crossover"). In this way, all the pedals could actually be used on both necks just by the flick of the shift lever. This shift lever was positioned on the back side of the pedal steel facing the player. The undercarriage of the Baldwin Crossover was unique in the fact that the pull rods were attached to small metal "baskets". These baskets were connected to the pedal crossrods and bell crank. The guitar had a metal frame that wrapped all the way around the body of the steel. On the front, the frame was on the inside of the body and the actual front was covered with maple. This wrap around metal frame supported the undercarriage. There were two models of Baldwin Crossover available. One was the Regular Baldwin Crossover in which the metal frame was an unpolished black textured-ruff finish. The other model, called the Custom Baldwin Crossover had a smooth polished metal frame. These Baldwins like the Fingertip was sensitive and temperamental in the fact that the tuning and pedal setup up had to be adjusted perfectly in order for it to play right and in tune. When this was done and the guitars were adjusted, both the Fingertip and the Baldwin Crossover played great. The generally excepted Crossover production years were from 1967 to 1970. Suggested retail price of a double neck 10 string, six pedals and one knee lever was$1295 for the maple body in 1970.4) THE PROFESSIONAL
Around 1970, Sho-Bud introduced the Professional model of pedal steel. The same basic undercarriage design using the small metal baskets on the Baldwin Crossover was used on the Professional model. The Professional was also very similar to the Crossover except having the metal frame and crossover removed. The Professional had a wonderful rich and warm tone. The Professional production era was from 1970 to 1973, and the suggested price at this time was $1450.5) THE PRO SERIES
Sho-Bud introduced the Pro Series approximately late 1972 with the Pro-II. Although the Pro-I had been around for some time, considered by many to be just a single neck Professional, it was soon called the Pro-I. The Pro-I was standard first with three pedals and one knee lever. The Pro-I and II were a very popular pedal steel for Sho-Bud, however, the Professional model continued to be produced well into 1974. The undercarriage of the Pro II featured rods and bellcranks that replaced the baskets on the Professional model. The early Pro Series as well as the early LDG models used a single raise-single lower changer with any additional raise or lower of the same string provided by a brass tuning collar on the rod. Later the Pro-II employed a double raise-single lower changer. In 1975, Sho-Bud introduced the Pro-III featuring metal necks. The standard changer on the Pro-III was a double raise-double lower. Also, in 1975, the Pro Series body designed changed from a rounded body front to a square front. The floor pedals also changed to a narrow design. This was the start of the Pro/Custom series. Also during this time a new nylon rod tuning changer was introduced on the Pros. This enabled the player to tune all of the pedal/knee raises and lowers at the right end plate which was a great improvement over the changer and undercarriage of the past. As was stated, the Pro-I had been around a number of years before the Pro-II and Pro-III. In the early 1970's, Sho-Buds suggested price list for the Pro-I was $995. In 1976 the Pro-I Custom listed $895 retail. Gretsch in 1981 listed the Pro-I for $1450. The Pro-II in the early 70's listed at $1595. In the 1976 catalog the Pro-II was $1595 retail and the 1981 Gretsch catalog suggested price was $2120. The Pro-III first produced in 1975, had a retail price of $1795 for the Pro-III Custom in 1976, and Gretsch listed it for $2350 in 1981.6) MAVERICK
Want a pedal steel guitar for just $400? Sho-Buds answer was the Maverick. Designed with 3 foot pedals and one knee lever, the player of this single 10 string model could get most of the Nashville pedal steel sounds. Production started in the very early 1970's and this model was designed with the beginner in mind. The changer and undercarriage was based on the old permanent system and could not be changed. The three foot pedals were standard E9 changes and the one knee lever standard lowered the second string and eighth string one half tone. The first production Mavericks had a solid birdseye maple body with clear lacquer finish, and a raised wood neck with the regular tear drop keyhead. Almost all of these early Mavericks were the clear (blonde) natural finish. Later though, Sho-Bud came up with a way to cut the cost of building the Maverick by covering the unfinished body with a brown wood grained covering. The tear drop keyhead was also changed to an ash tray style keyhead. The Mavericks were popular and many were produced through the years. These models were built pretty much continually from the early 70's on. In the early 1970's, Sho-Buds suggested price for the solid birdseye maple style was $425. A later catalog lists the price for $395. The 1976 catalog suggested price list for the wood grained covered Maverick was $360 retail. Its interesting to note that the Gretsch Company's suggested price list for the same wood grained covered Maverick was $790 in 1981.7) LDG
Production started around 1973. The idea came from Lloyd Green in the fact that he was not playing the C6 neck too much and wanted the back neck and C6 pedals removed to decrease weight. A soft foam pad was put on the back neck as an arm rest. The first LDG's were basically early Pro-II with the pad installed. Later, the body, undercarriage, changer, and mechanics evolved over time with the Pro-Series and then the Super Pro. The early 1970's suggested price list for an LDG was $1195. The 1976 catalog lists the price at $1195 retail, and Gretsch in 1981 list price was $1720. FENDER/SHO-BUD
In the early 1970's the Fender Guitar Company contracted Sho-Bud to produce a Fender/Sho-Bud pedal steel. This model and the Super Pro were very similar in design except for the body and the key head. The undercarriage was basically the same as used on the future Super Pro. These Fender/Sho-Bud pedal steels had the ash tray Fender style keyhead. The changer used was a triple raise-double lower, and was similar to the Super Pro changer. Other then the changer and undercarriage, this model had a look that was different then the regular Sho-Buds.9) SUPER PRO
In 1977, the Super Pro was introduced. It was standard as a double wood or metal neck, with 8 pedals and 6 knee levers. This model and the Fender/ShoBud was very similar in design except for the body and the key head. The Super Pro had a streamlined-smaller and thinner body design then the Sho-Bud models of the past. Also, the undercarriage pretty much the same as the Fender/Sho-Bud model, was very different then the past Sho-Bud models. The cross rods on the past models were round. On the Super Pro they were hex shaped. The bell cranks and pedal rods were also of a new design. Small metal tuning rod clips were used to hold the tuning rods onto the bell crank. The floor pedals on the Super Pro were small narrow pedals that had a very different look then the past wide pedal design. The knee lever design changed as well, to a straight narrow lever. The tuning key head was square and blunt on the end instead of the old standard tear drop key head of the past. Clearly, Sho-Bud had a new pedal steel. This new undercarriage design was very popular. After the introduction of the Super Pro, the undercarriage designs of the Pro-Series and the LDG pedal steels changed to the Super Pro style. When the Super Pro was first introduced in 1977, the retail price was $2175. Gretsch in 1981 listed the Super Pro at $2850.11) SHO-BUD KEYLESS
Although this model was never really produced by Sho-Bud, it is mentioned here because several prototype Keyless pedal steels (Single-10) were made. The Keyless was built to eliminate the raise and lower changer mechanism by using permanent changer fingers at both ends of the guitar. One end to raise and the other end to lower. The Keyless guitar idea never caught on with Sho-Bud and the idea was dropped. Had Sho-Bud continued with the development of the Keyless, they would have no doubt, been successful. Today, many pedal steel manufactures offer keyless models that play and sound great.12) SUPER PRO II
After the Jackson family sold the Sho-Bud company to Gretsch in 1979, Gretsch came out with a modified version of the Super Pro. Not exactly considered a production run, several Super-Pro-II's were built by the Gretsch company around 1984. The Gretsch price list from 1983 lists the Super Pro-II as a double 10 string, 8 pedals, 6 knee levers with a suggested price of $3530
http://www.planet.eon.net/~gsimmons/shobud/models.htmlQuelques modèles trouvés sur le net :Accessoires sho bub