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Cheap Decals or Legendary Designs?

"Even a four-year old entrepreneur understands that it doesn't matter how good your idea is if nobody knows what it is."  ~ Bernadette Jiwa


There will always be discussions of brands, designs, and logos.  It's what causes merchandise, ideas, innovations or services to flourish or not.  It's what causes people to instantly recognize their favorite products.


Consider this, some twenty-five years ago Buddy Emmons was asked why the Emmons logo on the adhesive decal was different from the logo on the raised, tactile plate (badge).  His reply was "the original V in the logo came to me at a time when I was smoking Viceroy cigarettes."  He continued, "Sorry to say I have no idea what the boys at the company were smoking when they changed it."

The original logo design was patterned after Buddy's signature and incorporated the word "STEREO" to acknowledge the fact that the guitar had two pickups to help differentiate between the bass and treble EQ. 


The word "STEREO" was removed shortly thereafter when the tone switch plate was

introduced.  In fact, the decals still came with the "Stereo" copy in them and they were simply cut out from the decal.


In the design world, they "cloud" a shape to establish an outline perimeter or "footprint" of a design. The original Emmons script and chevron logo lacked design geometry above the Emmons scripting and most likely, the thin, white outline was added to establish some type of "top" to the logo's cloud shape as that was necessary to create the badge. Once the artwork was revised and implemented, they could produce a raised badge, thus becoming the company's branding replacement for the adhesive decal. 


Later, the "LeGrande" (and eventually the "LeGrande ll and LeGrande lll) decals were added to the right lower front apron of the respective guitars.




Why add the LeGrande decals to the guitar?


The decals were added to differentiate the Emmons' product line.


There's a difference between an Emmons, an Emmons Wraparound, an Emmons Bolt On, an Emmons Cut Tail, an Emmons Legrande l, ll, and lll, and an Emmons ReSound'65.  While these are all terrific models, the ReSound'65 differs from the others in the sense that it's a renewed company and a new product line.  Without the model identifier, you cannot know what model you are looking at.  In advertising, that matters.


Any legitimate instrument manufacturer with an expanding catalogue of models must have identification to each model. As Fender, Yamaha, MSA, Sho-Bud and all the rest, Emmons will have several models, requiring a classification and series brand to identify the instrument. 


Whenever I walk into any venue, music hall, or recording studio and see a pedal steel guitar present, I'm immediately interested in what is going on, and am drawn into what is happening there.  Add to that, a pedal steel guitar with the familiar Emmons decal or badge and I'm already feeling an attraction and a kinship with what could musically take place.  I'm interested in the steel player's ideas and talent.  There are enthusiasts, purists and aficionado's in just about every facet of life including "tone chasers".  Especially "tone chasers".  I'm one of them.  When I see a player drag an Emmons up on the crowded little stage at Robert's Western World or Layla's Hillbilly Inn, or the vast stage at the Texas Steel Guitar Jamboree, I'm anxious to hear it. If it has the original decal, I'm really anxious to hear it because it will more than likely represent an incredible tone.


The tone has been there from the beginning when prototyping began in 1963, but out of the approximately sixty wraparounds that were originally built (and out of the less than half that can still be accounted for) no two guitars seemed to be the exactly the same mechanically. During the early years of design and innovation there were widely varying guitars built in the same year as it was "evolving" through trial and error, manufacturing constraints, and making things by hand.


After more than a year of rigorous research and development, Darin and Kelcey established a more reliable and relevant manufacturing solution at the re-established Emmons Guitar Company. 


The ReSound'65 is the Generation 2 release of the legendary 1965 "Emmons Original" push-pull pedal steel. The acoustic, mechanical, and proportional properties of the ReSound'65 have been meticulously crafted to the same specifications of the original 1965 "Wraparound" guitar but with today's technology. The state-of-the-art machining and tooling allow for manufacturing tolerances that are within .002"!  That's precision enough for me. With this precision, the tone remains even and consistent as it should be. These guitars are a modern-day expression of an older generational tone that we've all come to love and admire. The unwavering standard of the ReSound'65 has proven to be repeatable and consistent, solving the inconstancy and variation challenges they experienced in the 1965 Emmons Original push-pull.


So, when I see a new ReSound'65 being laminated or coming off the assembly table with the new logo emblazoned on the front of the guitar, it renews the enthusiast, purist and aficionado in me.


Mark Robinson

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Great article and the excitement is building for the brand for sure, here in the UK there aren't so many pedal steel guitarists but those who are here appreciate and respect the history and ambitions for the new version. Got an order in and can't wait to get my hands on it.

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