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The Emmons Prototype

On December 19th, 2023 the Emmons Guitar Company publicly unveiled the prototype guitar of the Emmons Original built in 1963, celebrating 60 years of the Emmons Original! This prototype guitar was designed and built by both Ron Lashley Sr. and Buddy Emmons, forever changing the modern era of pedal steel guitar.

We acquired 25 handwritten letters by Ron Lashley Sr. that detail intense historic information about the birth of the Emmons guitar backstage at the Ryman auditorium over the Easter weekend of 1963! (Read Letter Here)

This letter is 1 of 25 detailing the development of the pedal guitar, and the birth of the Emmons Guitar. It also includes standardization of the tuning, as well as historical commentary.

The letters were written from Ron Lashely Sr. to Mr. Paul J. Graupp, the editor for "Pushin Pedals", the pedal guitar section of Fretts magazine, which was published by Fender Sales.

Enjoy these photos of this priceless piece of history, the guitar that changed the pedal steel guitar industry in the early 60's!

The fretboards shown in the photos are 2 of 50 of the original fretboards purchased by Buddy Emmons in the beginning. They have been painted white and clear coated by someone, but the original chrome remains underneath. The original fretboards were not present when took ownership, but we floated two period correct pieces to represent the original design.

The original placement of the logo decal was moved by someone, but the adhesive of the original can still be seen upon close inspection.

This guitar is virtually in the exact the same condition as the day we took ownership of it. We have not cleaned it or made any changes. We have carefully examined it, tested it mechanically and yes, it still plays!

There are testimonies of employees that worked at the Emmons factory in Burlington that knew it was in the back that never had the privilege of seeing this guitar in person. Ron Lashley Sr. was extremely proud and protective of this guitar, and we are too.

Our goal is to share the legacy and rich history of the Emmons Guitar, the sound, and the joy.


The authenticity and dating of this guitar has been confirmed through various sources. One of those amazing sources reveal unique features found only in this particular prototype matching a very rare dated magazine ad that show key identifiers such as the one-off aluminum cast pedals, body design, electronics, endplates, key heads, etc. One of the most obvious characteristics is the 1/2" raise in the body, separating the C6 and the E9 neck. This was a Sho-Bud carry-over design that quickly disappeared and became the 1/4" rise we all recognize on Emmons guitars today.


Click here to see an exciting conversation with Steve Fishell that occurred the day this relic made it's debut at our showroom. Thank you Steve for all you have done to honor the story and legacy of Buddy Emmons, the world's foremost steel guitar player!

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