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The Lashley Chronicles - Letter 2

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


This letter is one of many letters written detailing the development of the pedal guitar, and the birth of the Emmons Guitar. It also includes standardization of the tuning and copedent, 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.


 

Scroll down for the complete transcription of this letter. The spelling and grammar shown below is exaclty how it was written by Ron Lashley Sr.

 






 

TRANSCRIPTION

 

March 9th [1963]

Hello Paul,

I’m sorry this is so late. It was just neglect on my part but I have been quite busy lately. I did enjoy hearing from you immensely. We have been playing only one night a week here but enjoy [sic] most all of our/ my bedroom sessions. In one sense of the word I might be called a has been musician because my playing days have just about ceased, that is until June at least. I did play on the WNOX Tennessee Barn Dance Show in Knoxville for 4 years while I was in college, and also appeared weekly on TV. (By the way I played the straight electric while in Tenn. mostly but I only play steel now)

I’ve been selling so many dual-coil pickups lately that I can hardly supply the demand. The boys really love them and personally I do also. I have a new circuit that can  be used with them to get 3-tones but so far I’m not using it commercially because all my customers are satisfied with the present set -up.

By the way I’m using the Squier series “E’ strings presently and I like them better than anything that I’ve ever used because of the tone quality and most of all durability. Just for curiosity I'm going to try some Ernie Ball strings.

My steel guitar is a double ten custom built for me by me before Leonard and I started working together. My tuning and pedal arrangement are as follows. 



As you can notice, my set up is pretty well conventional. I don’t have anything original I’m sure. I have copied the Nashville Style all the way. I did have to add a drop to my 9th string on my 6th tuning in order to get the effects Jimmy Day gets on his album.  Also I had to add the raise on the 7th string of the 6th tuning in order to get some Chalker effects. By the way, how do you like Curly Chalker’s playing? If he had some variety no one could touch him.

I guess you know about the 9th and 10th strings of the 9th tuning which Buddy Emmons uses on Ray Price’s “Please Take Her From My Mind”. They are fine strings. Also  his 10th string on his 6th tuning is a 2nd elective brass fiddle string. This information is pretty well conventional but I’ll pass it along just in case some of it isn’t known.

It was bad about Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Randy Hughes getting killed, wasn't it? Also Jack Anglin of (Johnny and Jack) and Sleepy McDaniels of (Hank Snow). It happens to everyone.

I enjoyed your article in Fretts this time very much. I’m not well versed in Music theory but I do understand the fundamental structure.

We have just finished a unit on Sound and Music in our Physics Course which I teach and we treat the scales frequency wise. We tried 70 different tones between octaves before tempering equally to 12 (½ tone steps). We’re in our unit on electricity now which is one of my pet subjects.

Have you received your Standel yet and how do you like it? I/m considering one for myself. WIth that amp and the type of pickups that I’m building for your guitar,you will have the best tone available anywhere. 

My apologies for being late again and please let me hear from you. If my tuning chart is [not] clear let me know and I’ll clarify it.

Musically Yours,

Ron

P.S. I would enjoy more articles on the Pedal Steel guitar in Fretts.

Just remembered-Have you heard Speedy West’s new album? I heard it yesterday for the first time and it has a very pretty commercial sounding pedal which is new as far as I know. It sounds easy but I haven’t tried it yet. Also I heard the guys on the Opry Saturday night using you sparingly.

`I’m planning a trip to Nashville Easter holidays and I’ll get the latest scoop from there and send it to you concerning the steel then. 

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