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The Lashley Chronicles - Letter 3

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

 

April 3, 1963

Hello Paul,

How is life in Germany these days? Guess you are getting a lot of playing done there. When do you get out? Where is your home originally? Just a few questions that one always wonders about.

I was very pleased to receive your nice letter as pedal steels are my main interest. By the way, the albums by West and Day, I’m not sure of the number of West’s but the company is Capitol and the album by Day is on the Philips label #PHM200-016 entitled GOlden Steel Guitar Hits. Also, Day has a brand new album just full of beautiful slow pedal selections. Ralph Emory played it all [the] way through on WSM radio the other night. I don’t know the label but I’m sure that if you write the “Ernest Tubb Record Shop” 447 Broad, Nashville, Tenn. you will get the album. Buddy Emmons and Shot Jackson have and album that is supposed to be released sometime this month.Ernest Tubbs’ latest album “On Tour” has 3 instrumentals and much pretty backing. You might be interested in this one also if you haven’t already gotten it. It certainly has beautiful steel always through with Buddy Charleston. The three selections are “The Steel Guitar Rag’,”Red Slim Rag”, and “Lovers’ Waltz”.

As you asked , my 9th tuning is in E. At one time I had gone all the way back to D then to E flat but now I’m satisfied with E and I’m not breaking anything either. My knee pedal is on the second string and I get the half pedal easy with my foot pedal because I have a feel at the halfway point.

I hear the flatted 5th being used quite often among the instrumentals around Nashville. Actually my set up is standard around Nashville, that is P-2,3,4. Emmons’ set up is identical to mine only he has 6 pedals in all. 

Andy Nelson (pro guitar demonstrates for Epiphone) was intown last night for a demonstration. Believe it or not he is pretty well advanced on the pedal steel. He had in his possession a pedal steel designed by Ace Denning (brother of Denning Sisters) from Nashville. It isn’t on the market yet but it might be next year. Honestly the pedal mechanism is so far ahead of Fender, GIbson, ShoBud,Bigsby, or all of them that it is pathetic. It will take any one string by using 4 different pedals on a half tone raise, then a full tone, then lower half tone, then lower a full tone. Each of these are achieved with different pedals. Andy said that he would probably be playing it at the the Trade show this year in Chicago. That was the very thing that In had been working on and to think it will be on the market next year maybe. He had quite a few modern ideas concerning the design of the pedal steel.

My schedule lately is such that I haven’t had time to work with Leonard much lately other than building all of his pickups. 

About the Ernie Ball strings, I’m not sure that Squier is their supplier, but I strongly suspect it . It would really have to be  great string to be any better.

HAve you received your Standel yet? I’ve been playing through one just like yours and it really sounds great. Did you know that Epiphone puts out an amplifier that is comparable to the Standel Custom? I think the two are equal when new but I couldn’t say about durability.

I don’t know who Buddy Emmons is with now. I think maybe he is free lancing around Nashville. I heard him with Porter Wagoner last Friday night.

Well, I had better close for now and grade a few papers. I enjoy hearing from you and will be looking forward to.

Musically yours,

Ron.

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