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.
Sept 3, 1963
I have just returned from Nashville and was glad to hear from you. First of all, don’t let my letter discourage you in any way. I realize that you have every right to feel as you do about rating players but although I don’t agree. I don’t mean to be in anyway critical.
I just spent 5 days with Buddie and we have worked out the final details on the Stereo guitar that we are building. As you guessed the treble and bass strings will be separated. Our first experiment model is black trimmed in chrome and polished aluminum. It is somewhat compact as compared with the Sho~Bud. I hope to have it completed and ready for orders by Convention time in Nov. One nice thing is that the pedal setup is universal and can be changed easily by the artist. Our mechanics is original as far as we know and does more that any we know. Each string has 4 possible positions which can be achieved. Each string can be raised 1 tone or more with one pedal and with another pedal can be raised ½ tone and with another can be lowered. It can also be lowered ½ and 1 whole tone. The pedal mechanism does exactly twice as much as the Fender 1000 because while the 1000 has one raise and one lower position but have 2 raise and 2 lower positions. We have decided to use a tone control but have a switch which will throw it completely out of the circuit for the pros. I’ll tell you more about it as final touches occur.
Leonard went to Nashville with me but flew home on Wednesday. Jimmy Day was in town all week and I got to jam with him on 3 occasions.
I asked Jimmy and Buddie about a letter from you but neither said they had received it so you might write again but personally, knowing Jimmy, I doubt he would answer but who know you might accidentally find him sober. haha. Jimmy is playing with George Jones now and plans to have a new album out by convention time.
Buddies album will be out in about 3 weeks. It is all jazz except for 2 will be country. He said that he cut 2 country tunes but possibly only one will be used. I was unable to get any information on the Kessell/Chalker album which I have been told by Walter Haynes is in the making.
I was unable to get the tape of Chalkers jamming sessions because the fellow who had it was out of town but I did pick up about a 40 min tape of Billy Bowman jamming without pedals of course but he is still good. Billy is in Morristown, Tenn. with Daniel Construction Co. He has the same job that I had with Daniel 2 yrs ago. He is time keeper and (unintelligible) the payroll out. He doesn’t play anymore professionally but he can still handle the bar.
Concerning the rollers that we are using at the nut they are needed to prevent any string breakage but it is a tuning problem that they prevent. I was in no way throwing off on the Marlen when I rated it equal to the Sho~Bud, in fact, I was complimenting it since the Sho~Bud is number one in Nashville, Tennessee.
I saw your guitar last week and it really looks nice. The C6 wasn’t finished so I only tried the E9th. It worked fine. By the way Emmons has put his two fine strings still on the front side and made them 1 & 2 and moving the other 8 back.
You mentioned writing a book on the pedal guitar. Tell me more. I’d like to be the first to receive a copy. Haha.
I’m sure that your Music course is worth while so stick with it no matter what. As long as you stick with it the fact remains that you will improve. I tell my students there is no substitute for study. We are behind you here 100% so anytime we can help, please feel free to ask.
On the trip to Nashville, Leonard was able to meet Buddie but he didn’t appreciate or understand his personality while I was able to meet Jerry Byrd who spent an hour at our motel and is one more great guy who feels despair because his talent isn’t appreciated by the general public.
I’ll close for now because I can hardly hold my eyes open. Can you read it?
P.S. Your letter was signed yours truly, Penny. Who is Penny? Am I answering the write letter?