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Post new topic FYI: Speedy West's Bigsby now owned by Deke Dickerson
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Author Topic:  FYI: Speedy West's Bigsby now owned by Deke Dickerson
Brad Bechtel


From:
San Francisco, CA
Post Posted 19 May 2017 3:26 pm     Reply with quote

As seen on Instagram:

I can now let the cat out of the bag--I'm excited to announce that I now own Speedy West's 1948 Bigsby steel guitar and will be getting it restored to its full former glory! Some of you may remember that a couple of months ago I turned up a rare, prototype Mosrite guitar that was used by Don Rich of Buck Owens' Buckaroos on the first episode of "Hee Haw" in 1969. I remembered that Buck Owens' Enterprises owned Speedy West's steel guitar and that it was on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. (It's a whole story in itself of how Buck Owens wound up with Speedy's steel--Buck fished it out of a trash pile in a storage lot in Bakersfield in the 1980's!)

I wrote the Buck Owens folks and suggested a trade--my Don Rich guitar for their Speedy West steel guitar. They happily accepted, I delivered the Mosrite to Bakersfield on Monday, and just picked up Speedy's Bigsby at the Hall of Fame an hour ago. The Buck Owens people are happy, I'm happy, and I'd like to think Speedy's looking down and is happy that his historic instrument will finally be restored!

A few facts about Speedy's steel: the serial number is #2748, which means it was finished on February 7, 1948. Speedy's guitar was originally fitted with four pedals, this was the first Bigsby steel made with pedals, and the way that Paul Bigsby designed the pedal rack and removable legs was the design that every pedal steel has used since this guitar was built--making this the first "modern" pedal steel guitar, the same way that Merle Travis' 1948 Bigsby guitar was the first "modern" solid body electric guitar.

The Speedy West guitar is every bit as innovative and historically important as Travis' guitar, in the world of pedal steel guitars this is a milestone instrument! It's an honor to have it now, and yes, I'm still reeling!!

#nashvilleboogie #nashvilleboogie2017 #pedalsteel #bigsby #steelguitar #speedywest #buckowens #donrich #bakersfield #countrymusichalloffame #cmhof
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Igor Fiksman


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 19 May 2017 7:59 pm     Reply with quote

Congratulations! A truly rare and historic piece! I think I speak for most folks here, when I say this, please post some pics of Deke's amazing find, if he allows, as many as possible.
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Last edited by Igor Fiksman on 23 May 2017 10:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post Posted 19 May 2017 8:57 pm     Reply with quote

That is awesome. I can't wait to see it after it is restored. It was hard to tel much about it from the Hall of fame photos but it was obvious that is had some pedals added that were not original and I'm sure other things were done. It is very good to hear that it went to someone that will care about it.
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Abe Levy


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 20 May 2017 4:27 am     Reply with quote

It's headed to Todd Clinesmith for full restoration. Obviously there is no better place to go! So awesome that Deke has it now. Couldn't be in better hands.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 20 May 2017 4:38 am     Reply with quote

An important piece of steel guitar history went to the right person! congrats to Deke to everyone who values the contributions Speedy made.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 20 May 2017 5:00 am     Reply with quote

I'm sure for many of us, that guitar is the holy grail and I'm glad it's in safe hands.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post Posted 20 May 2017 5:25 am     Reply with quote

My favorite part of the story is the perfect symmetry of both parties being made whole. Outstanding.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 20 May 2017 5:45 am     Reply with quote

Deke played a big part in getting the Speedy guitar authenticated. He had a big colour pic of Speedy playing it and they compared the grain pattern.
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Mel Bergman


From:
Camarillo, California, USA
Post Posted 20 May 2017 9:09 am     Reply with quote

Hi friends,

Deke sent me this photo this AM. It's clear from the rust on the leg screw. But it looks like the wiring you can see appears original. So neat to see this. My great uncle had Two Guitars Country Style, and I would stare at the cover intrigued. Another coup from my old pal Deke. BTW, just in case you think he is "lucky" to find this, I can tell you he has been on the trail of this kind of stuff since at least 1989 when we started hanging out. So great!
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Bob Watson


From:
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
Post Posted 20 May 2017 11:03 pm     Reply with quote

Congratulations Deke! Speedy West was an amazing steel guitarist and its great that you are helping to keep people aware of his immense talent and contributions to the steel guitar.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 21 May 2017 7:10 am     Speedy gave me a photo of that.... Reply with quote

Congratulations Brad,
I'm so jealous I think I just turned green, and I'm not that kind of guy!

Speedy gave me a photo of that guitar with him sitting at it in 1948 when I visited with him.
That was back in 1980 at his home in Broken Arrow.

He told me it was the second Bigsby made with the first being a none pedal that went to Joaquin Murphey.

I gave the photo to Tom Bradshaw and he published it for the first time in Steel Guitarist magazine #4 on page 31.
I think I remember Speedy telling me that it was a publicity photo that was not used at the time.

As luck would have it, thats the same issue with the Tom Brumley interview.

I'd love to get a chance to see more photos of the guitar now and after a professional restoration.
Best wishes,
Andy
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Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
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Last edited by Andy De Paule on 21 May 2017 4:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 21 May 2017 7:57 am     Reply with quote

If anyone isn't familiar with Deke, track down his books The Strat In The Attic volume 1 and 2. Apart from being a great read, you will see why, despite not being a steel player himself, he really should own this guitar.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 22 May 2017 8:52 am     Reply with quote

Eagerly awaiting as many pictures as possible.

I think Speedy paid $750 for that guitar in 1948.

As a point of reference, some 1948 prices:

new 1948 Ford coupe; 1154

new 1948 Cadillac; 2800 to 3000

average salary; about 300 a month

average house; around 14000

So it looks like Bigsby guitars may have been a bigger hit to the average working man's wallet at that time than current top of the line steel guitars are now.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 22 May 2017 10:38 am     Photo Speedy gave me. Reply with quote

Photo Speedy gave me about 1979.
He said it was a publicity photo from 1948 never used.


_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
One 6 string metal Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 22 May 2017 10:39 am     Major restoration Job Reply with quote

Major restoration Job, just right for a guy like Todd.
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
One 6 string metal Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 22 May 2017 11:13 am     Reply with quote

Does anyone know if Speedy went directly from the guitar shown below to the Bigsby?

This pic is from 1946 when he was with Ray Hahn and I think it's a home-built guitar.

You have to wonder if he had any pre-1950 experience on Gibsons, Rickenbackers, Nationals, etc.

As far as I know, he did not record before 1949.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 22 May 2017 4:30 pm     He made that steel Reply with quote

I know He made that steel, but not if it was before the Bigsby or he has others in between?
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
One 6 string metal Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 23 May 2017 9:15 am     Reply with quote

Just think of the thousands of classic recordings that were made on that guitar. It staggers the imagination! So happy to hear that it's being resurrected and going in for a full restoration!
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 23 May 2017 9:53 am     Reply with quote

I'd like to get Chris Lucker's input on this, but Pete Martinez told me that HE got the 2nd Bigsby steel after Joaquin's, a non-pedal guitar that was elevated by the case in some way when it was assembled for play. Pete was working in Los Angeles before Speedy arrived, recording with Merle Travis, Jimmy Wakely, and others.

Pete moved back to Wichita Falls around 1950-51 and took the Bigsby with him. It was stolen about 20 years ago, and even though he had a Fender, his heart was no longer in steel playing.

I got this info from Pete himself when he was being inducted into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. Pete passed away quite a few years ago.
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Billy Easton


From:
Nashville, TN USA
Post Posted 23 May 2017 1:59 pm     Reply with quote

I am soooo envious. My old pal Speedy was my inspiration, hero, and later my good friend. I will be waiting for finished photos and will try not to drool on my computer....

Billy Easton[/b]
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 23 May 2017 2:16 pm     A very different man at home Reply with quote

When I went to see him to interview for the now gone Steel Guitarist was he was a very different man at home than who you saw on stage.
When in public he had the manner of a showman and loved to clown around as well as his great playing.

At home he was very serious. Reflected a lot on his career and the history of both the steel and the music.
Had a great collection of memorabilia from his playing and was so proud of his achievements. Wonderful person and a real gentleman.
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
One 6 string metal Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Deke Dickerson


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 23 May 2017 9:31 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the good words, everybody!

Honestly, my biggest motivation for trying to own Speedy's guitar is because it broke my heart to see it displayed at the country music hall of fame in such piss-poor condition. It needed to be restored.

It will probably go back into the CMHOF at some point after it's fixed up, but I want to make sure that everybody who wants to play it gets a chance to play it.

It is in really, really rough condition. I have faith that Todd Clinesmith will do a good job restoring it, BUT if any of you have first-hand experience about how Speedy had the plunger pedals set up originally, that would be helpful to know.

Additionally, if anybody has Bigsby plunger/pedal/pedal rack parts for sale, I'm in the market.

The good news is that the basic hulk of the steel is all there and original. Yes, it still has the early Bigsby horseshoe pickups on it.

I'm as excited as the rest of you about this. Speedy's steel will live once more!

Deke Dickerson
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 23 May 2017 11:00 pm     Reply with quote

Herb Steiner wrote:
Pete passed away quite a few years ago.


Herb:

Don't know if you've seen these pix.

I ran down Pete's obituary within the last year--in the Wichita Falls paper if I recall. He worked a long time for local government there if I remember correctly.

First pic; Tex Ritter band in 1946 with Spud Goodall, San Antonio guitarist, on the left, next to Pete.

Isn't that a Bigsby in the second pic? Clint Cozart band out of Wichita Falls, maybe 1960s?

Third pic Wakely band, 1946.

I'm not sure if the last one is Pete. What do you think? Pretty sure it is---the guy in the pic is known to be a Wichita Falls player. Looks about what I'd expect Pete to look like as he aged, based on the other 3 pictures.









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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 24 May 2017 12:07 am     Reply with quote

Here's the original thread where Deke reported that the guitar had come to light.

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=1916816&highlight=#1916816
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Jussi Huhtakangas


From:
Helsinki, Finland
Post Posted 24 May 2017 4:55 am     Reply with quote

Mitch Drumm wrote:
Herb Steiner wrote:
Pete passed away quite a few years ago.


Herb:

Don't know if you've seen these pix.

I ran down Pete's obituary within the last year--in the Wichita Falls paper if I recall. He worked a long time for local government there if I remember correctly.

First pic; Tex Ritter band in 1946 with Spud Goodall, San Antonio guitarist, on the left, next to Pete.

Isn't that a Bigsby in the second pic? Clint Cozart band out of Wichita Falls, maybe 1960s?

Third pic Wakely band, 1946.

I'm not sure if the last one is Pete. What do you think? Pretty sure it is---the guy in the pic is known to be a Wichita Falls player. Looks about what I'd expect Pete to look like as he aged, based on the other 3 pictures.











Great Mitch, that's definately a Bigsby in the second picture, similar to the one PA built for Merle Travis; the case acts as a stand also. Never seen a photo of Pete with this guitar before!
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