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Author Topic:  Bud Isaacs
Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 5 May 2009 4:11 am     Reply with quote

I read with interest Mr Montee's comments on the music of Bud Isaacs and the importance of pedals therein. I have purchased a CD and listened with great appreciation. To further my study I have transcribed my favourite song "Buds Bounce" but I must say I am a little confused. I have examined the work with a fine tooth comb. I don't get it. The bass seems to be continually moving and the closest thing to a pedal I can see is the sus4 chords in bars 4 and 12. Am I missing something?





Very Happy

I wonder if this interview with Bud has been posted before.
http://www.pedalpro.co.uk/folderIndex/folderHTML/interviewBudIsaacs01.html
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Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post Posted 5 May 2009 6:40 am     Reply with quote

I don't understand what you "don't get"?? Can you be more specific.
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Ray Montee


From:
Portland, Oregon
Post Posted 5 May 2009 8:31 am     According to YOUR tab...................... Reply with quote

You indicate on your tab that this is for C6th/A7th tuning.

Word I have, is that Bud Issacs did this in Open E, going to A6th with both pedals pressed.

Would THAT possibly make the difference that you're searching for?
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 5 May 2009 9:19 am     Reply with quote

I'm sorry, Ray. This was a pun, but not really a joke if you will forgive me. I am not a PSG player. I have dabbled but found it too difficult. I am taking the long way round by studying dobro, then non pedal to get a good background. Mine is a ten year plan to get to PSG and I am in about year 5.

But the magic is in the journey and not the arrival. I have been smitten by the music of Messrs Douglas, Auldridge, Murphey, Boggs and many others along the way. I am a real cleanskin. I have never seen real non pedal guitar being played nor had a lesson so my ears are my guide.

I have read of the importance of Mr Isaacs in the development of the PSG and the importance of "Slowly" recorded with Webb Pierce as being the tune which broke the pedal sound to a wide audience. I note that in the interview linked below my tab Mr Isaacs refers to a couple of pedal recordings with Red Foley that predate "Slowly".

I have studied the recording of Bud's Bounce and have tabbed it for non pedal. I am musing that the tune could possibly have been written on non pedal using the 3 string slant which it opens my arrangement. The intonation is barely passable and I am thinking that it may have been a quest to improve the intonation of this "trick" that lead Mr Isaacs towards the use of pedals.

Like I said, I know nothing more than my ears tell me. This is just an idea that is probably completely wrong. But was not the C6/A7 type tuning in common use at this time?

Anyway, I would be pleased (as I am sure other forum members would be) to hear your most valuable thoughts and opinions as to what lead Bud towards pedals.

To my ears the recordings that I have of Mr Isaacs at this time have a vibrancy and strength that is compelling. There is almost a dangerous air to this new sound. I note that Mr Isaacs states his continued use of slants in the interview. The recordings that I have (1954-56) seem to retain a strong feel of non pedal while incorperating the pedal sound.

I noted in another post you wrote that there were just two pedals to begin with. Can you please elaborate on this fascinating period. What was Mr Isaacs playing like before "Slowly". Are there recordings that you can point to of him playing non pedal?
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Chris Scruggs


From:
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 5 May 2009 10:09 am     Reply with quote

Here is Bud's tuning from "Slowly" and all of his RCA instrumental recordings:

E9 with two pedals to A6,

E
B-----C# pedal
G#----A one
F#
D-----E pedal
B-----C# two
G#----A
E
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Tracy Sheehan


From:
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Post Posted 5 May 2009 11:42 am     Bud Issac Reply with quote

I first met Bud and Geri in Riverton,Wyo.as i recall.It was in Wyo. for sure.They were playing across the street from our group.
One night on our break i had him play Waltz Of The Ozarks.That is the first waltz i learned on steel when i got my first pedal steel.
I thought that was a beautiful waltz with great modulations from the key of C to A flat for the bridge.I don't recall if Bud wrote it or not and often wondered why it never caught on.It may have had too many chord changes for a country fan back at that time and the pedal steel was just catching on.Any one out there have any info on this song?
Tracy
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 5 May 2009 12:05 pm     Reply with quote

About what year was that, Tracy?
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 5 May 2009 12:38 pm     Reply with quote

Thank you, Chris, It is starting to make sense now. And it was Buddy Emmons who came up with the innovation of splitting the action of pedal 1 into two pedals?

I guess the essence of my inquiry is to the reason for the pedals. Was it primarily as a means to achieve the two different tunings or was it to replicate the glissing action of moving from slant to straight bar? The mechanical bend is one of the primary characteristics of the PSG sound but was it a secondary consideration for Bud Isaacs when he first made the innovation?
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Tracy Sheehan


From:
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Post Posted 5 May 2009 1:44 pm     Re. Reply with quote

Guy Cundell wrote:
About what year was that, Tracy?

Hi Guy.Not sure which you are asking.Bud recorded Waltz OF THE ORZAKS some where in the mid 50s as i recall.
When i met him in Wyo.was in 1972 or 73 as i recall.But things as i remember them are a little muddy after so many years.Tracy
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 5 May 2009 2:06 pm     Reply with quote

When I first heard "Slowly" I went nuts trying to find the slants on A6th tuning. I finally realized there were no slants. I was still using a non-pedal.
After I got a Fender 1000:
I then played on the A6th tuning with Pedal "A" going from C# to B, and Pedal "B" going from A to G#. For the bridge I jumped up to my E13th neck with my own version.

Everybody seemed to play it a little differently.
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Chris Scruggs


From:
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 5 May 2009 3:33 pm     Reply with quote

It was actually Paul Bigsby who split the pedals first. Johnny Sibert, the steel guitarist for Carl Smith, had pedals added to his Bigsby in 1954, right after Slowly came out. When he got the guitar back from Bigsby it was set up with split pedals in what we now refer to as the Jimmy Day set up, with the B pedal to the left of the A pedal.

Split pedals took a few years to catch on though, as most people didn't "get it" and many early pedal players continued to play without split pedals, including Sonny Burnett, who acquired the Johnny Sibert Bigsby later in 1954 and had Shot Jackson modify it to the "Isaacs" set up.

A couple of years later (1956, I believe), as the story goes, Buddy Emmons split the pedals on his guitar in the "Emmons" set up. He called Jimmy Day and told him about the new musical possibilities of this set up and so Jimmy split his pedals but did so backwards from the way Emmons did, which is why we refer to that as the "Day" set up.


Stylistically, Jimmy Day is typically credited with first popularizing the split pedal sound on major recordings.

Also as a note, Johnny Sibert stopped playing his Bigsby with Carl Smith after the pedals were added as Carl didn't want to sound like his peer Webb Pierce. Johnny then bought a triple neck Fender Stringmaster and put the Bigsby under the bed.

In 1954, only a handful of players had Bigsby steels with pedals. The first thing Webb had tried was to get Bud Isaacs to quit Red Foley. Webb even went down to the musicians union and tried to get them to force Bud to play with him. The head of the union told Webb,"I'm sorry Mr. Pierce, we can't make a musician work for anybody they don't want to. You see, we outlawed slavery here in Tennessee back in 1865."

The next thing Webb decided to do was to buy a new Bigsby to own himself. That way, any steel player who played with him could get the pedal sound. The only problem there was that Bigsby had a three year back order. Webb called Bigsby and demanded that he be put at the front of the line due to his stature as a country star and Paul and him got into a yelling match on the phone. Webb said,"I don't think you know who you're talking to, I'm Webb Pierce". Paul replied,"No, I don't think you know who YOU'RE talking to, I'm Paul Bigsby!"

After all that, Webb decided the best thing to do was buy a used Bigsby pedal steel so whoever played steel with him could have that sound. Paul Bigsby told him that Johnny Sibert had a D-8 Bigsby with pedals so Webb called Johnny and asked if he could buy his guitar. Webb, who was typically a shrewd business man, was so desperate to buy the guitar he told Johnny he would pay twice what it cost originally. Johnny thought that was a little to much but Webb INSISTED on buying it for twice the price as he HAD to have a pedal steel permanently in his band. This is how Sonny Burnett (who played steel for Webb) came into possession of the Johnny Sibert Bigsby steel guitar.

In the early sixties it was sold to Shot Jackson who refurbished it with Sho-Bud parts and sold it to Lloyd Green. Lloyd played the guitar from 1963 through 1965 when he bought his Sho-Bud Fingertip D-10. The guitar then disappeared for around forty years and was purchased by Bobbe Seymour three years ago. He is the current owner of the guitar which is currently being restored with N.O.S. Bigsby parts.

Chris Scruggs
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John Bechtel


From:
Nashville, Tennessee, R.I.P.
Post Posted 5 May 2009 7:16 pm     Reply with quote

If memory serves me correctly, a sample of Bud Isaacs playing non-pedal steel can be heard on Little Jimmy Dickens’ recording of “Take An Old Cold Tater And Wait”! Yeah, I know! I'm pretty old!
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<marquee> Go~Daddy~Go, (No), Go, It's your Break Time</marquee> L8R, jb
My T-10 Remington Steelmaster
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Ben Rubright


From:
Punta Gorda, Florida, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2009 2:54 am     Reply with quote

Below is a link to a Faron Young video from the 50's which has Lloyd Green playing a triple neck Bigsby. It appears to be non-pedal. I thought that the Bibsby that Lloyd played when he was with Faron was owned by Faron and I also thought that it was the one now owned by Bobbe. Bobbe's is a double neck wherein the one that Lloyd is playing in the video is a triple neck. Needless to say, I am confused about who owned what, when, etc, etc........ Chris/Bobbe help!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-IDmaLxK3s&feature=PlayList&p=8504C310E95AE290&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=28
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Jussi Huhtakangas


From:
Helsinki, Finland
Post Posted 6 May 2009 5:43 am     Reply with quote

Ben, they're two different guitars. The triple neck was Faron's and Lloyd played it when he was with Faron. It was later sold to Gary Stewart who played it up until the 70's at least.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2009 6:51 am     Reply with quote

This letter was written to me April 15, 1955. Very Happy


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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 6 May 2009 7:51 am     Reply with quote

Ben Rubright wrote:
Below is a link to a Faron Young video from the 50's which has Lloyd Green playing a triple neck Bigsby. It appears to be non-pedal.


Though Lloyd may not be using the pedals, the Bigsby in the clip clearly has 2 pedals. Wink
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Jussi Huhtakangas


From:
Helsinki, Finland
Post Posted 6 May 2009 9:18 am     Reply with quote

True Donny, and I have more recent pics of that guitar somewhere in my files, can't remember for sure, but Gary Stewart might have had Bigsby add a third pedal on it too. Interesting thing is that a promo photo of Gary's hands on that guitar was used on the back cover of a Herb Remington LP years ago. Don't remember which LP it was but it had some people to believe that Herb played a Bigsby too.
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 6 May 2009 10:52 am     Reply with quote

What wonderful responses! Chris, thank you for that great detail. John, I'm going to seek out Little Jimmy Dickens. Thanks for the lead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBG__RxzhdY "Cold Tater" Great solo! This is Bud?

Erv, that letter is priceless source material. I note the enharmonic spelling of G#. The letter shows a lot in the courtesy and care with which Red treated an inquiry and interest from a fan.

Ben, what a great link. The Youtube channel on which it appears is a goldmine of fabulous material.Hank Garland playing Sugarfoot Rag immediately grabbed my attention but there is much, much more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udspy-yn5jc

My initial investigation has still not been addressed. That is, was the development of pedals a move to create a guitar which provided multiple tunings without changing necks or a quest by Bud Isaacs to find a new way of incorporating bends that he had developed through the use of slants. By this I mean not just static slants as seen at the end of the Lloyd Green solo on the Fallon Young clip.


The point of my little arrangement in the first post of this thread is bends are possible by moving slants. (Remember, I am a newbie and this is a discovery for me.) It is plain that Bud Issacs was a great NPSG player and that he would have to have made this discovery so I am looking for more evidence. That is why I would like to hear examples of his playing pre pedals. Any examples of this technique in his playing may be an indication as to Bud's thinking.

But maybe I am way off beam. May be the innovator was actually Bigsby, the guitar technician. The evidence of a clip such as this of Don Helms is that NPSG players did not need to use slants at all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udspy-yn5jc
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 6 May 2009 12:35 pm     Ancient History Reply with quote

Guy.

Just a little ancient history from from an old Codger:

I have mentioned this before but don't remember where. Spade Cooley's original steel player was
named Dick Roberts back in the early 40's. Dick played a multichord and you hear him incorporating pedals into his melody lines. I have no idea what his tuning or pedal set ups were. After leaving Spade he went to work with "Happy Perriman" on whoe's records you could hear his style. He played very layed back so at the time it did not make a big impression on the rest of us.

As you progress with your playing you will probably gain some interest of the early years of the Steel Guitar.
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 6 May 2009 1:55 pm     Reply with quote

Thank you, Billy. My Spade Cooley collection starts at 1944 with JM in the steel chair. I see Wikipedia acknowledges an early recording

1941 Tell Me Why Westernair 801

A biography I found states that Cooley was working as a member of Cal Shrum's band at that time but that was the time of his first recordings. The bio also states that Cooley took over bandleader Jimmy Wakely's group a year later which presumably became the Spade Cooley Orchestra. Was Dick Robert's in Wakely's band?

Are there any photos of his instrument or of Wakely's band?
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Dr. Richard Buffington


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2009 3:08 pm     Bud Isaacs Reply with quote

I have been following this thread with interest and found that Vance Terry's triple neck pedal steel hasn't been mentioned. He played a lot of upbeat music with fast pedal work using two pedals on his Bigsby. Billy Jack Wills Played a lot of swing in those days. I think Paul put those pedals on in1953 or 1954. Thanks Doc...
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Chris Scruggs


From:
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2009 3:14 pm     Reply with quote

John,

I believe the hit recording of "Take An Old Cold Tater And Wait" features Roy Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys as the backup band, with Bashful Brother Oswald on six string lap steel in open A tuning.

But I might be wrong!

Chris
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J. Michael Robbins


From:
Dayton, OH now in Hickory, NC
Post Posted 6 May 2009 5:33 pm     Reply with quote

Guy Cundell wrote:
I guess the essence of my inquiry is to the reason for the pedals. Was it primarily as a means to achieve the two different tunings or was it to replicate the glissing action of moving from slant to straight bar? The mechanical bend is one of the primary characteristics of the PSG sound but was it a secondary consideration for Bud Isaacs when he first made the innovation?


Guy,
I was happy to see this thread. I have the same question, and I am sure that there are many others out there who wonder about this, as well.
Mike
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1970 Marlen D-10, 1971 Professional, 1973 Pro II, 1980 Marlen D-10
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J. Michael Robbins


From:
Dayton, OH now in Hickory, NC
Post Posted 6 May 2009 6:29 pm     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
This letter was written to me April 15, 1955. Very Happy




I noticed that Bud's early copedant supplied by Erv and Chris are most of the E9/back neck copedant listed for Bud in Winnie Winston's book. Winnie shows it with the same pedals, but as a 10 string copedant with the addition of a C# and an A string on the bottom and a D lever on the second string. I assume that this was the setup that Bud was using in the mid-1970's.

Here are a couple of links that touch on Guy's original question:
http://swindell.tv/pedalsteel.htm
http://www.harmony-central.com/Features/PedalSteel/
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1970 Marlen D-10, 1971 Professional, 1973 Pro II, 1980 Marlen D-10
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Billy Tonnesen


From:
R.I.P., Buena Park, California
Post Posted 6 May 2009 10:37 pm     Guy:. Reply with quote

This coming week I will try to post some pictures of Dick Roberts with the early Spade Cooley band. However he also doubled on Banjo and the pictures just show him holding a Banjo (the old four string Eddie Peabody type).

Pete Martinez played Steel with the early Jimmy Wakeley Band. I have a picture I will also post !
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