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Author Topic:  Kayton Roberts
Fred Isenor

Nova Scotia, Canada
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 9:27 am     Reply with quote

Condolences to all Kaytons family and friends.
Fred Isenor
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Michael Johnstone

Sylmar,Ca. USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 10:25 am     Reply with quote

One of the strongest,sure-footed most authoritative players I've ever seen. He never seemed to hesitate for a split second and was on his game at all times. Part of it may have been that he always just played that one Fender instrument his whole career and knew it like the back of his hand. RIP
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Godfrey Arthur

Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 11:13 am     Reply with quote

Godspeed Mr. Roberts.

I see he played his signature steel most of the time.
From the Bronx via Manila
ShoBud The Pro 1
YES it's my REAL NAME!
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Vernon Bates

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 11:41 am     Reply with quote

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Kayton Roberts. He was a true gentleman and a good friend to members of the Atlantic (Canada) Steel Guitar Club. We offer our condolences to his loved ones at this difficult time.

Vernon Bates
Atlantic Steel Guitar Club
Haliax, Nova Scotia,
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Terry Wood

Marshfield, MO
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 1:05 pm     Reply with quote

Sad to see another one of the greats leave us! I have been listening to him seems like all of my life! One of the best I ever heard on non pedal Steel Guitar! A true Master of his instrument very talented. He was a really good guitarist and singer as well. Prayers for his Family and his many Friends!
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George Keoki Lake

Edmonton, AB., Canada
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 1:15 pm     Reply with quote

Grown men seldom cry....however tears came to my eyes upon reading of the passing of "Gentleman Kayton". I had the privilege of meeting Kayton a few years ago in Caroline, AB. He had a style of his own which enhanced the country sounds of Hank Snow. Kayton also had such a nice Hawaiian touch on that red double-neck Custom FENDER. Some steelers jump from steel-to-steel, (including me) however Kayton remained passionately 'loyal' to his vintage red guitar which always displayed his love for both Canada and the U.S.

Golly, we're gonna miss him so much !
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Andy Volk

Boston, MA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 3:29 pm     Reply with quote

What can I add to the deep respect and love for Kayton posted already? His playing always brought me joy and I'm appreciative that Laurie Mills allowed me to transcribe his great interview with Kayton and include it in my first book. RIP, Kayton; a giant of the steel guitar.
Steel Guitar Books! Website:

Last edited by Andy Volk on 15 Jul 2017 4:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bob Blair

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 8:30 pm     Reply with quote

A wonderful musician and as gracious a person as I have ever met. RIP Kayton.
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Neil Degraw

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 9:10 pm     Reply with quote

Kayton will be missed, BIG time. I remember years ago going to the Opry and when Kayton was on with Hank, all the other steel players would come out to watch Kayton beat that thing to death, yet the music came out so beautiful. How did he get away with having one steel?? Kayton was one of a kind, he loved and connected with people and left his gift of happiness in so many of our lives. Well done, good and faithful servant.
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Geoff Cline

Southwest France
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 5:53 am     Reply with quote

A master class of steel playing every time he took the stage. Condolences to family and friends.
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Myron Smith

Canton, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 7:05 am     Reply with quote

Myron Smith so sorry to hear about this great man. What a loss & yet what a wonderful guy. So talented steel player and show man. There will never be another like this guy. He could do things with a steel guitar that has never been done and will never be done again by anyone. RIP my fellow Steeler and prayers for all the family.
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Adair Torres

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 12:03 pm     Reply with quote

R.I.P Mr Kayton......You will be missed
Adair Torres - Boss at TowerS Steel Guitars

Zum D10 8X7 Wineberry 2010.
Emmons SD10 3X8 Black 1994.
Derby D10 8X8 Rosewood 2008.
TowerS SD10 3X5 Imbuia Mica Finish 2018
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Jay Yuskaitis

Massachusetts, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 3:04 pm     Reply with quote

A great loss to me. Jay Y.
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Michael Maddex

Northern New Mexico, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 4:02 pm     Reply with quote

What an inspiration!

RIP Mr Kayton Roberts.
"For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert." -- Arthur C. Clarke
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Jeff Strouse

Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 6:39 pm     Reply with quote

So sad for me to hear. Although I have many favorite steel guitar players, Kayton is without a doubt, my all-time favorite. I listened to him on the Opry every Friday and Saturday night when I was in high school in the 1980’s. His steel guitar sounded like no other. He would play the sweetest fills on ballads, or jump right into hot jazz and blues licks, with comping!

Little did that 15 year old kid, who was listening to his every note on the radio, know that he would actually meet and get to play with his hero some day. I was lucky enough to meet and jam with him a couple of times. To finally see his hands up close in action, was amazing….forward and reverse slants galore, with lots of string pulling...even up to a whole tone, effortlessly. He showed me many runs and fills that blew my mind away. And to think, he didn’t even read music. He’s definitely a virtuoso, and a pioneer; as he developed a ‘style’ of playing on steel most went to pedals and more strings to get sounds like that, he just played the heck out of the 8 strings he had, giving the steel a new sound all its own.

Kayton was also one of the nicest people you could meet...genuine and friendly, with a great sense of humor. When I'd tell him he's my steel hero, he would always say, "I'm no hero, I'm just an 'ol country boy who plays the steel."

He is now with his beloved Iva once again. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and close friends.

Kayton, you will always be my favorite.
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Smiley Roberts

Hendersonville,Tn. 37075
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 7:39 am     Reply with quote

R.I.P. old Friend.
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Robbie Bossert

Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 10:25 am     Reply with quote

RIP... Thanks for the music..

Fessenden D10 Pedal Steel. '54 Fender Dual Pro, Peavey Nashville 1000, Session 500, Telecaster, Les Paul, Banjo, Lap Steel, Effects, and other assorted crap.....
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Jeff Harbour

Western Ohio, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 4:49 pm     Reply with quote

RIP Kayton.

I was there in St. Louis when he was inducted in 2012. At the time I was fairly new to learning non-pedal steel (though I had been a pedal player for several years). In his induction speech, Kayton said something to the effect of "...and then pedals came along, and made everybody sound the same.". That simple remark has always stood out in my mind, and has since changed my approach to pedal steel as I have become more proficient with non-pedal.

He's definitely one of the true underappreciated greats from that 'era of creativity'... the era just before to just after the pedal transition.
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Ron Scott

Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 6:35 pm     Reply with quote

What a great Player and Man. I played a show with him back in the 70's in Grand Blanc Michigan with Hank Snow. Stole a few licks too. RS
Franklin D10 Stereo - 8 and 6 - Zum Encore 4 and 5 Nashville 400,Session 400, DD3 for delay
Steeling with Franklin's..and Zum Encore
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Dave Sichak

California, USA
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 9:45 pm     Gone Home Reply with quote

For many years, I have been a steel guitar fan, favoring the more Hawaiian type stylings. In addition to teaching myself to play a Fender 8-string Hawaiian electric steel, I had a photography hobby since I was traveling so much in my early professional life. I was blessed to visit the Opry many a time and I probably spent more time with my Canon AE-1 (before auto focus) then listening to the show. His passing caused me to dig out some old slides and negatives from not only the Opry, but from a concert that was in downtown Chicago with Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff.

As luck / fate would have it, his CD I got at the Ernest Tubb record shop a few years ago was on my desk this weekend.

The first two pix were from I think around 1974 or so before I upgraded my camera.

There is a couple where "red" was their color from October in Chicago 1979. And a couple from Oct 24, 1979 at the Opry. I have found that scanning slides seem to be better than negatives which seem to have some flaws with the white specks I see.

I wonder where he found that steel? Guys like him and the other pioneers - they seem to have found the instrument that was meant for them and stuck with it.

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Joe Rogers

Lafayette, LA USA
Post Posted 22 Jul 2017 1:17 am     Reply with quote

I am just now reading the news on Kayton. There is not a whole lot I can add that others have not already voiced. If you have not witnessed Kayton perform live, you missed out. He was so tall and his guitar was set so seemed like his legs extended for days beyond the guitar. But when he sat down to play, he had TOTAL command of his instrument. He had a finesse that very few possess. His chimes were flawless. I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch a true master in his element.

Joe Rogers
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Joerg Hennig

Bavaria, Germany
Post Posted 22 Jul 2017 2:06 pm     Reply with quote

I was devastated to hear about this, it really made me cry. Mr. Kayton Roberts is definitely my #1 all time favorite non pedal steel guitar player, he had a truly original style and sound. I hadn't known about him for such a long time actually, a couple of years ago I discovered "Lovesick, Broke'n' Driftin'" by Hank Williams III and wondered, what kind of steel is that, at first I thought it must have been an ancient pedal steel like a Bigsby or something, he somehow played those country licks but it could not have been a regular E9th tuning because suddenly it went way down into the low notes and I thought, "what the heck is that?" Only afterwards I found out that Kayton used nothing but a straight non pedal Fender D-8 with his own version of the C6th with a low A string added, which kind of simulates the "boo-wah" on C6th pedal steel. In addition to that, he could play country-style bends that you could have sworn they were played on (E9th) pedal steel. Now if you can play like that, you really don't need pedals. Only recently I started finding out about his work with Hank Snow which is amazing. I wish I could have met him and talked steel with him, now that will have to wait until the next world. RIP Mr. Kayton and thank you so much for the inspiration, you made me completely re-think about steel playing.

A longer one showing he was also a great storyteller:
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Jamie Danter

Post Posted 23 Jul 2017 2:19 pm     Kayton's Rag Reply with quote

RIP Kayton

Kayton's Rag
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Bill Erchul

Post Posted 25 Jul 2017 3:28 pm     Reply with quote

I'd been playing steel for only about a year when I went to the Nashville Steel Guitar Club's gathering in June '78. I remember talking to Kayton about the many topics a beginner would but mainly about blocking techniques, which was a particular challenge for me then. I remember he was kind, helpful, and willingly showed me what he knew (which was considerable). I'll never forget that. May he rest in peace and my deepest condolences go out to family and friends.
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