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Post new topic Steel guitars in literature, courtesy Ry Cooder
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Author Topic:  Steel guitars in literature, courtesy Ry Cooder
Kevin Swan


From:
Medina, Ohio
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 11:05 am     Reply with quote

"The Bigsby triple-neck -- the holy grail of steel guitars. The one thing every player wants but a prize only a few could ever have. For an ordinary guy like me, it's unheard of."

-- from Los Angeles Stories, fiction by Ry Cooder


http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/04/entertainment/la-ca-ry-cooder-20111204
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 4:16 pm     Re: Steel guitars in literature, courtesy Ry Cooder Reply with quote

Kevin Swan wrote:
"The Bigsby triple-neck -- the holy grail of steel guitars. The one thing every COLLECTOR wants but a prize only a few could ever have. For an ordinary guy like me, it's unheard of."

-- from Los Angeles Stories, fiction by Ry Cooder


http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/04/entertainment/la-ca-ry-cooder-20111204


Bigsby is almost useless to the pro player working with modern bands, or doing sessions... it is mechanically no match to a modern pedal steel like Mullen, MSA etc.... unless you are a collector or working with some retro band, Bigsby will just not cut it ...
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Steve Spitz


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 6:09 pm     Reply with quote

Damir , you're likely right about that, but I'm guessing the person who comes up with The funds to buy a Bigsby tripleneck isn't a pro steeler working with modern bands, and I think it's unrealistic to compare it to a modern D 10.

I'm thinking very few retro band steelers make enough as musicians to purchase an axe in that price range. Not when a Fender, Gibson, etc, could get it done for a fraction of the cost. I'm not at all saying the Bigsby doesn't have a distinct and different voice, just wondering who buys them.

Would I like to own one ? Yes. Am I a good enough nonpedal player to find steady work with it? No.

So we agree it may be impractical if we view it as a tool for many working musicians, but would you agree that you could sell one for roughly 5X the price of a new D10 ?

Someone is buying ,yes ?
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Ken Campbell


From:
Ferndale, Montana
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 7:34 pm     Reply with quote

I'm pleased you said almost useless. Tom Morrell would have been the exception to that...
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 7:35 pm     Reply with quote

I don't know how much I could sell one for, I never owned one, would I like to own one? sure I would, what would I do with it? I don't know, probably have it set up in my living room and look at it, don't really know.... I can't hardly justify owning my "66 Emmons, let alone $30,000.00 Bigsby....
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 7:40 pm     Reply with quote

Ken Campbell wrote:
I'm pleased you said almost useless. Tom Morrell would have been the exception to that...


Tom wasn't playing CMA award shows, or cutting steel guitar tracks on top 40 hits on Music Row, he was doing just what I said would be the only thing you can use Bigsby for, playing swing in a retro band...
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 9:32 pm     Reply with quote

A couple of thoughts...

Though Damir is essentially correct about playing a CMA show or cutting tracks on Music Row on a vintage horn, an entire night of straight country music from the 50's through the 1960's could be played on a Bigsby with 2 pedals and with very little compromise at all. I've personally done it a number of times, either on my own Bigsby or my PA Reissue.

But then again, that would be a "retro" gig, wouldn't it. Laughing

Not all Bigsbys are $30k guitars, though admittedly even a guitar that costs $10-15 large isn't within the grasp of most players in the trenches. However, a PA Reissue or a Clinesmith IS a Bigsby for all intents and purposes, and one can be had for significantly under 10k.

Is it as smooth as my Infinity? Hardly, but then again a 100% restored cherry '55 Chevy Nomad isn't a Lexus, either. Y'all get my point.
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J Fletcher


From:
London,Ont,Canada
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 11:28 am     Reply with quote

I think the quote is from a fictional story written by Ry Cooder , which takes place in California some time during the 1950's.
Nothing to do with today's so-called-reality.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 12:02 pm     Reply with quote

I enjoyed Ry's book of short stories, got my copy when it was released ballpark six years ago - but that's when I read it.

Kevin Swan, I don't have time right now to go back and find the page and in what story your quote is from, can you fill us in?

As pointed out by J Fletcher, you quoted a line from the book - and it has obviously caused confusion here as to the reasoning behind your topic.
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Kevin Swan


From:
Medina, Ohio
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 3:42 pm     Ry Cooder's fiction Reply with quote

Yes, this was a quote pulled from the last of Ry Cooder's short stories, called "Gun Shop Boogie." Takes place in 1958 so in the very infancy of pedal steel, again, a work of fiction. Imagines Paul Bigsby, in the Central Valley, along with the land speed record racers and other characters.

I just found that particular quote interesting. Again, this is fiction, and rather fanciful fiction at that. But Cooder is and has long been a student of early 20th-century music, as well as steel guitar. While he's a steller bottleneck player, to my recollection he's only EVER played anything lap style, and NEVER pedal steel.

I've admired Ry Cooder since my first exposure, in 1972, although I later learned I'd been listening to his playing on other's recordings for a half decade prior to that.
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