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Post new topic Al Collins, Capri Guitars
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Author Topic:  Al Collins, Capri Guitars
Billy Knowles

 

From:
Kenansville, N. C. 28349 usa
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2015 6:20 pm    
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Someone last week asked me if I remembered Al Collins from Grifton, NC. Al built the Capri guitar and went on to build student model guitars for MSA very early on. He moved to Texas about that time. He taught me a lot about pedal steel guitars. I just happened to run across a brochure of his and thought I would post it. Al built a very good pull/release guitar.


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Billy Knowles

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Walter Bowden


From:
Wilmington, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2015 6:57 pm    
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Hey Billy. Hope you and yours are well. This is an interesting piece of pedal steels built in NC history.

I seem to remember a very good steeler named Tommy Johnson who played around the Wilmington area during the late 70s. I am pretty sure he played a Capri.

He was a very nice fellow and hearing and talking to him was fun. He had some great stories and people he worked with.

Best wishes, Walter
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Howard Steinberg


From:
St. Petersburg, Florida & Concord, New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 1 Nov 2015 6:26 am    
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Thanks for posting this. Do you know how he lit the fret boards?
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Billy Knowles

 

From:
Kenansville, N. C. 28349 usa
Post  Posted 1 Nov 2015 7:02 pm     lights
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Howard, think he milled out the inside of the necks and put a small light bulb inside it from the underside of the guitar and used thin plastic for fret board
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Billy Knowles

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Paul Norman

 

From:
Washington, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 1 Nov 2015 8:01 pm    
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Billy, Do you know if he still lives in Texas. I knew him well.
He used a chrome Chevrolet Caprice emblem and cut the ce off.
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Billy Knowles

 

From:
Kenansville, N. C. 28349 usa
Post  Posted 1 Nov 2015 8:59 pm     Paul
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Paul, don't know what happened to him, haven't heard from him since he went to Texas
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Billy Knowles

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Craig Baker


From:
Eatonton, Georgia, USA - R.I.P.
Post  Posted 1 Nov 2015 11:06 pm    
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Hi Billy,
Paul is correct. First time I saw Bobbe in '68 at the Frontier Room in Trenton, he was playing a Capri, and told me he had a hand in building them. I think the original guitars were almost an Emmons P-P. The undercarriage looked just like Emmons parts and I seem to recall Bobbe confirming that they were purchased from Emmons. The emblem was, as Paul said, from a Chevrolet. There was a thread on here regarding Capri guitars some time back, but I couldn't locate it. I remember comparing photos of the emblem on a car and on the guitar and they were the same.

Why not. . . the Emmons V was adopted from a Cadillac emblem.

By the way, Bobby was stationed at McGuire AFB and played quite a bit around Phila and Trenton, and even in '68, he was an amazing player. Doug Jernigan was at Ft Dix and those of us around Phila in those days got to hear some great steel guitar music from both of them.

Regards,
Craig
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 2:23 am    
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Craig Baker wrote:


Why not. . . the Emmons V was adopted from a Cadillac emblem.



It's somewhat trivial, but Buddy told me that he got the idea of the chevron in the Emmons logo from the Parliament cigarettes package.
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Paul Norman

 

From:
Washington, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 4:07 am    
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I went to a Ray Price show in Kinston,N.C. in the 1960's and Buddy Emmons gave me a folder with pics of the new Emmons Push-Pull that he was building.
Al told me he wanted to build a pedal steel and I gave him the paper with pics. The pictures were not detailed, just a snapshot. Al built the first Guitars from this. I think he did excellent without any kind of schematic details. He built 1 of the first one for Kenneth Jones from Wilmar and he helped him build it. I never did see it.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 6:10 am    
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I guess the statute of limitations has run out on corporate espionage, so the story can now be told, eh Paul? Wink
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Craig Baker


From:
Eatonton, Georgia, USA - R.I.P.
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 6:47 am    
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Herb,
As I understand it, the chairman of Phillip Morris drove a Cadillac and liked the emblem, realizing it represented the highest quality. Ironically, the president of the Cadillac division of General Motors played an Emmons push-pull and liked the emblem, realizing that it represented the highest quality. I forget where I read this, but it certainly explains things.

Craig
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Billy Knowles

 

From:
Kenansville, N. C. 28349 usa
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 7:05 am     Capri
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Paul
You are correct on the Capri emblem. I went to that same show in Kinston and also got a brochure from Buddy. I have kept it all these years and Sid Hudson got him to sign it for me last year on one of his trips to see Buddy. It is hanging in my shop. Al was a great machinest, think he worked at Dupont in that department. He did a very good job with the lacquer also. I meet Bobbie at Al's shop in Grifton.
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Billy Knowles

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Paul Norman

 

From:
Washington, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 7:22 am    
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Jim Cohen: I don't understand an illegal problem here. I didn't mean Al infringed on patent rights.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 7:23 am    
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I didn't either; it was just a joke, Paul. No offense intended.
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Paul Norman

 

From:
Washington, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 7:38 am    
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No problem Jim.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 2 Nov 2015 9:29 am    
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More history here..
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=154367
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