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Author Topic:  Bigsby
Cartwright Thompson


Post  Posted 21 May 2019 12:35 pm    
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All I can say is “Ouch!”:
https://www.retrofret.com/product.asp?ProductID=8678
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Michael Deering


From:
Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 12:44 pm    
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YEP …..WOWZA!
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Landon Jarrel


From:
Atlanta, GA, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 12:53 pm    
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"Ouch" is right! That represents a true "holy grail" steel guitar at the holy grail price.

For the same price, Mr. Clinesmith can build you 18 nearly identical guitars. So, in my mind, you pay $56,800 for the Bigsby and Joaquin connection.

I wonder what Joaquin and Mr. Bigsby would have thought of this! Whoa!
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 21 May 2019 12:59 pm    
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I would rather buy a Clinesmith and put the rest on a Joaquin Murphy extension on my house
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Scott Thomas


Post  Posted 21 May 2019 1:20 pm    
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Original bill of sale..."$150 paid in full" Mr. Green

IIRC, that same store had JM's Bigsby console.
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 1:46 pm    
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I happened to be in RetroFret this weekend, and they let me play that before it was posted online. A beautiful sound indeed! But also indeed, I'm not about to cancel my order for a Clinesmith console for it.
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 4:09 pm    
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It is interesting that Murphey went back to a double lap after the triple neck console that Bigsby built him in 1946.
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Paul McEvoy


From:
Baltimore, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 5:29 pm    
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I always wonder what variety of nerdy person has $50k lying around to buy something f like this.

What were his timings on this guitar?
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Landon Jarrel


From:
Atlanta, GA, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 6:40 pm    
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Guy Cundell wrote:
It is interesting that Murphey went back to a double lap after the triple neck console that Bigsby built him in 1946.


I was thinking the same thing. I think he used the triple neck much more than the double lap since so many photos and videos of him exist with him using it. The Tex Williams "On The Air" CD features Tex remarking on Joaquin's "mighty console steel."

I think this guitar may be earlier than 1948 unless it is a different instrument.

Look at this clip from 1945. In the closeup, the guitar presents obvious differences compared to its form 74 years later at Retrofret. https://youtu.be/R88k3h6AzAc?t=551
-Saddles
-No selector switch

The quality renders some details futile, but those are the main ones. So, unless the clip is actually from 1948, the guitar is older than we think. There may be a hidden serial number somewhere on the guitar. His T-8 has 1946 and 1947 serial numbers, but we know its from 1946.

It makes sense that he seemed to have used the T-8 pretty much exclusively in the late 40s, as evidence suggests.

Just my opinion. Very Happy


Last edited by Landon Jarrel on 22 May 2019 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 8:06 pm    
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The 1945 film guitar and the guitar for sale are two different items.

The 1945 film guitar was made in 1944 as a double 6 and soon after modified to 8 strings. It's the guitar you see in the 3 Stooges movie "Rockin' In The Rockies".

You can also see the 1944 guitar in the 1945 video clip of Smokey Rogers singing "Chickashay Gal" and in the Patricia McMahon clip of "Shame On You". The last 3 pix below are screen grabs from those films and are the best pictures I have of the 1944 guitar.

This earliest Bigsby has not been located, though there are rumors of suspected sightings within the last 30 or so years, I think in Southern California.

As far as I know, he used a Dickerson immediately before this and you can see him play it in the Bob Crosby film "The Singing Sheriff", filmed circa September 1944.

Here's a bunch of stills of the 1944 guitar, none of them high quality. There aren't many. Note the rectangular discoloration on the front side.





















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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post  Posted 21 May 2019 10:50 pm    
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Landon Jarrel wrote:
There may be a hidden serial number somewhere on the guitar. His T-8 has 1946 and 1947 serial numbers, but we know its from 1946. Very Happy


Landon, the serial number quoted in the ad is the manufacture date. There's no question about the 1948 manufacture, I think.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 1:14 am    
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In general, we steel players have been well under the vintage market's radar for years. An early 50s Fender steel is still an incredible bargain compared to an early 50s Tele - and don't get me started on late 50s Les Pauls.

For a fraction of the cost of this guitar you could have the finest Clinesmith model Todd makes. I know where I'd put my money. Yet someone will likely eventually pay the 60k for this guitar. It is really cool to see it and to think about all the music Joaquin made 70 years ago that is still relevant and interesting to so many of us around here.
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Chris Clem


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 8:47 am    
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I'm not sure that I ever seen a photo of Joaquin playing the one for sale. But the one that Mitch is showing is the one he used for years with Cooley and the early Western Caravan (I think,I'm no Bigsby expert). I just posted (yesterday) the last transcription recording of Joaquin w Cooley mid 1946. It is a good high quality recording where Joaquin is not buried in the mix but is right up front. You can really here that Bigsby tone on this. Listen to his solo on "You can't break my Heart" (starts at the 4:00 Min mark.)Now that is "tone" and a remarkable solo....Chris

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPo4vjfaXX4
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 8:50 am    
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The guitar for sale is the one that Todd Clinesmith used to design his Joaquin model, with thanks to Chas.
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Landon Jarrel


From:
Atlanta, GA, USA
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 4:15 pm    
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I've known about the modified lap steel Bigsby worked on for Joaquin. I never knew it was the same one in all the Spade Cooley footage since there are no complete shots of the guitar from the top. Thanks for the info and great photos, Mitch!

Here's a little-known one. I had an epiphany when I noticed Joaquin is on steel and that the guitar is his fabled first Bigsby Lap Steel. It features Wesley Tuttle with Joaquin on steel. The steel is very obviously the redone Double-6 Lap Steel. Notice the Bigsby fretboards. Merle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford are in the background too.



So here are Joaquin's Bigsby guitars:

1. 1944 Double 6 (later Double 8 ) Lap Steel
2. 1946 (completed 1947) Bigsby Triple 8 Console, the one Tex christened "Mighty Console"
3. 1948 Bigsby Lap Steel, Double 8, now at Retrofret
4. 5-Pedal; maybe 1951? Played by Joaquin once. Claimed to be Elsie Jaggers' guitar.

Any more I am not aware of?

Guy, I think you are right.

Thanks


Last edited by Landon Jarrel on 22 May 2019 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 5:01 pm    
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Is this one on the list above?


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Landon Jarrel


From:
Atlanta, GA, USA
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 5:42 pm    
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Yep, that's the one, Andy.

Now, look at THIS!


Looks eerily similar to Joaquin's pedal guitar. Was it actually a double 8 with pedals?

The grain on the neck seems to line up. I think Bigsby planed the front apron to remove the "Joaquin" inlay, so the grain is a bit mismatched but flows in the same direction. Also notice the bent pedal third from left which matches with the photo of Joaquin with his pedal guitar.

Thoughts? I am convinced it's the same guitar.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post  Posted 22 May 2019 7:32 pm    
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The last pic is said to be Earl Duran, who I think still had that guitar as of 2012.

Good eyes to catch that bent rod in the pic. Mebbe Earl Duran was originally a JM lefty guitar. I don't know the serial numbers on either

Landon; I don't see any mention of JM's triple 10 string, no pedals. It survives.

Yep, obviously JM with Tuttle. They recorded at least 6 songs with Tuttle on vocals.

There are rumors of more than 5 Murphey Bigsbys---another left-hander and a D8 on legs with pedals on one neck.
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Landon Jarrel


From:
Atlanta, GA, USA
Post  Posted 23 May 2019 3:28 am    
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Mitch, please tell me more about his triple 10; I have seen photos of him playing Chas Smith's triple 10 but I do not think it was built for him.

Thanks
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post  Posted 23 May 2019 6:19 am    
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Landon:

You could be right.

I can't prove Joaquin was the original owner of anything, Bigsby guitar or otherwise.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Harrisburg, Oregon
Post  Posted 23 May 2019 4:44 pm     Only one in the world.
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The price may seem high to many.
Certainly not in my spare cash box. Whoa! Shocked Just looked and I'm sure I can't do it! Sad

To a serious collector though, it's a one in the world instrument made by a one in the world builder who is famous for many creations and made for a one in the world musician... That carries a lot of weight in their world of collecting. Very Happy

Guess I'd buy a Todd Clinesmith one if I needed it. I'm sure Todd's would be just as good. Also within the budget of many more people. It would not have the history but maybe one day have it's own history considering Todd's fine work.

Todd recently finished restoring Speedy West's T-8 Bigsby Pedal steel as only he could do. This was the first modern pedal steel guitar that all others since have followed.
https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=338863&highlight=speedy+west+bigsby

And if you'd like to hear how it sounds there are several youtube videos;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ULYyWTWgo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXT25TNtPHI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiMlQt7Czy4

Many thanks to Deke for financing the restoration of this wonder steel. Also a priceless item.
If someone thinks 60 grand is a lot to pay, google the last auction of a Van Gough painting!
Everything is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay at the time of the sale, not a penny more or less.
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1950's? Blankenship D-8 6&3 PSG Restored.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3 PSG, Restoration Project.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Harrisburg, Oregon
Post  Posted 23 May 2019 4:52 pm     The latest Vincent Van Gough painting
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Scott Thomas wrote:
Original bill of sale..."$150 paid in full" Mr. Green

IIRC, that same store had JM's Bigsby console.


The latest Vincent Van Gough painting sold in auction for $158,200,000.00 on my search.
In his lifetime he couldn't sell almost any paintings he did... Sad
The original price has no meaning with these kind of items!
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1950's? Blankenship D-8 6&3 PSG Restored.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3 PSG, Restoration Project.
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Landon Jarrel


From:
Atlanta, GA, USA
Post  Posted 23 May 2019 5:38 pm     Re: Only one in the world.
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Andy DePaule wrote:


Todd recently finished restoring Speedy West's T-8 Bigsby Pedal steel as only he could do. This was the first modern pedal steel guitar that all others since have followed.
https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=338863&highlight=speedy+west+bigsby


I just saw Speedy's guitar a week ago, and I almost cried. Seeing it was that special for me. I couldn't believe I was seeing it right before me.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Harrisburg, Oregon
Post  Posted 23 May 2019 8:38 pm     Re: Only one in the world.
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Landon Jarrel wrote:
Andy DePaule wrote:


Todd recently finished restoring Speedy West's T-8 Bigsby Pedal steel as only he could do. This was the first modern pedal steel guitar that all others since have followed.
https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=338863&highlight=speedy+west+bigsby


I just saw Speedy's guitar a week ago, and I almost cried. Seeing it was that special for me. I couldn't believe I was seeing it right before me.


Its it in the Phoenix, AZ museum?
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1950's? Blankenship D-8 6&3 PSG Restored.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3 PSG, Restoration Project.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 24 May 2019 3:39 am    
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Most people seem to think this guitar will find a buyer at or around that price. I am skeptical. WE all know Joaquin Murphy. But the only people who might know him other than steel guitar players would be people with a very strong interest in western swing music.

With the exception of Alvino Ray, Santo Farina, and now, many years later, Robert Randolph, steel players have pretty much been sidemen or studio session players, and instruments played by them just don't have much value added. Even the three frontmen named probably lack the cache to make their instruments worth more $: Compare their fame to Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt, John Lennon.... I think you get the point. Speedy West seemed to walk both sides of the line of being a name artist and being a sideman, and probably has more name recognition than the frontmen I named.

That does not mean this guitar has no value - the Bigsby name is much more famous than the artists who played Bigsby steels, and an early Bigsby certainly has value. But $60k? I'm guessing it does not get anywhere close to that.
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One with pedals, one without, and one with a resonator. And happy with what I've got.
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