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date: 27 January 2020

Emmons, Buddylocked

  • Timothy D. Miller


(b Mishawaka, IN, Jan 27, 1937; d Hermitage, TN, July 21, 2015). American pedal steel guitarist and instrument innovator. By the age of 20 he was established as one of the skillful and creative players in Nashville. In 1957 he and the veteran guitarist Harold “Shot” Jackson formed the Sho-Bud Guitar Company, seeking to capitalize on the increasing demand for pedal steel guitars. Over the subsequent two decades, Emmons contributed greatly to the expansion and refinement of the pedal steel’s mechanisms and musical vocabulary. He is credited with solidifying the most common configuration of the pitch-altering pedals and knee levers, and popularizing the use of re-entrant strings for melodic playing. In 1963 Emmons formed a company with the luthier Ron Lashley; the instruments based on Emmons’ designs have become highly regarded for their tone and stability. His many touring and recording credits include work with Little Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, George Jones, Roger Miller, Judy Collins, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield, Stevie Wonder, George Strait, and the Everly Brothers. Emmons also forged a place for the pedal steel in the world of jazz, recording the album ...

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