This is archived information from "Ask Buddy!" The only things I edited out were the "Hi, Buddy!" and " so and so says, hello!" type messages.  I fixed a few mis-spelled words here and there, (not all of them...) but the content is the same.  If there was any information being passed back and forth, it has been included.

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Question Archive 2

  1. Nashville Superpickers "Live from Austin City Limits"
  2. Use of the thumb in fast picking
  3. New Setting for Digitech
  4. Earliest Sho~Bud guitars
  5. Tab for 'The Emmons Guitar Co' album
  6. Bar Tricks
  7. Your Plans?
  8. 1974-77?
  9. The Role Your Parents Played?
  10. Steel Guitar
  11. Don't close your eyes
  12. Practice
  13. Today's Country Music?
  14. Your Other Interests?
  15. Your Five Accomplishments?
  16. Your wrist
  17. Minors Aloud
  18. Lessons?
  19. Oklahoma Stomp
  20. LKV B-Bb
  21. The Swing Shift Band (Buddy Emmons and Ray Pennington)
  22. Which should I buy?
  23. Pat Martino
  24. MXR Envelope

Nashville Superpickers "Live from Austin City Limits"

From: Robert Rogers
Date: 27 Feb 2002
Mr. Emmons, I live an hour and a half from Nashville. Do you know where I can get a copy of the album that you and Russ Hicks did live from Austin City Limits? Hope Iím not bothering with this question. Robert

From: Buddy
Date: 27 Feb 2002
Robert: No bother at all. In fact, I wouldn't mind having a copy of it myself. I'm thinking it was recorded on the Flying Fish label but I could be wrong. Anyway, Flying Fish sold out to Rounder Records and I'm certain they have no plans to re-release it.

From: John Gretzinger
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Buddy - Your reply sent me looking and asking questions. Rounder records actually has it in their catalogue but it's not under any artist name - one has to search on "Nashville Superpickers". I asked them if they had it and yes they do and it is available in cassette and CD. Here's the link
http://www.rounder.com/Album.asp?catalog_id=5732 I now have it on order. Thanks for all the wonderful music. jdg

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Use of the thumb in fast picking

From: Danny Kuykendall
Date: 28 Feb 2002
How often do you cross over with your thumb when you are executing some of the fast single note runs, or are you using thumb-finger-finger, or thumb-thumb-finger? Is this a matter of what is comfortable? Do you ever use your index finger for fast picking? Thanks for taking our questions, Danny.

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
Up to a certain tempo I use the thumb, thumb, and finger, or visa versa. Beyond that, I sometimes use the crossover if I'm going for patterns such as four notes in succession that require a reversal at some point. One example for strings 8, 7, 6, and 5, requires both the crossover and the index finger and is as follows: thumb, index finger, thumb, third finger. The entire pattern, which I play forward and backward, would read: T, 1, T, 2, T, 1, T. A forward pattern with strings 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 would be played: T, 1, 2, T, 1, 2, T.

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New Setting for Digitech

From: Ronnie Miley Bogalusa La
Date: 28 Feb 2002
Many Thanks for having this site. Will you be submitting any more Digitech setting other than the two that are on line now.

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
I won't be submitting any more Digitech settings. The last time I tried to set my 2112, I had forgotten how and didn't want to go to the manual again due to its steep learning curve. Like a lot of Digitech equipment, the 2112 does a great job, but the company should let people that have to use it write their manuals.

From: Larry Bell
Date: 28 Feb 2002
Ronnie/Buddy You may find some useful info on the 2112 on my website -- take a look at
http://www.larrybell.org/id20.htm . It may help summarize in a way that's more relevant than that abysmal manual. I agree, they should have a user write their manuals, but they never asked me. :-( LTB

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Earliest Sho~Bud guitars

From: Andy Wernicke
Date: 28 Feb 2002
I read that when Shot and you started out you built the cabinets while Shot was responsible for the mechanics. When did you stopped building them and how many would you say were built during your time there in Madison? All the best Andy

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
My guess would be around twenty cabinets before I took a job with Ernest Tubb in late 1957. After that, Shot made cabinets while I was on the road and if he had more than enough to fill the orders when I got back, I would help in the final assembly. I moved to California around 1959, so the total couldn't be much more than thirty.

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Tab for 'The Emmons Guitar Co' album

From: Roger Rettig
Date: 28 Feb 2002
This has been discussed before, I know, and you've said that the unavailability of the rhythm tracks precludes you from tackling it. I feel, however, that the tab book alone would be a 'winner' - I wish you'd consider it. (That's three questions from me in four days - maybe I should get out of the house more often!) Many thanks for entertaining the Q&A project.

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
I haven't ruled it out yet, but the song Kicks To Boot requires a high G note on the C6 tuning. One of the decisions I would have to make is whether to tab as is or find substitute positions for the high G chords or notes now that some players are using the D for the first string. My first inclination would be to tab as is.

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Bar Tricks

From: tstolaski@yahoo.com
Date: 28 Feb 2002
I tried to get this info from you on The Steel Forum a while back: If you would be so kind to explain the physical aspects of the bar twirling trick. Are you using the tip of the bar, or the axis to play clean single notes?

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
I could start by saying the twirling maneuver is a situation where the notes aren't all that clean but who cares? Most of the work is done with the thumb and first finger of the bar hand. As you push the back of the bar to the left with your thumb, the nose of the bar will pivot to the right and slide from under your first finger. At this point, use the first finger to pull the nose downward toward its reversed position while using your thumb as a pivot. You'll have to lift the third, fourth and fifth fingers of the bar hand to allow the back end of the bar to slide under them. Just before the bar reverses, place the thumb and fingers in their original positions. If you do it correctly, the string you play before you started will be activated by the pivot and sound like you picked it again. The axis or as close as you can get to it, is the safest spot for the notes you want to use during the maneuver.

From: Jim Smith
Date: 05 Mar 2002
Thanks so much for the description Buddy. I've played with that lick for years and never could get it right, even after watching you do it many times. I probably still won't be able to do it, but at least I'll know what I'm doing wrong! ;^)

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Your Plans?

From: Frank Estes
Date: 28 Feb 2002
Since the Everly Gig is off for the year, do you have any plans to play out anywhere in addition to the Midnight Jamboree? One time you mentioned you may retire to playing in a jazz club.

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
The Jamboree will be my one night out for the year with the possible exception of Darrell McCall. It will be a test for the wrist and the outcome will determine what I choose to do from there. If I bomb, I'll just get the rocking chair out and think about the good ole days. I like the idea of playing jazz but I don't believe I could commit myself to the club scene on a regular basis.

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1974-77?

From: Frank Estes
Date: 28 Feb 2002
In your Minor Abrasions article, you mentioned how you had just moved to Nashville from LA and expected to settle into daily studio work when the "Pat Martino Live" album renewed your interest in the C6 neck. What were you doing between 1974 and 1977? (I mention 1977 because of Boston and ISGC '77 recordings.)

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
I did sessions in those years. The difference was instead of devoting my time strictly to the E9th tuning, I renewed my interest in C6th. Had I went the total session route, I would have either changed the inside neck to another commercial tuning or went to a single 12, E 13th tuning.

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The Role Your Parents Played?

From: Frank Estes
Date: 28 Feb 2002
Some parents are supportive and others resist, when a son or daughter decide to become a musician. How did yours respond? Are they musicians? (You mentioned that your Dad made a bar for you recently.)

From: Buddy
Date: 28 Feb 2002
My parents were very supportive. I wasn't familiar with the sound of a steel guitar until my dad drew my attention to it on the radio one night. It was because of his love for the steel and his want for me to play it that I said I would give it a shot.

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Steel Guitar

From: lledford@nc.rr.com
Date: 28 Feb 2002
Looking back to when you first started playing, what do you think is the most difficult thing for a new student to learn?

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
I believe blocking technique would be the most difficult.

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Don't close your eyes

From: Tom Stolaski
Date: 01 Mar 2002
I have seen Paul Franklin and yourself, close your eyes and play very complicated solos. Is this just a matter of ear training? Was this part of your early practice routine?

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
I used to practice with my eyes closed just to see how difficult it would be to play if I lost my sight. Other times I would wake up during the night with my guitar in bed and play with the lights out. That was mostly because I was too lazy to get up and flip a switch. In later years, I found that closing my eyes while playing took away from all other distractions, so I got into the habit of doing it when I wanted the ultimate concentration. I stray from the beaten path time to time, but now that it has become a habit, I can't shake it.

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Practice

From: tstolaski@yahoo.com
Date: 01 Mar 2002
I had the pleasure of working with Casey Clark and his daughter in Detroit around 1982. They told me a story about you listening to jazz recordings all day at the library, then practicing all night while drinking big pitchers of orange juice. My question is: WHEN DID YOU SLEEP?

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
When I was on the bandstand.

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Today's Country Music?

From: Frank Estes
Date: 01 Mar 2002
What is your take on today's "Country Music?" Thanks

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
I'd say it's somewhere between old country and the music level the studio musicians are drawing from for their ideas, which makes it too sophisticated for Joe Sixpack and something the next level has already heard.

From: Frank Estes
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Time: 14:14:48

WOW! Another brilliant example of "Brevity is the soul of wit!"

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Your Other Interests?

From: Frank Estes
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Buddy, You mentioned your interest in photography and I think you said you have an interest in astronomy. What are your other interests? For example, what books do you like to read and what type of movies/entertainment do you enjoy most? (Thank for taking the time to answer all these questions!)

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
I like books that deal with history and subjects like the old west, the pyramids, or the mafia. A couple of my earlier hobbies were model trains and fast drawing. My favorite type of movie or documentary would be around those same subjects, although a good love story with great musical score such as Titanic would rank as a favorite.

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Your Five Accomplishments?

From: Frank Estes
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Buddy, you have made so many important contributions to steel guitar. In your mind, what are your five greatest accomplishments? (Thanks again!)

From: Buddy
Date: 02 Mar 2002
For accomplishing things I set out to do, designing the Emmons guitar and playing on the Opry stage would classify because they were childhood dreams. Having a recording contract with Columbia records at the age of nineteen was never a goal, but for the times, it was a rare privilege for an instrumentalist in Nashville. I've been fortunate to work with Henry Mancini and Ray Charles, two icons I once thought were worlds apart from mine. That would also apply to jazz musicians. I'm proud to have my first Sho~Bud guitar in the Country Music Hall Of Fame. It's hard for me to distinguish accomplishment from good fortune because nothing is really accomplished without the help of others. But if something I've done changed people's lives for the better, that's something I'd be most proud of.

From: Frank Estes
Date: 04 Mar 2002
Buddy, thank you for the insightful response. I was sort of afraid the question might be "embarrassing" after I posted it.

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Your wrist

From: Carlton Day
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Hi Buddy: I noted in one of your answers you mentioned your wrist. Have you injured your wrist? I sure hope it's not serious; I want to hear your work for years to come. But if it is I'll just try to copy "busted wrist "licks.

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Last year I found I had osteoarthritis in my right wrist and had to give up session work. Some days I could play and some days not because of the pain under my thumb when I spread my hand. I thought it best not to have to worry whether I'd do well or not in the studio, so I limited my work to Everly Brothers road dates. Besides, they're not as particular about what I play and they pay more.

From: Carlton Day
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Well, Buddy, I hope and pray all the best for you. It would be a loss to the musical scene with you not in it. You have always been my icon in the steel guitar world. Thanks for answering so quickly. I'll be listening at the MNJ March 9th

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Minors Aloud

From: randy@lcii.net
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Where can I find Minors Aloud?

From: Buddy
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Randy: There's a chance that Tom Bradshaw may have it. I have e-mailed him and will let you know when I hear from him.

From: Buddy
Date: 02 Mar 2002
I checked with Tom Bradshaw and he reminded me he had sent me around 10 or 15 of Minors Aloud but they are in cassettes, which is all he stocked. They retail for $11.00 and if that will do, the address is: Buddy Emmons Music - PO Box 415 - Hermitage, TN - 37076. I won't charge you shipping.

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Lessons?

From: Mike McGee
Date: 01 Mar 2002
Buddy, do you give private lessons? If so, how can they be scheduled?

From: Buddy
Date: 02 Mar 2002
I'm not giving private lessons now but may consider it later. Much will depend on my job with the Everly Brothers and whether I'll go back out with them. I have a year to decide.

From: Frank Estes
Date: 04 Mar 2002
Buddy, I think that if you did the seminar/classroom format charging several students by the day or week, then you would be booked for many weeks making a nice chunk of change. I am sure certain times of the year would be busier than others. Just my opinion.

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Oklahoma Stomp

From: Tony Palmer
Date: 02 Mar 2002
Hi Buddy, What neck did you use for Oklahoma Stomp on the Ray Pennington CD? It sounds like C6th of course, but I have your course which tabs this out in E9th. Also, are there any other recordings you've done on E9th that intentionally sound like C6th?

From: Buddy
Date: 02 Mar 2002
Both versions of Oklahoma Stomp were played on the E9th tuning. The song "Wills Point" and Larry Gatlin's "Houston" emulated the E 13th and A 6th tunings Noel Boggs used, but I can't think of any other tunes that relate to the C6th tuning.

From: Buddy
Date: 02 Mar 2002
I stand corrected thanks to Ernie bringing it to my attention. The original version on 40s thru the 80s was not all E9th.

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LKV B-Bb

From: John Swain
Date: 02 Mar 2002
Buddy, I've seen on your copedents this change is over Left leg. On my Carter, because the Vertical pivots from the right, I have trouble engaging it with the LKR E-Eb lever(I finally moved Bb to RLL) How do you manage, or don't you use these changes together? JS

From: Buddy
Date: 02 Mar 2002
I don't use those changes together. If I did it would be difficult on my guitar too because my vertical also pivots from the right.

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The Swing Shift Band (Buddy Emmons and Ray Pennington)

From: Harold Wessinger
Date: 02 Mar 2002
Buddy, Since you are off the road I was wondering if we could talk you and Ray Pennington and The Swing Shift Band into getting together again and making some CDs? You folks made some of the best music ever recorded. Please hurry. Thanks, Harold

From: Buddy
Date: 03 Mar 2002
Harold: The thought is a good one. I've had some of my most enjoyable times working with Ray and the Swing Shift band. The down side is that there is no longer a record company to foot the tab or distribute the albums. Between the basic musicians, brass section, and arrangements, a lot of expense is involved in producing that type of music and something a couple of retirees would have to think twice about investing in. If we did decide to plow the money into another album, then I'd be concerned about my performance, which is running on four cylinders these days.

From: Harold Wessinger
Date: 02 Mar 2002
Buddy, Since you are off the road I was wondering if we could talk you and Ray Pennington and The Swing Shift Band into getting together again and making some CDs? You folks made some of the best music ever recorded. Please hurry. Thanks, Harold

From: Bill Maynard
Date: 02 Mar 2002
I concur with the rest of the world who are Buddy Emmons fans, we are waiting patiently for you all to get together and make some more beautiful music. You and Ray are fantastic together. I hope your wrist will get better to allow this to happen. I still remember the night many years ago when you and I had a pop or two in Tootsie's. I sure enjoyed the pleasure of meeting you and having most all of your albums...Good Luck you are the greatest. Bill.

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Which should I buy?

From: Greg McGarvey
Date: 02 Mar 2002
Buddy - First of all, I want to say that I've seen you a few times in the Everlys' show and your playing was very inspiring to me. I am an 18 year old guitar player and I have to say that I pick up my slide a lot more than I used to after seeing you play in Atlantic City. :) But anyway, do you have a personal favorite among your albums? I am trying to decide which to put on my "CD want list." Hey, thanks! Greg McGarvey

From: Buddy
Date: 03 Mar 2002
Thanks Greg. That is always a tough question for me because I rarely listen to my albums over once or twice after I record them, so I have nothing but vague recollections of the tunes. For variety, I would suggest "It's All In The Swing" or "Swingin' Our Way," which have a mixture of both swing and E9th type pedal steel.

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Pat Martino

From: Tom Stolaski
Date: 03 Mar 2002
I was wondering about your time spent with Pat Martino. Did you take your steel guitar into his seminar and pick out things by ear, or did you bring home scales and exercises written out in notation and transcribe them to steel tablature?

From: Buddy
Date: 03 Mar 2002
I took notes and recorded his seminar. Unfortunately, my tape recorder was sitting near a door where a stiff breeze was blowing through, so I salvaged about half of it. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him at guitarists Bucky Barrett's house in Nashville for a one-on-one exchange. I got much more out of that, including a piece of manuscript paper with five different ways to play his alternating chromatic octave lick. I found him very cordial and genuinely interested in helping others find their way. But in answer to your first question, I didn't have my steel guitar either time.

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MXR Envelope

From: Dennis Detweiler
Date: 03 Mar 2002
What are the approximate settings you use on the MXR Envelope on Witch's Brew.. Full off being 7 o'clock and full on being 5 o'clock (threshold and attack knobs)?

From: Buddy
Date: 03 Mar 2002
Dennis: I don't have my old MXR envelope filter and haven't played Witches Brew since Clinton was a cub scout, so I can't help you there.

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Copyright © 2002  Ernie Renn/Buddy Emmons. All rights reserved.
Revised: August 02, 2015