Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which 'souvenir' do you keep from the Manassas days, and what is your opinion about this period compared to the other experiences you had? ~ Posted by Philippe Lemmer (France)
A: I have, on my desk a beautiful Pearl, from the ocean, in an open shell, encased in a clear acrylic cube. It was presented to us by Japanese fans for their appreciation of Manassas.
One of the first world concerts we played with Manassas was in an old very long train station that was used for concerts in the late winter or early spring 1972. It is very special right along with our Gold record, but we were given many little things pertinent to our membership in the band. Things like T shirts, football jerseys, luggage, Buck knives, cards, etc.
My relationship with Stephen Stills was always very good. He was very nice and considerate to me, and I to him. I learned a lot being in the group. My time in Manassas was very special. The group rose to great recognition quickly and has remained in the annals of music with great respect ... It was truly one of the highlights in my career.
Q: I'm going to have a pickup installed in my Dobro and I would like to know which one you think would be the best pickup, the Fishman or the McIntyre Feather? ~ Posted by Myron (USA)
A: Dobro pickups have long been a quandary. While the latest transducers, i.e. McIntyre/Fishman, seem to give the best results overall, Feedback has always been the enemy of the Resophonic Guitar by nature.
With EmmyLou's Nash Ramblers, I used a one piece Baggs guitar pickup mounted in the Spider, in place of the normal bridge pieces. Along with it, I placed a Countryman Isomax 2 microhone on the underneath side of the Cover Plate, pointed to the center of the Cone. The only problem was that the pickup sounded too electric and the sound man, too afraid of Feedback, would always use more of the Baggs in concert, since our stage volume with drums was pretty high.
I thought the older McIntyre, which stuck onto the Spider like the old Buffalo Nickel mandolin pickup, was a little better than the new Feather. I prefer nothing touching the active area of the Cone itself.
I'm using the Fishman currently, and I like it pretty well. I always adjust my Tension Screw on the loose side, or just snug, so as to generate as much Low Frequencies as possible. The Nut uses a friction washer type surface that should keep it in place, so it shouldn't be necessary to overtighten. It's never worked loose on mine.
As with all Transducers, you'll find they are low output and very thin sounding. You can eliminate this by using a Fishman or Baggs Preamp to fatten and boost the signal. There are several other good preamps available also.
Q: I know you played on the live Burritos album 'Last Of The Red Hot Burritos' but did you ever make any studio recordings? ~ Posted by Mike (UK)
A: No, we only did the live recording. However, there have been other Gram Parsons / FBB releases and compilations which have featured 'out-takes' ie other songs not on 'The Last of ...' album.
Q: Who is your favorite guitarist?
A: Steel - Jerry Byrd, Pedal Steel - Tom Brumley, Rock/Blues Guitar - James Burton, then Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton.
Q: On which track did you play on Exile on Main St.?
A: 'Torn & Frayed' on a newly acquired 11 stg ZB Custom
Q: Would you recommend any playing principles to beginners?
A: I would always recommend anyone starting out to follow the '4 Ts' of Tone, Touch, Timing and Taste.
However, having heard some playing examples recently, a fifth 'T' is a must - 'Tuning' !!
Q: Different guitars are referred to as 'steels', and this can be confusing - what are the differences?
A: The first steel guitars came electric with or without legs. Later, the one placed in the lap was then called a 'lap steel'
Q: And which instrument do you prefer playing?
A: I'm equally happy on each, but so long as it is appropriate for the song and artist.
Q: What gauge of strings to you favor?
A: Monel (Nickel) Lights on Guitar, Std Monel Sets on Pedal Steel, Dobro (and Lap steel).
Q: What albums were most influential for you?
A: The Ventures' 'Colorful Ventures', Rick Nelson's 'Live at The Troubador', Byrds' 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' Jimi's 'Are You Experienced?' Buddy Holly and Early Beatles also.