The Emmons Guitar Website
John Lacey’s Homepage


    This website is dedicated to all of those who have played and love Emmons guitars. It steps through the formative years from sketchpad to prototype in the words of its creator, Buddy Emmons. Later, it follows the transformation of the push-pull guitar to the all-pull Legrande model. Additional comments are given by Bobby Bowman, the maker of the only new push-pull guitar today and his thoughts on the advantages of the push-pull system. Thanks to Buddy, Ernie Renn, Bobby and Herb Steiner for supplying info and photos for this website.

John Lacey I fell in love with the sound of steel guitar back around '72. I was playing acoustic guitar and tely and was trying to get the steel sounds on my tely, sold my acoustic and tely and bought my first steel. It was a Canadian-made Sho-bud clone called a Fulawka. I stayed around the bars of Toronto for those early years and honed my chops, working 8-10 hours a day at it. Eventually I started playing the country bars and on off nites caught some great steel players around Toronto, like Al Brisco with Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Lucier, and Steve Smith. Some of my friends from those Toronto days went on to do well for themselves, people like Raffi, David Wilcox and the guys and girl from Prairie Oyster. In '78 I joined the Sylvia Tyson Band.

In '79 I moved to western Canada and settled around Edmonton. I loved the west and Alberta was hopping. I started doing sessions for R. Harlan Smith including some of his Royalty Recording people. I also toured around western Canada playing the bars, concerts, rodeos and fairs with Larry Gustafson, Dick Damron, Joyce Smith.

In 1980 I moved to Vancouver having joined the "Silver Dollar Band". That only lasted a brief year and worked dropped out so I moved back to Edmonton to join "Claudia Payne and Jaded Glory". We did openers for Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, playing rodeos and fairs mostly, in western Canada.

John Lacey In '79-80 I was working at a small music store in St. Albert when we decided to expand the Thursday nite jams in the store into larger affairs. We rented the local legion hall and invited local pickers and had half a dozen steel players. Having had some success in that we decided to bring in a bigger name and a friend suggest Buddy Emmons. Since he had hired him for his own shows he contacted him and on Apr. 15 1982 we had the pleasure of Buddy's company and brilliance at a theatre in Edmonton.

In '82 I joined the Danny Hooper and Country Spunk and centered out of Edmonton at "Danny Hooper's Stockyard" as a house gig. We had a dynamite house band with Calvin Vollrath on fiddle and Redd Volkaert on guitar. In '82 I was invited to play on the "Sun Country" television show starring Ian Tyson. I enjoyed doing that show for about one season while continuing to play with Danny Hooper.

By '87 I moved to Vancouver because of an important job opportunity for my wife. I joined in the scene in Vancouver within a year and did many recording sessions including, Gary Fjellegaard, Roy Forbes, 1988 CCMA prerecorded tracks, 4 B.C.C.M.A Awards shows and Patricia Conroy's first album. By then I had joined Patricia and Cactus Club and played Mexico, Nashville, Toronto and many dates through western Canada. In 1991 I was awarded the B.C. Country Music Association's Instrumentalist of the Year award.

In 1992, I joined Cindy Church and her band and fell in love with the Turner Valley-Black Diamond area southwest of Calgary. Our family moved here and have been here since, enjoying the combination of city life nearby and country life nestled in the foothills of the Rockies.

Present gear:
D-10 EMCI guitar
Nashville 400 amp
RV-3 reverb
Kickin' steel reso-simulator

Two new CDs by John Lacey.

Country Standard Steel

Eva and Company

Here's a project by Bob Taillefer that I participated in involving 17 other Canadian steelers. I'm very proud of this CD.

John Lacey

[In Buddy Emmon's Words] [In Bobby Bowman's Words] [Evolution Of The Tailpieces]
[A Wilderness Guide To The Basic Setup Of An Emmons Push Pull Steel Guitar]
[Some Additional Notes on Spacers and Shock Springs]
[Interesting Emmons Guitars]

This site designed and maintained by Mel Wilson Music and John Lacey
Last update May 7, 2013