THE EVANS PULL STRING GALLERY
Joe Wilson’s Les Paul Gibson, this was the first Pull String, lever arm style, I made, and to my knowledge the first one to be routed into a body.
Rear view of Joe’s guitar with cover plate installed.
Joe’s guitar with cover removed
Close-up of Joe’s guitar. Note the router burns. In those days it was hard to find carbide bits and the steel bits dulled quickly
The pull block on Joe’s guitar
Another view of the pull block
David Cohen’s Strat conversion with early lever arm style
Dan Kazarian’s 1960 Strat conversion with early lever arm style, front view. I made and finished the body and installed his Strat parts. This is the original finish! In amazingly good shape. Those are even the original knobs I put on the controls.
Dan’s guitar close-up of front
Dan’s guitar view of back with rear cover installed
Dan’s guitar with rear cover removed. Note I started to paint the interior black to hide the router burns and I thought it looked cool
Ron Getman’s Tele with lever arm style front view
Ron’s Tele rear view with cover
Ron’s Tele with cover removed (must have had a new bit….no burn marks! Ash is more forgiving)
Ron’s Tele close-up showing the “plunger device”
Tele style body I made and finished, installed with lever arm Pull String.
Copy of the promo picture for the ad in Guitar Player Magazine. The original bellcrank prototype was used in this shot.
Copy of the original brochure that I mailed out in response to inquires to my ad in Guitar Player Magazine
Copy of another page of the mail out brochure showing work on the body I was building for Clarence White. At Clarence’s request I made it thicker than standard so as to replicate Clarence’s original guitar.
Another shot of Clarence’s guitar with a unique “herringbone” pattern of oak, mahogany, and walnut on each side of a solid hunk of ash. Clarence was killed before I could complete it for him. So, I believe I destroyed that body.
Me showing a customer how the stop adjustment worked on my prototype. Any one know the identity of that “customer “?
Close-up of the stop adjustment.
The two “off-the-shelf” bodies that I offered. The one on the left was constructed of walnut and ash and was called the Standard Model. The one on the right, the Deluxe Model, was constructed from a variety of hardwoods, Brazilian Rosewood, East Indian Rosewood, Teak, Honduras Mahogany, Oak, and Walnut. It was about this time that I came up with my own body contour.
A complete body constructed of Eastern Black Walnut, ready for a neck and strings. I was now making bridges, saddles, control plates, jack plates, and offering customers a choice of pickups all wired and ready to go. Customers could also send me their pickups and I would install them.
A custom body consisting of Birdseye Maple top and back, sandwiching African Paduk in the middle, and capped on the edges with Zebrawood.
Walnut and East Indian Rosewood combination, and fitted with a beautiful neck made by John Carruthers.
This was the last complete guitar I made. The body consisted of Brazilian Rosewood in the center, narrow strip of East Indian Rosewood, then Tulipwood, African Paduk, and capped with Zebrawood. The neck (again made by John Carruthers) was from the same piece of Brazilian Rosewood as the center of the body. The fret board and head stock were ebony. You will note the tailpiece is missing that was due to the fact that I couldn’t afford a set of strings and we had to hang it vertically for the shot, and gravity had the last word!
A close-up of the last one.
Not a Pull String, but worth mentioning since it was unique for it’s day, a 5 string bass that Emory Gordy asked me to build for him. It had a Brazilian Rosewood center with East Indian Rosewood, Oak, Purpleheart, which sandwiched some Honduras Mahogany. The neck, again crafted by John Carruthers was Eastern Rock Maple with an ebony fret board and headstock capped with Purpleheart. You can just see inlaid abalone logo that John did in the headstock. The pickups were also wound by John.
More shots of Emory’s bass. Unfortunately it was stolen while Emory was on tour. I had the pleasure of engineering an album that Emory played that bass on. It sounded great!
Purpleheart and Tulipwood combination and yet another one of John’s necks and his pickups.
One of the few Lefty’s I did, this one installed into Mart Jenner’s Tele.
Rear view of Mart’s guitar
Rear view with cover removed. Note the location of the spring. Don’t know why it was moved there unless he needed a lot more tension. This was before I came up with the adjustable tension versions.
Martin at Chippenham, England 1992
Here is Martin in Chippenham, England in 1992.
Richard Bennett’s ’65 Custom Esquire. Neck pickup added by Fender.
Joe South with a Deluxe Model
Terry Williams with a Deluxe Model
Freddy Weller with a Deluxe Model
Michael J. Rouillier upon receiving his laminated Walnut body. I was quitting about the time I sold this to Michael with an unfinished neck (again, one of John’s). Michael had someone try to finish the neck but that person managed to ruin it. So Michael put a Tele neck on it and went on to do “Bender Rag” with it.
This is “Carol Jean”. Carol Jean has a story to tell. She belongs to Michael J. Rouillier. On his way home from a gig in New Orleans, Michael was rear ended by a drunk driver. In the trunk of his car was the laminated walnut Pull String (shown in the previous picture) and his Vibrolux Reverb amp….all smashed to kindling! Michael took the Pull String bits to local tech named Jimmy Foster (Foster’s Guitars) where his employee, Gene, took on the daunting task of installing them into a Tele body. Thus, Carol Jean was born. Gene did a fine job considering he had nothing much to go on!
Back of Carol Jean with the cover removed. Did I mention that she also survived Hurricane Katrina?! When the back door to Michael’s house imploded at the peak of the storm and battered his equipment! She’s a real survivor!
Close-up of the resurrection that Gene performed.
I took this shot of Albert Lee on tour with Joe Cocker in Atlanta about 1974-75. He is playing one of the Standard Models.
This is Albert Lee’s Pull String Deluxe body. In 1977 it was stolen while Albert was on tour with Emmylou. Shortly afterwards Albert got a call from someone who said he had it. That person, at his own expense, flew it from Chicago back to Albert. A few years later, Albert had Phil Kubicki install the Pull String bits into another Tele. Last year I installed the updated version of Pull String bits back into the body and this is the result. Still the original finish.
Rear view of Albert’s guitar with cover removed showing the new version.
This is a shot of my original prototype. This is the one Clarence and Gene gave their blessing and started me on the path of building Pull Strings under the protection of their patient. Clarence played it a few times and seemed to like it. The girl in the picture, however, couldn’t play a lick!
John Beland on tour with Linda Ronstadt.
Shot of the brass saddles I used to made back in the early 70’s
This is Woody, owned by Chip Thomas. Note the logo engraved into the pick guard. I did this on a few guitars. Chip found Woody in a music store in upstate New York about eight years ago through an ad listed in Vintage Guitar Magazine. He told a friend who then purchased Woody. He then sold it to Chip who began using it constantly and still does. Chip also owns a new generation Pull String named Stump. Woody handles the studio work and Stump does the live gigs. Chip says they are the best of friends.
A look at the inside of Woody. This is the original finish and is still in great shape after all these years. Woody was an early build as there is no adjustable spring tension.
This is a 1971 Telecaster that belongs to Dan Shepherd. Bob Warford introduced me to Dan at a Freddy Weller concert at Knotts Berry Farm. Dan brought me the guitar the next day to install a Pull String! At that time the body was blue and did not have this beautiful cover. This guitar has a special place in history because I was working on it when Clarence got killed.
This is a custom body that I built for Joe Wilson. It currently sports a Warmoth neck.
Another view of Joe’s guitar
Nicky Panicci purchased this “Standard” model off ebay. I believe it was originally purchased from Westwood Music. The previous owner made some modifications, including the humbucker and two toggle switches. Judging by the style of the switches, probably added around 1980. Who ever did it, did a nice job.
Nicky brought the guitar by for me to have a look at in September 2010. It is in great condition. I don’t think it has seen much use or was played with much care. The original finish is in amazingly good shape. One puzzlement is the lack of a neck plate and there are no witness marks to show it ever had one! It is S/N 10023.
This survivor belongs to Timothy Teague. As you can see it is a working guitar. A true road warrior with an occasional trip to the studio to lay down a tune. Somewhere along the way it grew a 3rd pick up! Tim still uses it on, pretty much, a daily basis.
This is Al Perkins guitar. He purchased the body from Fred Walecki’s West Wood Music. Then through Bob Rissi he got into Fender’s neck shop in Fullerton where he found a neck to his liking, close to his ‘61 Strat. That meant the the neck pocket needed to be modified to accept the rounded heal of the Strat neck. It has a Red Rhodes “Velvet Hammer” lead pick-up and a Fender Tele front pick-up with the cover removed. He has the Pull String set for a short throw. Al still plays it but is careful not to travel much with it. Photo courtesy of Dennis Holt with design by Mary Sutera.
Bernie Leadon's Restored tele History ~ April 18, 2013
Dave,when you installed the pullstring, i might have been white, and maybe natural brown. It started out as an early 60s tele, with white body (not butterscotch) and rosewood fingerboard. Red Rhodes refinished it natural brown at some point. In any case, I played it with the 60s tele neck and electronics on the first couple eagle albums.
After Don Felder joined the band, I bought a 53 tele with a beater body, but good neck and electronics. I put those on the pullstring body. I used it that way the rest of my time in the Eagles.
Then after 12 years, I had the body refinished in white, and went on the road with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for a year and a half. Near the end of that time, the guitar got left on the tarmac at Maui airport, got rained on, went straight back to storage in Nashville in the humidity, and the neck backbowed, finish checked, everything that could rust did, and the bridge pickup bit the dust. I dried it out, bought a Parsons pullstring in an ESP body, and played that the rest of the time in the Dirt Band.
Then I didn't need a pullstring, so it sat. In about 2008-2010, Joe Glaser restored the guitar to what it looked like when I left the Eagles, body in natural brown. Only difference is I used to have a Humbucker in the neck position- now its back to fender stock.
The following photos are of the last Pull String I built from the original builds under Clarence's and Gene's patent.
It was a labor of love that turned out quite unique. I always wondered who wound up with it and what became of it. For many years I thought Greg Leroy of Crazy Horse had purchased it from me. I was recently contacted by Tom Curtis who reminded me that it was he, not Greg, that had purchased it. He and Greg came by the garage I was working out of in Studio City. Tom saw the guitar and immediately fell in love with it and purchased it. Amazingly he still has it! This past spring (2013) I had to go to the Los Angeles area and made a detour to Tom's to see it for myself. So after 37 years I got to see it again! It is in great shape. Tom has taken great care of it. It is the show piece of his collection and according to Tom, "the crown jewel of benders". He uses it on special occasions and for studio work.
Tom with guitar shortly after purchase
Tom again with guitar
Much to my surprise, Tom also had a Deluxe Model serial number 20022. In 1971 he purchased the body, added '68 Thinline Tele neck with fat Gibson frets, and '61 Gibson pickups. At one point he added the custom pickguard. This became his work horse guitar for stage and studio. It too was in fine shape, still sporting the original finish.
This is the front and back of Tom's work horse #20022 as it appeared April 2013
Bellcrank with patent number
If anyone has anything to add to this history,
please contact me.