National Steel

my sister bought me a National from John Campbell. I played the guitar in the video in the basement of club in NYC with John.

5 Responses to “National Steel”

  1. July 5, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Hay there Dr. Dan,
    Sure would be nice to have a little clarification on the above. Particularly the statement about the sister buying a National Steel from John.

    The 34 National in that video is in the possession of John’s widow. I/we are unaware of John owning or even playing another National during that time of his career.

    Most of those John Campbell YouTube videos were posted by a friend of mine and taken from Elektra Records video tribute to John after his death and then given to his folks.

    I’m an old friend of John’s and his family and am always interested in hearing from anyone who knew John. You might want to check out my Space as well as our other website links to John.

    I am poresently putting together another John Campbell Tribute Show in Corpus Christi next October 11 as a 12 hour benefit show for the restoration of the Ritz Theatre where John used to play very early in his career. Not sure where you are located but let’s talk about things.

    • June 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm

      Hey there Darrell,

      I came across your posting by accident as I was researching what type of pickup John used on his Triolian. Gald to see that there are still people out there helping to keep John’s legacy alive. I have my own little story to tell. Back in about 1988 met John through my friend Ronnie Earl who was giving me some blues guitar lessons at the time. This was just about when John recorded his album A Man and His Blues with Ronnie. John came through town and played at a little club in Cambridge, MA called Nightstage and he was visiting Ronnie. I asked Ronnie if he could find me a nice National and he spoke to John who promised to go back to Matt Umanov’s to see what they had. He found me a beautiful early 30’s Triolian. I keep this guitar for many years, but unfortunately in a moment of what I can only call stupidity, sold it….I’ve been kicking myself ever since. I’m going to pick up another Triolian and even though it will be a different guitar it will still always remind me of John. I will remember him as a realy nice guy. Very considerate and humble. I will miss him and his music. Please let me know of any future benefits or remembrances in his name. Thanks much.:)



  2. July 5, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Funny story, Darrell,

    I walk into Matt Umanov Guitars. I believe it was the summer of 1988. I ask the guy at the counter if he had any old teles. He tells me no, but he has an awesome 1964 strat (more on that story here:http://www.bettydylan.com/strat.html). I just whipped out some blues and since I didn’t have a pick, I finger picking a little. Anyway, the guy is complimenting my playing. He told me to get a bass player and drummer and play all up and down Bleecker Street (which I did!).

    Anyway, I start getting cocky and I say, bring me a slide, son (not really in those words). Anyway, he brings me a slide and I’m ok on slide, but then he says, “Can i check that out?” Needless to say, the salesman was John Campbell! So he smokes me on slide. I am standing there jaw dropped watching him play, expecting typical over-playing from a guitar salesman, but instead getting a private show of the most exquisite blues playing I have ever heard. My sister bought me the guitar, but around 2am or 3am I get a call to come down to this vietnamese restaurant from my sister. I say, are you crazy? And she tells me I HAVE to come. Well, it was John Campbell playing solo, and it was amazing.

    A few weeks later I went back to the store with my sis, and John explained that he had a 1929 national steel guitar – a Triolian. John said I should not pass up the chance to get one. He made sure I got the Barcus Berry pickup, just like what he used.

    btw, when John got signed by Eleckta we were all shocked in a good sense. We knew he was the man, but we were surprised that a major label would sign an older, white blues dude. He was drawing a very good crowd at the vietnamese place (I think it was called typhoon and later renamed crossroads.


  3. 4 Johnny Bartee
    July 24, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Something I learned about John when he was much younger. He had MAGNETISM. It wasn’t that he was so technically proficient on guitar but rather his sheer magnetism that was so undeniable. He is one of the few people in this life I’ve encountered that had such strong magnetism. It’s no surprise to me this “older white blues dude” was picked up. His playing was phenomenal and his magnetism pushed that playing to incredible heights. This man had power.

  4. October 8, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I met John Campbell in the early 90s (1991), opening act for Buddy Guy in Baltimore. I think my notion of blues changed that day…
    Curious – anybody know what model pickup he used on his Duolian? I just acquired a National Delphi (modern day duolian). I want that exact same pickup on my axe


    (aka “jb”)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Blog Stats

  • 19,882 hits
June 2008

%d bloggers like this: