Rock 'n' Soul Celebrates 25th Anniversary of St. Blues Guitar
June 03, 2009
The forerunner to St. Blues Guitar Workshop was a small luthier shop within walking distance of Elvis' Graceland mansion, Mike Ladd's Guitar City, which had created guitars for Led Zepplin's Jimmy Page, Elvis, and others. In 1983, Tom Keckler moved back to Memphis and rejoined Charlie Lawing (with whom he had worked at Mike Ladd's) and Chris Lovell of Strings & Things to, once again, create custom guitars under the name S&T Custom. The following year, when the name was changed, the St. Blues brand was born.
On June 2, at a star-stuffed reception, the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company by unveiling a display installation about the guitar company's history. Mike Ladd and Tom Keckler (who had also played together in The Breakers, and opened in concert for The Yardbirds, in addition to creating guitars together) were both in attendance.
Since being restarted by local investor, Bryan Eagle, in 2006, every St. Blues guitar is finished and set-up in Memphis just down from Sun Studios. The Rock 'n' Soul exhibit recalls St. Blues' history, including the occational stumble, like the boasting of an exclusive Eric Clapton endorsement deal which, though advertised had, unfortunately, never been signed and, therefore, evaporated. One of only four prototypes made for that endorsement deal is included in the Rock 'n' Soul display.