Handmade guitars make a splash in Nashville

Andrew Winton, Jean Campbell, and Jack Dudley

Lap steel virtuoso Andrew Winton (from l) with Deluxe Interactive Services’ own Jean Campbell and Jack Dudley of Don’t Fret Instruments.

Question: What is made out of a cypress knee and draws attention in Nashville?

Answer: The Sipsey River Steel lap steel guitars created by musician, craftsman, and Deluxe Interactive Services client Jack Dudley.

Jack Dudley is the owner of Don’t Fret Instruments — and more importantly, the designer and creator of one-of-a-kind musical instruments, including percussion items, fretless basses, and his most popular creations, the Sipsey River Steels. These handcrafted lap steel guitars are made from reclaimed cypress knees and have quickly become popular for their distinctive look and full sound.

This summer, Jack packed his instruments for a trip to Nashville and the National Association of Music Merchants annual exhibition, known as Summer NAMM. To generate interest in his first trip to the trade show, Jack made a number of marketing moves that would showcase his products and give potential customers a taste of to expect when they play a Sipsey River Steel.

The centerpiece of the Don’t Fret Instruments effort was Australian guitarist Andrew Winton. Winton is an accomplished independent lap steel player, and is a proud Sipsey River Steel owner, one of which is the double-necked “Lucky 13″. At Jack’s request, Andrew came to the States to demonstrate the guitars at the show. In addition to the playing during the show and holding a clinic for Birmingham-area lap steel players, Winton also appeared at several gigs in the Birmingham area, including two with Jack’s band, 2BLU and the Lucky Stiffs.

Jack used social media and changes to his website to promote his show attendance and Winton’s performances. On his site, we worked with Jack to develop a new front page element that promoted his attendance at the show, as well as a giveaway for one of the Sipsey River Steels. To reflect the craftsmanship of his instruments, the DFI site has a handcrafted, wood-like appearance, and the updates reflect that look and feel. Additionally, we created a page for the giveaway.

As the time for the event grew nearer, Jack promoted his attendance with regular facebook updates, as well as invitations to attend the various shows and the workshop in the Birmingham area.

These developments gained Jack quite a bit of attention. In fact, The Premiere Guitar website did a lengthy video on Jack and the Sipsey River Steels. Check it out:



We are proud to have Jack Dudley and Don’t Fret Instruments as a client, and we wish Jack the best of luck as his business continues to grow!

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