The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame, Inc.

The concept for a Steel Guitar Hall of Fame originated in the early 1970s when Nashville steel guitarist Jim Vest suggested the award as recognition for persons advancing the instrument.  Jim intended to implement the award program, but his session work and touring schedule prevented his follow-through.  By mutual agreement between Jim and DeWitt Scott, "Scotty" inaugurated the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame and located its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The first Hall of Fame induction occurred in 1978. One or more persons have been inducted each year since then.

In 1984 the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame was incorporated as a nonprofit organization under Section 501 (3C) of the Missouri statutes, and annual financial and other reports are made to the appropriate state agency. The official title became "The Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, Inc.," requiring the use of this title on all official correspondence. The purpose of the organization, as stated in the Articles of Incorporation, is "to establish a Hall of Fame and museum through which to support the art, popularity, and prestige of the steel guitar, to honor those musicians and composers who have made significant contributions to the steel guitar world, and to educate the public regarding the steel guitar."  The incorporation established a tax-exempt status, permitting tax-deductible contributions to be received from supporters, as well as to permit tax-exempt efforts for the raising of funds to offset the costs connected with the legal, educational, promotional and award-granting activities of the corporation.

When the Hall of Fame award was initiated in 1978, the awarding body's title was established as the "Steel Guitar Convention Board."  For the first 9 years of the awarding activity, Board members themselves donated the funds to cover the awards.  It was not until 1987 that sufficient funds were first raised to cover the annual awards costs.  This was derived from individual contributors, from sanctioned Hall of Fame benefit shows, and for the most part, from funds raised at the annual International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Currently, the Hall of Fame annual expenses average $4,500.  The major costs are the design and foundry expenses for the Hall of Fame plaques (currently costing approximately $1,500 for each plaque produced).  One and sometimes two persons are inducted annually.  One plaque is forged for each inductee and is prominently displayed in the Millennium Hotel in downtown St. Louis Missouri.  An 8x10 replica is given to each inductee to take home with them.  The plaque depicts a likeness of the inductee in a raised relief projection, followed by a very brief résumé of the inductees' accomplishments. Other related costs include paying the expenses for inductees to attend the convention to receive their award.  Since fundraising efforts began, the annual funding for the Hall of Fame award process has remained just ahead of expenses.

A goal has been the creation of an International Steel Guitar museum and a building to house the plaques and other memorabilia.  This ambitious goal awaits one or more major benefactors who are willing to underwrite the costs of a commercial building and to fund an endowment for its annual expenses and upkeep.  No salaries have ever been paid to Board members, which is prohibited by the nonprofit charter, but expenses are reimbursed to them when they are engaged in promoting sanctioned Hall of Fame benefit shows or in the realization of the stated purposes and goals of the corporate charter.  Members of the Convention Board pay their own expenses for travel and lodging while attending their annual meeting at the convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

All Board members are involved with processing nominations and making decisions concerning the Hall of Fame induction process. Board members attain their membership by first being nominated for Board membership by the Board Chairman, DeWitt Scott, who submits all potential Board members to existing Board members for approval. The Board has always been comprised of persons who have had lengthy involvement in a wide range of activities related to the steel guitar.  This includes knowledge of the instrument's history and its major players.  Some have first hand experience in writing, editing and publishing of periodicals, catalogs, and feature stories about the instrument, its players, and the instrument's attributes and development.  Others have extensive involvement in the preparation, distribution, and sale of instructional materials.  Several have experience in the producing and recording of steel guitar albums, experience in the organization of concerts and shows, and skills in research regarding a host of subjects related to the instrument.  All have extensive experience in the cultural development and heritage of the instrument.

The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame
Induction Procedure

The Steel Guitar Convention Board meets annually at the scene of the International Steel Guitar Convention.  Some weeks prior to that meeting, the nominations accumulated during the preceding year are circulated to Board members for their information.  This allows each Board member the opportunity to research the background of all nominees under consideration.  The Board then convenes, reviews the nominations, evaluates the comparative data presented, and assesses the breadth and depth of each nominee's contributions to the artistic performance, advancement and historical development of the instrument as the nominee's contributions apply.  The Board ultimately comes to a decision regarding the appropriateness of the nominee(s) to be inducted at the following year's convention.  Also considered are any acts or omissions by a nominee that would negatively reflect on the prestige of past and future inductees, or be contrary to the goals of the corporate charter.

Below is a form to use by any person who desires to nominate someone for induction to the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.  The form permits you to provide information concerning your nominee in a variety of areas related to the instrument's advancement, as well as issues and perspectives that the Board always considers when evaluating nominees. The form is not designed to be a barrier to nomination, but to assure that a nominee receives the fullest and fairest consideration.  The nomination form needs to be as complete and thorough as possible.  You can provide additional documents to accompany the nomination form, and you may wish to interview your nominee and/or other persons who have factual information about the nominee.  Answers provided will greatly assist the Board in crediting the nominee with his/her body of work and arrive at a decision concerning induction.  The Board always conducts their own investigation and inquiry of each person nominated.

Nominations must reach Chairman DeWitt Scott 30 days prior to the opening of the International Steel Guitar Convention in order to provide time for circulation and consideration of materials by the Board. August 1st of each year is the cut-off date for considering a nominee for the following year's induction.  However, all nominations are welcomed at any time throughout the year.

The questions on the nomination form may be copied and answered by word-processing programs and then mailed to the address listed below. Electronic transmissions are not accepted because e-mails often arrive with garbled formatting requiring retyping or editing, and attachments commonly have conflicted formatting between sender and receiver.

Provide a statement in each area if possible. If there is uncertainty about any area of requested information, simply indicate "Unknown." Providing thoughtful and comprehensive information in the 7 listed areas, will greatly assist the Steel Guitar Convention Board in assessing your nominee's body of work, permitting the Board to reach an informed decision.  Mail the completed form to:

The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame, Inc.
9535 Midland Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63114-3314


The Steel Guitar Hall of Fame
Nominating Form

1. Name and list the notable artists and bands with whom the nominee has performed and recorded, as well as the duration.

2. Describe any touring history of the nominee, the length of that touring, and the names of touring bands or artists that he/she has performed with.  If the nominee was primarily a club musician, list the names and locations of those clubs and the years spent in club performing.

3. Describe the influences the nominee may have had on other players, such as projecting an identifiable style of playing and innovative musical executions.  Provide examples of  his/her professional expertise, playing prowess, dramatic delivery, etc. and explain how these qualities influenced others to take up the instrument.

4. List the nominee's recordings as a side musician with vocal artists and his/her instrumental recordings.  Assess those musical productions for their quality, innovation, and what influence such may have had on other steel guitar players.  List any compositions that may have become classic recordings (tunes that other players feel compelled to learn and likewise perform).

5. Describe the nominee's efforts as an instructor, innovations in teaching methods and notable students who learned from the nominee and also pursued a professional music career. List all other instructional materials published by the nominee and any other writings that advanced the musical performance and/or contributed to the public knowledge of the steel guitar.

6. If the nominee has been involved in the manufacture of steel guitars, explain any mechanical innovations and craftsmanship examples that he/she brought to the guitar building industry and/or enhanced the performing capabilities of the instrument.  How long was the nominee engaged in this activity?

7. List other activities the nominee has engaged in that advanced the instrument, expanded public knowledge and acceptance of the instrument, or aided in its proliferation.  Examples of such activities might include promoting and/or conducting concerts, forming steel guitar clubs, organizing promotional events, producing, writing and publishing, etc.  List the continuous years the nominee devoted to these various activities.

The Steel Guitar Convention Board

Al Brisco


Colborne, Canada
Bob Maickel  -  Floral Park, NY.
Michael Scott  -  St. Louis, MO.
Herb Steiner


Austin, TX.
Dr. Wayne Yakes


Denver, CO.
Chuck Lettes  -  Englewood, CO.
Walter Stettner  -  Vienna, Austria

The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame, Inc.
9535 Midland Blvd. * St. Louis, MO. 63114-3314
314-427-7794 Phone * 314-427-0516 Fax

© 2012 The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame, Inc. All Rights Reserved.