About the Founder
Since I was 14, I wanted to play the guitar, but I doubted my abilities and feared failure. I lacked having any musically-talented friends and worried about the difficulty of mastering the instrument. Instead, I attended countless concerts, fixating on the fretboards of my guitar heroes.
As I grew older, my musical taste shifted towards blues, and I became captivated by artists like BB King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray.
Witnessing Buddy Guy perform at his club was a transformative experience, moving me to tears. I fell in love with the blues and ended up seeing Buddy live around 50 times over a decade.
The most extraordinary day of my life arrived when I married Kate, my best friend and unwavering supporter. Knowing my desire to learn, she surprised me with a remarkable gift—a black and white polka dot Fender Stratocaster, Buddy Guy's signature model, autographed by the man himself.
This incredible gesture left no room for retreat. I had to seize the opportunity and learn to play. It was a physical manifestation of Kate's unwavering belief in me. She had instilled in me a confidence I had never known.
I embarked on the journey like many beginners, seeking instructors but facing disappointment after disappointment. Multiple lessons and significant financial investment yielded little progress. Frustration crept in, tempting me to quit.
During a trip to Macon, Ga., Kate's hometown, I discovered the Allman Brothers and visited Duane Allman's gravesite. Intrigued, I delved into a biography on Duane, titled "Skydog." It revealed that Duane had learned some of his guitar techniques by listening to his idols like Elmore James. He would manipulate the records with his foot while keeping his hands on the guitar, learning the tunes by ear.
Meanwhile, I continued my guitar-learning efforts, turning to YouTube for online lessons. It proved more convenient, offering practice licks and songs to learn. But frustrations persisted as I constantly paused, played, and rewound the lessons, taking my hands off the guitar to control the mouse.
Then it hit me—how could I emulate Duane's learning approach? Stepping on a record player was out of the question, and learning by ear seemed daunting. How could I keep my hands on the guitar, maintain finger positioning, and maximize muscle memory while benefiting from online lessons? And so, the idea for the Elmore Pedal was born.
-James Levin, Founder of Elmore Pedal Company