Woody Paul (Dr. Paul Chrisman) on fiddle, Too-Slim (Fred Labour) on upright bass, Joey the Cow Polka King (Joey Miskulin) on accordion and Ranger Doug (Douglas B. Green) on guitar.
Prior to Riders In The Sky, Green played in a number of Bluegrass Bands. He even was in Bill Monroe’s group for awhile. He also joined the Buck White Family group, which performed Gospel songs. Green supplemented his income by doing guitar repair work at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville.
Freddie Green and all of the big band era players. In 2006, he evened published an instruction book called, “Rhythm Guitar the Ranger Doug Way.”
Strombergs are scarce, hence extremely valuable and collectible.
When he is not touring and recording with The Riders, Doug Green plays rhythm guitar in the well known Nashville, Western Swing band known as The Time Jumpers.
If you are ever in Nashville, check them out to see if they are playing.
Singing in the Saddle. The History of the Singing Cowboy. He is also an avid collector of vintage instruments. So it is not going to be easy to discuss all of his guitars. We will stick to the ones he is most seen playing.
“The Dwarf’s Yodeling Song” in the 1937 Disney version of Snow White. Tuttle was also in the Sons of the Pioneers.
During the golden age of radio, he performed in Cincinnati on the Boone County Jamboree on 50,000-watt radio station,WLW.
After receiving the Gibson L-5, Green had it refretted, added a bone nut, cut for right handed playing and had a new right-handed pickguard built for the guitar.
J-200 (a fancy flat top model that was also a favorite of the singing cowboys). There are pictures of him playing a vintage Epiphone Regent model.
Doug Green had an affinity for guitars like Tuttle’s Gibson L-5 ever since he formed Riders in the Sky in 1977. The L-5 is an “archtop” style, a style invented and perfected by the Gibson company, featuring a top that is carved into an arched shape, like a violin.
Prior to the availability of electric guitars, guitarists in big bands found that archtop models were the only guitars that could produce enough volume to be heard above drums and horn sections.
Gibson’s L-5 was the original f-hole archtop, and it was the favorite of many performers throughout the 1930s and ‘40s. As Green says, “A lot of people think 1939 was the best year for Gibson archtops. No question, they made the most attractive guitar. They came up with the design and nobody could top it. To me, the 1939 Gibson…. you’re just not going to top that.”
The chord changes occur each half measure. This makes the guitar the rhythm instrument for the Riders.
Aside from being an authority on Singing Cowboys, Green is also an authority on Stromberg guitars.
As I have stated, Green is an authority on Stromberg instruments. He states there are only five G-3 cutaways known to exist. So this is indeed a rare guitar. The guitar was professionally refinished in cherry sunburst..
During one of the Cincinnati Rider’s Radio Shows that I attended, Ranger Doug took a break from his usual large-bodied F-hole guitars to play a Gibson J-200 on a couple of songs.
I suppose many of us associate that guitar with Miss Emmylou Harris, but it was the singing cowboys and other country artists that were attracted to this guitars “bling” factor and the fact that it was big and loud. Though we associate Gene Autry with Martin Guitars, he also held court with a Gibson J-200.
As a tribute to Ranger Doug’s preference for Gibson guitars, The Gibson Musical Instrument Company has presented Green with two great instruments.
In 2009, Gibson Master Luthier, Ren Ferguson, sent Ranger Doug a handmade contemporary version of the Gibson J-200, made especially for the Idol of American Youth.
During his long career, Doug Green counts himself fortunate to have met many of his guitar inspirations such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, as well as Wes Tuttle, Jimmy Wakely, Eddie Dean, Bob Nolan, Lloyd Perryman, and Ray Whitle.