These were the first pedal steels built by Sho-Bud. Starting out in 1957, Shot Jackson and Buddy Emmons began building cabinets and assembling the pedal mechanism in Madison, Tennessee, just north of Nashville. The cabinets of the first several Permanents were all wood with no metal end plates. Soon after though metal end plates were added to the production. The undercarriage parts were welded together and the pedal setups, unlike today, could not be changed. Eight string, and later nine string cabinets were made with pedals, and by late 1958, the three pedals that we know today on the E9, became standard. Shortly after, the permanent model evolved to the standard ten string. The early permanents had no knee levers and basically consisted of raises only on the pedals(which is still the standard E9 three pedal setup today). During the late 1950's and early 1960's, the C6 neck was also evolving, with the Nashville players adding pedals and strings to eventually becoming standard with 10 strings and 5 pedals. As a result, the double neck soon became the norm and many permanent double necks with pedals were produced through these years. It was not uncommon to see a single neck permanent as well. These pedal steels were very well received by the steel players and became very popular. The permanent, sometimes called the Custom, continued to be produced well into the 1960's. Although Shot Jackson and others were adding knee levers to existing steels since the early 1950's, knee levers were pretty much standard on the Sho-Buds by 1964. Even earlier than this, around 1962 or '63, knee levers were starting to gain in popularity.
Up to this time, steel players sat on a regular chair, piano stool, or bench. With the addition of the knee levers, players found it sometimes difficult to set at the pedal steel and reach the knee levers and pedals all at the same time. Long time Sho-Bud employee, Duane Marrs came up with the idea of a seat specially designed for the pedal steel guitarist. Some what higher than the average chair or stool, this seat was the perfect height for playing the pedal steel. Duane Marrs built a prototype seat that included a storage compartment and called it the pack-a-seat. When Duane approached Shot Jackson about the idea of manufacturing the pack-a-seat that he had invented, they figured out that they would have to charge no less than $35 to cover the expenses to build it. No one thought that the steel players would be interested in such a seat, nor would be willing to pay money for it. But to their surprise, the seat was well received and as knee levers were added to the pedal steels, sales of the pack-a-seat increased and soon became, and still is today, a much needed accessory for the pedal steel guitar.
In Shot's old catalog, the number of necks, strings and pedals affected the price of the Permanent model, because these pedal steels were for the most part, custom built. For a double neck 10
string the price was $480, with extra pedals, $50 each.