photo: Jesse Morris, Western Swing Journal
Tiny Moore
Moore, a member of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys, was a pioneering electric mandolinist. In fact, he is sometimes (erroneously) credited with inventing the solidbody version, and is still the person most closely associated with the instrument.
     Tiny studied the violin as a child. He picked up the electric mandolin after hearing the playing of Leo Raley. Tiny's first electric mandolin was built by Raymond Jones, a friend from his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. During his four-year tenure with Wills, Tiny played an early 1940s stock Gibson EM-150.
     But around 1952, while living in Sacramento and playing with Wills' brother, Billy Jack, Tiny acquired a 5-string, single-course, solidbody instrument built by Paul Bigsby (pictured on the LP cover). Later he became associated with a maker named Jay Roberts, who built copies of the Bigsby (pictured in the publicity photo and on the book cover). Tiny sold these instruments through his own shop. He also played with Merle Haggard, and was an adept fiddler and vocalist. As a teacher, he can count dozens of contemporary musicians among his proteges (though not all of them are known as electric mandolinists). He published an instructional book and tape (below), which are long out of print.