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Post new topic 15/16" Bar vs. 7/8" Bar?
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Author Topic:  15/16" Bar vs. 7/8" Bar?
Bob Snelgrove


From:
san jose, ca
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 12:24 pm     Reply with quote

I love my BJS 7/8" bar and a local picker loaned me a BJS 15/16" bar. I actually like the feel of the bigger bar but noticed a difference in tone from the 7/8".

The 15/16 sounds a little flatter and duller after repeated A/B testing with foot off volume pedal.

Any thoughts on this and what famous players use the larger bar besides John Hughey?

thx

bob
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Claire Winter


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 1:11 pm     Bar size influence Reply with quote

I'm relatively new to PSG (less than 5 years) but have 35 years pro audio experience behind me so know a bit about audio.

I'd say the biggest factor in the effect of a bar on the PSG sound is its mass: the heavier it is, the more sustain you will get and the less upper harmonics ("flavor" of the sound) will be absorbed by the bar itself. I've experimented with bar sizes from small Dobro-type up to 1" and using studio monitors to analyze the sound. It was clear to me that the heavier the bar, the more sustain and flavor (hi harmonics) I got from the guitar.

So I use a heavy 1" bar and love it, have gotten many compliments on how good my Willy sounds and I know the bar is a big part of it. The heavier, larger bar makes whipping between fret positions more difficult (more weight to shove around) but with a little getting used to is way worth the sound and sustain I get.

Be sure to weigh the bars you are considering (postal-type scale in ounces/grams): the size of the bar is not really the determining issue, it's the WEIGHT.

By the way, I also discovered, after watching some videos, that it also helps in sustain to press firmly with the bar downward onto the strings, to the point that the strings are moved downward noticeably (some David Hartley YouTube videos show this angle). A light touch on the bar allows it to absorb sustain and flavor, especially in the upper octaves.

Hope this helps--I had to "re-learn" downward bar pressure--and some players might disagree with me--but it's effect has been well worth it.
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 3:51 pm     Re: Bar size influence Reply with quote

Claire Winter wrote:
I'm relatively new to PSG (less than 5 years) but have 35 years pro audio experience behind me so know a bit about audio.

I'd say the biggest factor in the effect of a bar on the PSG sound is its mass: the heavier it is, the more sustain you will get and the less upper harmonics ("flavor" of the sound) will be absorbed by the bar itself. I've experimented with bar sizes from small Dobro-type up to 1" and using studio monitors to analyze the sound. It was clear to me that the heavier the bar, the more sustain and flavor (hi harmonics) I got from the guitar.

So I use a heavy 1" bar and love it, have gotten many compliments on how good my Willy sounds and I know the bar is a big part of it. The heavier, larger bar makes whipping between fret positions more difficult (more weight to shove around) but with a little getting used to is way worth the sound and sustain I get.

Be sure to weigh the bars you are considering (postal-type scale in ounces/grams): the size of the bar is not really the determining issue, it's the WEIGHT.

By the way, I also discovered, after watching some videos, that it also helps in sustain to press firmly with the bar downward onto the strings, to the point that the strings are moved downward noticeably (some David Hartley YouTube videos show this angle). A light touch on the bar allows it to absorb sustain and flavor, especially in the upper octaves.

Hope this helps--I had to "re-learn" downward bar pressure--and some players might disagree with me--but it's effect has been well worth it.


Added pressure in the upper register really does improve tone.
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Rick Barnhart


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 4:06 pm     Re: 15/16 Reply with quote

Bob Snelgrove wrote:
Any thoughts on this and what famous players use the larger bar besides John Hughey?


When I ordered my 15/16" BJS, Bill Stroud told me that was the same size used by David Hartley
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Ricky Davis


From:
Austin, Texas USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 4:51 pm     Reply with quote

Bill made me a 15/16 bar 20 years ago that replaced my regular 7/8...and I have never gone back to anything since...I love it; and it had a red ruby(birthstone) in the tip; but it fell out and he replaced it for free; then it fell out again but he passed since....and so I use it without the ruby, cause it's still the best bar EVER.
Ricky
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Ricky Davis
Email Ricky: sshawaiian@austin.rr.com
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 7:50 pm     Reply with quote

Claire is right about weight, not size, being the determining factor for sustain.
I have a 1" ceramic bar that weighs almost nothing. It produces far less sustain than the 3/4 and 7/8 steel bars I use for more traditional type playing. It is great for mimicking slide guitar - super easy to change positions on the neck and do exaggerated vibrato. The tone is different too, but there is nothing to not like about it.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 10:53 pm     Reply with quote

Weight is not the only factor. The bar material can make a difference as well.

The two bars I use are a 1 1/14" -> 1 1/8" tapered bar (one of Sneaky Pete's old bars) made of a steel alloy with hard (not bright) chrome plating - that weighs an even pound -

And an Ezzee-Slide bar, made of a synthetic polymer with a copper slug core. Same size - 8.8 oz.

And virtually NO difference in sustain(or tone) whether I use it on pedal steel, one of several lap steels, Melobar, or vintage Weissenborn-type guitars. I primarily use the Ezzee-slide now because the lighter weight makes it much easier to work with.

FWIW I've also found differences...and similarities... between various metal alloys and several synthetic polymers. Some provide excellent sustain - some don't. Simply - it depends. But several others have also gone through testing of all types of odd bar designs and discovered that weight alone is not a reliable "sustain factor".
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Bob Snelgrove


From:
san jose, ca
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 7:21 am     Reply with quote

Looking at both BJS bars here, my 7/8 is shinier and feels slicker on the strings. Maybe Bill used different plating techniques over the years.

The 7/8 is definitely brighter and slicker Smile

bob
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Bob Snelgrove


From:
san jose, ca
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 9:31 am     Reply with quote

Are all BJS bars chrome plated over stainless?
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 9:38 am     Reply with quote

Jim Sliff wrote:
Weight is not the only factor. The bar material can make a difference as well.

But several others have also gone through testing of all types of odd bar designs and discovered that weight alone is not a reliable "sustain factor".


Great information, thanks Jim. I am going to look into the Eezzee Slide.

Edit: the 3/4" model is $76 plus shipping. 7/8" version is $95 Whoa!
Still good info, but I love my good old JD's even more now.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 10:02 am     Reply with quote

I used to play with a 7/8" JBS bar but then decided to try a 15/16". I don't have large hands but I liked the 15/16" bar better.
A good compromise is the BJS, John Hughey bar. It is 15/16" but weighs the same as a 7/8" bar. It is bored out.
It's the one preferred by Pappy John, bless his heart. Very Happy
Erv
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 12:08 pm     Reply with quote

Mass rather than weight?

A denser pack of molecules is not necessarily a heavier pack of molecules. So the synthetic Eezzee 1" bar may be more massive, yet lighter than a 1" steel bar and doesn't absorb the frequencies that a less massive bar would.

If weight were the only factor in determining tone and sustain, there'd be 5" round tone bars made of oak.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 12:13 pm     Reply with quote

Fred,
Do you know where I can buy one? Rolling Eyes

Bob,
They are chromed bars, none smoother! Very Happy
To my knowledge, they do not chrome plate stainless bars.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 5:04 pm     Reply with quote

Erv, if you're serious about the ez slide, you can order one here
http://www.waikiki-islanders.com/html/ezzee~slide%20bar.html

If you're serious about the wood slide, I have a 5 foot long 3" oak dowel in the garage that should clean up real nice on the lathe Cool
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Bobby D. Jones


From:
West Virginia, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 10:48 pm     15/16 verses 7/8 bar Reply with quote

I had a 7/8" chromed bar, Location unknown. 7/8" Powder coat bar,(center drilled), 7/8 Bronze or Brass bar (centered drilled) I have played with all of them. It took a lot of down pressure to get clean tone. A 1" solid 10 string bar and a Plastic/Nylon Dobro bar was my go to bars for a while.
When I bought a used 12U A 1" X 3 3/4' Chromed steel bar came in the deal. It is the only metal bar I have used for the last year or 2. It is heavy, Little pressure needed on strings and is great for bar slants little bar pressure just turn it. If I went back to a 10 string that bar would go with me.

In some of Jeff Newman's videos even though he is playing a 10 string it looks like he is using a 12 string bar. It may have just been the weigh he was used to for clear tone.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 8:31 am     Reply with quote

Fred,
3" isn't good enough, I want a 5" bar like you talked about. Whoa!
Erv
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 9:47 am     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
Fred,
3" isn't good enough, I want a 5" bar like you talked about. Whoa!
Erv

Very Happy
I'm sure I can find something in the firewood pile.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 9:49 am     Reply with quote

It has to be oak. Very Happy
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Bob Snelgrove


From:
san jose, ca
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 9:50 am     Reply with quote

What's the difference in length for a 10 or 12 string ba?

bob
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Marco Schouten


From:
Assendelft, The Netherlands
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 10:19 am     Reply with quote

I believe that there are 3 factors, mass and material are already mentioned, but the 3rd factor is the radius of the bar.
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Marco Schouten
JCH SD-10, Quilter Steelaire, Evans SE200, Sho-Bud Volume Pedal, Sho-Bud bar, zirconia bar, Emmons bar, John Pearse bar
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 10:30 am     Reply with quote

Size has already been mentioned. Whoa!
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Bob Snelgrove


From:
san jose, ca
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 10:51 am     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
Size has already been mentioned. Whoa!

Well you could have just answered the question with the same amount of effort!
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 11:24 am     Reply with quote

Well, excuse me! Whoa!
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 11:30 am     Reply with quote

Here's a 15/16" bar recommended for 12 string.
https://www.steelguitarshopper.com/JP-B5/



The 7/8" JD I use for 10 string is 3 1/4".


Last edited by Fred Treece on 14 Nov 2017 11:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2017 11:40 am     Reply with quote

Erv, the best you can do commercially is pressure treated fir. Check out these babies...I'm sure they would polish up real nice!

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