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Author Topic:  Emmons push pull - Whats the deal - Pros and cons
Andy Narzynski


From:
New York, USA
Post Posted 12 Apr 2010 6:14 pm     Reply with quote

Hi, I'm thinking about buying an Emmons push pull. Can anyone tell me if there are certain years and features that are better than others. Im looking for the best tone possible. In other words whats the good ones ? If these need a lot of adjusting, something I know nothing about it may not be for me. But if these once setup are ok ,and are fairly maintance free Im in. I here how great these things sound and I think I have to get one. I talked to a great guy who I think i'm going to deal with down the road. I have an Emmons LeGrande 11, a nice super pro, and a Jackson Madison 63. Will the push pull do something they can't? What do you think ? Thanks Andy Confused Question
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Russ Tkac


Post Posted 12 Apr 2010 6:26 pm     Reply with quote

Andy,

I bought one in the summer of 2008. I had it set up and it has been one of the best steels I've ever owned. I like the feel of the pedal action and the tone is real solid. It stays in tune very well. I'm real happy with it. Mine is a 1971 D-10 Fat Back.



Last edited by Russ Tkac on 13 Apr 2010 4:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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richard burton


From:
Britain
Post Posted 12 Apr 2010 9:06 pm     Reply with quote

If you've been used to the smooth pedal and lever feel of an all-pull steel, then you're in for a bit of a culture shock if you get a bog-standard push-pull.

I hate playing push-pulls that are still set up exactly as they came out of the box, I have to get rid of the little springs on the pull rods, as they make the pedals feel mushy.
Of course, those springs are to take the 'clunkiness' out of the pedal feel, but I prefer that to 'mushiness'

If the push-pull you are looking at has been modified to make it physically easier to play (eg helper springs etc) then it won't take much getting used to, and, as long as everything (except the neck)has been tightened up, it should be very reliable and stay in tune.
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Mitch Ellis


From:
Mississippi, USA
Post Posted 12 Apr 2010 9:08 pm     Re: Emmons push pull - Whats the deal - Pros and cons Reply with quote

Andy Narzynski wrote:
I have an Emmons LeGrande 11, a nice super pro, and a Jackson Madison 63. Will the push pull do something they can't? What do you think ? Thanks Andy Confused Question


No.Mechanically speaking, an all-pull is a better design. With an all-pull, you get more tuining options with fewer parts.Fewer parts means less weight, less chances for repairs, and less adjusting. On the other hand, some say that when a push-pull is adjusted properly, they seldom need adjusting again. They're great steels, but mechanically speaking,I prefere the all-pull design.
Mitch
Russ, that's a beautiful steel you have!
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David Nugent


From:
Gum Spring, Va.
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 4:08 am     P/P Emmons Reply with quote

Andy...Having owned two push pull Emmons I will say that they have a unique tone and some do sound great, but as in any instrument, that can vary from one to another! Also, if they are not set up well, they can be a nightmare to keep adjusted and in tune. My suggestion would be to speak with someone who owns one and perhaps will show or explain to you the differences in mechanics between them and an all pull guitar (for one thing, the tuning method for the pedals and knees is much different than an all pull)....FWIW..I noticed that you already own three very desirable guitars (especially the Jackson '63), so the compromises may not be worth the perceived gain in tone.
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J Fletcher


From:
London,Ont,Canada
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 4:25 am     Reply with quote

Andy, if you can afford it, and want the best push pull (by general consensus), buy a '64 to '66 model, that has been set up and restored as needed, by somebody with a proven track record. Personally I have an S10 from the early '70's and an SD10 from the '80's...Jerry
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Jerome Hawkes


From:
Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 4:31 am     Reply with quote

i know the PP guys will soon come to the rescue of this thread, but the general answer here is you already have 3 FINE steels and adding a PP just to "have the best tone possible" is not really the solution.

i think i read earlier you are in the beginning year(s) of your steel playing and imo, there is SO MUCH other stuff to learn than start chasing ultimate tone, esp with the equip you have.

i started out on a 70's Marlen pull/release, then an antique sho-bud professional, then a 65 PP and finally a Legrande II - ALL of them had more tone than i could get out of them, but when i played the LL, i was a happy camper - it was set-up so well, fit me like a glove and i dont have to mess with it. the PP is wonderful (after a Cass rebuild) and i pull it out a few times, but the LL is my daily player.

if you're going the PP path, you better have a guru nearby that can help you out (luckily i have a few around) - imo, i would certainly have a used one sent off to be rebuilt by someone like Mike Cass (add +/-$1000 to your estimate). of course, once they ARE set up, and you dont start monkeying around with the copedants, they are set for a long time.

unlike many other brands - imo, the PP's were fairly consistant over the years of production - i have a '65 bolt-on, one of the "best years" but the best one i ever played was an early 80's.

-the problem with used PP is people doing repairs/mods that end up costing more to re-do than you expect - there are A LOT of hacked up PP's out there - until YOU know or know someone to give you advice, its best to play what you have.

all that being said - it seems every steel player at some point has to find out for themselves just what all the PP mystic is all about - so i suspect a PP in your stable at some future point.
_________________
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john widgren


From:
wilton CT USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 7:17 am     Push Pulls Reply with quote

Push Pulls
Cons: No Splits.
Pros: Everything else.

Best, JW
_________________
John Widgren Steel Guitar Services:
Performance and Recording/Repairs and precision set ups/sales and Instruction.
Specializing in high quality Steel guitars. Authorized Telonics dealer
(203) 762-8951
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Lynn Stafford


From:
Damascus, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 8:53 am     PP Pro/Con Reply with quote

Hi Andy,

I enjoyed our phone conversation a couple of days ago! It's always good to ask opinions, as there are lots of very informed people here on this Forum.

I really do enjoy playing and working on Emmons PP guitars! I also own a ZumSteel Hybrid D-10, which sounds very much like an Emmons PP (but has some of the modern all-pull features, like split tuning). All Emmons PP guitars can be made to play just about as easily as an all-pull guitar. And they are rock solid and dependable, once they are set-up properly.

I hope we can talk again soon, and I'll gladly shed more light on the subject with you.
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STEEL GUITAR WEST
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Carson Leighton


From:
N.B. Canada
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 11:58 am     Reply with quote

What Jerome said...I have owned one for a long time,,but I am able to do all my own adjustments,etc..There aren't too many adjustments that you can make that don't affect another adjustment..You have to really study the mechanism and how it works...They do have a different tone though...If you are mechanically inclined,,then go for it,,you might as well get the experience.......Carson
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Larry Bell


From:
Englewood, Florida
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 12:20 pm     Reply with quote

My three guitars are a late 60s-early 70s push-pull, a Fessenden that is a workhorse -- always sounds great, always in tune and easy to tweak, and a brand new Show Pro.

I play all three guitars pretty much equally, but the push-pull does have something that makes me smile when I play it. The action and feel of the guitar are different compared to an all-pull guitar. I find the factory setup (Mike Cass refurbed mine) just fine -- pedal throw is a bit long, but it makes half pedaling the A pedal easier. As John pointed out, one shortcoming is there is no easy way to get splits so you learn to half pedal.

I will own my push-pull until I've played my last note. Other guitars will probably come and go between now and then.

You have some great guitars. The LeGrande will be closest to the push-pull (but no cigar).

Just MHO
_________________
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My CD's: 'I've Got Friends in COLD Places' - 'Pedal Steel Guitar'
2003 Fessy S/D-12 8x8, 1976 Emmons S/D-12 7x6, 1969 Emmons S/D-12 6x6, 1971 Dobro, Fox Vintage 5F8B Amp
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Jack Dougherty


From:
Spring Hill, Florida, USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 2:09 pm     Reply with quote

Almost hate to respond to this thread. I've had all pulls through most of my picking adventures. Until last year when I found and had rebuilt an 80 PP. I have not played any other guitar since. For me, it's the tone I want. My only comment to any who might think about one is to be real real sure of your set up. Making changes is not like ordering a ten minute pizza. Other than that, it's a keeper. As Larry said, it stays in the stable to the end.
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Tony Glassman


From:
The Great Northwest
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 5:10 pm     Reply with quote

PRO = Tone

CON = making pedal/lever changes

CONCLUSION: Tone trumps all else.....buy one!
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Shorty Smith


From:
Columbus, Georgia, USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 5:18 pm     Reply with quote

I have played several guitars but the p/p is great with tone and plays with ease 2nd to none, I have a 73 I bought new in 73 and it still plays great, stays in tune and operate very smooth, I think you will enjoy a p/p, so go for it, Shorty

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Ken Metcalf


From:
Austin Texas USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 5:35 pm     Reply with quote

As a recent new owner of a late model Universal P/P.
I decided to get one after my friend got one.
I sat down and played his for a while, it was like that is it, This is what I have been looking for.
I talked with some of the local P/P guys we have around here, including Bobby Bowman.
Got one and it needed some adjustment.
Bam! I can't believe it, Stays in tune better than my all pulls, Sounds great, Low strings are crisp and snappy, high strings are mellow.
I love it and it is a keeper for me.
Mine is longer than yours 34 1/4 inchs
Laughing Whoa! Cool
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Bryan Daste


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 5:54 pm     Reply with quote

I own an all-pull Sierra and a push-pull Emmons, and I like them both. But the Emmons has a certain feel that I haven't found in an all-pull (I've only been playing 6 years, though, so I haven't played all that many). It just vibrates differently, and I like the feel when playing it. Mine stays in tune well, especially with Cobra Coil strings, for some reason. Tone-wise, it's a thicker, weightier sound. It sounds great to me, but I can see how the more "transparent" all-pull sound would work better in some situations. But which one do I take to recording sessions and gigs? The push-pull.
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Tom Vollmer


From:
Hamburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 5:55 pm     Reply with quote

Andy,
Have been playing and setting up push-pulls over 40 years.Here is MHO.
Tone nothing better
Once pedal changes are set up usually tuning open is sufficiant and they stay in tune as good or better than all pulls.More than one raise and one lower per string can be done but an all pull has a great advantage if you desire 2 or 3 raises or lowers per string.You would be welcome to try one of mine or one of Wally,s at Wally,s steel shop in Hamburg.Some of our steeler,s from NY,NY get together with us at Wally,s jams in Hamburg Pa. including Rob Segel,Jon Graboff.Steve Alcott,and John Widgren.
TV
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Russ Wever


From:
Kansas City
Post Posted 13 Apr 2010 8:57 pm     Reply with quote

On any particular string,
pulls over-ride lowers.

Any string that is lowered
requires slack in the raise.

All raises and lowers (except
for half-tone tuners) are stopped
within the changer, making
temperature changes in the
raise/drop-rods a non-issue.

~Russ
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www.russguru


Last edited by Russ Wever on 18 Apr 2010 5:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jim Lindsey


From:
Greenwell Springs, Louisiana
Post Posted 14 Apr 2010 12:24 am     Reply with quote

Hi, Andy ...
I've owned two push/pull Emmons guitars. A 1969 and a 1976 model (pictured below) ...



Both were excellent guitars with tone out of this world. Both played exceptionally well. Both were D-10 with 8 & 5 and had exactly the same setup and adjustments. And both were prime examples of how different two of the "same" guitar can be.

While the 1969 Emmons sounded and played great, the 1976 Emmons was extremely "extra good". It was a remarkable guitar that felt as good to me as my Mullen ... and tone? I've heard other Emmons guitars that sounded just as great, but never another that sounded exactly like that one. There was something in the tone of that particular guitar that just ran thrills down my spine every time I played it.

I love and play an all-pull guitar (my Mullen) and I've played a lot of really fine guitars over the years and in the end I think it all really boils down to a matter of personal preferences. While there are many great guitars out there to choose from, in my honest but humble opinion you can't go wrong with a good push/pull Emmons guitar. Smile
_________________
1986 Mullen D-10 with 8 & 7 (Dual Bill Lawrence 705 pickups each neck)
Two Peavey Nashville 400 Amps (with a Session 500 in reserve) - Yamaha SPX-90 II
Peavey ProFex II - Yamaha R-1000 Digital Reverb - Ross Time Machine Digital Delay - BBE Sonic Maximizer 422A
ProCo RAT R2DU Dual Distortion - Korg DT-1 Pro Tuner (Rack Mounted) - Furman PL-8 Power Bay
Goodrich Match-Bro by Buddy Emmons - BJS Steel Bar (Dunlop Finger Picks / Golden Gate Thumb Picks)
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Jeff Agnew


From:
Dallas, TX
Post Posted 14 Apr 2010 3:36 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
On any particular string, pulls over-ride raises.

Just to correct what I'm sure is a typo by Russ: on any given string, a raise overrides a lower.

For example, assume your A pedal raises 5 & 10 from B to C# and you have a knee lever that lowers 5 & 10 from B to Bb. On a p/p, if you press the pedal and knee lever at the same time, you will be playing a C#. The knee lever has no effect.

On an all-pull guitar, that combination instead usually means: the A pedal raises the string from B to C#. The knee lever lowers the string from C# to C (or very close to it).
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Herb Steiner


From:
Briarcliff TX 78669
Post Posted 14 Apr 2010 5:06 am     Reply with quote

Since I'm pretty much known as a PP player, I will echo all the positives and the few negatives mentioned about the Emmons Original guitar. I currently own 3 PPs and a Lashley Legrande, but I have owned quite a few PPs over the years and consider myself knowledgeable on the subject.

The most problematic thing about used Emmons PP guitar is not the design of the instrument itself, but the uninformed actions of previous owners of the instrument. Players make "modifications," screw things up royally, then sell the guitar; I've gotten some really FINE Emmonses from guys who've done that. Later they regret selling when they play the guitar after it was brought back to correct condition and adjustment.
_________________
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My rig: steel guitar, seat, amp, volume pedal, and 2 cords.

Always remember this: The darkest hour is just before dawn...
So if you're gonna steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the best time to do it.


Last edited by Herb Steiner on 14 Apr 2010 5:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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john widgren


From:
wilton CT USA
Post Posted 14 Apr 2010 5:27 am     Push Pulls Reply with quote

Re: Tommy Vollmer and Wally's Jam

You should go if you can! A great bunch of guys, lots of fun, and always a real learning/sharing experience...although I think most of us go just to hear Tom play....
_________________
John Widgren Steel Guitar Services:
Performance and Recording/Repairs and precision set ups/sales and Instruction.
Specializing in high quality Steel guitars. Authorized Telonics dealer
(203) 762-8951
widcj@hotmail.com
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john widgren


From:
wilton CT USA
Post Posted 14 Apr 2010 6:02 am     Push pulls Reply with quote

Andy,

In direct response to your original post:

I particularly like early iteration cut tails; 68,69, 70.
Also early fatbacks: 71-73
Also wood neck bolt on guitars.

Of course the highest prices go to early bolt on's and wrap-arounds.
_________________
John Widgren Steel Guitar Services:
Performance and Recording/Repairs and precision set ups/sales and Instruction.
Specializing in high quality Steel guitars. Authorized Telonics dealer
(203) 762-8951
widcj@hotmail.com
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Lynn Stafford


From:
Damascus, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 14 Apr 2010 6:48 am     Raise Dominant Changer Reply with quote

Russ Weaver raises Winking a very good point about the PP changer. This can be used to your advantage! In my case, I use the LKV to raise the 7th string to G along with lowering the 5th to Bb. This allows me to get a 7th chord with the A and B pedals down. It also gives me a suspended 4th (with the open D chord that's available on strings 6,7 and 9) with the A and B pedals down.
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Best regards,
Lynn Stafford

STEEL GUITAR WEST
http://www.steelguitarwest.com
Steel Guitar Technician (Set-up, Service and Repair)

Emmons Authorized Dealer (New Guitar and Parts Sales)

ZumSteel Authorized Service Technician
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John Lacey


From:
Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 15 Apr 2010 4:24 am     Reply with quote

"On any particular string,
pulls over-ride raises." Don't you mean the pulls (raises over-ride the lowers?
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