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Post new topic Al Petty's 21 heel and toe pedal copedant
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Author Topic:  Al Petty's 21 heel and toe pedal copedant
Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 6 Jul 2012 4:17 pm     Reply with quote

The paper that contained this was larger than my scanner's bed, so I scanned it in sections.

Here is the top neck, which as you can see is an E9/B6 universal tuning.



Here is the back neck with the tuning Al invented.



And here are his notes regarding the knee levers.


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Paul Redmond


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2012 1:30 am     Reply with quote

Mike - I have his complete setup chart from 1986 when he had contacted me about making him a Whitney. Send me a private email with your snail-mail address and I'll send a copy made from the original your way. It has some hand-written notes on it also.
Al used the heel/toe concept on several guitars over the years including a Fender cable-drive. Sierra Guitars even made a heel/toe model back in 1980 or 1981 with 6 pedals and no KL's and displayed it at Scotty's that year.
It's probably not for everyone, but I've always felt that the heel/toe concept was never explored deeply enough in years past. Al sure made it work for him...that and his near-perfect right-hand technique.
PRR
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 18 Jul 2012 6:13 am     Reply with quote

Can someone post some recordings of Al using this set-up?
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2012 9:28 am     Reply with quote

Al's B flat 6th tuning is obviously re-entrant and here is my guess as to the pitches:



Wide gaps between the lower notes seem odd.

Strings 5,6,7,8,9 would seem familiar to most C6 players. Pedals 18 and 19 would be used a lot. Oddly one is heel and one is toe, which could be awkward.
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 18 Jul 2012 12:26 pm     Reply with quote

I was lucky enough to attend Al's show and seminar at Blackie Taylor's music in the early eighties when Al was representing Sierra Steel Guitars. He had basically the same setup that Mike P. put on here with the E9/B6 Uni on the outside neck, and his own personal tuning on the inside neck. Earnest B. noted that it seemed "odd" with the wide intervals in that tuning in the lower registars. Al mentioned that and demonstrated it that day. The reasoning was for "cleaner" chord work as the chords wouldn't "muddy up" as much down there when you did that. I believe Hal Rugg also did something similar with his inside neck.........JH in Va.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2012 9:02 pm     Reply with quote

I was at that same show Jerry. That's where I got the photocopy of the copedant. Al was giving them out.

Shortly afterward, I saw the Sierra S-10 with 6 pedals, (toe and heel) and no knee levers, that Paul mentioned. It was on display at Blackie's shop. I tried it out, but didn't like it.
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 19 Jul 2012 5:26 am     Reply with quote

I was following the other thread for a bit, and it's pretty clear that the heel-toe stuff would only work well with the right kind of seat. You'd need some kind of chair or bench that supports your thigh so that your leg was dangling right over the pedal, your left foot never touches the floor. Church organists have been doing it for centuries, there's doubtless a website for churchorgan.com or cuddle-buns.com or something.
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 19 Jul 2012 7:54 am     Reply with quote

David, that's exactly what Al used, a higher seat that supported his legs and allowed him to "dangle" them over the pedals to be able to activate with both his heel and toe. He always was an inovator and has some ideas that others hadn't thought of. Gene Fields of GFI worked with Al on his old Fender 1000 with the heel and toe pedals. Gene also had one for a time. I used to go see Al perform with his group at the "Breakers Hotel" in downtown Long Beach, Ca. in the sixties. His drummer (Al Brown) was a good friend of mine and he turned me on to Al's playing. He had a trio then consisting of him, Al Brown on drums and Joe Pope on piano with a keyboard bass sitting on top of it. Joe Pope was also blind though you'd never know it. They had the first "power trio" I'd ever seen...........JH in Va.
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dlaurice


From:
Yorkville, CA, USA
Post Posted 8 Aug 2017 12:33 am     Al Petty Guitar Reply with quote

I have one of Al Petty's guitars. I communicated with Al over a year or two, and even visited him in Overton during the 80s. I was interested in the use of the steel guitar as a midi controller (basically that is all the Steel Guitorchestra is), and no one knew more about it at the time than Al. Al had a lot of fascinating stories about his California days, particularly stories about trying to figure out how to tune the early pedal guitars. At the time he was using the Steel Guitorchestra to make recordings for others (I have a couple of examples somewhere), but, always hurting for money, he was also dabbling in several multi-level marketing schemes. I think it was those activities that eventually led to his problems. I bought a number of things from Al, including a 21 pedal Sierra S-12. I do not know why I bought it-it has sat unplayed since-except that it was my way of trying to help him out a bit financially. I probably hoped that eventually he would want it back, but that never happened. I really ought to think about getting rid of it. I do not know of anyone else who has pursued a heel/toe type of playing, although Al manipulated it masterfully. Worst case, I suppose it could fairly easily be returned to a more conventional guitar.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 8 Aug 2017 5:21 am     Re: Al Petty Guitar Reply with quote

dlaurice wrote:
I bought a number of things from Al, including a 21 pedal Sierra S-12...

Doug, would you be willing to post some photos of that guitar? I think many of us would find it fascinating to see up close...
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 8 Aug 2017 5:51 am     Reply with quote

That's pretty cool Doug. I'll bet there is a lot of interest in this guitar besides the historical significance.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 8 Aug 2017 7:45 am     Reply with quote

When I was working at the Golden Nugget in 1971, Al and his group were playing at the Mint, across Fremont St. I'd go visit and watch him play his Fender with the heel-toe setup, but I don't remember if it was a 1000 or a 2000. But he did sit on a very high stool when playing that beast.
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Roger Shackelton


From:
MINNESOTA
Post Posted 8 Aug 2017 11:45 pm     Reply with quote

In 1973 I was driving to Seattle & saw Al playing in a club in Butte, Mt. He was definitely playing a Fender 1000 with the Heel & Toe pedals, which were made of wood. Cool

Roger
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George Redmon


Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 8:55 pm     Reply with quote

Here's a photo that i have. Not sure where i originally found it
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Tony Glassman


From:
The Great Northwest
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 4:25 am     Reply with quote

I remember doing some work on one of Al's heel-toe guitars when I worked @ Sierra in the late 70's. It was a true beast and giant PITA to work on.
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