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Post new topic Compensators on E9th Neck
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Author Topic:  Compensators on E9th Neck
Gary Arnold


From:
Panhandle of Florida, USA
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 9:56 pm     Reply with quote

What strings do you need a compensator on ? Thanks, Gary
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 10:31 pm     Reply with quote

There isn't a simple answer to your question. It depends on how you tune, how much your steel detunes (cabinet drop), whether you use a wound or plain sixth string (which is the worst offender for detuning), and what your ear tells you.

Also to be considered is how well a particular compensator works on your steel. I've tried a number on both my Emmons and my Williams and I only use one because that's the only one I could make work reliably.

Having said all that, here are some compensators I've tried and abandoned:

1) lower the seventh string a bit when the B pedal is down, &

2) raise the sixth string a bit when the A pedal is down.

They both improved the tuning to my ear but presented other problems.

The compensator that I have kept lowers the first string fairly significantly when I use the knee lever that lowers the second string a half tone. I have a video on YouTube about that one, and I use it all the time.

There are almost certainly other compensators people use.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 11:56 pm     Reply with quote

When I tuned to just intonation*, I had a compensator on my 7th string. I tuned the F# note to be a major 3rd above the 9th string D, because I use the D as the root tone a lot (with the G# raised to A). Basically, the F# was tuned flat.

The compensator raised my 7th string about 10 cents to be in tune with B when I lowered my E strings (the "B6th position").

*I no longer tune this way, so I don't need a compensator now.
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Ken Byng


From:
Southampton, England
Post Posted 27 Feb 2017 12:25 am     Reply with quote

I bump my plain 6th strings on all of my pedal steels. I press pedal A and adjust any effect of body flex out on the G# 6th string. I also bump my 1st F# string also when A & B are depressed.
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Ken Metcalf


From:
San Antonio Texas USA
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 4:19 am     Reply with quote

6th string for the A+F
Both F#s
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 5:31 am     Reply with quote

I've never used this type of compensator. Either on the D-10 Emmons PP I had or my current Franklin D-10.

I use the Jeff Newman sweetened tunings in my Peterson tuner.

There is cabinet drop but I don't let it get the best of me. As Bruce Boutin says in his talk tape, everything is a compromise. Just play the darn thing.
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 6:31 am     Reply with quote

My thoughts exactly Jack.
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Fred Rushing


From:
Odin, IL, USA
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 8:05 am     Tuning Reply with quote

Bob what is the link you posted to your current method of tuning which is off the F# at 440?

Fred
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 9:25 am     Reply with quote

What does the compensator look like ?
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 9:37 am     Re: Tuning Reply with quote

Fred Rushing wrote:
Bob what is the link you posted to your current method of tuning which is off the F# at 440?

Fred

I think you're referring to meantone temperament, which I documented in this post: http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=2562242&highlight=meantone#2562242

It's not what I actually use for E9th, though. My E9th is much simpler than that. Here's what I do:

  • tune E, B, and D to +5
  • tune F# to 0
  • tune G# and D# to -5
  • tune A to 0
  • tune C#, A# and the C pedal F# to -10
  • tune F lever to -15
  • tune G and C (splits) to +10

It's not perfect. It's technically out of tune, but not enough to bother me. Sometimes I tweak the A pedal or F lever by ear a bit, but I never change the open string tuning. This tuning method doesn't require compensators.
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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella


Last edited by b0b on 2 Mar 2017 9:51 am; edited 5 times in total
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 9:41 am     Reply with quote

Greg Lambert wrote:
What does the compensator look like ?

I can't speak for every compensator ever used, but on my steels it looks like normal raise or lower linkage, because that's what it is. For instance, a compensator on the seventh string to lower the pitch slightly when the B floor pedal is engaged is just an extra lowering rod connected to the cross shaft of the B floor pedal.
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Dan Robinson


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 7:46 pm     Reply with quote

Ken Metcalf wrote:
6th string for the A+F
Both F#s


I have tried what Ken is doing on my ShoBud.

Don't have it on the Carter, and don't really "miss" it.

I can see how easy it would be to chase your own tail.
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 9:09 pm     Reply with quote

I gave up on them, and I have a barely modified ET.
Everything tunes to 0, with the exception of A#, C#, D#, E#/F and G#. Those tune between 4 and 6 cents flat. People who use the F lever a lot might want to flatten it 8-10 cents. The way I play, it's my least used lever.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 9:48 pm     Reply with quote

Lane Gray wrote:
People who use the F lever a lot might want to flatten it 8-10 cents. The way I play, it's my least used lever.

Funny, Lane. The way I play, it's my most used lever.
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 9:51 pm     Reply with quote

Yup. Different vocabulary. Generally if I'm going to use 4 or 8 as a third, it's with lowered Es.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 3 Mar 2017 12:16 am     Reply with quote

Paul Sutherland wrote:
.. here are some compensators I've tried and abandoned:

... raise the sixth string a bit when the A pedal is down.
(it) improved the tuning to my ear but presented other problems.



What problems Paul? I am planning to add this compensator to my guitars next month. Is there a reason for me not to do this?
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John Brock


From:
Xenia, Ohio
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 12:33 pm     Compensater Reply with quote

There are several youtube vids by paul sutherland on this subject. I get the concept.For me I go with jeff newmans tuning. It creates a more positive tone for my guitar. And i can still use the f# ....in any way..I have it to g# on the rkl.....works for me...hope im right.

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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 1:18 pm     Reply with quote

I have had lots of D-10's and now a S-12 E9th extended and a S-12 with an E9th/C6 lock lever change over. All of them are a rats nest to tune but I can play in tune to my ears with the steel alone or in a band without any compensators. The steel is never perfectly in tune with itself or anything around it. It helps tremendously if the band has good dynamics and no two guitar or lead instruments are playing loudly at the same time. That way tuning differences don't stand out as much! Like most of you I use a combination of varying the bar pressure front to back or slanting it slightly to achieve acceptably in tune results. On sustained multi-note passages I generally pull the strings behind the bar to get them in tune if needed. It's an art!
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Ned McIntosh


From:
New South Wales, Australia
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 1:37 pm     Reply with quote

Surely this all becomes a bit academic once you start playing and especially when you use vibrato? Playing is such a dynamic event, add vibrato and the whole thing is now riddled with notes going sharp and flat by more than just a few cents in fairly rapid succession. Are we in danger of over-analysing this a bit?

The static tuning is one thing, but once strings begin vibrating and harmonics start to enter into the event, there is a synthesis of sound which must surely swamp any minute variations in the static tuned notes? (I use the sweetened E9th and C6th tunings in the Peterson Strobo-Flip tuner - they work for me.)

How did Buddy Emmons tune? How did John Hughey tune? Once they started playing, who cared!
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 3:58 pm     Reply with quote

Mike: On my Emmons PP that compensator added extra pedal pressure (which was no big deal), and it came on at the last bit of pedal travel (which I found to be the real problem). The extra little notch in the pedal action caused me at times to not fully engage the pedal, and thus tuning problems. I simply play better without the compensator. I'm aware that sixth string goes flat and work around it.

On my Williams I found some of those same issues, plus when I went from A & B pedals down to just the A pedal (or to A and F lever), the sixth string would did not drop in pitch to the proper compensated G#. It seemed to bind up in the changer for some reason. If I released the floor pedals entirely and then engaged the A pedal (or A and F) it worked perfectly. But for some reason I couldn't rock between the combinations without having significant tuning issues.

I really wish I could get this compensator to work without the above issues because I can definitely hear an improvement in the sweetness of chords when the sixth string doesn't go way flat.
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richard burton


From:
Britain
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 9:53 pm     Reply with quote

Paul,
What you describe with the 6th string remaining slightly sharp when the B pedal is released but the A pedal remains pressed is quite possibly the A pedal cross-shaft flexing slightly.

When the A pedal is used alone, it nudges the 6th string up a bit (as well as the 5th and 10th strings), thus putting a tad more strain on the A pedal cross-shaft.

If the B pedal is now pressed, the extra strain on the A pedal cross-shaft is released, and any slight flex in that shaft produced by raising the 6th is now removed, so the shaft moves forward a tad.

When the B pedal is released, for some reason it does not re-flex the A pedal cross-shaft, and the string remains sharp.

Best solution is to use a wound 6th string.
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Ken Metcalf


From:
San Antonio Texas USA
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 4:02 pm     Reply with quote

My MSAs were new with compensators set up at the factory as was my Carter.
Factory set up comps. are working very good for me.
The PP did not have them... Everyone is different.
I play with minimal rolling vibrato and like the A+F Position.
I use the Peterson 0E9 on the tuner.
^_^
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John Roche


From:
England
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 2:07 am     Reply with quote

What do they look like and can I put them on my MSA legend uni
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Ken Byng


From:
Southampton, England
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 2:11 am     Reply with quote

John - you just need some additional pullers, rods and nylon tuners.
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John Roche


From:
England
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 2:20 am     Reply with quote

Thanks Ken, I have three cent drop on my guitar so not that much of a problem..
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