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Author Topic:  ZUMSTEEL vs. CARTER tone experiment
Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 10:44 am     Reply with quote

Help me with this experiment. I recorded the old Price/Twitty tune, I just destroyed the world. It uses my ZUMSTEEL on everything except the CARTER on 1:46 count to 2:27 count. Give it a listen and opinion on both guitars.

http://picosong.com/WPpC/

Thx,
Ron Hogan
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 11:16 am     Reply with quote

Ron,
I complement you on your playing.
There isn't a lot of difference but I believe the Zum had a tad more "presence" and "growl" than the Carter. Very Happy
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Dale Rottacker


From:
Tacoma Washington, USA
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 11:27 am     Reply with quote

Ron that was really good playing and the tone on both I thought was good... Thought the Zum sounded perhaps a little richer than the Carter, but to me I thought the Carter had a little more bite and brilliance, and reminded me more of Buddy during it’s part than the Zum... That said, I never trust my ear... Confused Very Happy
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 11:53 am     Reply with quote

The Carter has an E66 pickup.
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Fred Justice


From:
Mesa, Arizona
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 11:58 am     Reply with quote

Ron, great playing sir.
to my ear, the Zum came out on top here hands down.
More sustain by far as well.
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Rick Barnhart


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 3:13 pm     Reply with quote

Both halves of the recording sounded beautiful. I could hear a minor difference in tone, but I can't really say I preferred one over the other. Very nice job.
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Danny Letz


From:
Old Glory,Texas, USA 79540
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 3:23 pm     Reply with quote

You made them both sound great in their own way. I'm a Zummy and thought the Zum had a little more bite, but I like Carters tone too, the dogbones just worry me a bit on Carters. Zums are pretty solid.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
St John, US Virgin Islands
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 5:02 pm     Reply with quote

Let's see - there is currently a Zum D10 for sale on the forum for $5500. There is a Carter for $1795. It seems most people prefer the Zum. I, honestly, and despite "reference" speakers, could not positively say I heard a difference - I don't doubt the words of the others - they just have better ears than mine! Now, there is more to buying a pedal steel than just tone - but I have to wonder at the pricing of them. Does the Zum really sound 3x better?
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 6:43 pm     Reply with quote

It would have been interesting to see what the responses would have been if you had not told us which guitar was which... Wink
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Bill Moran


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 6:45 pm     Reply with quote

I like the bottom end of the Zum even though it was a bit muddy. The high end was much better on the Carter.
Having said that. The only good Zum's I ever heard was Papa John's and Randy Beavers ? Not a Zum fan .
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Rick Barnhart


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 28 Jun 2017 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

Jim Cohen wrote:
It would have been interesting to see what the responses would have been if you had not told us which guitar was which... Wink


I thought the same thing. Maybe he didn't. Laughing
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Paul King


From:
Gainesville, Texas, USA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 1:31 am     Reply with quote

There was not enough difference in tone to my ears to tell you I prefer one over the other. I can tell you that hearing this the first thing early in the morning is a great way to start the day. Great job playing.
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richard burton


From:
Britain
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:05 am     Reply with quote

Reverse the test, use one steel and two players, then you'll hear a difference.
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Marco Schouten


From:
Assendelft, The Netherlands
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:19 am     Reply with quote

The difference is too small to be significant. I liked the little brighter sound after 1'46 a bit more.
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mtulbert


From:
Plano, Texas 75023
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:22 am     Reply with quote

Do another test and don't reveal which instrument played in which section.
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Mark T


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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 5:33 am     Reply with quote

Danny,
John swain did a poll on the dog bone attachment to see if Carter owners were having any problems and it turned out that there were HARDLY any issues with them. That said, here is an alternative to the Dog Bone from an older post I did.

I did some more experimenting with the issue of the Carter Dog Bone that allows attachment of the pull rod to the pull finger/bell crank. I found something so simple and available at your local ACE hardware store as a substitute for the dog bone. Follow along with the pictures.

When the dog bone is placed in the pull finger it will not fallout forward, but can fallout sideways from the finger. I found that I could take a 3/16” diameter rivet aluminum or steel and it will slide perfectly into the pull finger “comb” without falling out, like the dog bone, perfect fit. You can see in the picture that I cut off the long part (nail) of the rivet with a dremel tool.

I then took a hair pin cotter and slipped it over the convenient groove in the rivet (like it was made for that, LOL). Then as usual, slip your pull rod over and between the pull rod and around the rivet body and then slip the rod through your changer finger.



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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 6:00 am     Reply with quote

The 128Kbps MP3 is not really good for sonic comparisons. Too much compression. I use 192Kbps, if I need an MP3, and that seems to keep more of the original audio.

I did some speaker comparisons, when I had a web site, and I used full wav files, no compression. I didn't want to "degrade" the clips with compression. The clips were not too long so the wav files didn't get too big.
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James Flaherty


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 9:30 am     Reply with quote

I liked the sound of the second instrument. Just keep in mind that tone is all in the mind. That is, whatever tone you are striving for you will get on any guitar with the right amp and effects adjustments.

I have had 3 steel guitars and also different amplifiers. However, I have always striven for, and eventually achieved, the particular tone I wanted. It just takes a little time and work.
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Tucker Jackson


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 10:08 am     Reply with quote

Very cool. Thanks for posting this.

One of the most important questions hasn't been answered: what pickup is in the Zum?

This isn't just a comparison of a Zum to a Carter -- it's a comparison of a Zum with whatever pickup it has to a Carter with an E-66 (one of the brightest humbuckers available).

I wouldn't be saying this if not for a similar taste-taste on the forum several years ago. We listened to recordings of three different guitars -- were told what the three guitar/pickup combos were -- and were asked to guess which sound was produced by which guitar.

Everyone assumed that the brightest-sounding guitar on the recording was the push-pull. But it actually turned out to be an all-pull (can't remember the brand) that happened to have a pickup known to have a lot of high-end. Meanwhile, the push-pull had a darker pickup in it -- and that pup overrode the p/p's inherent brightness. I ignored the guitar and guessed all three correctly based on what I knew the pickups sounded like. Pickups matter more than people realize, especially when comparing all-pull guitars that all tend to sound pretty similar to begin with.

I wonder how it would end up in the current match-up if the pups were swapped? It's very possible the Zum would suddenly become the one with more high-end. A lot of it depends on what the other pickup is that's going up against the E-66.
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 12:30 pm     Reply with quote

I think you should give me one and you keep the other but don't tell anyone cuz no one could tell the difference except me and you.
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Jim Park


From:
Carson City, Nv
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 12:51 pm     Zum vs Carter Reply with quote

The Carter reminded me of the sound Buddy had on the Step One records tracks using an MCI. A bright sound with a sweet bell like ring in the mids. On this track I prefered the Carter.
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 12:57 pm     Reply with quote

Jack,
Thx for that info on the compression of files. I actually have WAV files for that tune as it will be going on my album (on no, another steel album! Who let that in here).

I'll try and covert higher in the future.

Ron hogan
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Danny Letz


From:
Old Glory,Texas, USA 79540
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:28 pm     Reply with quote

Ron, I'm certainly no expert on Carters, but like I said, the ones's I've dealt with sounded and played good. That' a cool fix you came up with.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:33 pm     Reply with quote

There's no question that the first and last segments are much sweeter than the middle section. Nothing wrong with the middle, it just doesn't have the sparkle and sizzle of the other two segments.

Great delivery BTW, I'm envious.
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Bill Cunningham


From:
Atlanta, Ga. USA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 5:22 pm     Reply with quote

There is a slight difference but I say "What does it matter?". In a real world live or recording situation, either tone would be great. If I was listening to either guitar on your CD, I would not be saying to myself "that tone doesn't sound as good as it should" I would be saying "what a nice TOUCH!".

My brother Bill Ferguson used to have a tag line "Stop worrying about how your guitar sounds and work on your playing" (I think I restated it pretty close). For 95% of us, I think too much energy is spent obsessing over tone rather than technique, theory, and making hands do what our heart feels and our head hears.

OK, putting my soapbox away now. Can you tell I've been pretty sick all week? Laughing

Sign me up for the CD! Nice picking.
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