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Post new topic Cheap 8 string Lap. Morrell or SX?
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Author Topic:  Cheap 8 string Lap. Morrell or SX?
Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 7 Sep 2017 7:58 am     Reply with quote

So I'm a beginner Pedal steel player looking to add an 8 string lsp to my collection. I was looking at these two that are within my budget.

http://www.morrelllapsteel.com/8-string-joe-morrell-pro one of the maple bodied models
or
http://www.rondomusic.com/lap8na.html

Near as I can figure the things the Morrel has going for it are the USA manufacture and a better pickup. Also, though it appears to be painted right on the body, I do like the look of the Morrel fingerboard.

The SX is $75 lower, has bag and stand and most importantly has a much wider string spacing and longer scale that will be close to my Encore. I'm also liking that it has a metal nut, though I'm not sure how it compares to the plastic Morrel nut.

Anyone have any experience on these two? I do like the fact that Morrel is made in the USA, but the SX seems better suited to me and Kurt at Rondo has always taken good care of me.
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 7 Sep 2017 8:15 am     Reply with quote

I like my SX 6-stringer with the Fender-style pickup, but the 8-string model has a p90 style which should be great for a vintage tone. The SX case is pretty nice also. The Morrell is a little more attractive guitar though. I think I've heard of quality complaints about Morrells, but I'm not sure I'd put too much stock in that. Rondo being an import probably has its fair share too. For cosmetic defects you can always exchange. Anything else can be hot-rodded and upgraded fairly inexpensively (but probably not necessary) except for pickups, and with 8 strings you have fewer (and more expensive) pickup options. I don't have experience with the Morrell but I'd focus on which pickup you really think you want to have, along with the string spacing you mentioned, and maybe look for videos that let you hear each guitar just for a general idea of their tone.
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George Macdonald


From:
Vancouver Island BC Canada
Post Posted 7 Sep 2017 1:57 pm     8 string lap steel Reply with quote

Karl, I would suggest that you check out Melbert lap steels made in the USA. For about $100.00 more than a lap steel made offshore, you can get a very nice lap steel in a choice of woods, and no upgrades necessary. Maybe do a search here on the Forum and go to Bob Allen's web site.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 7 Sep 2017 3:23 pm     Reply with quote

I'm no expert on lap steels, but I've owned a few, mostly cheaper ones, over the years FWIW.

My Rondo SX is a 6 string and a 22 3/4" scale v. the 8 string 24 3/4" scale, so I don't know how helpful my post is.

I presently have an SX 6 with the P90 on an ash body. I was pleasantly surprised by the tone. It plays nicely too. The build and finish is pretty good for a cheap guitar. It also has the newer stop style bridge where your link shows a L-shaped bridge on the 8 stringer, so I don't know if that will affect tone or not.

It might just be this one guitar, but I don't like the taper on the volume control. I'll probably swap it out for a pot with a smoother, more gradual taper. Other than that, I like it really well.

I see these ash models are going up in price lately too, I don't know where they're headed.

Never owned a Morrell, but I've not been impressed by any of the ones I've looked at or tried. To be fair, all of those were the very bottom line entry level models so....
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 7 Sep 2017 10:25 pm     Reply with quote

I also have one of the SX 8 string models, and it's a decent instrument for the low price.
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Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 8 Sep 2017 12:00 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the input folks!

I looked into the Morrel a bit closer and it seems that they use a 7 string pickup with their narrow spacing and that if I did widen the spacing the pickup might not be wide enough. At this point it looks like the SX might be the only option in my price range that has the scale and spacing I want.

I had checked into Melbert before. They do look nice, but with shipping and a case, I'd be almost at $500 for an 8 string. I'd much rather keep it closer to $200 for now.

As a side question, has anyone tried using 5 or 6 string bass pickups for 8 string lap steels? There's a fair variety of them in several shapes and at a variety of price points. When I saw the pickup in my Encore PSG I assumed at first it was a bass pickup.
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Robert Allen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 10 Sep 2017 11:45 am     Reply with quote

Occasionally I have a Melbert blem or used. I just happen to be completing a cypress 8-string lap steel that has a cosmetic blemish. It'll be completed in 2 weeks and it's early enough in the build to choose which George L's pickup you'd like and strung up to your tuning. $250 includes a TKL lap steel gig bag, cable, and shipping to Lower 48. email: melbertguitars@gmail.com
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 10 Sep 2017 12:02 pm     Reply with quote

Karl Paulsen wrote:
I had checked into Melbert before. They do look nice, but with shipping and a case, I'd be almost at $500 for an 8 string. I'd much rather keep it closer to $200 for now.

Robert Allen wrote:
Occasionally I have a Melbert blem or used. I just happen to be completing a cypress 8-string lap steel that has a cosmetic blemish. It'll be completed in 2 weeks and it's early enough in the build to choose which George L's pickup you'd like and strung up to your tuning. $250 includes a TKL lap steel gig bag, cable, and shipping to Lower 48. email: melbertguitars@gmail.com

Karl, this may be the best offer you will ever receive. A quality American instrument by a builder with an impeccable reputation is so far superior to a cookie cutter instrument cobbled together from generic guitar parts in an offshore sweatshop it will make your head swim.
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George Macdonald


From:
Vancouver Island BC Canada
Post Posted 10 Sep 2017 12:52 pm     lap steels Reply with quote

That is a terrific offer Bob has made to you. I have two 8 string Melbert lap steels and couldn't be happier with them. The George L pickup is worth half the price of the whole package.
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Todd Goad


From:
Gray, Georgia, USA
Post Posted 10 Sep 2017 6:25 pm     Melbert Reply with quote

Karl, I have to echo the other guys on Bob's offer. A great instrument, a great price & a great guy to deal with. I think you would be glad you took Bob up on this offer or maybe regret if you don't, either way I wish you well and hope you find a guitar that makes you happy. God Bless--TG
_________________
Todd
Mullen G2 "THE SAVIOR" BJS Bars Peterson Stroboflip Tuner NV400 GoodrichL20
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Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 12 Sep 2017 9:47 am     Reply with quote

Hey Folks,
Been away for the forum a couple days, but I just got Bob's offer. I'll be consulting my better half and hopefully it will be mine.

Cross your fingers folks...
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Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 12 Sep 2017 2:50 pm     Reply with quote

The has approved, it will be mine!
So, now I've just got to pick a pickup. If any of you all would like to mosey over here...
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=2665155#2665155
...and offer some advice in that matter it would be appreciated.
Thanks!
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 10:38 am     I have one too Reply with quote

Hi Karl,
I have one too and it came with a lipstick pickup.
The seller on the forum said he was going to change the pickup so I thought I'd do the same. However, when it arrived it sounded okay to me so it still has that one.

Not the best sounding lap steel I have, but for a cheap one it's fine.
I'll still use this steel for trying out new tunings.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
One 6 string metal Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Robert Allen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 1:20 pm     Re: I have one too Reply with quote

Andy De Paule wrote:
Hi Karl,
I have one too and it came with a lipstick pickup.
Andy


Andy, what is the serial number on yours? Sounds like one of the older Melbert steels. Many changes and improvements over the years. I wasn't using George L's pickups in the beginning. Bob
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 1:24 pm     Serial Number Reply with quote

Hi Robert,
Not sure of the Serial Number because it's at my house in Saigon right now.
Don't remember seeing one, but maybe I'll take a look when I get back home.
Mine was the Little Roy Wiggins model.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Console Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
One 6 string metal Resophonic by Edwin Root.
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Robert Allen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 1:49 pm     Reply with quote

If it says Little Roy Wiggins it is probably a Morrell lap steel and those didn't have serial numbers on them.

Bob
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Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 5:55 pm     Reply with quote

That sounds right.
Maybe the lipstick pickup is a Kent Armstrong of some sort? The current Morrel's seem to use various models of Kent Armstrong pups.
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