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Post new topic How to get the Tom Morrell tone out of my D10?
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Author Topic:  How to get the Tom Morrell tone out of my D10?
Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 9:16 am     Reply with quote

Hi guys: I want to get a (non-pedal) steel tone out of the C6 neck of my D10 without drilling any holes of course. I have George L PFII in there now. I've been reading everything on this forum I can find. One experiment I tried was to temporarily put a cheap single-coil (no-name chinese bass pickup, 8k) further up the neck at the end of the fretboard, and above the strings. It actually sounded really close to what I'm going for! As I moved it closer to the bridge, it sounded more like a regular C6.
-What are your thoughts about how much tone is pickup and how much is position?
-I was thinking about buying a Lace USAB and sticking it further up. Has anybody tried this?
-Is there different pickup that can do this in the same spot as my PFII?
-Has anybody tried forming the magnetic field with iron plates that would sit on top of the existing pickup to reach to the left and grab the signal further up the neck?
-Has anybody tried laying another coil winding on top of the existing pickup to use the existing magnetic field?
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Franklin D10 8&4, NV400, Rumble 40, Twin, Carvin BX500 or Peavey MiniMax to BW1501 neo speaker in open back or TT-12 in closed back.Goodrich/Moyo pedals, homemade buffer/overdrive, GT-001 effects, and an elephant graveyard of empty speaker cabinets in my garage.
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Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 11:43 am     Reply with quote

P.s. Maybe I can get close with just some effects unit? Anybody succeed?
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Franklin D10 8&4, NV400, Rumble 40, Twin, Carvin BX500 or Peavey MiniMax to BW1501 neo speaker in open back or TT-12 in closed back.Goodrich/Moyo pedals, homemade buffer/overdrive, GT-001 effects, and an elephant graveyard of empty speaker cabinets in my garage.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 1:07 pm     Reply with quote

I'm assuming you mean Tom's tone with the Time Warp Tophands, and not earlier in the 70s when he played MSA.

Tom played either an old Sho-Bud permanant, a T-10 wood neck Bigsby, or a custom 10-string guitar made of mesquite wood by Carson Wells. They all had single coil pickups and were woodneck guitars. And of course, Tom's hands and brain created the notes and the touch.

To replicate those sounds on a Franklin with metal necks and humbucking pickups would be quite a challenge, I'd imagine. I'd look at a woodneck Clinesmith guitar to get close to the Morrell sound organically.
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Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 1:30 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks Herb for your brutal honesty. I love Jernigan, Hughey etc. but the humanity of Morrell's wood and bar (let alone his ideas) is a sound that captivates me. All my engineering background says there must be a way to get that on my D10. Darn,I have the strings and pedals and notes right in front of me. I feel like Pinocchio trying to become a real boy. Makes me want to trade my aluminum necks for a 2x4.
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Franklin D10 8&4, NV400, Rumble 40, Twin, Carvin BX500 or Peavey MiniMax to BW1501 neo speaker in open back or TT-12 in closed back.Goodrich/Moyo pedals, homemade buffer/overdrive, GT-001 effects, and an elephant graveyard of empty speaker cabinets in my garage.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 2:36 pm     Reply with quote

I wonder what your Franklin would sound like if Tom played it. Your engineering background might be sending you in the wrong direction with your pursuit of tone.

I would drop the pickups and effects concept for a while and look at how your picks and bar connect to the strings. So much of Tom's sound was in his left hand. Anybody know what bar he used ? It sounds like a light one to me.

with that in mind.....

You should also check out a Clinesmith. It might be what you are looking for. Talk to Todd and he will know exactly what to do.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 9:22 am     Reply with quote

I can relate to wanting that non pedal sound. Going to an older, wood neck, pull release is what did it for me. I put Clinesmith pickups in it and I've been super happy with the way it sounds for anything from modern pedal steel to non pedal type sounds. But I can't imagine getting a similar sound just by having those pickups, or EQ'ing... The acoustic tone of those old steels can be quite different than a modern pedal steel.

On the other hand you could just go on a vintage steel listening fast and see what kind of sounds come from your amp.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 10:04 am     Reply with quote

You can get a 10-string single neck all-maple vintage non-pedal guitar for around $600 or $700.

I have long been a proponent of using a 1st Generation Sho~Bud Maverick as a non-pedal guitar. This is the model with gumby peghead, raised neck, and natural maple cabinet. They have single coil pickups wound to around 12k. And they sound "vintage" because they are vintage.

I remove the pedals from the pedal rack and the undercarriage as well, and the guitar is super light-weight, easily carried with one hand. I played the non-pedal room at the TSGA Jamboree this year on a Maverick and a guy came out of the audience and bought it from me then and there. Fortunately, I had another back at home and that's what I'm currently using for my non-pedal gigs.

Okay, as a pedal steel, they are anachronisms for a student model and rated low when compared to modern alternatives for learning the E9 tuning on pedal steel. Granted, however this version of Maverick can be found for 600-700+/-, and to have a 10-string non-pedal guitar custom built would be a much higher price. Believe me, I looked. And no less a player than Johnny Cox used a Maverick with Morrell's E13 tuning for his non-pedal work when he lived here in TX.

It's amazing, but if I had the pedals hooked up at a gig, folks would say "wait a minute! Herb's playing a freakin' Maverick?!" But without the pedals, guys come up and say "hey, a non-pedal Sho~Bud. Cool." It's rather astounding, actually. Smile

Again, I emphasize the use of a 1st generation Maverick, with gumby peghead, raised neck, and natural maple cabinet. NOT the later pot metal/vinyl covered version commonly seen from the mid-late 70s.

And alternatively, you could get this guitar, which looks to me like it would be an excellent specimen.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sho-Bud-10-string-steel-guitar-Non-pedal-/371874450367?hash=item569571cbbf:g:vS0AAOSw3v5Yrf2W
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Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Rick Barnhart


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 10:21 am     Reply with quote

Here's some interesting reading.

http://www.westernswing.net/Morrell_Interview
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Mel Bergman


From:
Camarillo, California, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:25 am     Reply with quote

I had the chance to look over Morrell's Bigsby a few months ago. Lots of mods, including a Fender roller bridge, as I recall. That guitar had been played. A lot. And that's what makes it so neat.
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Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:31 am     Reply with quote

You guys are great - keep it coming...
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Franklin D10 8&4, NV400, Rumble 40, Twin, Carvin BX500 or Peavey MiniMax to BW1501 neo speaker in open back or TT-12 in closed back.Goodrich/Moyo pedals, homemade buffer/overdrive, GT-001 effects, and an elephant graveyard of empty speaker cabinets in my garage.
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:38 am     Reply with quote

What Herb said. I recorded Tom Morrell on at least 50 sessions and that's the equipment he brought. He never played any built past 1960 that I know of and this was in the 80's and 90's. He had quite a collection of vintage instruments but they all burned up one day when his house burned down. I miss Tom. We were Tequila drinking buddies back then. Tom was a musical genius. Whatever the producer wanted he could deliver but his personal thing was western swing.
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Ken Campbell


From:
Ferndale, Montana
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:49 am     Reply with quote

Mel Bergman wrote:
I had the chance to look over Morrell's Bigsby a few months ago. Lots of mods, including a Fender roller bridge, as I recall. That guitar had been played. A lot. And that's what makes it so neat.


I was under the impression that that particular Bigsby was lost in a fire?
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:55 am     Reply with quote

Tom's T-10 was in the car when the fire struck. It was a D-8 Bigsby lost in the fire, along with an early 50's L-5, and a lot of other stuff. Lifetime of photos. What's a photo of you and Bob Wills and autographed to you by Wills worth?

Leon Chambers told me that when he and Tom were walking through the ashes of the house, all they found of the L-5 were the charred tuning machines and the latches to the case. Sad. Sad
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My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Ken Campbell


From:
Ferndale, Montana
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 11:56 am     The Wolf Reply with quote

Ah. Thanks for the clarification. As a firefighter I'm all too familiar with that scenario.
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Nikolai Shveitser


From:
Louisiana, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 2:42 pm     Reply with quote

I've heard the Time Warp Top-hands recordings where Tom plays non-pedal, but I can't seem to dig up much info on recordings/ artists he played with especially playing pedal steel. Anyone have any leads on early Morrell cuts?
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 6:36 pm     Reply with quote

The last albums I produced by Joe Paul Nichols (Not to be confused with singer Joe Nichols) Tom played pedal steel on. "These Ol' Eyes Have Seen It All" I remember he brought an old Madison Sho-Bud. I remember him telling us he just got it back from an overhaul. The last album that Tom played on I produced was Joe Paul's Gospel Album "In The Garden". I remember distinctly he brought an old blonde Bigsby with pedals and I joking asked him if that thing could play modern country music and he said "To me it sounds better than anything else I know of."
I engineered a few albums for Tommy Alsup is how I met Tom Morrell. I had heard of him being a weekend steel player myself so Tommy booked this session at my studio in Ft. Worth. He used local Dallas players like Bill Minor on drums, Marc Jaco on drums, David Tanner on bass and of course Alsup played acoustic guitar and lead guitar. When Alsup played 2 parts of acoustic rhythm it sounded just like an old Nashville session. He was the smoothest rhythm stroker I've ever recorded. Anyway I get to the studio an hour ahead of time about 8 am and start cleaning the tape heads, demagnetizing, running alignment tapes, get the air conditioner cooler and put on the coffee and the first one at the door was Tom Morrell holding a 1950 silvertone acoustic guitar with only 3 rusty strings. I guess if worse come to worse he was gonna do the session on it. He asked me if I had a pedal steel he could use for the session. I told him I had my old Sho-Bud Professional at the studio but it only had 2 knee levers. He said" Great! That's perfect" and hadn't even seen it. He said his got locked up in a nightclub. Lol! So I finish my pre session duties and Tom sets the steel up and puts some strange tuning on it. You guys probably know what it was. It was more like you tune a 6 string guitar. All the time we are recording and doing overdubs Allsup is in the control room with me just raving on Tom's steel playing. It really was incredible but I never told Allsup that Morrell showed up without a steel. Lol! Morrel played in Alsups band a few years. Sorry I don't know how many "L's" are in Allsup or Morrell. Maybe one?
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 6:46 pm     Reply with quote

Here is the title song from one of those albums Morrell played pedal steel on. I'll post a few more. There's some with more steel. Allsup wasn't on this session. I hired Ronnie Weiss (Mouse) to play guitar on it. Morrell was in Hendersonville, Tn. when we did this.The steel on this has a funny story behind it. When we did the first song it just needed something to make it come alive and a stereo chorus on steel really did the job. I'm not a big fan of pedal steel effects but it worked for that one. So I get wrapped up on producing the album and forget the steel was patched into a rack effect in the control room. All my sessions I took Tom direct to console. He liked it that way because he didn't have to bring an amp to the studio. He just liked a pinch of reverb in the cans.
After the album was pressed on vinyl I gave him a copy. About two weeks later we were on another session together and I asked him how he liked it and he said it sounded great to him but he had never heard a chorus used liked that on steel. Then it occured to me the entire album was mixed that way. Oh well! Now the album would sound weird without it. That's pretty much the sound of that album.

https://youtu.be/Wna4BqaUj10
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Emmons PP 8/10, Sho-Bud Pro ll 8/4, ZB Custom 8/4, MSA Classic 10/10, Fender 2000 10/2, Fender SF Quad Reverb, Fender BF Super Reverb, Fender Super Twin, Fender BF Vibroclone, Peavy Nashville 400, Peavy Nashville 1000, Peavy Session 400, Peavy Artist VT, Sho-Bud Christmas Tree
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 7:05 pm     Reply with quote

Here's another cut from that album. Bob Boatright played the fiddle parts on that album. Him and Gimble was the best on swing in my opinion. My good friend Chuck Cusimano wrote this tune and I recorded the original with Chuck also. Gary Carpenter played steel on the demo and after I played the demo in the studio to Morrell while he drank coffee and read the newspaper while it was playing he put the paper down after the song ended and asked me "Is that what you want". I said I sure did like what Gary played on it so Morrell said "That it will be!" He kicked it off first time and played it all note for note what Gary played. No practicing, no second takes. That shows you how good those guys are and how fast they work.
https://youtu.be/jmb68uksQmw
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 7:10 pm     Reply with quote

This was Morrell's favorite cut from that album. Sorry guys I left the chorus playing but like Morrell told me it kinda set the tone of the album with a distinct sound.

https://youtu.be/uEnXZcni-Ok
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 7:19 pm     Reply with quote

Here is another album cut he played on and this time no effects. Lol!

https://youtu.be/W9N9jU4trwg
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 7:33 pm     Reply with quote

I suggest a good 4-band parametric equalizer. I'm using a Boss PQ-50 (like this one) to change the fundamental tone of my guitar for specific songs. It works much better than I expected. It's no longer being made, but one like this Rolls unit would do the trick.

No modification to the guitar is necessary. Smile


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-b0b- (SGF Admin) a.k.a. Bobby Lee ♪ CopedentsRice & BeanWine Country SwingStella


Last edited by b0b on 8 Oct 2017 7:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 7:49 pm     Reply with quote

That's a great idea Bob! When you add eq to your amps eq you can get those in between frequencies bands.
I got a treat for the Morrell fans here. I thought surely someone had uploaded it to YouTube but I will upload it along with the pictures and info. I had nothing to do with it but it was Tom Morrell's first big album to play on and the band was called Callico. It's on Columbia Records I think. That was back when he got the nick name Wolf because he was so hairy he looked like a wolf.
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Emmons PP 8/10, Sho-Bud Pro ll 8/4, ZB Custom 8/4, MSA Classic 10/10, Fender 2000 10/2, Fender SF Quad Reverb, Fender BF Super Reverb, Fender Super Twin, Fender BF Vibroclone, Peavy Nashville 400, Peavy Nashville 1000, Peavy Session 400, Peavy Artist VT, Sho-Bud Christmas Tree
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 9:12 pm     Reply with quote

It's really impossible to eq acoustical resonance into something it's not. You have about as much chance with that as making an dreadnaught acoustic guitar sound like a Fender telecaster and vice versa. They both play the same and have 6 strings but sound totally different. One slab of wood doesn't sound like another slab of wood no matter how much you equalize it. This is obvious in older Sho-Bud steels. You would think 6 different companies were making them. Obtaining at least a 1" thick maple board that has been cut and shaped over 75 years ago will get pretty close to what you want or you can just buy a Bigsby or old Sho-Bud. Someone was selling Walter Haynes old Bigsby about 2 years ago for $12,000.00 He called Walter to see if he wanted it back and Walter laughed and said no thank you but I appreciate you thinking of me. Morrell played those old guitars for a reason. The wood is old, thick and dry and just has a robust tone. With that said he played my old Sho-Bud on a session and sounded very similar to everything else he does. His technique added to the tone for sure.
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Emmons PP 8/10, Sho-Bud Pro ll 8/4, ZB Custom 8/4, MSA Classic 10/10, Fender 2000 10/2, Fender SF Quad Reverb, Fender BF Super Reverb, Fender Super Twin, Fender BF Vibroclone, Peavy Nashville 400, Peavy Nashville 1000, Peavy Session 400, Peavy Artist VT, Sho-Bud Christmas Tree
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 9:23 pm     Reply with quote

Here is pictures of that 1976 Progressive Country album Tom played pedal steel on. He is on the far left with the bushy hair and beard. It was on the United Artist label. I will upload the album to YouTube as soon as I get motivated.



[/img]
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Emmons PP 8/10, Sho-Bud Pro ll 8/4, ZB Custom 8/4, MSA Classic 10/10, Fender 2000 10/2, Fender SF Quad Reverb, Fender BF Super Reverb, Fender Super Twin, Fender BF Vibroclone, Peavy Nashville 400, Peavy Nashville 1000, Peavy Session 400, Peavy Artist VT, Sho-Bud Christmas Tree
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 9:40 pm     Reply with quote

And their 1975 album. Lots of Morrel on pedal steel on these albums. Probably an MSA in this era. Morrell third from left.



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