INSTRUCTION STRINGS ACCESSORIES MUSIC LINKS
 Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com for Steel Guitars, Strings, Instruction, Music and Accessories 
Forum Index
where steel players meet online
The Steel Guitar Forum

Post new topic Melobar Rattler question
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Melobar Rattler question
Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 6:46 am     Reply with quote

cI'm looking at a few rattler lap steels and wondering which is a better guitar. burgundy seems to be an older model. i love the color. not sure about the pickup ? black on is more expensive and has humbucker. just looking for some input from folks on here. thanks



will be used for rock / lindley type sounds with overdrive pedal.
_________________
Emmons Push Pulls and a Quilter Steelaire
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 5:12 pm     Reply with quote

Are you getting to have these Rattlers in your hands, or just seeing them on line? Always hard to make decisions at a distance. One thing occurs to me though; If you are going to be playing with an overdrive pedal, it has been my experience that single coil plus overdrive can equal a LOT of HUM. I'm sure there's players here that can give you more specific info, but thought I'd toss that out.
_________________
David K
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 23 Oct 2017 7:32 am     Reply with quote

no love for the rattler on the forum ? would love some opinions !
_________________
Emmons Push Pulls and a Quilter Steelaire
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post Posted 23 Oct 2017 8:10 am     Reply with quote

I love my Melobars, but I don't have a Rattler (have Tomohawk & SLS). Nor do I have either pickup you seem to be choosing from.

My Tomohawk has a single coil pickup. I do run it thru an OD from time to time. Not much in the way of buzz.

The SLS has an Armstrong dual rail HB. Oddly, that one DOES hum.

I use an EHX Hum DeBugger for pickup hum. Knocks it right down - fine for live scenarios, probably not the best solution for recording.

Wish I had some experience to offer you on the Rattlers. All I can say is Melobars are great guitars.
View user's profile Send private message
Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 23 Oct 2017 8:14 am     Reply with quote

Thanks Chris, I appreciate the feedback
_________________
Emmons Push Pulls and a Quilter Steelaire
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post Posted 23 Oct 2017 11:16 am     Reply with quote

Thinking on it again, that HB pickup on the SLS might be a Lawrence. Not sure. They both make rail humbuckers. Mine is a dual rail in a single coil size pickup. I don't see either listed on their websites. Question

EDIT: Just looked it up. Bill Lawrence custom HB.
View user's profile Send private message
Mark van Allen


From:
Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post Posted 24 Oct 2017 12:05 pm     Reply with quote

Hi, Karen, I've had a number of melobars over the years… for quite a while they used kent Armstrong single and double coil pickups, the burgundy one looks like it might be an Armstrong. If it's in a humbucker-sized route you could use any pickup of choice. For Lindley sounds I'd recommend a single coil or P-90 style. (There are several great P-90 styles that fit directly into humbucker routes). Another difference between those two particular guitars is the bridge arrangement. I personally prefer the (burgundy) setup with the solid bridge and through-body stringing, it should have a bit more sustain. The other uses a Strat style hard tail bridge, and you really don't need individual string adjustments for intonation.
A third alternative would be to look at guitars that were similar to those actually used by Lindley on his iconic recordings, Magnatones, Valco, McKinney, or similar. I love the sound I get from Oahu Tonemasters, for instance.
_________________
Stop by the Steel Store at: www.markvanallen.com
www.musicfarmstudio.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 25 Oct 2017 4:00 am     Reply with quote

thank you Mark. I actually prefer the burgundy as well. just curious what do you think a fair price to offer for it would be ? I will also look into the brands you mentioned.
_________________
Emmons Push Pulls and a Quilter Steelaire
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Bill Leff


From:
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Post Posted 25 Oct 2017 7:30 am     Reply with quote

The black one with the Armstrong humbucker was my first lap steel. It had a nice mellow tone and was easy to play. A bit later on I bought a Stingmaster D8 which for a long time I found difficult to play because of the extra strings and tighter string spacing. I neglected the Fender for a long time until I got better and was able to actually get used to it. Eventually purchased a Rickenbacker bakelite which checks all the boxes for me in terms of tone and playability. Sold the Rattler and haven't looked back. I'd say its a decent instrument but wouldn't go out of my way to own one.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 25 Oct 2017 7:40 am     Reply with quote

Caveat: No experience whatsoever with Melobars.

My lap steel recommendations would be:

1) If you've got the $$$, get a Frypan.
2) If you don't, get a Gibson. (Centurys & Ultratones are very, very nice.)
3) If you're somewhere in between, get a Bakelite.

A good vintage instrument will hold its value.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dylan Schorer


From:
Riverton, Utah, USA
Post Posted 25 Oct 2017 8:23 am     Reply with quote

Great guitars. I have a few lap-steels, but the Melobar has been my go-to gigging and recording instrument for the last two decades. It sounds great and is very comfortable in the lap.

I have an older model with the same single-coil pickup as the burgundy model shown above. It can have the same noise issues any single coil, but not terrible. It has recorded great at countless sessions. I prefer the sound much more than my Melobar 8-string with a humbucker. I also added a Hispshot Trilogy bridge for switching tunings quickly.

View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dylan Schorer


From:
Riverton, Utah, USA
Post Posted 25 Oct 2017 8:32 am     Reply with quote

Lots of good info on Melobars here:

http://melobarted.blogspot.com/p/identify-melobar-models.html

http://melobarted.blogspot.com/p/melobar-tech-help.html
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Ted Smith


From:
Idaho - shot of Jeff Peterson, Ted and Smith Curry "Nothing but the headlights tour"
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 4:31 pm     Reply with quote

See if I can help here... the Red one is cool and probably more of a collectors, because few were made. It was the original Lap Steel we started with Smith Family Music using parts off the Rosac Melobars, the pickup is a single coil, very old school, Paul Barth, that will definitely hum.
Rattlers were a model asked for a few years later as a one-piece Alder or Poplar body with a very inexpensive finish but higher end components with Grover Keys and an Armstrong M213 humbucker, strat' bridge and bronze nut. Of the two, if you are looking for the "Running on Empty" Lindley sound, it will do it VERY well. The Rattler is more of a work horse for players with a lot of sound.
Price wise, probably around $300 for either of them is in the ball park.
Hope that helps.
_________________
old Melobar guy


Last edited by Ted Smith on 13 Nov 2017 1:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Stefan Saal


From:
New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 4:09 pm     Reply with quote

I have what I believe to be a Melobar 8-string. It has an attractive, unmarked fretboard that appears to be stock, but does not have the Melobar labelling on it. (Perhaps Ted could say whether he produced any like this.)

It has what I believe to be a Bill Lawrence pick-up. (I am not sure how to specify the pick-up exactly.) The pick-up produces a distinctive moody sort of sound with a lot of expression, and the tone control knob modulates the string response and balance across a wide spectrum. (Again, Ted might be able to usefully describe this pick-up's performance in the context of other Melobar pick-ups.)

The body is string-through, and the tuners are Grovers that allow very fine adjustment and hold perfectly well. The scale is about 24 and 1/2 inches, and the bridge and nut are both painted bronze.

It's probably made of alder wood, and the paint job has a few scratches (paint job might be the weak link, though the fit of the pearloid cover also seems a bit rushed).





View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 6:39 am     Reply with quote

That's a CC-8....but I haven't seen that pickup on that model.
View user's profile Send private message
Ted Smith


From:
Idaho - shot of Jeff Peterson, Ted and Smith Curry "Nothing but the headlights tour"
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 1:40 pm     Reply with quote

I remember one guitar I did with a Lawrence pickup and that fretboard type (Jim Frost had a few of those fretboards made like that), but the pickguard was a record label that had Swing Era on it. I can't remember ever having that large a sheet of pearl so I think it's aftermarket

Pickup is a L605 or L705, one of the early ones.

And I did a NS head with a Lawrence pickup years back.
[/img]

Hope that helps.
_________________
old Melobar guy
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Stefan Saal


From:
New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 5:07 pm     Reply with quote

Ted and Chris, thank you for that info.

It's interesting what you say about the pearloid sheet, Ted. While the flats beside the "chin" of the pick guard resemble the outlines of the NS in your picture, I was always struck by the fact that the radius corners of the pick guard don't match the pick-up very precisely (are a smaller radius). Also the screw holes are not countersunk, and thus the screws seem unsure. I also notice that the pick guard of your NS appears chamfered all the way around, whereas mine is square-cut. (Also the screw hole patterns differ; no doubt, removing the pick guard might tell the tale.)

It had never occurred to me that the pick guard is not original, but it light of what you say it suddenly seems obvious. (Guess somebody bridled at that Swing Era record label...too bad.) Thanks for your insights!
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  

Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction,
steel guitars & accessories

www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

Steel Guitar Music
Instrumental steel guitar CDs for your permanent collection
www.SteelGuitarMusic.com

Please review our Forum Rules and Policies

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 South Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Support This Forum


BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron
HTTP