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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 7:18 am    
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I've been wanting to get into pedal steel for years and finally got one this weekend. I got a great deal on a Fender 1000. If I count the other guitar and Leslie speaker the guy threw in I probably got it for close to $500. I was hoping to start with something with 10 strings and a standard 3x4 setup but this will get me by for a while. Here it is:



Any idea the year? It seems to have the later iteration of bridge but the pedals are cast aluminum which I think the early models had. Serial number is 000920 but from what I've read that doesn't help much.

I've got the front neck all dialed in and working great. It came set up in E9th like so:

Code:

     P1  P2  P3  P4
G#       A   
E            F#  D#
B    C#      C#
G#       A
F#               G#
E
D
B    C#     


This is the low 8 strings of a 10 string E9th tuning and matches the standard copedent for the first three pedals. The 4th pedal does a mix of what the E and G knee levers would do. It seems fairly usable and I've been able to figure out a few simple songs by playing chords and mashing the pedals one by one until I hear something that sounds right.

My first questions is whether there's a better compromise to get a workable E9th setup on this neck? Would I be better off with the middle or bottom 8 strings out of 10? I'm not sure but it seems like when I hear pedal steel (mainly in 90's - present country/alt country music) the lowest strings don't get used much.

I've got 4 more pedals that I could be using. Should I set them up to cover all the knee lever actions of the standard copedent?

The back neck I haven't spent enough time to figure out what it was set up for. Pedals 5, 6, and 7 are attached to it. It sounded vaguely Hawaiian. The 8th pedal is unconnected. I'm only really interested in a country sound. I thought I might tune it to something simple for blues just to have something to mess around on -- my lap steel has been loaned out for years to a neighbor.

Last question: it's missing the switch knob. Will a Telecaster switch knob work? Is there something more appropriate

Here's a bit of trivia, the guitar has "NANCY LEE" in big chrome letters on the back. I did a quick google and found a post on this forum saying Nancy Lee used to be a pedal steel performer in California decades ago.
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 8:06 am     Re: First pedal steel (Fender 1000) and a couple questions
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Nathan French wrote:


Code:

     P1  P2  P3  P4
G#       A   
E            F#  D#
B    C#      C#
G#       A
F#               G#
E
D
B    C#     


whether there's a better compromise to get a workable E9th setup on this neck?


This is probably the best tuning, but I would change P4 so that it lowers both E strings to D#.
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 8:41 am    
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That is the copedent I use for my 8-string pedal guitars, I eschew the now commonly-used diatonic strings, choosing instead to move the bar to get those double-stops. Old style guitars play old style music the best.
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 9:25 am    
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That's a short-scale Fender 1000, probably mid-to-late '60s vintage. Those cast aluminum pedals are of the last design, whereas, the earlier long-scale ones had had pedals that looked more like ice scrapers. Laughing According to the finish wear, it's had a lot of playing time. (The marks near the keyhead were caused by the player plopping his bar and picks down there when he was through playing.) Those old guitars are big and heavy, but they're fun, a real hoot to play! And provided you learn to make the most of what you've got, there's a lot of good music left in there.

At $500, you done real good, as it could probably be parted out for more than that.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 10:33 am    
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I have it's twin - the 1963 Fender 1000 shown in my avatar, as well as a 1958 long scale with the ice scraper pedals (good one Donny!). Your set up should get you by nicely although you might think about the change Earnest suggested and then moving that change to P8 so you can play it with your right foot, in place of a knee lever.

On my '63 I use strings 3 - 9 and string 1 from the standard E9 setup. I find that one chromatic useful but your setup is fine to get you started. The other neck is usually tuned to C6 (possibly A6) for old style country (Hank Williams), western swing and jazz. If you're not interested in those styles, maybe some kind of E7 would be good for rock and blues.

If you Facebook check out the Fender Pedal Steel group for some great specialized conversations.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1648769605337317/
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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 11:24 am    
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Thanks guys, I'm sure I'll have some more questions along the way. It occurs to me adding some knee levers wouldn't be terribly difficult. I need to make some for the pedal steel I'm building (a whole other thread one of these days!) so might be able to adapt something for this one. The cable setup is really pretty simple to muck around with. I'm sure there are advantages to the more modern systems but leave it to Fender to come up with something easy to manufacture and assemble Smile
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 2:31 pm    
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Three pluses: First, it's the 1964-65 vintage I prefer; second, it still has the Fender mute assembly, and third, the finish fading and wear means this guitar has stories to tell, heavy with real-life honky tonk mojo.

Under the bed guitars are cool to find, but they don't have a life to tell you about. Horns like this one do.

Personally, I would love to find a guitar like that. I do have a Bigsby that I play old-time country upon, but a 1000 with that kind of vibe is uber-cool.
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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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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 23 Feb 2017 4:04 pm    
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Thanks, Herb.

Hey speaking of the mute assemblies... the rubber or whatever goes in them is missing. Anyone know what kind of material that was? Anything suitable to cram in there? I don't need them but they look lonely sitting there all empty.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 24 Feb 2017 9:15 am    
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The material is grey felt. It sits roughly level with the ends of the tray that holds it. I'm going to remove the mute assemblies from my 1000 and stash them away. They're kitschy kool but pretty much useless and get in the way if you have to change a string quickly.
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 24 Feb 2017 10:27 am    
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Someone sent me an email asking about my comment on "double stops," and what I meant by that term. He requested I reply on the forum, so here goes. Smile

A double-stop is simply two notes played simultaneously. It can also be referred to as a "diad." Three note played simultaneously uses the common term "triad."
_________________
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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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 24 Feb 2017 1:09 pm    
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Tim Whitlock wrote:
The material is grey felt. It sits roughly level with the ends of the tray that holds it. I'm going to remove the mute assemblies from my 1000 and stash them away. They're kitschy kool but pretty much useless and get in the way if you have to change a string quickly.


If you're able to post a photo of yours I would find it useful.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 24 Feb 2017 4:12 pm    
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Here is the mute in "disengaged" mode. There is only about 1/8" or less of space between the mute and the strings.

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Dennis Olearchik

 

From:
Newtown, PA
Post  Posted 24 Feb 2017 7:27 pm     Re: First pedal steel (Fender 1000) and a couple questions
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Earnest Bovine wrote:
Nathan French wrote:


Code:

     P1  P2  P3  P4
G#       A   
E            F#  D#
B    C#      C#
G#       A
F#               G#
E
D
B    C#     


whether there's a better compromise to get a workable E9th setup on this neck?


This is probably the best tuning, but I would change P4 so that it lowers both E strings to D#.


Doug, what would you recommend if Nathan had (6) floor pedals instead of (4) pedals? Thanks in advance. p.s. Nathan, I hope you don't mind me asking Doug this question in your thread.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2017 1:30 am     Re: First pedal steel (Fender 1000) and a couple questions
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Earnest Bovine wrote:
Nathan French wrote:


Code:

     P1  P2  P3  P4
G#       A   
E            F#  D#
B    C#      C#
G#       A
F#               G#
E
D
B    C#     


whether there's a better compromise to get a workable E9th setup on this neck?


This is probably the best tuning, but I would change P4 so that it lowers both E strings to D#.


I'd sacrifice P3 and raise my E's by a semitone instead. On P4 I'd lower both E's

I'd also change the order of the pedals to my E lower was next to my G# raise and my E raise was next to my B-C# raise as those combinations are both very useful.
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K Maul


From:
Upstate NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2017 7:12 am    
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Alternatively, it's quite easy to make a knee lever or two. That is, unless you're really concerned with keeping it "original". I think it's very useful and really worth doing.
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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2017 8:56 am    
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Tim Whitlock wrote:
Here is the mute in "disengaged" mode. There is only about 1/8" or less of space between the mute and the strings.


Thanks Tim. My mute seems a little different, it's more a cup than a shelf. I have some felt, I think I can rig this up pretty easily.

K Maul wrote:
Alternatively, it's quite easy to make a knee lever or two. That is, unless you're really concerned with keeping it "original". I think it's very useful and really worth doing.


Yeah, I've got a bunch of aluminum bar stock and a CNC mill in the garage, it's on my list. I've got too many projects in the queue at the moment -- I'm sure nobody here can relate to that Wink
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Richard Alderson


From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2017 10:13 am    
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Dear Nathan - You have made a good choice to go with an E9th tuning, and you can have either the bottom 8 strings or top 8 strings. If you have never done E9th before then you should know there are five basic pulls or changes that you have to have, these aren't really optional if you want to be able to follow the vast majority of published instructional material. These five changes are as follows: A, B, C, pedals, and the E to E flat lowers, and the E to F raise. (The reason that knee levers were invented was to avoid having to use two feet to combine those E raises and E lowers with the pedals.) These five basic changes will keep you busy for the next year or two.

Now, where should you put them? Well my suggestion is put the E raise first, your pedal 1, followed by the A-B-C pedals, and then finally the E to Eflat lower on the fifth pedal. This means you will have to use two feet for any combinations with the E flat lower, that's why some are suggesting that you eventually build your own knee levers. However you will have the A pedal and F lever (the E raises) right next to each other, which is a common combination and basic to the E9th set up.

Here is what it would look like



Good luck steeling !
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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2017 12:23 pm    
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Thanks Richard, I think some knee pedals are in my future.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2017 1:52 pm    
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Richard Alderson wrote:

Here is what it would look like





The problem with your suggestion is that as the 1000 is single raise, single lower, you can't raise the E string to F# on one pedal and F on another one - you can only raise to one or the other.

A knee lever would solve this, assuming the note was tuned with the lever itself rather than the changer.
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Richard Alderson


From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 26 Feb 2017 6:06 pm    
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To Jeff and Nathan - "The problem with your suggestion is that as the 1000 is single raise, single lower, you can't raise the E string to F# on one pedal and F on another one - you can only raise to one or the other."

Thanks for pointing that out Jeff. I had forgotten that about the Fenders even though I do own one. So ... if the raise on the Es can only go to to either F or F# but not both, in that case the only way I can see (other than a knee lever) would be to set the pedal 1 E raises to F# and half pedal P1 stopping at F, before it went up to F#; but that would be kind of tricky to play smoothly, kind of hard for such a basic change.
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 26 Feb 2017 6:20 pm    
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IMHO, there is very little traditional country from the 50's and 60's that can't be played on a Fender 1000, even without the E-F lever. What did we do to get that inversion back in the day? We simply moved the bar smoothly to a different position and a different string group using right hand blocking or slanted the bar on s.8. In short, we made do with what we had to work with.

Yes, the E-F change is a great convenience and part of the modern copedent, but it isn't completely necessary by a long shot, if you know how to play the instrument. I've heard guys on Bigsby guitars with only A and B pedals to work with, and you couldn't tell they were on such a supposedly limited guitar.

I had a student that proclaimed he "couldn't" play a particular solo without 4 knee levers. To his disappointment, I told him that he indeed could, but that he was too lazy to figure out how. Then I showed him how.

This isn't to say that doing so may not be a challenge to someone not used to playing an "obsolete" guitar, but that with a little analysis many things can be accomplished.

I am a curmudgeon, my girlfriend continues to mention. But that's the way I roll. Wink
_________________
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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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 27 Feb 2017 12:12 am    
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Herb Steiner wrote:
IMHO, there is very little traditional country from the 50's and 60's that can't be played on a Fender 1000, even without the E-F lever.


You are absolutely right, Herb. I have said in other threads about the Fender cable guitars that their main limitation is the skill and imagination of the player.

But given that he does have 4 pedals on the E9 neck to play with, I'd be interested to know if you would go for a traditional C pedal, an E to F pedal or something else?
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 27 Feb 2017 5:00 am    
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The main attraction of the knee levers... to me... is the quick integration and release in operation with the foot pedals; if the feet are moving constantly to get what we "used" to get with levers, I'd prefer leaving my feet in basic A/B/C position and move the bar.

So, I'd personally go for the basic 3 pedal A/B/C setup, and use the 5 others for C6. But that's if it was MY guitar.

If I had to have a knee lever, I'd remove pedal 8, use the actual pedal as a LKR (which would require some undercarriage modification after moving it from the pedal rack to the undercarriage) and use the pulling assembly of p.8 to lower s.2 and s.6 E-D#.
_________________
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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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 28 Feb 2017 11:54 am    
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I'm with Herb, and when I play my ol' Fender, I just use strings 3&5 with the "A" pedal, like Buddy Charleton did on the intro of the clip below. The moving harmony he does barring the 5th with the open 3rd is pretty cool, too! Winking


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgC6tv8mDnM
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Nathan French

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 28 Feb 2017 1:27 pm    
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I made some good progress on making a knee lever. For the E to F raise I needed to be able to tune the note at the lever (as others mentioned). I think I've got a good design for that, might even have it finished tonight.

One unexpected issue I'm noticing, I have pretty wide feet and with my shoes on I don't think I can hit an individual pedal. Is that common? Are the Fender steels just narrowly spaced?
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