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Author Topic:  Solutions/Advice for Running Steel and Guitar into One Amp?
Jim Fogarty

Phila, Pa, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 4:18 pm     Reply with quote

I know this has been done to death, but even with Mr. Google on the job, it's hard to get any definitive answers......

I'm going to be doubling on PSG (just E9) more and more as time goes on, and I'm wondering what some of you are doing to make this work.

Right now, I generally use an old, beefed-up Deluxe Reverb for guitar, plus pedals.

I prefer tube (or tube-like) amps.

The few times I tried playing live with that amp, guitar and steel, I used an A/B box and its was......ok. I felt like I needed more headroom for the steel, though.

I'd really rather not haul two amps........or go up to a full-weight Twin.....if possible. Considering maybe a Twin chassis with a light-weight NEO 1x12, though.

BTW, I'm DEFINITELY more of a guitarist than steeler, so it's more important to me that the guitar sounds great.

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Karol Wainscott

Kokomo , Indiana
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 4:28 pm     Reply with quote

You can get a "Y" cord at most Radio Shack stores. Problem eliminated .
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Allan Haley

British Columbia, Canada
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 4:40 pm     Reply with quote

I use this to switch between mandolin and dobro:

They have units for electric instruments.

Not cheap but they work well.

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Tom Dillon

La Mesa, California, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 5:40 pm     Reply with quote

Jim, I've been looking into this a lot lately. I currently play only fiddle in my band , but I'm planning to add steel and slide guitar for certain shows. After looking at lots of options, I'm finding that electric guitar sounds best with a tube amp that can breakup when needed, and fiddle/steel sound best super clean. These are kind of at opposite ends of the amp spectrum. So I concluded that I really need 2 amps. Here is my current plan:

Fiddle: Eric Aceto pickup to Grace Design ALIX preamp, a couple of pedals, then into aux in on my Stereo Steel amp (replaces the Fishman I use right now), and send a DI from ALIX to the PA.

Steel: Stereo Steel main input, using the SS preamp/EQ/FX. This is plenty loud so should not need to mic it for most gigs. I may use one 15" and one 12" speaker and pan to the 12" for fiddle, 15" for steel.

Slide guitar: Tube amp 20-30W and as small and light as possible. Mic it.

So it ends up being more stuff to carry, but no compromises on sound.
Tom Dillon

MSA Legend D10, '76 Sho-Bud LDG, Walker Stereo Steel, Sarno, NV400, fiddles

Last edited by Tom Dillon on 12 Mar 2018 6:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joseph Napolitano

New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 5:56 pm     Reply with quote

I'm lucky to be able to have a few fender silverfaces...the size of the room , and whether or not amps will be miked, determines which one I take to a gig. Reverb channel for steel, other channel with stompbox reverb and other effects for six-string. As far as amp tone goes, I'm done searching. This is the sound I want , for both steel and six string. One amp for both instruments. I do throw a spare 40watt pignose in the trunk as a spare, just in case. Plus, if you ever have to sell, Fender silverfaces are pretty easy to move, unlike many boutique amps. If you want to get by with just one amp, my pro reverb is the most versatile..fairly loud,not nearly as heavy as a twin. With a loud band, I have to mike it. Good luck.
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Pete Burak

Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 6:10 pm     Reply with quote

Peavey also made a few models that makes this easy for Guitar and Steel using one amp, and are usually very inexpensive in Craigslist or Used Gear websites.
Vegas-400, Stereo-Chorus-400, and Renown or Renown-400 are some high-wattage two-channel amps.
I always run a Sarno Black Box before any Solid State amp, so you can put your favorite pre-amp tube in there, then it's pickup>tube>Vped>amp.
Set tone for each channels instrument. Use the footswitch to switch channels when you switch instruments.
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Joseph Carlson

Grass Valley, California, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 6:45 pm     Reply with quote

If you're not worried about cost you can pick up the older two-channel version of the Milkman Sideman.

One channel is voiced for guitar and one is voiced for steel.

"The Milkman Sideman is a 50W cathode biased dual channel Class AB vacuum tube amplifier. Channel 1 is voiced for guitar, channel 2 is voiced for pedal steel and features the same preamp circuit as the Milkman Pedal Steel Amplifier. Dual channel tube spring reverb with tone control works with both channels.

Channel one has a Fender tweed style single knob tone circuit for the purest guitar tone possible, and channel two has 3 knob EQ with scooped midrange tailored for steel guitar. However, there is no right or wrong way to use this amp! Channel 1 sounds great for steel and channel 2 sounds great with guitar as well."
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Bill L. Wilson

Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 8:29 pm     The Amp for all Occasions. Reply with quote

I really like the old Fender Silverfaces too. I run the steel thru the normal channel with either, an old original Fender Tube Reverb Unit or the Boss Fender Reverb pedal. The guitar runs thru a small pedal board into the Vibrato channel. Fortunately I have a Twin Reverb, Pro Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, and a ‘64 Princeton Reverb. This Sat. night I’ll be using the Deluxe for steel and the Princeton for guitar, although I don’t need a second amp for guitar, the Princeton is fun to play thru on these low volume gigs. For outdoor gigs this summer, I’ll haul out the Session 400 and a Marshall 1/2 stack. Kinda hard on the old back and my ears, but when I need to be heard.......At hot rod shows you’re competing with crowds and horsepower.
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David Mason

Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 11:24 pm     Reply with quote

I believe the gentleman is looking for something a bit more musical than a "switch" or a Y-cord? In most situations I was playing bass as the #1 and steel and guitar as the secondary instruments. I finally found I could get what I wanted by always using the bass amp, a stereo 250 watt-times-2-channel SWR SM-500 amp head w/ assists from a (gasp) modeler for steel and six-string. There are a lot of bass amps out there with what steel guitars thrive on already, that would be, like, doubled mid controls or some kind of semi-parametric EQ on the mids. In fact I could've forgone the modeling part of the modeler for steel, but as I had it there anyway some minor EQ tweaks were easy enough, and the effects are all there for you.

You're not really asking the modeler to do all that much, just spice up certain flavors for guitar. When you listen to the "factory presets" on those things you can look and see they're cranking up the values for chorus and overdrive and delay and what-not to 60s, 70s, 99eees...(?) Whereas, a favorite one for me was a big Marshall stack model, CRANKED UP! to 99 - on the Volume, the preamp "gain" worked great around - 15, 20, 25.

And all these overbearing effects like chorus can sound pretty good somewhere between maybe 25 to no more than 40. And if the design engineers are looking at a Fender Twin as being 85 watts, and a Marshall JCM800 as being 120, that Twin model may overdrive earlier even though in real life, not so. Usually, the HiWATTs or BEEG Marshalls were the best "steel amp" for my taste. Cranked way up to 17, or 22.

If you can get to a basic great King Kong Clear Loud BLAST for a steel, all you really need the modeler to do is grow some FUR on it and re-EQ it a bit for guitar. You don't modify the guitar sound for steel, rather, vice-versa.
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George Seymour

Notown, Vermont, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2018 11:42 pm     Reply with quote

Mackie ProDx...what I’ve settled with. Clean,transparent,very versatile. I run steel ,fiddle and banjo into it and out to any amp you choose. I’m presently using the Little Walter 89.
Old Emmons D-10's
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Dave Mudgett

Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 13 Mar 2018 12:17 am     Reply with quote

I agree with Joseph N. about picking the amp for the size of room, crowd size, stage volume, etc. I generally prefer vintage Fenders, and I have one of pretty much every size/volume - Princeton, Deluxe, Vibrolux, and Twin Reverbs, and some tweed and brown amps, as well as an old Session 400, which is great for pedal steel or clean guitar. But if I'm using both guitar and steel, I usually go for one of the Fenders.

What makes the Twin Reverb work for guitar, even in a smaller room, is the Fryette Power Station (I have the 2nd version), which I discussed on this thread -

It's a combination reactive-load power attenuator which can soak up to 150 watts, and then reamplify that attenuated signal via a 2x6L6 50-watt reamplifier, which can output from bedroom levels up to the full 50 watts. It fits in a generic Dell laptop bag, weighs about 14 pounds, and can be used to match amp and speaker impedances - take any 2/4, 8, or 16-Ohm output into any 2/4, 8, or 16-Ohm load.

Of course, the proof is in the tasting, but I find this unbelievably useful. I can take my '66 Twin Reverb into pretty much any situation and run the amp at any level I please with the Power Station engaged for guitar, and then bypass it with a flip of a switch for full power and headroom for pedal steel. I find the Power Station very transparent - if I want lower volume, the sound is pretty much the same, unlike every other power soak I've tried, and I've tried lots. I've used it with the Vibrolux and Deluxe also, when I needed real low guitar volume but wanted something a bit bigger for pedal steel. But it's a true life saver with the Twin.

I put an ABY switch on my pedaltrain board in front of my effects, plug the steel into a Sarno Freeloader which goes into volume pedal and into the A-channel, and plug the guitar directly into the B-channel. No rocket science, but it does give me what I want.

And no - I don't have any vested interest in Fryette. I just think it's that good, and I've had it about 18 months now. Not exactly cheap, I believe I paid close to $700 for it, but worth every cent to me because I can get my sound for pedal steel and guitar without everybody whining and bitching about my guitar volume from the Twin.

It can also be used to take a small amp like a tweed Champ or Princeton and reamplify it up to 50 watts into a larger speaker. There are times when that's useful, for example for a more aggressive slide or lap steel application that wants, let's say, the small single-ended amp sound but more juice.

Last edited by Dave Mudgett on 30 Mar 2018 6:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Steve Sycamore

Post Posted 13 Mar 2018 1:42 am     Reply with quote

If you want to go with an A/B switcher this works just about better than anything else, including anything that Radial or similar companies offer. There is an exceptional quality DI and many other options built in. Don't let the bass designation fool you. This is a superb unit for guitar or pedal steel.
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Erv Niehaus

Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 13 Mar 2018 8:11 am     Reply with quote

In the mid '90s, Fender came out with a Vibrosonic Reverb amp with two channels, one of them being a steel channel.
The steel channel is basically a twin reverb channel but the other channel has its own preamp designed for straight guitar. The reverb works on both channels.
It is quite an amp.
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Chris Tarrow

Maplewood, NJ
Post Posted 13 Mar 2018 8:25 am     Reply with quote

What era Deluxe are you using and what's the speaker in it? You can try get more headroom by changing the first preamp tube and/or the speaker. I also find I can get more headroom with an EQ pedal in front of the steel, cutting some upper mids can help keep it from blowing up too soon.

The other way to go is use a black box and a clean steel amp and find an always-on drive pedal that you like for the guitar side. I have a Greer Special Request that sounds pretty amazing in front of a Peavey Special 130.
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Jim Sliff

Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 13 Mar 2018 5:39 pm     Reply with quote

I'd consider a Vibrolux Reverb. The 6L6 power tubes and beefier transformers provide more headroom and the 2x10 speaker arrangement has better dispersion (and with the right speakers plenty of bass). But that's just a "conditional" thought -

You mention a "beefed up" Deluxe and that could mean almost anything. It's a little hard to recommend anything specific without a reference point. Can you provide any other details - beefed up how; tubes currently installed/bias setting; date of last regular service (i.e. filter and bias cap replacement and general checkup)?
No chops, but great tone
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Michael Brebes

Northridge CA
Post Posted 13 Mar 2018 5:50 pm     Reply with quote

I highly recommend a Fender Twin/Vibronic/Dual Showman Reverb with the Reverb/Tremolo mod for effects on both channels. That way you can adjust volume and tone for each instrument while still having Reverb for both. I just finished a Fender Vibrosonic head conversion and repair, that has the mod and they sound great.
Michael Brebes
MSA D10 Classic/Rickenbacher B6/
Dickerson MOTS/Dobro D32 Hawaiian/
Goldtone Paul Beard Reso

Mesa Boogie Studio Pre/Hafler 3000
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Carl Mesrobian

Salem, Massachusetts, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2018 7:12 pm     Reply with quote

So much depends on the gig -- size of venue, indoor/outdoor, sound person at the gig.

I like to use a 2 channel Fender tube amp and no A/B switch. Channel 1 for guitar and pedal board, channel 2 for pedal steel. Each gets it's own EQ'ing (sort of - haha).

If using a single channel amp (not your case), you'd probably want to have eq'ing on each before they are input into the A/B switch. Then eq the amp channel how you like. Or you can try EQ'ing one before the A/B and see how it sounds when switching back and forth between guitar and psg.

If the guitar is acoustic I run it into a Tonebone PZ-Pre. ,

[EDIT] and prefer to go to the board.

As far as power..If not mic'ing the amp, I use at least a Pro Reverb.

If mic'ing the amp, I use a small amp (Deluxe Reverb) and let the sound system take care of filling the room. Preferably 2 mics (one eq for guitar, one eq for psg) to sound system. If no sound person, it's tricky to do, since the ideal thing is to mute whichever mic is on the muted instrument.

Since you didn't mention whether your guitar is electric or acoustic, I gave you different cases. Why not use both channels and forget the A/B? What is beefed up? 6L6's instead of 6V6's? Is the bright cap still connected on channel 2 volume? I snipped that thing years ago -

"The better it gets, the fewer of us know it." Ray Brown
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Tony Prior

Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 16 Mar 2018 1:35 am     Reply with quote

we spend so much time in an alternative universe " mic your amp and let the sound man set the level ".

what if there is no sound man, what if the PA is just a small little 6 channel whatever and what if we never mic our amps ? What if the band leader is the sound man and he doesn't know diddly about setting up a PA ?

I must be the only one here who plays approx 50 gigs a year and never mics an amp. I show up at each gig with the gear required for that specific venue. I rely on nobody.

I play double duty and have for 40 + years. My first consideration is always an amp that can satisfy my GUITAR (Telecaster) desire . If I can be satisfied with that then dialing in a Steel tone will be NO issue.

Fender Twin Reverb for over 25 years , now a Fender Deville for the big stage and mostly a Fender 40 watt Blues Deluxe or HR Deluxe for every other gig. ( or maybe the Carvin Vintage 50 Nomad ) . It is possible I will use an EQ for the Steel to boost the low end. ( Baggs Para DI ) I've done that now and then.

Then the Morley AB pedal .

I am a self professed very anal Telecaster person, if the amp can't deliver what I want for that FIRST , then it's no sale !

If it's a Steel only gig, piece of cake, N112 or N400 based on the venue.

I recently played a recurring dance hall gig for two years, I brought TWO rigs. Blues Jr for the Telecaster and the N112 for the Steel . Two worlds satisfied ! Everything fit on ONE cart . The room is narrow and long.

The gear I use is based on the room / venue and what is expected of me on the gig. My current double duty gig is a very wide room but not all that deep, I need an extension speaker on the far side of the band stand so the Fender 40 watter with an ext speaker becomes the need. NO, we mic NO amps here. No need to plus not enough guts on the very small PA. Room volume is a major consideration. I set up on the far wing, people on the other side complained that they could not hear any Steel or guitar so say hello ext speaker !

as stated above, it really depends on the room, I bring what I need. But the double duty TONES are already known.

Fender amps, single or dual channel, as far as I am concerned , OWN this double duty market. The 40 watters cover a ton of ground with adequate Steel headroom and EQ, then of course the BIG brothers are flat out awesome for the really large rooms or stages, Guitars and Steel. Same tones with more headroom.

Regarding the Deluxe Reverb, wonderful amps but way lacking in clean headroom should we need to push a bit more air for the Steel or Guitar. It's still just a +/- 22 watt 6V6 amp even after beefing it up. It's destiny is defined.

Then of course we get into the volume argument which to me is really a mute point . A 40 watt amp is not louder than a 22 watt amp, but it does offer more clean headroom. A 60 or 85 watt amp, I suppose many feel it is louder than a 40 watt amp but in reality it's just cleaner when you need to push more air. we can play the exact same gig with a Deluxe Reverb or a Twin Reverb , one of them will make you smile right away while the other you will be spending the entire gig trying to find the spot that makes you smile .
<b>Steel Guitar music here >>></b>

Emmons Steels, Fender Telecasters
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
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Skip Ellis

Bradenton, Fl USA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2018 6:16 am     Reply with quote

I play the "Always....Patsy Cline" every few years. They hire me to play steel but there are a few places in the show where guitar is more effective so I needed to switch back and forth. I settled on the Boss AB-2 foot switch - it seems to do the job and has lights letting you know which guitar is active. Works for me.
'76 BMI SD-10(For Sale)
Fessenden SD-10 3x4
Evans JE Amp
G&K MB200 head
DV Mark Micro Jazz head (For Sale)
Homebrew Teles
BOSS Katana 50 amp
Martin 000-18
Bunch of speaker cabinets
Understanding wife of 42 years
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Keith Hilton

248 Laurel Road Ozark, Missouri 65721
Post Posted 16 Mar 2018 7:30 am     Reply with quote

I have been doing some research on building a small mixer. Hooking up two instruments to a mixer, and running the output of the mixer to a amplifier or P.A. system.
There are many negative things that can happen by simply using a "Y" connector to mix two independent signals. Noise, tone loss, and lack of any kind of control to name a few.
So what would be the desirable features in a box that mixed two signals into one output? The following are some of the features I am considering: 2 separate "true" bypass foot switches, one for each channel, with indicator lights for each channel. A separate pre-amp for each channel, which would eliminate pickup loading resulting in frequency loss. Separate output controls for each channel. A master output control that can increase or decrease gain.
A dedicated tuner output connection. 1/4 inch output amplifier connector, and a XLR P.A. output connection.
It would be desirable to have a bass and treble control for each individual instrument input.
If I am counting correctly, this would mean 7 control knobs, and two foot switches.
Is there something you would want that is missing here?
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Joseph Carlson

Grass Valley, California, USA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2018 8:03 am     Reply with quote

For louder gigs I drag out my Twin and run steel into one channel and guitar into the other but for smaller gigs I've been getting decent results with a small Fender 1X12 amp and this pedalboard.

Guitar goes into Earth Drive into the A/B and steel goes A/B into the tuner.

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Keith Hilton

248 Laurel Road Ozark, Missouri 65721
Post Posted 16 Mar 2018 8:15 am     Reply with quote

I was reading the advertisement for the link to the "Tonebone". I was wondering why these things were needed? Loop Send and Return, and Pre and Post EQ?
I copied some of the wording from the ad and listed it below.
"Features include a powerful yet warm sounding semi-parametric EQ to tailor your sound, feedback eliminating controls including a dual-Q notch filter to surgically remove feedback, a high-pass filter to cut low frequency resonance, and a phase reverse switch to eliminate hot spots on stage."
After reading this I wondered if the guy writing it used to be the guy who was selling lots on Fantasy Island. The Tonebone may be a great unit, I am not running it down. It may just be me, but the wording in the sales add seemed like smoke and mirrors. "Powerful yet warm!" "Semi-parametric EQ!" What does this mean electronically? "Dual-Q notch filter to surgically remove feedback". I thought we were talking about electronics, not heart surgery! To me the notch filter thing gets real-smokey--in terms of smoke and mirrors. I have to hand it to the guy who wrote the stuff in the Tonebone add, he has a way with words. The part about low frequency resonance is interesting, yet confusing. Lastly, the phase reversal switch to remove hot spots on stage! What kind of hot spots are we talking about? Is this trying to match the phase of other speakers on stage?
In selling music equipment there are magic words that really mean nothing. Words like "Transparent". I am not running the Tonebone down, the users here seem to like it. I just find the advertising very interesting.
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Tony Prior

Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 17 Mar 2018 1:03 am     Reply with quote

Jim's question is pointed towards which AMP rather than which AB box. He is already experiencing LOW headroom for the Steel with his DR , which is the ultimate deal killer for many amps.

The Twin Reverb is the ultimate dual duty amp , if we can handle the weight. Stepping down to "half a Twin", something in the 40 to 50 watt range, may be satisfactory.

For our E Guitars these "half a twin" amps are really excellent but for Steel ,regarding clean headroom, they may just make it.

It may take a few different amps, trail and error. Even at that, you may find that having a Nashville 400 or a Fender TR or Deville parked at home for those "rare" gigs, is in the cards.

For Double Duty ( tube amps) there is literally only ONE amp that will cover ALL the ground ALL the time. It's not about volume, it's about CLEAN Headroom for the Steel .
<b>Steel Guitar music here >>></b>

Emmons Steels, Fender Telecasters
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
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Josh Braun

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Post Posted 18 Mar 2018 7:53 am     Reply with quote

I recommended a Silverface Twin (I use a '72 myself), but read on for the details.

I gig fiddle, guitar and pedal steel just about every weekend. The fiddle runs through the PA, but I use the 1st channel for guitar (no reverb), and the second for steel (with reverb). I generally use the 2nd, damping input for both. Master on max (usually). Volume on about 5-6 (can be less for guitar/channel 1). I have a Carl Martin Quattro i run the guitar through before it hits the amp. FWIW, I'm using a PRS S2 Mira as the guitar (pickups tend to be hot). One thing that's great about this setup is that I have separate EQs for both channels, and separate volume controls too.

We gig classic country, 90s country and some more modern pop stuff.

Here's the twist: I have a Travis Toy speaker loaded on the side opposite the output transformer, but no speaker on the side of the transformer. I also pull 2 power tubes to get the ohms to match.

This cuts the wattage by about half (ish) - allowing me to keep the volume high but have output that's more commensurate to a super. I can always add the power tubes back in, but I'm always mic'd, so there's not really a true need for that.

It also lowers the weight on the amp, making it _much_ easier to cart around for me. That, and casters, make hauling a twin not that big of a deal. Plus, with the speaker opposite the transformer, it's much less awkward to carry by the handle.

The tone is awesome! Really great tones for both steel and guitar. I avoided gigging a twin for about 3 years because it just seemed like a PITA and every time I came across a twin I could barely pick it up. I'm not super buff, and I'm especially not buff at 1:30am when I have to load everything out. But dropping the speaker, using a fabulous neo like the TT - makes all the difference in the world.
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Dave Mudgett

Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 18 Mar 2018 10:02 am     Reply with quote

If I could be completely happy with 50 watts for pedal steel, I'd just put a high-power, high-efficiency neo speaker in my Deluxe Reverb and run it with the Power Station engaged to get up to 50 clean watts for steel (in the Normal channel, using outboard reverb), and bypassed for the normal 22 watts for guitar (in the Vibrato channel), using a passive A/B/Y box to switch. I'm a stickler about being able to get straight guitar-to-amp, to the point of getting or modding all my pedals for true bypass.

In fact, I tried that with my '74 Deluxe using an 8-Ohm but decidedly NOT light EV speaker - still, the overall weight wasn't bad. It sounds great that way for both guitar and E9 pedal steel. But I just don't get quite the headroom for steel with 50 clean watts in louder situations, which do come up sometimes. As I mentioned earlier, the issue for me is that if it gets loud on stage, I can't run the volume pedal back far enough with anything less than a Twin Reverb and get enough clean juice. It works great in some situations, and is a real easy grab-and-go lightweight solution - if you're OK with just 50 watts. No problem for a lower-stage-volume, mic'd-up venue.

As far as weight goes, yes the Twin is a PITA. I gotta work out to stay in shape to haul that thing. But that goes for my pedal steels also - all pro-level D10, SD-10, or U12's. A collapsible hand-truck is handy if my back is bugging me, I can't imagine being without one.

For a long time, I ran a Dual Showman Reverb head into a smaller cab with a high-power, high-efficiency 12" or 15" speaker. Worked great for steel, but without a good attenuator solution, it was too loud for guitar in most situations. I had to turn the volume down to the point where it just didn't sound right. Fine for some things, not for others, so I got rid of it. If I ever get to the point where I just can't shlep the full Twin-in-cabinet anymore, I'll probably get a head cab for the Twin chassis and use that same type of setup, but with the Power Station. Or maybe use my early silverface Showman no-reverb head (see last paragraph).

Just to see what it sounded like, I ran my '66 Twin's output straight into a smaller cab with a 300-watt rated Telonics TSNEO-12-4, 4 Ohm speaker. Obviously not as "big" a sound as through the Twin's cab, but it sounded good and handled the power fine, and I expect a pair of 8 Ohm cabs would give it more spaciousness. Haven't tried the Eminence Travis Toy or Paul Franklin speakers, but I expect they would also work well.

One other nice reasonably-priced tube-amp option: a blackface or early silverface Showman or Dual Showman, no reverb. Losing the amp reverb lightens the head up significantly, and they really sound great to me. I have a drip-panel silverface '67/'68 single Showman head with its 1x15" JBL cab with tone-ring. I got the pair cheap at the same Philly show where I bought a guitar from OP Jim. Seriously - most guitar players just go, "85-100 watts loud and clean, heavy, no reverb, no way." Sounds great, and a good outboard reverb unit works just fine with it. I've tried a bunch, and the Catalinbread Topanga is the closest thing to Fender amp spring reverb I've heard, by far.
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