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Author Topic:  Steel height/posture help
Neal Vosberg

Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 13 Jun 2018 7:13 pm     Reply with quote

I'm having a little trouble with finding a comfortable sweet spot on this GFI. In order to sit under it and have my heel firmly on the floor, accurately manipulate pedals and have my knees in range, I have to sit about six inches away from it. I feel like it's getting away from me in that position, and I can't run my bar accurately. Otherwise, the closer I scooch my seat, my feet are floating off the floor and I can only point my toes on the pedals.The back legs are set at the shortest length. Here's the facts.

The measurement from the edge of the back apron to the floor is 26 1/4". The pack-a-seat, with the padding depressed (hence sitting) is approximately 18 1/2 to the floor. I am 5'10" on the nose, and my footwear is typically a very low profile shoe with a completely flat sole.
The surface the steel sits on is a slab of a basement floor that was once a garage. It's a very uneven surface, but it only effects the placement of the legs in finding a relatively level spot. I've attached photos of the situation as it is, including where my seat is in order for my feet to be comfortable. I've also shown my b pedal, which bottoms out the lowest, at its lowest possible setting to show that my pedals can't be lowered further.

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Chris Reesor

British Columbia, Canada
Post Posted 13 Jun 2018 7:52 pm     Reply with quote

My guess is that your seat is too low, Neal. I'm 5'11" 175 pounds, and need my seat at 21 to 22 inches high to get comfy, with my upper arms hanging free from the shoulder and forearms level, wrists straight in line with forearms. This is with the top of my guitar level; it is the same for the SD12 I play now as for my previous guitar, an S12 Carter. Your steel is pretty much standard height which should be fine for a guy your size.
Get a few short 2x4's and try raising your seat about 3 inches, set the top of your guitar level, and sit with your navel behind the fifteenth fret.
Getting your body position right is crucial for comfort and a relaxed approach to the instrument. Good luck and let us know how you make out.

Cheers, CR.
Excel Superb U12, Heritage H575, MIJ Squier tele, Hwy 1 Strat, modified Deluxe Reverb RI, Cube 80XL, self built acoustics & mandolins
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Bobby D. Jones

West Virginia, USA
Post Posted 13 Jun 2018 7:59 pm     Steel height/posture help Reply with quote

I play a GFI U12. I am 5'9 1/2" tall. I have my steel back legs adjusted to 27 1/4 inches back apron to floor, The back is actually higher than the front. As for the pedal height if you loosen the lock nut on the top of the pedal rod connector to the pedal, unhook it from the pedal and rotate the connector on the rod to shorten or lengthen the rod to lower or raisin the pedals. you can raise or lower the pedal height to fit you. Just make sure the pedal do not hit the floor before they reach full pull.
Good Luck in getting the guitar fitted to you. Happy Steelin.
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Neal Vosberg

Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 13 Jun 2018 8:25 pm     Reply with quote

You think my seats too low? I guess I'm confused because as I bring my seat closer to the guitar my feet are farther away from resting over the pedals.
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Tucker Jackson

Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 13 Jun 2018 10:02 pm     Reply with quote

Neal, have you tried moving closer to the steel... while wearing shoes with a larger heel?
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Donny Hinson

Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 14 Jun 2018 1:11 am     Reply with quote

When you're seated, you should have 6" - 8" between your seat and the crook in back of your knee. The front of the seat should NOT be touching, or even near, the calves of your legs.

With that in mind, if you can't keep your heels on the floor, then your seat is too high, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if you're sitting 6" from the steel or 12", you should always be able to have your heels down. Rather than starting off messing with the seat, try sitting on something else (a chair, crate, stool, or even your amp) until you find a height that's comfortable and works for you. Then modify your seat accordingly.

Last edited by Donny Hinson on 14 Jun 2018 6:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Fred Treece

California, USA
Post Posted 14 Jun 2018 6:26 am     Reply with quote

It doesn’t matter how tall you are; what matters is how long your legs are.
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George Redmon

Post Posted 17 Jun 2018 3:53 pm     Reply with quote

As a side note, just a tad off subject perhaps. But Buddy Emmons always impressed me with his posture while playing. He sits so straight, looking always in command, and confident while playing. Should be Posture 101 Mandatory study for all steel players. Very Happy
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Kevin Fix

Michigan, USA
Post Posted 17 Jun 2018 4:59 pm     Reply with quote

I play a Sho Bud Super Pro and my belly is about 3 inches away from the back neck. I am 5'-8" and have a 46" waist line. I had to put knee lever extensions on my LKL and LKR. My LKV is a little touchy to reach. I am using a Walker seat.
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Dan Robinson

Colorado, USA
Post Posted 17 Jun 2018 7:59 pm     Reply with quote

Yes, I think your seat is too low. Not sure? Try an adjustable bench or drum seat.

Neal Vosberg wrote:
You think my seats too low?

Pedal height is another piece of the puzzle. I can see in your photo that the pedals are set low. You may assume that comfortable pedal operation requires setting them as low as possible. I suggest that you challenge that assumption.

I suffered under that notion for some time. Finally achieved better control and more positive feel by raising the pedals. Quite a bit, actually. I can't say if that will work for you, but it's free, easy to try, and 100% reversible.
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Jim Sliff

Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 18 Jun 2018 7:52 am     Reply with quote

I've seen players switch between pack a seats, chairs, drum stools and end tables; play on concrete, carpet, grass and dirt; wear cowboy boots one day and flip-flops the next followed by running shoes and then oxfords....

The point being don't get hung up on everything being within a .01" tolerance. Having pedals set consistently is good, but everything else can be variable if you just practice the *instrument*.

6 string players play electrics and acoustics of different thicknesses and shapes, different string gages and action, different strap heights, different scale lengths, use different picks and don't bat an eye.

Pedal steel playing doesn't have to be as tightly regimented as some think when starting out.
No chops, but great tone
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Dan Auldridge

Poteet Tx. USA
Post Posted 26 Jun 2018 7:41 pm     low pack seat.. Reply with quote

I have built and sold at least 50 seats,, first question I'm always asked is what height is the best.. the normal is 21 inch from the floor to the top off the seat. That doesn't work for everyone. set on your seat and your feet should be on the floor flat.. don't matter if your 6 inches away from the guitar are 5 foot. If your feet aren't flat on the floor you will not be comfortable. and the pedals on your guitar is adjustable just like Bobby said...again your feet flat on the floor..
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