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Post new topic Pedal steel and that sound in your head - a memoir
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Author Topic:  Pedal steel and that sound in your head - a memoir
Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 4:27 pm    
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You are very Welcome!!!!!!
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Rich Sullivan


From:
Nelson, NH 03457
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 4:38 pm    
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I think most of us have been caught up at one time or another in the elusive search for "that" sound. I like to remember something Jerry Byrd would say (with a twinkle in his eye.) If you don't know how to play, it doesn't matter what guitar you have. And if you do know how to play, it doesn't matter what guitar you have.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 8:21 pm    
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Unless what you're playing is truly absolute junk, it's my opinion that the hands, what's between the ears, and the motor skills that connect them are far more important than the instrument itself.
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Willem Langeveld


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2019 11:53 pm    
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Quote:
Jerry Byrd would say (with a twinkle in his eye.) If you don't know how to play, it doesn't matter what guitar you have. And if you do know how to play, it doesn't matter what guitar you have.


Maybe one should add: "and if you're in-between, you need all the help you can get"? Very Happy

Just kidding, I like that quote!

Willy.
_________________
Dekley S12 5-4, Telonics Pro volume pedal, Peterson StroboPlus HD tuner, Peavey Nashville 112 with Strymon Big Sky reverb or Headrush Pedalboard with my own pedal steel patch.
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Willem Langeveld


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 12:05 am    
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Quote:
Unless what you're playing is truly absolute junk


No, I don't think my Dekley is junk, far from it. It stays in tune, has virtually no cabinet drop, looks pretty good, and is fairly easy to work on underneath. It could use a vertical knee lever, and perhaps I should reconfigure a pedal (perhaps make it a Franklin pedal) and an existing knee lever, but mechanically it is in top shape. I think it doesn't sustain all that well, though. I might have to revisit the way I installed the Alumitone. It's kind of tight to the body, perhaps it should be more free-floating...

Willy.
_________________
Dekley S12 5-4, Telonics Pro volume pedal, Peterson StroboPlus HD tuner, Peavey Nashville 112 with Strymon Big Sky reverb or Headrush Pedalboard with my own pedal steel patch.
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 2:30 am    
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Here's a little evidence that the sound you here in your head may not always be obtainable by your hands alone. This is pretty much the sound I hear in my head - of course having been put there long ago by Day or Emmons, whichever this is. My guitar sounds wonderful to me, but I'm reasonably positive it will never sound like this, no matter what I do, because, as was concluded on another post back a little, "Only a Bud sounds like a Bud". If I was dead set on having this tone, I would have to get an old Sho-Bud, and I'm happy with my guitar, nor do I wish to have to deal with all the possible problems I could encounter with a 50 year old guitar.

https://youtu.be/Lfv_61UBsYM
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Fred Justice


From:
Mesa, Arizona
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 4:56 am    
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Willy, do you live in or around the LA area?
I may be able to help you.
You can reach me at 480-986-2599
fredjustice@justicesteelguitars.com
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Email: fredjustice@justicesteelguitars.com
Webesite: www.justicesteelguitars.com
Phone: 480-986-2599
Justice Steel Guitars and Accessories~Hilton Pedals~S.I.T. Strings
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Tim Herman


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 5:30 am    
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I hope I read the whole thread though correctly, but I don't think I saw anyone mention strings. The cheapest thing to experiment with. I used one particular brand a few years back, and did the pickup,amp, processor dance. When I finally got tired and broke, I started trying different string brands. Since then, I paired my setup down to guitar, vp, amp. I feel way better about my tone.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 9:57 am    
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Bobby Nelson wrote:
Here's a little evidence that the sound you here in your head may not always be obtainable by your hands alone. This is pretty much the sound I hear in my head - of course having been put there long ago by Day or Emmons, whichever this is. My guitar sounds wonderful to me, but I'm reasonably positive it will never sound like this, no matter what I do, because, as was concluded on another post back a little, "Only a Bud sounds like a Bud". If I was dead set on having this tone, I would have to get an old Sho-Bud, and I'm happy with my guitar, nor do I wish to have to deal with all the possible problems I could encounter with a 50 year old guitar.

https://youtu.be/Lfv_61UBsYM


That was Price in 1965, so you can bet the farm it's Emmons on a p/p. A 'Bud will probably never sound like that, and I'd guess neither will a GFI or an early MSA. But, IMHO, many modern guitars are pretty much capable of that sound. Fifty years ago, some brands had distinctive sounds. But today's guitars are far more consistent, far more homogeneous, as far as sound goes. Most all have very good high-end sustain and clarity, qualities that were once the hallmark of only Emmons guitars. And obviously, I'm not the only one who has ever felt this way...

Buddy Emmons wrote:
I have two Legrande III models, one of which I used on Gene Watson's last album. Just for the record, I used a Carter D-10 on Gene's Gospel album and for all practical purposes, I can't tell a dime's worth of difference, but what do I know?
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Willem Langeveld


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 10:18 am    
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Hi Fred, thanks for the offer!

Quote:
do you live in or around the LA area?


No, I'm in the SF Bay Area. I was in Tucson with my wife early February, and the thought of a side trip to Mesa did cross my mind, but it didn't work out schedule-wise.

I'll PM you. Smile

Willy.
_________________
Dekley S12 5-4, Telonics Pro volume pedal, Peterson StroboPlus HD tuner, Peavey Nashville 112 with Strymon Big Sky reverb or Headrush Pedalboard with my own pedal steel patch.
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Willem Langeveld


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 10:35 am    
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Quote:
This is pretty much the sound I hear in my head


Bobby, to make things more complicated, the sound in my head varies a bit, from something like but not quite the one in that clip to the sounds on more modern records. But to me the Dekley isn't particularly close to it. As stated by others, maybe in better hands it could be, and I'll try some more... Confused

I suppose what it boils down to is that I would probably be okay with any one of the (to me) "good" sounds. And then it might just take minor tweaks with EQ to get another good sound? Maybe...

Willy.
_________________
Dekley S12 5-4, Telonics Pro volume pedal, Peterson StroboPlus HD tuner, Peavey Nashville 112 with Strymon Big Sky reverb or Headrush Pedalboard with my own pedal steel patch.
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Willem Langeveld


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 10:43 am    
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Quote:
different string brands


Tim, I admit I only ever used Ernie Balls on the Dekley. How much of a difference would it make though?

Different strings didn't make my Marauder sound any better, but perhaps that's different... Wink

Willy.
_________________
Dekley S12 5-4, Telonics Pro volume pedal, Peterson StroboPlus HD tuner, Peavey Nashville 112 with Strymon Big Sky reverb or Headrush Pedalboard with my own pedal steel patch.
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James Flaherty


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 10:55 am    
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I have an old (1982) Dekley single 12 with 7 & 4 and I am quite happy with my sound. It took me a while to dial in my amp (Nashville 400) and effects but that was the biggest contributor other than practice and polishing my technique. Trying to find your "sound" can be a challenge but, for me, it was mainly playing with my amp and delay settings. Good luck on your steel guitar journey.
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 11:42 am    
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Donny Hinson wrote:

Quote:
That was Price in 1965, so you can bet the farm it's Emmons on a p/p.


Well there ya go - sure sounds like a Bud to me. After doing the research and spending the money and waiting, I get reasonably close to the sound I want - way much more tone than I'm capable of bringing out of it at this point, and the dadgum thing sounds wonderful, so I have no complaints. I remember chasing tone on a dozen or more Stratocasters, looking for tone I'd heard from somewhere else, but always sounded like myself. I'm using that experience now, to be happy with my own tone, and not chasing other people's tones.[/b]
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2019 1:08 pm    
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Willy, New strings will help a bit if your strings are old and the tone is dead. Sustain would change to the better with reverb or some delay. I like and use a Steel Guitar Black Box. It does add some sustain and some color to your tone. The Black Box to my opinion, does make it come alive. I have noticed that with the Black Box I rarely use the Delay. Their is a video clip on YouTube of a Black Box demo.
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Larry Ball


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 1:26 pm    
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Having read the responses led me to think more about the tone we are all trying to achieve. I have only been playing my Mullen SD10 for a 1 1/2 yrs now and I have noticed changes in my tone which are for the better. That being said I am a 6 string guitar player for over 50 yrs. so I understand a lot about the mechanic's that can effect guitars and their tone. I noticed something on UTube the other day watching one of my favorite PSG players, his tone was not the same as before. On his video's his tone is the same regardless of his guitar. This time however he was playing a friends guitar and his tone was very different from his video's. He was being recorded by a cell phone or ipad. This makes me think about all the recording effects etc, etc, when listening to players.

So when we hear that recorded tone we identify it with a certain player. However do we hear the same tone when we are listening live, same player and same guitar.

My point here is how much do we identify tone that we hear in recordings coming from name players etc.

I know I can change my tone with amp settings, reverb, delay and technique.
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Mullen SD10, Peavey Nashville 112, Mission Pro V/P, too many other guitars, amps and effects to mention.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 5:25 pm    
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Larry Ball wrote:
So when we hear that recorded tone we identify it with a certain player. However do we hear the same tone when we are listening live, same player and same guitar.

My point here is how much do we identify tone that we hear in recordings coming from name players etc.

And it’s a great point, Larry.

Does Robben Ford ever have the same tone twice? No matter. He always sounds and plays great, whether it’s with a 335, a Tele, or a Les Paul.

I think signature tone is a bunch of hooey. Every great player experiments with tone and changes it 100 times as much as the rest of us. They just seem to find advantage where we would find weakness.
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