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Author Topic:  Pedal Steels Will Soon Be A Dime A Dozen
David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 5:30 am    
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I posted an article on Facebook a while back (I've since divorced myself from Facebook. It's a time waster) and about half agreed with me and some were dismayed and young players were delighted and I'll tell you why. I'm 66 myself and people say I look young for my age, maybe it's because I was a lover instead of a fighter but steel players are dying off much faster than new ones are being born. That's because baby boomers are the ones that embraced the steel guitar. No internet back then but plenty of time to learn tunes on the steel and all the other instruments for that matter. Guitar Center has seen a decline in the sale of music instruments in the last decade like never before. I'm retired and have other major sources of income so my music career was short lived but now that I have plenty of time I have been purchasing all the used steel guitars I can find. I'm in East Texas so you can imagine how many are cropping up for sale. Music stores here call me when one comes in because they don't want them. It's hard to sell something you don't know anything about unless it's a no-brainer steal. A couple of months ago I purchased this mint Super Pro for $1,000.00 cash. I included a YouTube link to the video of it below. I sold it a week later. I always try to let the buyer see that it operates and makes music. It included a Session 500 amp with steel seat, volume pedal and seat full of accessories like Goodrich boxes. This is only one of many times I've done this in the last 10 years. I can repair them myself if necessary. I don't want to be in the steel guitar business but it's hard to resist bargains like this. Another case of the player dying and the widow stuck with an entire studio of equipment. She put it all in a rented storage building and brought buyers to the building. When I got there only the steel equipment was left. All the Spanish guitar stuff was sold. She only asked for a 1,000 and I didn't argue. I just pulled it out of my pocket. She said the steel gear had to go and had been sitting there for 2 months and no buyers. It looked as if someone bought it and just put it in a closet and never touched it. I felt like I was back in 1972 when I opened the case. Unbelievable! He was a medical doctor with his own business here. The horizon is changing for pedal steels. It really won't affect anyone and if it affects anyone at all it will be positive. If you are dead you won't need a steel and if you are young the sky is the limit for bargains on steel guitars! Lol!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-f0Td8Y6Lc
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Bill Hatcher

 

From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 6:09 am    
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$1000 is not "a dime a dozen"....
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 6:28 am    
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Bill what I meant to say is "ten years from now" not today. The only reason new pedal steels are selling like hotcakes at this time is because people my age and older are retired or close to it and have the money to buy them. Believe me, within tens years that will not be the case. The largest amount of money made selling steels is from the people that play for a hobby not the professionals. A lot of professionals don't have to buy anything. The people that play at home or dwindling at an alarming rate. It doesn't hurt to be in denial. Lol!
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 6:32 am    
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Bill Hatcher wrote:
$1000 is not "a dime a dozen"....


Did you not read that I also received $500.00 in accessories that was included in that $1,000.00?
The guitar and case was mint condition.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 8:23 am    
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Even a blind squirrel gets lucky every once in a while. Whoa!
Erv
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Dennis Detweiler


From:
Solon, Iowa, US
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 8:24 am    
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I have to agree. In my area, the number of steel players has dropped way down. Few young ones are replacing the dying older ones. Around here, 30 years ago, every country band had a steel player and there were many clubs for country bands to play. We are down to 3 clubs and 3 active steel players in their senior years. Of those 3 clubs, you can only book one night compared with playing the same club 2 nights in a row in the past. 30+ years ago, you could play during the week also. Just weekends now. Also, the pay hasn't kept up with inflation.
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Dennis Detweiler


From:
Solon, Iowa, US
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 8:27 am    
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Erv, kind of makes you wonder if all of those flat squirrels on the roads were at least blind in one eye?
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Len Amaral

 

From:
Rehoboth,MA 02769
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 8:43 am    
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All i can say is wait for the yard sale my wife is going to have when I croak Whoa!
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 9:01 am    
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Dennis,
You might be right!! Laughing Laughing
Erv
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Mike Bacciarini


From:
San Luis Obispo, California
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 9:11 am    
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The hope of the future....



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Michael Lester

 

From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 9:53 am     Dime a dozen
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I respect your opinion.

Two decades ago, an almost word-for-word statement was applied to 5-string banjo. But there are still 5-string banjos being made, sold and played - and the good brands still command premium prices.

Are there changes over the years? Sure. Is the market for steel guitars dead and gone? Hardly. Just post on this forum any steel guitar, accessory, seat, pedal or gizmo - it'll be gone in minutes or hours - not weeks.

It's great that you have been able to stumble on to bargains, but I'm sure you'll agree that those special deals are not normal.

Few high quality steel guitars sell under the range of $1,500 - $5,500 depending on brand, model, rarity and configuration. That market is still very active based on the turnover I see from dealers here on the Forum. In fact, I'm amazed how quickly a very expensive (to me) pedal steel sells on this Forum.

As far as the age demographics, I suspect you're correct that very young musicians aren't immediately drawn to pedal steel. In my OPINION, I think the learning curve for young players looks too steep given that one can learn 3 'Spanish' guitar chords on YouTube in 10 minutes. But after a few of them tire of being 'just another guitar player' in the band, they turn to things with bigger challenges that set them apart - like fiddle or steel.

I've always likened steel guitar to golf - you can play it right away, but it takes years of practice to play it well... and only a rare few will make the climb.
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Larry Ball

 

From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:05 am    
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I tend to agree with some of the thread, however I think the most important contributing factor has been missed in the discussions. "That Is" Country Music has changed and not many steel guitars are heard in todays songs. Eg: Growing up like I did in the 50's and 60's, everyone was listening to music with Fender guitars being played in the Rock and Roll of the "Venture's etc" and Steel guitar's in the Country field with the "George Jones, and the Opry etc. " So the influencing factor is the "Music".

I listened to a video of a 1983 steel convention in Waco Texas with four of the greats playing (Junior Knight was one). I was blown away with the C6 being played by this group. This alone should attract a mega of new steel players.

So in a nut shell, the Taylor Swift Crowd are not going to start playing steel guitars tomorrow. It will take another big change in Country Music where the Steel comes alive again to attract the wannaba's
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:28 am    
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Dennis Detweiler wrote:
Erv, kind of makes you wonder if all of those flat squirrels on the roads were at least blind in one eye?


LMAO!
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:30 am    
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Mike Bacciarini wrote:
The hope of the future....




LMAO! I'm glad I posted this. It was worth it for the laugh. Ya'll guys are a riot!
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:33 am    
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There is a huge glut of unused pedal steels sitting in closets, in attics, under beds, owned by aging players who will soon not be using them. I think these will soon sell really cheap. Most of these guitars will not have the latest features that some players want and there's always a good market for new high end music gear even if it just goes to collectors or bedroom players.

Possible reasons to want a newer guitar and bypass the older bargains:

Compact body
Lighter Weight
Split Tuning built in the changer
Mechanical stability
Lighted fret boards
Plug swapable pickups
More advanced copedants with more knee levers and pedals

It amazes me that music gears sales are still soaring in the new and used market despite the demise of live music and garage bands.
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:37 am    
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Guys I bought a beautiful LDG in this same town for $400.00 Played gigs on it about 12 years. I bought a Sho-Bud Fingertip for $400.00 about 15 miles from my town. Bought out a whole steel guitar shop from Andy Hinton's son in Louisiana for $1800.00 that had an Emmons D-10 and 4 other pedal steels and enough parts to build 2 more. More going on than a blind squirrel finding one nut.
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Terry Winter

 

From:
Saskatchewan, Canada
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:43 am    
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I love my steels, have two: a single neck and a double neck and have never wanted to be a collector although I love the looks and history of all the oldies. My hobby is antique tractors....maybe we all have our vices. I prefer a newer axes when it comes to the steel guitar.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:51 am    
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There are so many other forms of music that can employ a steel guitar other than country music.
I have a great time playing the old standards on pedal steel. They lay out real nice.
And there are still some Hawaiian players along with gospel music.
Just because the current country and rap (crap) music doesn't make use of the steel doesn't mean you have to put your guitar out on the curb for the garbage man. Very Happy
Erv


Last edited by Erv Niehaus on 25 Feb 2020 10:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:52 am    
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I've found a couple very good deals on guitars whose owners are sadly no longer with us, but I've also dropped a LOT of money on my primary instruments.

I do think that when someone dies, the survivors are more interested in just getting rid of things than waiting for the right buyer at higher cost. and that goes for a lot more than just their steel guitars.

meanwhile, the number of steel players in my town has tripled or quadrupled in the last couple years. the instrument itself is still in good shape, at least in my view.
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 10:55 am    
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The problem is not steel players failure to purchase another steel. The problem is the reduction of steel players and musicians in general. When that happens it doesn't matter how new, lightweight, ecomomical a new steel is. The potential customer base it once had will be deceased. Few kids are even taking up a 6 string electric guitar let alone a pedal steel. Video games rule the world. I spent 20 years running music stores and saw the demise of cornets. For those that don't know a cornet is a short trumpet. One day I counted 36 used cornets. We suddenly realized no one was buying them. I marked them down to 20 bucks each and eventually sold them. Not every instrument will stand the test of time.
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 11:09 am    
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I bought another steel last week I need ya'll to help me identify. It has a finish like my old Fingertip but nothing else is Sho-Bud. Has a ZB'ish changer.
It's gonna be for sale too.

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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 11:18 am    
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A dime a dozen? Whoa!
Erv
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Erik Alderink


From:
Ann Arbor Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 11:23 am    
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Pedal steel isn't exactly the most welcoming instrument for the uninitiated...
Pedal steel is expensive to get started with. A good, entry level 6 string is around $200, and you can go quite a long way with that instrument. According to many on this very site, you can't even bother with a PSG for under $1k, and you've gotta learn E9 otherwise don't bother. I'm not surprised that younger folks aren't lining up to buy, especially in non country music dominated markets. Maybe we'll get lucky and there'll be a viral video featuring steel...
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Daniel McKee

 

From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 11:37 am    
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I actually encounter people who know what steel guitar is. Most of course don't own or play one but I have had quite a few talk about wanting to pick up a cheap lap steel to experiment with. I also have heard many people say they like the sound so there are definitely some fans of pedal steel out there but just not many are actually taking up learning the instrument. Its interesting how that is but as stated many times before, obtaining one is sometimes not as easy as just going to a local music store and picking up a guitar. Thanks to the internet it has gotten somewhat easier
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Michael Lester

 

From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 25 Feb 2020 11:44 am     Dime a dozen
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Bob Wills >>>
Hank Williams >>>
George Jones >>>
George Strait >>>
Randy Travis >>>
Garth Brooks >>>
??? - I'm sure there are others that I've missed.

It's like white shoes. It recycles every few years.

FWIW.. I play with a group of Country music players every Wednesday night at a local club. Usually 40 - 50 in the audience. Not once in a dozen years have I heard a request for a 'hot country'song - but we sure play a lot of the above...
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