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Author Topic:  Silvertone 1311
Christopher Kux

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From:
Kansas, USA
Post  Posted 22 May 2020 8:01 pm    
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Hi everybody. Chris, here. Longtime lurker, finally up and joined the forum. I bought my first straight steel today, a Silvertone 1311. It's in great shape, original cable, case, and a few sets of old Black Diamond strings inside. I'm excited to get learning -- Been playing the guitar in various genres for 30 years, and was surprised to learn that I'm a total newbie again.

I ordered a heavy Ernie Ball bar (I play conventional slide guitar with a thick walled glass as heavy as I can find them and figured a heavier steel would feel more natural, which it does) and I'm running the Silvertone through my Roland JC, soaked in reverb with the treble rolled off.

What kind of amps do you guys like for these? Does overdrive sound good with these? Any tips on that? I noticed the pickup is very weak compared to the humbucker and hot single coils I am accustomed to. It is very mild, but very warm and seems to sound better the warmer I get the tone.

Hello again, and thanks! Stay safe Smile
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Peter Jacobs


From:
Northern Virginia
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 5:10 am    
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Hi, Chris - congrats on your first steel! Ihavent seen one, but a quick Google says the 1311 is a Valco-made steel with a string-through pickup, which is an awesome sounding pickup (I have one on my Supro Jet Airliner).

The magnets are the two silvery blocks holding up the top plate of the pickup, but on some models, there’s only one magnet - the other one is painted wood. This could account for lower output. Jason Lollar and Rick Aiello can supply replacement magnets (if Rick still does that). But first I’d suggest using a clean boost pedal or an light overdrive to goose the gain.

These pickups sound great overdriven - very creamy. David Lindsey uses them a lot, and of course this is the pickup Ry Cooder uses in the bridge of his Coodercaster. It has a lot of mids already, but something tube screamer or klon-like can add to the warmth and cut.
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Peter Jacobs


From:
Northern Virginia
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 5:21 am    
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Forgot to add - my Supro loves every amp (I use a Goodsell Super 17 mk3 or a modded Blues Jr, but it sounds great through a friend’s’ tweed Deluxe and silver face Princeton. Not bad through a small Marshall combo, on I got the settings right.
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Christopher Kux

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From:
Kansas, USA
Post  Posted 24 May 2020 7:32 am    
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You know, the reason I narrowed my search down to a couple of makes of steel guitar was because I saw Lindley playing a Supro on TV. It seemed like after watching a million videos, the string-through pickup type was the way to go. I do enjoy how warm it is, and low output is fine. I am finding that it doesn't drive my tube amps nearly as hard as my other guitars do, so I am going to have to put it on a boost or a little overdrive pedal to get the preamp to saturate the way I like it. It fits quite nicely on the Jazz Chorus, though, so it gets along with the solid state amp better. Looking at getting another Princeton in the future.

Today's job will be to see how much mids that pickup needs from an overdrive. I've got a DOD 250, Boss Super Overdrive, Dano Daddy-O (basically a big box Guv'nor circuit), and a Boss Blues Driver, and a 40W Deluxe with a speaker soak. That gives a pretty good array of tone profiles. Maybe the girlfriend will go out to the store...
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 24 May 2020 1:08 pm    
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Congrats on the string-through...the lower output might just be magnets that have gotten weak and need re-magnetizing...my Oahu Diana string-through is pretty strong...

Or, are you using Phosphor Bronze strings, not Nickel? That could do it, for sure...

And just so you know, you might want to start saving now for the next level of the tone you know you like - the horseshoe. My Clinesmith Frypan is a real level up in that genre of tone...thick, harmonically-rich notes that seem to jump off the instrument...
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Clinesmith Frypan, 1954 Oahu Diana
Ben Bonham Style 3 Tricone & Style 3.5 Weissenborn
Milkman The Amp, Fishman, ZT
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Christopher Kux

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From:
Kansas, USA
Post  Posted 25 May 2020 8:13 am    
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Steve Lipsey wrote:
Congrats on the string-through...the lower output might just be magnets that have gotten weak and need re-magnetizing...my Oahu Diana string-through is pretty strong...

Or, are you using Phosphor Bronze strings, not Nickel? That could do it, for sure...

And just so you know, you might want to start saving now for the next level of the tone you know you like - the horseshoe. My Clinesmith Frypan is a real level up in that genre of tone...thick, harmonically-rich notes that seem to jump off the instrument...


Magnet has probably degaussed over time. It sounds great, though. It's very sweet.

While shopping, I saw a Rickenbacker with a horseshoe pickup for $450. Almost bought that, but didnt like the tuners, 2 of which had been bent a few degrees.

Using nickel strings in Low A, but not finding the instructional stuff I want on YT in that tuning. Would C6 be a better place to start? I eventually want to use this guitar in my band for songs in the fiddle.keys, namely G and D.
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 25 May 2020 8:56 am    
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Well, tunings are a question with as many answers as there are people...

Main thing is to pick one and really learn it.

A few points, but surely not the whole story:
D is great for solo tunes - has the low notes for thumb bass lines
G is very "generic" works in any key
C6 has the most options for fancy chords, and built-in straight bar minors, but has no low notes.

I use dobro GBDGBD (l to h). For me, having it the same as my Tricone and Weissenborn made it really easy to master. And you can do anything in it - I do fancy chords with slants, reverse slants and split slants, and can find whatever I need.
Plus strings 2,3,4 are the same as guitar, if that matters. and the same as banjo.
and the spacing is close enough for nice scalar runs, but not too close.
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Clinesmith Frypan, 1954 Oahu Diana
Ben Bonham Style 3 Tricone & Style 3.5 Weissenborn
Milkman The Amp, Fishman, ZT
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Allan Revich


From:
Victoria, Canada
Post  Posted 27 May 2020 9:06 am    
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New magnets from Lollar might really bring it to life. Made a nice difference on my Valco/National.

Dobro tuning (GBDGBD) is probably the way to go for fiddle tunes and bluegrass. Tons of material out there for this tuning too.
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Fouke “Dan Walsh” 7 string 2020, Rickenbacker B7 1950, Gibson BR9 1951, Fender Champ 1957, National MOTS (Valco) 1964, Fanner 4 string ukulele lap steel 2019.
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Christopher Kux

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From:
Kansas, USA
Post  Posted 27 May 2020 10:02 am    
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I was considering dobro tuning. I flat pick for bluegrass with a different set of guys, and I'm looking to add the steel guitar in with the rock band that does a lot of dirt rock stuff and old country songs. Right now it is tuned EAEACsE which is familiar to me because I play 5-string banjo. The dynamic of using the bar is probably the weirdest part... I know where the melodies are. But the sliding and muting is a new technique that I have to learn.
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