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Post new topic Notes from a Newbie - 1
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Author Topic:  Notes from a Newbie - 1
Neil Aring

 

From:
Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 14 Sep 2021 12:14 pm    
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I started playing last February. With all the amazing expertise on this forum I thought it might be interesting to other beginners or those just thinking about trying it to hear from someone with no expertise at all Very Happy .
Guitars:
I started with a $100 Rogue (6 string C6) just to see if I really even wanted to learn to play. It came with legs but I soon decided I like it better just on my lap. It wasn't long before I found a good deal on a vintage Supro and went all in. The Supro tone is just so superior, the fretboard pattern is way easier to read, and the strings are higher off the neck which makes picking easier. So the Rogue stays in the closet and will be moving on soon.
Steels:
I have a Shubb-SP2 Stevens style, a Dunlop 919 bullet (3/4" x 2-3/4"), and an Ernie Ball bullet (3-1/4" x 7/8"). I got the Ernie Ball because I thought it would be easier to hang on to than the Dunlop. It is, but it is just too darn heavy. So now I am going back and forth between the Shubb and the Dunlop. I like the bullet best but can't always hang onto it so then I will switch to the Shubb. But the bullet just feels more nimble and gives a good tone so I am hoping I can learn to use it all the time. It might be just me but it seems like it is easier to hold if I warm it up in my hand for a minute or two before I start to play.
Amp:
I got a used Roland Micro Cube and it is terrific. Good clear channel, reverb, etc. I play guitar with an acoustic jam group and can use this setup to easily balance the lap steel with the acoustic instruments.

So this is my beginner set up and I am very happy with it,at least for now.
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Joe Cook


From:
Whidbey Island Washington, USA
Post  Posted 14 Sep 2021 2:39 pm    
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Sounds like a good start, Neil. I've only ever used Michael Hillman's bullet bars. They are powder coated which makes them easier to hold onto, for me anyway. I think it's worth using a bullet bar as the weight and nose shape make slants easier and the tone is better. The powder coating is very smooth on the strings. Keep practicing with them and I'm sure you'll find it gets easier. Have fun!
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Gene Tani


From:
Pac NW
Post  Posted 14 Sep 2021 8:19 pm    
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This thread a newish player asks for bar recommendation and gets a few dozen https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=373486

I mostly play bullet bars but i have a Shubb sp2 and and Asher reso bar (not made anymore). Those are the only 2 i found with rounded bullet type noses for Byrd split bar slants.

Best thing is if you can locate a kindly local player who will let you borrow a few bars for, I dunno, 20 minutes, that's the best way to feel what's comfortable. Otherwise buying to try gets expensive fast.
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Roger Fletcher

 

From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 12:53 am    
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"it seems like it is easier to hold if I warm it up in my hand for a minute or two before I start to play"

Neil, Before I start playing, I breathe on my bar. This creates a thin moist coating, which I find helps. Keep practising with that bullet bar - it will come in time.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 2:33 am    
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Welcome to the rabbit hole, Neil!
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 3:59 am    
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I started with two "ezzee slides"...composite bullet bars made by Basil Henriques. The first was I think the size of your Ernie Ball, 7/8 and a bit over 3". I felt like it was too large and unwieldy for me (doing reverse slants particularly) and so I ordered a smaller one from him (3/4, 2 3/4 or so like your Dunlop) which I liked more. But with years of experience I've moved back to preferring the larger bar. So just saying...there may come a time when you pick up the larger bar and prefer it, so maybe keep it around!

A composite type bullet bar (either Basil's, or Clinesmith) is fairly expensive but will mostly solve any problems with the bar being slippery or hard to hold onto. Just my 2 cents...
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 4:30 am    
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Neil, I find that I am not holding onto the bar as much as guiding it. There are times when I do need to lift or hold onto it, but for the most part I rely on gravity and a lot of movement and I feel secure with the bullet bar in hand. This comes after a significant amount of time playing. I think persistence is an important thing with the steel. There were many times that I agonized over my right hand not being able to play cleanly (and I’m not even talking about speed picking or anything like that, which I am not very good at). Just the basics seemed like a real struggle, but I assure you with enough effort, in time they come.
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Jean-Sebastien Gauthier


From:
Quebec, Canada
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 4:56 am    
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Mike is right. I think that the most important thing on steel is to be relax. Pick light, hold the bar in a relax way, more guiding than gripping like Mike said. The rest will come with time. Practice everyday!
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Neil Aring

 

From:
Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 6:16 am    
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Great feedback. There is so much info on the forum regarding bars it is kind of mind boggling. I want to make sure I am confident that I know what size and shape works best for me before I shell out for a higher end bar.

Andy - I'm already using your "Exploring C6" book. Huge help.
Mike and Jean-Sebastien - I'm just starting to understand what you are both saying. Guiding the bar, light picking, relax, relax, relax. Watching players hands on Youtube videos is a big help.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 7:46 am    
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Glad the book is helping, Neil!

It's all about building up muscle memory for these steel guitar techniques that usually feel so unnatural at first. For most of us who came to steel from standard guitar, it just takes time and practice. Eventually, you don't have to think about that stuff and you can better concentrate on expressing the music through your steel.

There are so many factors that make steel one of the world's most expressive instruments and one that really responds to the player in a personal and unique way. This is where the magic starts to happen.
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Bill Asher

 

From:
Los Angeles, California, USA
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2021 9:12 am    
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Hey guys -

We just got our Asher CS-2 Chrome Plated Cold Rolled Steel Lap Steel Bars back in stock and up on the website. I'm super happy with them. Enjoy!

Bill






Here's the link to them on our site

https://www.asherguitars.com/collections/all-accessories/products/2021-asher-cs-2-chrome-plated-cold-rolled-steel-slide-bar-super-nice
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