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Author Topic:  Starting out with a PSG, what accessories should accompany?
Chris Brooks

 

From:
Providence, Rhode Island
Post  Posted 20 Jan 2021 11:24 am    
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Ryan, great to have you in the SG universe. I am going to be a contrarian here. Here is my contrary opinion.

You are thinking about all the stuff you need to start on the pedal steel. But you don't need much more stuff.

When are you going to play out? Play an actual gig with someone? Soon? Or not so soon?

1. If the latter, then you need a steel guitar.

2. You need picks and a bar: Dave M's BJS or yes, your John Pearse bar. Either of these will last a lifetime. The straight steel bars you mention aren't going to make it. Start with a normal 7/8 bar.

3. Start with a regular old plastic thumb pick, which you "have a slew of". Buy 2 (though many play with 3) metal finger picks: Dunlop 018s or 020s. Bend the tips up. Put them on. Start playing.

4. You have 2 tuners already. Why buy a third? Do that after you have been playing a few years. Also you need to develop your own pedal-steel-ears.

5. Stools: do you have a comfortable armless chair already? Yes, but too low? Cushions. Later on, when you gig out, buy a stool or steel seat. I recommend a Tama drum throne because it is adjustable.

5. Effects. You don't need 'em--at this point. Concentrate on getting a good solid note right from the steel itself. Later on, mess up your sound with effects. Leave compression to the Fender slingers. I recommend playing a lot without any effects at all. You will get an honest sound that way.

6.Amp: You have a Fender Blues Jr. already? OK: Use that. Search later for your holy grail of amps.

7. Cables? Use the ones you've got. Later on you can buy the platinum-plated diamond-encrusted $250 cables. (P.S. Hardly anyody will know the difference!)

8. Volume pedal? In the learning stage, you don't need one! (OK, everybody, stop throwing bricks at me!!) Put your right foot on a couple of bricks so it gets used to that position. Goodrich volume pedals are apparently starting at $250 these days (Ack). How about a small, sturdy Moyo?

In sum, less stuff, more actually playing the thing.

[Announcer: "Ladies and gentlemen--let the flames begin!"]

Chris
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Al Evans


From:
Austin, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 21 Jan 2021 6:22 am    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:

Tuner - your tuners are fine for now. The downside of the Stroboclip HD is that it doesn't have the E9 or C6 pedal steel sweeteners.


I was surprised to find that out that the E9 and C6 sweeteners can be installed via the web site, Chrome, and the USB port, just like you edit the sweeteners on the Strobostomp HD. And they work just fine.

--Al Evans
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Ryan Lunenfeld


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 22 Jan 2021 9:52 am    
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Al Evans wrote:
Dave Mudgett wrote:

Tuner - your tuners are fine for now. The downside of the Stroboclip HD is that it doesn't have the E9 or C6 pedal steel sweeteners.


I was surprised to find that out that the E9 and C6 sweeteners can be installed via the web site, Chrome, and the USB port, just like you edit the sweeteners on the Strobostomp HD. And they work just fine.

--Al Evans



Thank you Al, that really saved me some money! Now to get a USB-C to micro.....haha.
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David Ellison

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2021 8:58 pm    
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Keep it as simple as possible. How are you going to learn to play if you're messing around with effects? To learn, all you need is an amp (any amp), a drum stool, a bar, a volume pedal, picks and two cords.

Youre going to have your hands full learning to play with just the basics and adding more crap is just going to distract you.
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Carl Butler

 

From:
Delaware, USA
Post  Posted 4 Apr 2022 5:25 pm     Amp volume at max
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I don’t get it it yet…. If the amp is at full volume how in the hell do you manage the volume pedal without blowing everyone away if you overstep the pedal?

Alternately, some say step the volume pedal to it maximum output, adjust the amp for appropriate volume…

Tried this and always find that the volume setting in the amp ends up at no more than 2…. There goes any chance of getting the best tone
out of the amp according to the max volume adherents

Pedal steel pickups seem to be hot and need the volume pedal … but how do you manage to keep your right foot in control of the
appropriate max volume…

Thanks

Carl
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Andrew Goulet


Post  Posted 5 Apr 2022 8:32 am     Re: Amp volume at max
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Carl Butler wrote:
I don’t get it it yet…. If the amp is at full volume how in the hell do you manage the volume pedal without blowing everyone away if you overstep the pedal?


I usually try (emphasis on "try") to set my volume so that the loudest practical volume is when the pedal is between .5 and .75 of the way up. I want room on either side. When you're trying to get a note to sustain for extra long, you might floor the pedal, but if you do it right it will just sound like sustain.

That being said, at least once during every live show I overshoot and have ONE REALLY LOUD NOTE before I can correct it. Volume pedal work is really tricky.
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Carl Butler

 

From:
Delaware, USA
Post  Posted 5 Apr 2022 10:05 am     Re: Amp volume at max
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I usually try (emphasis on "try") to set my volume so that the loudest practical volume is when the pedal is between .5 and .75 of the way up. I want room on either side. When you're trying to get a note to sustain for extra long, you might floor the pedal, but if you do it right it will just sound like sustain.

That being said, at least once during every live show I overshoot and have ONE REALLY LOUD NOTE before I can correct it. Volume pedal work is really tricky.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply…. I can see that it’s gonna be a challenge…

How do you like your Marlen? I’m looking a a Marlen SD 10 that I’m hoping to buy soon
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Gretsch 6 string lap steel
2012 Gibson Songwriter Deluxe Standard guitar
2012 Gibson Keb Mo guitar
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Andrew Goulet


Post  Posted 5 Apr 2022 10:45 am    
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You can always practice it at home, but sort of leave it alone when you gig, until you get the hang of it. I played gigs for a while without a volume pedal at all.

I love my Marlen! I use a 12 string D6/9 tuning that sort of combines a little E9 and C6 (also good for non-pedal playing). I have it set up very simply, with each change being only raise or only lower. The guitar is rock solid, stays in tune, plays like butter and has fantastic tone. If you want to put a more modern copedent on a pull-release, you'll have to do more work than I did, but that's a different thread. There are plenty of resources and people on here to help with that.
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Michael Rademacher

 

From:
Killeen, Texas
Post  Posted 24 Jan 2023 11:51 pm    
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I am only writing here because I am also new to pedal steel. I have one coming soon. Since I have only played 6-string electric guitar and sometimes bass guitar, I have no expertise whatsoever, but I wonder whether, in the beginning, one can control volume somewhat simply with pick dynamics? Pick lightly for softer sound, and more aggressively for louder sound? It works with a 6-string Strat, but I have no idea whether it may also work as a simple and basic volume control technique for a psg? I have not seen anyone bring this up yet (at least on this thread) so I thought I would mention it just to see what actual steel players would say about it.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 25 Jan 2023 3:39 am    
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Michael Rademacher wrote:
......one can control volume somewhat simply with pick dynamics? ......

Yes. First of all, for all the things that are special about PSG and all the unique aspects of it, it is still a guitar and anything you know with a guitar applies to PSG (except for fretting). Yes, volume pedal technique becomes a part of the the sound of the steel as it applies to sustain and volume envelope. To not use it ignores a very special part of what steel can do.

But I'm remembering once, years ago, when I set up at a bar and we started playing. Something felt strange but not drastically so -- just....a little off. Halfway into the second song I realized that my volume pedal was somehow not hooked up right....totally bypassed (I still can't figure out how I did that). All I know is that nobody noticed anything. All I felt was that my volume levels were erratic. It never entered my mind that there was anything wrong with the pedal -- I seemed to still have full control of dynamics. Turns out, while my foot thought it was in control, it was all in my hands.

No, I don't recommend it. There is a LOT of tone color difference (rather than volume difference) that you can get from picking lightly, pedal wide open, vs. picking hard, pedal pulled back, that you would lose. But yes, there is a lot that the hands can do to control your volume.
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Tommy Mc


From:
Middlesex VT
Post  Posted 25 Jan 2023 7:44 am    
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Michael Rademacher wrote:
I have no expertise whatsoever, but I wonder whether, in the beginning, one can control volume somewhat simply with pick dynamics? Pick lightl


Michael, welcome to pedal steel. You'll find a lot of similarities between guitar and pedal steel, but a lot of differences too. While it's true that you can control some of the dynamics through your picking, a volume pedal is integral to the unique character sound of pedal steel. It really is a vital piece of equipment. The volume pedal does far more than control how loud you're playing. It provides expression and sustain in ways that can't be done with picking alone. I assume you're interested in pedal steel because you're captivated by the sound. If you want to play like the pedal steels you hear on recordings, you need a volume pedal.

If your pedal steel arrives and you don't have a volume pedal yet, it's fine to start messing around without one, but you'll quickly find how necessary it is. You might as well order one now and get ahead of the game.
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Tom McDonough
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 25 Jan 2023 5:55 pm    
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A 3 1/4" bar is fine for a 10-string guitar. You'll probably never be covering all 10 strings, anyway. Oh Well

Carl Butler wrote:
I don’t get it yet…. If the amp is at full volume how in the hell do you manage the volume pedal without blowing everyone away if you overstep the pedal?


It's called PRACTICE! Practice until you're done practicing, then go back and practice some more. There should be no "accidental overstepping" of the volume pedal during normal playing. (Along the same lines, there should be no "accidental flooring" of you car accelerator pedal when you're parking your car or pulling into your garage. Laughing )

I remember Buddy Emmons at one of the ISGC shows; players were just in awe..."Man, how does he get that unbelievable sustain?"

(Uhh...he ran his volume control twice as high as all the other players! Cool ) True story.
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Michael Rademacher

 

From:
Killeen, Texas
Post  Posted 25 Jan 2023 10:11 pm    
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Thanks guys! Like Ryan, I too am in the process of getting an initial accessories kit together. So far I have a Dunlop 7/8 bar, several thumb picks and a decent set of finger picks, a spare set of strings, a Walker seat, a couple of cables and tuners (but not the Peterson Strobo with sweetened tuning that I want). I can use the reverb and delay pedals I already have. I have a Vox AC15 (tube) and a Tonemaster Twin (solid state) to play through. I am probably going to order a passive Goodrich volume pedal (aside from the Goodrich website, does anyone stock these?). I still need some knee grease and brain lube.
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Bill McCloskey

 

From:
Nanuet, NY
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2023 5:13 am    
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You can order a Goodrich pedal from amazon.
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