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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 19 Apr 2013 12:35 pm    
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Milling from billet uses more aluminum, but there is zero waste; every endplate is perfect because there are no air pockets, as occasionally happens with castings. After sanding and polishing, a cast endplate may discover a flaw and render it imperfect (not that Sho~Bud cared much one way or the other) for a new guitar. So according to Bud Carter (who knows) milling gives more consistency to the parts.

However, cast aluminum has more resonance and therefore better tone. Bells are cast, not machined. The best sounding guitars I've owned had cast endplates, necks, and machine heads, not milled.
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Jerry Jones


From:
Nashville, Tenn.
Post  Posted 19 Apr 2013 1:15 pm    
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I've seen cast aluminum plate as thick as 2.5". That would be interesting to compare two machined end plates; one from cast plate and another from an extruded billet. Perhaps both could be compared to sand cast end plates. Cost? Confused
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Tom Vollmer


From:
Hamburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Post  Posted 19 Apr 2013 7:26 pm     cast or billet
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In making manufactured product no single method is satisfactory for every application.
Good solid castings are possable and are available.
The problem is to know which foundries can give you good castings.Also when early days of building pedal steels castings were the easiest way of producing the parts.
You can CNC end plates for example but you are looking at 4 to 7 or more set ups.
In small runs castings are the more effective manufacturing process.
You can imagine the programing and making clamping fixtures time to machine a set of end plates.To make it worthwhile any CNC shop would want a minimum order of 50 to 100 pieces.
Having giving my opinion on that you might see a shop machining 10 casting not being as large of a job.
Also I find a lack of metal working knowledge in a statement that bells are cast and not machined from stock and that is why the sound is better.
Try to picture a block of metal large enough to machine your local church bell and a machine large enough to machine a bell and logic should make you understand why most bells are cast.
To condense IMHO the steel guitar parts main problem is small quantities.
Also my opinions are from over 50 years patternmaking machining and CNC programing and machining.
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Mike Cass


From:
Nashville,Tn. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 19 Apr 2013 7:35 pm    
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Clyde,

in that case, were the Emmons endplate castings bearing the stamp "SA-8" made in G'boro or Reidsville?
The info which I previously posted on the early Emmons castings was provided to me by the late Bryan Adams, btw.
He told me of Len taking him over to a fellows house in Graham, NC in 1963 where he saw on a workbench 2 or 3 assembled steel guitar bodies in endplates w/necks and keyheads that were covered in gloss black mica and looked like they'd just landed there from outer space...maybe that last part was because of the atoms on the fretboards. He said at that time that Len told him that he'd cast the parts for this fellow..I think his name was Ron something or other....


Last edited by Mike Cass on 19 Apr 2013 7:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Cass


From:
Nashville,Tn. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 19 Apr 2013 7:42 pm    
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Tom,

thanks for your considerable insight. So the problem then is not in the actual process per~se and a lack of qualified suppliers of said product, but more in the individual quality from foundry to foundry?
interesting........
Would a certain al-mag content present particular problems as opposed to another?
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Billy Carr


From:
Seminary, Mississippi USA
Post  Posted 19 Apr 2013 11:16 pm     endplates
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GFI guitars, the endplates that are different colors and have the cringle cover(?), say black, what material is used with it. What material is used for the endplates. Is dieboard used in the cabinets? I've always been curious about the parts, GFI builds from. One more thing, is the thickness of the wood(cabinet)on earlier Emmons guitars the same as, say one built today. How is the torque(sp?) on the necks of Emmons guitars determined? Some of the early Emmons guitars had a certain bell like tone. From what I've read there are several things that determine how a guitar will respond. I'm referring to early Emmons but it'll probably apply to all guitars. Thanks.
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Tom Vollmer


From:
Hamburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Post  Posted 20 Apr 2013 5:32 am    
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Mike,
Almag,Tenzalloy,319,356 can all be cast by a good foundry with the same results.
When i need castings to be porosity and defects free the foundering process often requires the right humidity when poured,degassing and other procedures such as the right amount of finish material,how the pattern is headed and gated and other considerations.
Your pattern could have as much weight or volumn in heads and gates as the casting.In other words a 2 Lb casting could have a 2 Lb gate system.
Again these are my opinions fromexperience.
TV
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 20 Apr 2013 5:47 am    
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Tom
I admit to general ignorance regarding metals and their properties. I was speaking only from my conversations with Bud Carter. I realize there are many factors involved when decisions about manufacturing small lots of items are made.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post  Posted 20 Apr 2013 12:34 pm    
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Paul Franklin has (had?) been using the same casting company that Sho-Bud used. My 81 D-10 Franklin has cast parts. About 2 years ago, passing through Nashville, I stopped to visit Paul and Oleda. He showed me an aluminum neck that had been CNC milled and tapping on it produced a bell like sound. I gathered Paul was impressed with the CNC neck.
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Shawn Sprouse


From:
LaVergne,Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2013 1:11 pm    
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Mike Cass wrote:


It mystifies me why no one ever seems to complain about waiting 2 years for certain brands of steel guitars, but with the Emmons Guitar everyone seems to expect their guitar, asap.


Hi Mike
I hope maybe you can help me spur them on to completing my guitar, assuming that they have started it by now.As for the reason people my be complaining, I have a good idea as to why. They are probably the same reasons I am. First off back in the beginning of May 2012, I contacted Emmons and I talked to Rebecca and she told me it takes 68 hours to make a steel guitar. She assured me that it would be ready by end of August or First of Sept. With that in writing on the invoice they sent me, I paid them in full for the guitar. What a big mistake!!!!! When completion date came and went,that is when the stories began along with the nightmare of dealing with them. I would call and get voicemail for a week or 2 at a time before ever talking to Ron or Rebecca. When I would get to talk to them they would say 2 weeks. 2 weeks came and went and back to the voicemail again for another week or 2. Everytime I get to talk to Ron he would say 2 weeks!! This went on from Sept til March 25th. Then he said 6 weeks. I have to be honest I laughed at that, thinking good lord how long is his 6 weeks if 2 weeks has taken this long! If they would just be straight up and say it takes X amount of time for us to do this,then fine!!! Deal with it or go somewhere else to get a steel. They bring the complaints on themselfs by dishing out bull everytime you talk to them, instead of being truthful. In my personal opinion I think Emmons are the best guitars ever made. This was the first time I ever went direct to get one and I assure you I will never do it again. In fact it has left me with a total lack of respect for the brand! Still to date I have no guitar, no estimated date of completion,like that means anything and they have all my money for it! All I have ever asked for was honesty.
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chris ivey


From:
california - r.i.p.
Post  Posted 20 May 2013 2:04 pm    
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people here get on my case for mentioning these cases. steel players are my people and when they are being screwed around it pisses me off. i've heard of other similar cases.
and yes...it comes down to dishonesty, inconsideration
..and rudeness.
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Clyde Mattocks


From:
Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 20 May 2013 4:42 pm    
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Mike Cass, I don't have any direct knowledge of the Emmons castings so I would defer to the information Brian gave you. I do know that Leonard and Ron were searching for someone that could do castings and some of the samples that i saw at Leonard's were pretty rough, lots of pits. When he settled on Quality Castings in Greensboro, he took us (Claro and I)down there and we met with them to find out exactly what they required in a pattern. Since Leonard and Ron fequently met and discussed designs and suppliers, I assumed that Ron would have known and considered Quality, since they were at that time the largest, most professional shop in the area.
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chris ivey


From:
california - r.i.p.
Post  Posted 23 May 2013 8:22 am    
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Shawn Sprouse wrote:
Mike Cass wrote:


It mystifies me why no one ever seems to complain about waiting 2 years for certain brands of steel guitars, but with the Emmons Guitar everyone seems to expect their guitar, asap.


Hi Mike
I hope maybe you can help me spur them on to completing my guitar, assuming that they have started it by now.As for the reason people my be complaining, I have a good idea as to why. They are probably the same reasons I am. First off back in the beginning of May 2012, I contacted Emmons and I talked to Rebecca and she told me it takes 68 hours to make a steel guitar. She assured me that it would be ready by end of August or First of Sept. With that in writing on the invoice they sent me, I paid them in full for the guitar. What a big mistake!!!!! When completion date came and went,that is when the stories began along with the nightmare of dealing with them. I would call and get voicemail for a week or 2 at a time before ever talking to Ron or Rebecca. When I would get to talk to them they would say 2 weeks. 2 weeks came and went and back to the voicemail again for another week or 2. Everytime I get to talk to Ron he would say 2 weeks!! This went on from Sept til March 25th. Then he said 6 weeks. I have to be honest I laughed at that, thinking good lord how long is his 6 weeks if 2 weeks has taken this long! If they would just be straight up and say it takes X amount of time for us to do this,then fine!!! Deal with it or go somewhere else to get a steel. They bring the complaints on themselfs by dishing out bull everytime you talk to them, instead of being truthful. In my personal opinion I think Emmons are the best guitars ever made. This was the first time I ever went direct to get one and I assure you I will never do it again. In fact it has left me with a total lack of respect for the brand! Still to date I have no guitar, no estimated date of completion,like that means anything and they have all my money for it! All I have ever asked for was honesty.
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Mike Cass


From:
Nashville,Tn. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 23 May 2013 9:03 pm    
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Chris,
unfortunately, since the guitar in question wasnt ordered thru me I have no "pull" in the matter. As a sidenote: I build ALL Emmons guitars that I order, either @ the Emmons factory or in kit form @ my shop.
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Dickie Whitley


Post  Posted 24 May 2013 2:35 am    
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...

Last edited by Dickie Whitley on 30 May 2013 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tommy Minniear


From:
Logansport, Indiana
Post  Posted 24 May 2013 3:51 am    
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Mike Cass wrote:
Chris,
unfortunately, since the guitar in question wasnt ordered thru me I have no "pull" in the matter. As a sidenote: I build ALL Emmons guitars that I order, either @ the Emmons factory or in kit form @ my shop.


If I were wanting to order a new Emmons steel this is what I would do. I give "two thumbs up" to this approach! A "problem solved" solution! JMHO
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post  Posted 24 May 2013 6:00 am    
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Jack Stoner wrote:
Paul Franklin has (had?) been using the same casting company that Sho-Bud used. My 81 D-10 Franklin has cast parts. About 2 years ago, passing through Nashville, I stopped to visit Paul and Oleda. He showed me an aluminum neck that had been CNC milled and tapping on it produced a bell like sound. I gathered Paul was impressed with the CNC neck.


Interesting discussion of metallurgy here. I'm wondering how milling would have a detrimental effect on tone. Perhaps due to uneven heating caused by the milling process?
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post  Posted 24 May 2013 6:20 am    
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Mike Cass wrote:
Chris,
unfortunately, since the guitar in question wasnt ordered thru me I have no "pull" in the matter. As a sidenote: I build ALL Emmons guitars that I order, either @ the Emmons factory or in kit form @ my shop.


I just flashed an image of walking into Hobby Lobby and coming out with a kit to build a pedal steel guitar.

Thank you, Mike, for explaining the operations at Emmons. Are there other dealer/builders besides you? A distributed manufacturing business model might be a way for a PSG maker to survive.
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Danny Bentley


From:
Hendersonville Tn
Post  Posted 22 Jun 2013 11:07 am     Emmons
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Got the parts from Billy Knowles.
Very nice guy!
More than satisfied with his service.
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Jim Smith


From:
Valley Ranch (north Irving), TX, USA
Post  Posted 23 Jun 2013 8:39 am    
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Rich Peterson wrote:
A distributed manufacturing business model might be a way for a PSG maker to survive.

Unfortunately, that was one of the downfalls of Dekley. They tried to do it right by going through distributors first, and later through dealers. It's hard to make money selling any product to anyone for $1,000 for them to resell at $1,500-$2,000 when it costs $1,000 to make it.
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