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Author Topic:  Newbie. Hello everybody and Sierra Olympic S12 questions
Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 3:01 am     Reply with quote

Hi from Germany,

being a guitar player for decades I was soaked into pedal steel after seeing Donnie Herron play with Dylan several times and talking to him backstage.

A year ago I purchased a GFI Expo after a party of a befriended musician, which I play and love alot.

Since I wanted a second steel for the rehersal room I got a, what I think is, a Sierra S12 Olympic, for which I need some advise and some parts (it hasn't been treated too good). Will post some pics later.

Thanks for setting up this Forum and letting me be part it.


Last edited by Jörg Berger on 18 Jan 2017 7:03 am; edited 2 times in total
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Len Amaral


From:
Rehoboth,MA 02769
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 6:10 am     Reply with quote

The Sierra is built like a tanK. Looking forward to the pics👍
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 11:02 am     Reply with quote

Once you learn how to work on steels, you'll find that EVERYTHING that's different on a Sierra is engineering designed both for longevity and ease of maintenance.
You might be able to get parts from Sierra, which is still active, but only making lap steels. Otherwise I think Jim Palenscar has some. I'd LOVE to own a Sierra after working on Andrew Wright's guitar.
Come to think of it, I suggest not only talking to the experienced hands, but talk to Andrew. Because he's new to pedal steel and is working on his own, so he'll have a newbie's eye view. This can be helpful to other newbies.
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More amps than guitars, and not many effects
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Roy McKinney


From:
Ontario, OR
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 5:49 pm     Reply with quote

Well, Lane, I have a 2000 Sierra SD10 8x5 I need to sale.

What spare parts I had for a Sierra I donated to Jim P
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 6:31 pm     Reply with quote

If l were in the position to buy a guitar, I'd be sending you money. But I'm not.
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2 pedal steels, a lapStrat, and an 8-string Dobro (and 3 ukes)
More amps than guitars, and not many effects
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Roy McKinney


From:
Ontario, OR
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 6:35 pm     Reply with quote

Lane, sometime when you are driving through Ontario Oregon give me a hollar. I am only up the hill from the Love truck stop.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 18 Jan 2017 6:44 pm     Reply with quote

Jörg, I've owned a couple Sierras and have played 12's and 14's off and on for a few years. Be glad to help any time I can. I don't believe I have any parts left though.

Good luck with your pedal steel experience and welcome to the forum too!
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 19 Jan 2017 12:12 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for all your warm words and assistance.

Below some pics. First step is to get it in working condition. For the next step I hope to track down and replace the wrong/missing parts. So I'm in need for 3 of the leg-release-Buttons & one lever-screw fixing the leg. One knee lever can't be mounted since the screw is missing. Does anyone know the thread size? And last but not least the Sierra Logos for the front would be the icing on the cake. After that I will install the input jack at the correct postion and remove all the decals and marks on fretboard, step and so on. Last point on the list is to clean the steel part by part to let it shine.
My first impression is that the pedal-action of the Sierra is very smoothly. Have to adjust the lever- and pedal-pitches. After that I have to dig in the 5- pedal-stuff since my GFI is 3/4 and a different copedent.


Again...thanks everybody





























Last edited by Jörg Berger on 10 Jan 2018 1:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andrew Wright


From:
Indiana, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2017 8:45 am     Reply with quote

Which screw is missing from the knee lever? I can check mine for a measurement. I've thankfully not needed to touch any of the legs on mine - all my work has been on rod/crank reconfiguration.
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 19 Jan 2017 9:33 am     Reply with quote







Hi Andrew,
on the photo with the knee lever you can see the empty slot for the missing lever on the right side (I have the lever). So it must be like the screw that goes thru the lever which can be seen on the left side of the picture.
Thanks

Andrew Wright wrote:
Which screw is missing from the knee lever? I can check mine for a measurement. I've thankfully not needed to touch any of the legs on mine - all my work has been on rod/crank reconfiguration.


Last edited by Jörg Berger on 10 Jan 2018 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 19 Jan 2017 12:30 pm     Reply with quote

Jörg, I'm going from memory but I'm pretty sure about this. The through retaining bolt for your lever is SAE size #10 with 32 TPI or listed as: #10-32 NF [National Fine.] If you want it to match the others, it's a socket head cap screw that takes a 5/32 hex [allen] wrench. It's probably 3/4 or 1 inch in length. Like this: clickhere

If you can't find the size there in your area, let me know and I'll round you one up.
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 21 Jan 2017 7:52 am     Sierra Olympic S-12 Reply with quote

Jorg.. you might want to contact Jim Palenscar. He has a few parts & is very knowledgeable

Steel Guitars of North County
3375 Mission Ave. Suite D
Oceanside, California 92058
760-754-2120
SteelGuitars@cox.net

Good Luck...
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 21 Jan 2017 8:18 am     Reply with quote

Thanks guys. Wrote a letter to Jim Palenscar which
has to be the guy since his name came from different directions.
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Tony Glassman


From:
The Great Northwest
Post Posted 21 Jan 2017 9:43 am     Reply with quote

Also, if the damaged front apron mica bothers you, it is much easier to change-out than on most brands.

Unlike other guitars, there is no need to remove the end-plates. The front mica is just a panel of laminate sitting between the two trim ridges, which are are actually part of the aluminum extruded body.
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 21 Jan 2017 10:37 am     Sierra S12 Olympic....restoration. Reply with quote

YEP, Tony is right. A heat gun, to remove it, some chemicals to remove the old adhesive & the panel is ready for some super duper Mica, the color choice is yours. Get some contact cement & Voila!, the front panel is complete.

In a few weeks, I will have a newer looking front panel on my Sierra... check back.
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Jeff Metz Jr.


From:
York, Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 22 Jan 2017 1:43 pm     Reply with quote

Sure hope Thats not my old Olympic 12. It was in mint condition when I sold it a few years back.
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 22 Jan 2017 1:59 pm     Sierra 12 restoration Reply with quote

My first Sierra was a D-10 SHOW GUITAR, it was covered in RED Birdseye Maple... it was absolutely gorgeous.

Folks tend to cover their items in mica, in lieu of real veneer, because the mica is resistant to dings & scrapes. Real Wood shows every trace of those accidents.
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 1:36 am     Reply with quote

Tony, are you the guy who might have assembled that PSG since you have worked for them?

Tony Glassman wrote:
Also, if the damaged front apron mica bothers you, it is much easier to change-out than on most brands.

Unlike other guitars, there is no need to remove the end-plates. The front mica is just a panel of laminate sitting between the two trim ridges, which are are actually part of the aluminum extruded body.
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John Russell


From:
Austin, Texas
Post Posted 26 Jan 2017 9:27 am     Sierra Olympic Reply with quote

Does anyone know how many Olympic models were made? It's my favorite of the many versions of the Sierra guitars. Of course I'm prejudiced since I've owned and played one for about five years. I agree that Jim Palenscar is the source for Sierra parts. I imagine every one who owns one can offer advice on maintenance. After considerable time setting mine up and reassembling I can say it's a great instrument to play. It compares nicely to my dear Zumsteel S12U.
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 31 Jan 2017 1:22 am     Reply with quote

Now it's time to start asking silly questions.

I tried to adjust one of the pedal down settings
via the according screw. After the pd-pitch is reached The pitch of the open string travelled alot more compared to my GFI and makes a correct setting almost impossible (back and forth for hours). Do I have to adjust the spring setting also? I'm thinking about changing all the springs since they might be in there since decades.
Does that make sence?
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 31 Jan 2017 2:38 am     Reply with quote

If the string in question was the 6th, you might have a plain vs wound.
Does the Sierra have fresh strings on it?
_________________
2 pedal steels, a lapStrat, and an 8-string Dobro (and 3 ukes)
More amps than guitars, and not many effects
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 31 Jan 2017 2:57 am     Reply with quote

Thanks Lane,

it was the second string and the strings where very old. I cut them all off and recognized that I have to understand pedal steel mechanics first before thinking about changing the copedent of the instrument.

My next step will be to built a vise to work on the instrument while all strings can oscilate free.
I know that I have a long way to go but you have to
start at one point and of course will ask more silly questions.

Lane Gray wrote:
If the string in question was the 6th, you might have a plain vs wound.
Does the Sierra have fresh strings on it?
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 31 Jan 2017 8:35 am     Reply with quote

Old dead strings will react slower, and kinda unpredictable.
If it's taking a lot of lever travel, move the nylon doohickey to the next slot away from the axle, so that movement of the lever gives you more travel of the finger. Dropping a .015“ (sorry, I don't know the metric equivalent) from D# to C# is pretty easy; I've never seen a guitar that can't.
If you're half handy with tools, I'd build something that looks like an overgrown miter box to support the front and rear of the guitar in the middle, that would allow you to pluck the strings while holding it underside up.
For guitars with the normal screw-in legs, they make work stands that go between the legs and endplate, but those don't work with Sierra.
I wonder if you can rotate the legs a full half turn?
_________________
2 pedal steels, a lapStrat, and an 8-string Dobro (and 3 ukes)
More amps than guitars, and not many effects
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Jörg Berger


From:
Germany
Post Posted 31 Jan 2017 8:47 am     Reply with quote

Thanks...will check a fresh set of strings first
(it's same over here 015''bis). Another hobby is refurbishing lightweight steel racing bikes so I might be able to build such a frame, nevertheless >>>
great idea to mount the legs reversed while working on the guitar.
Edit: Cannot work with the pedals mounted.

Lane Gray wrote:
Old dead strings will react slower, and kinda unpredictable.
If it's taking a lot of lever travel, move the nylon doohickey to the next slot away from the axle, so that movement of the lever gives you more travel of the finger. Dropping a .015“ (sorry, I don't know the metric equivalent) from D# to C# is pretty easy; I've never seen a guitar that can't.
If you're half handy with tools, I'd build something that looks like an overgrown miter box to support the front and rear of the guitar in the middle, that would allow you to pluck the strings while holding it underside up.
For guitars with the normal screw-in legs, they make work stands that go between the legs and endplate, but those don't work with Sierra.
I wonder if you can rotate the legs a full half turn?
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 31 Jan 2017 12:50 pm     Reply with quote

I knew there was a flaw in there...
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2 pedal steels, a lapStrat, and an 8-string Dobro (and 3 ukes)
More amps than guitars, and not many effects
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