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Author Topic:  Sierra Steel Guitars
Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 9:02 am     Reply with quote

Had the opportunity to visit with Ross for a couple of hours in early October.
He is an incredible man doing amazing work to get Sierra Steel guitars to their next evolution.

Seems like he has taken all the very best ideas that have been in many brands of PSG's during the past 70 years and improved and innovated them all to an even higher standard.

He has also developed some of his own ideas from his vast experience as a luthier to improve the tone and sustain of the instrument by his design, choice of materials and how he assembles those to produce an acoustically superior free floating sound board to the scalloped necks for these PSG's.

I left both very impressed and tempted...... Oh no, am I really thinking of buying yet another PSG that I really don't need. Whoa!
Well yes I can't stop thinking about it. Rolling Eyes

Should not forget to say how much I love seeing the beautiful Abalone and Mother Of Pearl inlays being used in pedal steels beyond just the straight line trim. Very Happy

Not so expensive when you consider what has gone into these. Actually quite a bargain. And that be my 2¢ worth and well worth what you paid me for it!
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
Clinesmith Aluminum 8 String Frypan Ordered.
Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
1950's? Blankenship PSG Restoration Project.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8, Restoration Project.
Morrell 8 string lap steel.
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 27 Dec 2017 7:15 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for the Props Andy, I hope you're doing well!

I hope y'all had a nice Christmas (or a nice Dec. 25th for you non-christmas folks).

Check out the Sierra Youtube channel for another compelling episode of "Makin' Chips". This time I'm making the changer stop bar/return spring mount.

https://youtu.be/VumOf69glvQ

I hope you enjoy it!

Best of luck to all for the new year!
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 28 Dec 2017 6:04 am     I like Christmas Reply with quote

I like Christmas even if I'm not a christian.
Everything I said I believe. I really like seeing the videos.
My favorite part is when the CNC changes tools.
Have a great New Year,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
Clinesmith Aluminum 8 String Frypan Ordered.
Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
1950's? Blankenship PSG Restoration Project.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8, Restoration Project.
Morrell 8 string lap steel.
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Dave Zirbel


From:
Sebastopol, CA USA
Post Posted 29 Dec 2017 10:22 am     Reply with quote

I guess I'll jump in.

I had the pleasure of living with one of Ross' prototypes for a few months now, as a favor to him. He wanted it "road" tested, or at least get a few miles on it. It's an interesting guitar made of spruce. I've used it on almost every gig between now and the day I took it home. (I needed the double neck for a Commander Cody gig Wink ) At first I had trouble dialing it in because the spruce reacts lot different than the maple but I figured it out. The maple guitars sounded better to me when I AB'd them. Some of the sound men that have heard me many times with my beloved vintage Zbs all had positive feedback, some even offered it without me asking the question "How was my tone?" They said it cut through without having to eq the board too much and for them that's a good thing. One guy even said he thought it sounded more like what he thought a steel should sound like.

Our resident bay area celebrity hippie steel wizard, Barry Sless approached me after a gig and was very curious. He said I was definitely the brightest sounding instrument in the mix in a "very pleasing way". His exact words. He was blown away with the twisting adjustable pedal rods and flipped out when he saw me walking out with a tiny compact case that was only 38 pounds. He asked for Ross' number. Smile

Now there are a few guys that are stuck on the vintage thing that like my Zbs better, and believe me, I get it because I've been that way for a long time But I surrendered to a modern guitar....and it's ok! I LOVE it!! I actually feel like my playing improved because my confidence improved.

The pedal and knee lever feel is very precise and smooth and it's very fun to play, with all the stops being very accurate. The notes from the pulls snap into place beautifully and the pulls are balanced and even. I rarely have to adjust the tuners including the endplate.

No shortcuts were taken on these steels.

I ordered a maple S-10 3x 5 and have no regrets. I just hope I don't end up wanting spruce. This prototype has really grown on me. In fact I have to give it back and I will miss it! Sorry about the bar dings Ross, and the case works great when somebody spills a drink on it backstage! The steel stayed dry! Wink .



_________________
Dave Zirbel-
ZB, Fender 400 guitars, various tube and SS amps
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 29 Dec 2017 1:43 pm     Reply with quote

Looks great, Dave!
I look forward to seeing them in Phoenix in a few weeks Smile
Hey give that spruce one back so I can try it for a while Mr. Green Very Happy
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Dave Zirbel


From:
Sebastopol, CA USA
Post Posted 29 Dec 2017 4:47 pm     Reply with quote

The spruce one will be there in Phoenix! Don'y worry! Very Happy
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Dave Zirbel-
ZB, Fender 400 guitars, various tube and SS amps
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Dave Zirbel


From:
Sebastopol, CA USA
Post Posted 29 Dec 2017 4:52 pm     Reply with quote

Another thing that took getting used to is that the strings are visually different to most guitars I've played. On the new Sierra I see all 10 strings on the fretboard where on most others I've played, the first string doesn't appear on the fretboard because of the angle we are seeing it. So the neck is wider on the new Sierra to accommodate that. Now it's no problem.
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Dave Zirbel-
ZB, Fender 400 guitars, various tube and SS amps
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 30 Dec 2017 3:27 am     Reply with quote

Interesting point, Dave - I guess most of us are used to an "invisible" 1st string.
_________________
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Hilton pedal, Telonics mini rack and 15" cabs
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 30 Dec 2017 8:23 am     Reply with quote

Wow, thanks Dave, I guess that bribe check I sent arrived.

Without a doubt the input I got from reading the forum and talking to players was instrumental in the work I've done to bring these steels to life.

This is especially true of my local steel bros. Big thanks to you guys who've had to listen to my nerdy questions, ideas and opinions in this journey. I'm talkin' bout: Dave Zirbel, Josh Yenne, Bobby Lee and David Phillips. Thanks tons guys!

The first string visual thing throws some folks for a loop for the first few minutes. Some people just start playing and don't have any issue at all.

Pete...c/mon by our table at the show, you can play the Goose (spruce guitar's nickname) as much as you want.

Thanks again Zirbster, can't wait to get your own rig finished and in front of you!

Happy New Year!
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Charles Kurck


From:
Living in Arkansas but Heaven is home
Post Posted 1 Jan 2018 4:53 am     Neck Width Reply with quote

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=2639936&highlight=#2639936
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 4 Jan 2018 7:18 am     Reply with quote

'the hits just keep on comin'!"

Happy New Year all y'all!
We just posted another "Makin' Chips" video, no cnc this time, just me crankin' handles on my manual lathe.

For those of you attending the show in Phoenix next weekend, be sure to stop by the Sierra table and say hi. We'll have 4 of the new Sierras there for your perusal.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 8 Jan 2018 7:37 am     That is an issue Reply with quote

Dave Zirbel wrote:
Another thing that took getting used to is that the strings are visually different to most guitars I've played. On the new Sierra I see all 10 strings on the fretboard where on most others I've played, the first string doesn't appear on the fretboard because of the angle we are seeing it. So the neck is wider on the new Sierra to accommodate that. Now it's no problem.


I really have enjoyed my new SD-10 Mullen, but that is an issue with it when I got it in April. Hard to spot the high G# from the 2nd string even after 9 months.
The only other thing I was not crazy about with the Mullen was the tone. I've now ordered a Jerry Wallace True Tone 18k pickup for it. The Mullen is 23K for what thats worth.
Everything else about the Mullen is just as I ordered it, well made and fits my body perfect.
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
Clinesmith Aluminum 8 String Frypan Ordered.
Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
1950's? Blankenship PSG Restoration Project.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8, Restoration Project.
Morrell 8 string lap steel.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 8 Jan 2018 9:12 am     Reply with quote

True Tone is the stock pickup on the new Sierras. I wanted a humbucker, so I have a Telonics in mine. Very happy with it.
_________________
-b0b- (SGF Admin) Bobby Lee ♪ @b0bleeCopedentsRecordings
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 10 Jan 2018 9:53 am     Reply with quote

Howdy all, Mari and I managed to get one last "Makin' Chips" vid together before I take off for the Phoenix show, you can see it here: https://youtu.be/2zESSO3vgpA

If you're attending the show in Phoenix, please do come by and say howdy. While you're there try your hand at our hourly trivia contest. HINT : Some of the answers can be found in these vids. Prize for the winners will be a beautiful new embroidered Sierra hat.

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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 10 Jan 2018 11:22 am     Reply with quote

Please put one of those hats aside for me to buy!
I get in Thursday afternoon Smile
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 12 Jan 2018 9:02 pm     Reply with quote

Sierras at SWSGA (mine's in front!)


_________________
-b0b- (SGF Admin) Bobby Lee ♪ @b0bleeCopedentsRecordings
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 24 Jan 2018 8:37 am     Reply with quote

Howdy All, wanted to thank the SWSGA crew for their hospitality and for putting on a great shindig.

I'm very excited about all the positive comments and the attention the new Sierra's got at the show. My heart and soul has gone into these things for the last 7 years and having them appreciated so much feels mighty good!

Thank you all!

I managed to torch my back on the last day of the show, then 2 days later got taken down by this damn flu....I'm back amongst the living now and continuing my work in the shop.

I am left with a horrible case or laryngitis so its going to be a bit before I'm back to making some vids....stay tuned though, there's more to come!
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 11:33 am     Reply with quote

egads the end of January already....what a month! It's about damn time for another vid and we got one for you. I'm making a pile-knee levers this time.

You can see it here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_os0BmS2_fQ
thanks for the addy correction Edward!


The first person who can post (here on the forum or in the video comments) the band and album that's playing during this video, will receive a free embroidered Sierra Hat with shipping included. Good luck!!


Last edited by Ross Shafer on 31 Jan 2018 11:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Edward Rhea


From:
Medford Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 11:45 am     Reply with quote

Here you go
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_os0BmS2_fQ
Great video, thanks for sharing!
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“TONESNOB”
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Patrick Thornhill


From:
Austin Texas, USA
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 2:04 pm     Reply with quote

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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 9:36 pm     Reply with quote

Great album Patrick, but the hat is still available.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 31 Jan 2018 9:50 pm     Stunning photo Reply with quote

b0b wrote:
Sierras at SWSGA (mine's in front!)



Beautiful work Ross. Will you also be at the Dallas show? Very Happy
Love to see your there.
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
Clinesmith Aluminum 8 String Frypan Ordered.
Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
1950's? Blankenship PSG Restoration Project.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8, Restoration Project.
Morrell 8 string lap steel.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 1 Feb 2018 6:37 am     Reply with quote

No Dallas show for me I'm afraid....too busy playing with the new piglets!

Have a great time there!

P.S. this free hat is ready to go...post the correct band and album and it's yours. Patrick, you should try again....just sayin'
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 17 Feb 2018 9:05 am     Reply with quote

Its getting exciting here on the Rockin' Bar L Ranch....final assembly is underway on three gorgeous new Sierras! Can't wait to hear these lovelies sing!



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Dave Zirbel


From:
Sebastopol, CA USA
Post Posted 17 Feb 2018 10:56 am     Reply with quote

Whoa!
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Dave Zirbel-
ZB, Fender 400 guitars, various tube and SS amps
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