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Post new topic Ergonomics: Adjusting guitar height and slant
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Author Topic:  Ergonomics: Adjusting guitar height and slant
Tab Tabscott


From:
Somewhere between Vashon and Vancouver
Post Posted 5 Oct 2017 2:44 pm     Reply with quote

Hi All- I am casting about trying to fix a couple of things that bug me about my steels.

I am tall enough that I have to tilt my guitars (back legs longer than front legs by 3/4 inch or so)--and even then, my right pant leg always develops a hole in it because the rods in the undercarriage rub against the front of my thigh just above the kneecap.

So I've come up with a cheap idea to fix this...well, not that cheap...I am thinking of extending the front legs about 3/4 inch and adding some washers or tubing or something to push the pedal bar down, thus leveling the guitar top. BUT THEN, you need to do the pedals. I absolutely hate
pedal rods that have any sort of bogus extension on them, and I've bought quite a few. So I think I will just spring for some new rods 3/4 longer, as there is not quite enough adjustment in the old PP pedal connectors.

The other idea which works great at home is to put the guitar on a 3/4 inch piece of plywood, level the rear legs, and set your pack a seat on the regular floor, thus building in the clearance for the pants. But I already make too many trips to the car for crap at gigs...

Then, just a quick question-How many of you play your steel with the table nearly or totally level? And how many like it tilted and by how much?

Is that by choice? I look at old clips of top players and everybody seems to play pretty level...

Anyway, I'd love to know. Tab
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Rick Abbott


From:
Indiana, USA
Post Posted 5 Oct 2017 4:58 pm     Reply with quote

You really need a 1" lift kit. I lift my guitars 2 inches and am very comfortable.

Many folks like a bit of back-to-front tilt, but I use a level to make mine totally flat, side to side and front to back.

Go to "links" above and search the forum store to find the lift kits.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 5 Oct 2017 5:05 pm     Reply with quote


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Bobby D. Jones


From:
West Virginia, USA
Post Posted 5 Oct 2017 7:51 pm     Ergonomantics: Adjust guitar height and angle Reply with quote

If the guitar is to short in the legs for you I would go a full 1". Just slightly thicker shoe heels or if you get on carpet with a thick pad, And the legs sink in, You might be right back with your legs dragging. Another plus would be 1" extenders are easier to find to extend the pedal rods. If you was to order rods they may have 1" longer in stock, 3/4" may be a special order and have a longer waiting time.
If the front legs are adjustable, Dowel rod inserts in the legs would make sure they do not collapse on you. You may have to put spacers on the front legs so the pedal bar cannot slide up. Good Luck on the change in height, Happy Steelin.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 2:11 am     Reply with quote

I've seen people that "Tilt" the steel. I've been playing Pedal Steel since 1969 and its always had to be level.
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Rick Barnhart


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 6:01 am     Reply with quote

Smile
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Last edited by Rick Barnhart on 6 Oct 2017 7:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dave Magram


From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 10:45 am     Re: Ergonomics: Adjusting guitar height and slant Reply with quote

Tab Tabscott wrote:
Hi All- I am casting about trying to fix a couple of things that bug me about my steels.

I am tall enough that I have to tilt my guitars (back legs longer than front legs by 3/4 inch or so)--and even then, my right pant leg always develops a hole in it because the rods in the undercarriage rub against the front of my thigh just above the kneecap...

I absolutely hate pedal rods that have any sort of bogus extension on them, and I've bought quite a few. So I think I will just spring for some new rods 3/4 longer, as there is not quite enough adjustment in the old PP pedal connectors...

Then, just a quick question-How many of you play your steel with the table nearly or totally level? And how many like it tilted and by how much?

Is that by choice? I look at old clips of top players and everybody seems to play pretty level...

Anyway, I'd love to know. Tab


Tab,

I’m 6’2” and had the same problem when I began playing pedal steel years ago.

My solution was a 1” lift kit for my Emmons P/P, which I was able to make myself for about $2; I expect you can buy one for under $10. If you want to make/buy longer pedal rods instead, that’s fine too (but I’m sure it will cost more than a lift kit). And be sure not to lose the original, standard-length pedal rods--in case you ever decide to sell your steel guitar.
(BTW, no audience member or band member has ever commented on or even noticed the lift-kit on my guitar).

I use an ATS hunting seat with adjustable-height legs, so I’ve got that part of the ergonomic equation solved.

However, I’m puzzled why some people have such strong opinions about tilting the steel forward. To me it is simply a matter of ergonomics and one’s body proportions. I tilt my steel guitar forward slightly because it enables me to maintain a straight line from my forearm to my hand, which is more ergonomic and comfortable. Someone else of the same height may have different body proportions than me and not have to tilt their guitar to get the same effect.

Here are a couple of photos of a “top player” who tilts his guitar forward, even though I’m sure Paul Franklin, Sr. built it to exactly fit Paul Jr’s. height. Perhaps Paul will chime in here; I suspect he did it for comfort and ergonomic reasons.



Here's a close-up from the same camera location...

The Time Jumpers~6 Pack to Go~HSBF 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxG6865xCIQ

I hope this is helpful.

-Dave
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Dustin Kleingartner


From:
Saint Paul MN, USA
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 11:46 am     Reply with quote

Speaking of guitar angle, there's this old picture. Not completely relevant, but sorta...


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John Billings


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 2:11 pm     Reply with quote

" To me it is simply a matter of ergonomics and one’s body proportions. I tilt my steel guitar forward slightly because it enables me to maintain a straight line from my forearm to my hand, which is more ergonomic and comfortable. "

Eggs Ackley!
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Tab Tabscott


From:
Somewhere between Vashon and Vancouver
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 3:38 pm     I agree totally Reply with quote

I totally agree that the line from the inside of the elbow to the top of the first knuckle should be as straight as possible. It just plays better. With a custom height pack a seat at 22 inches to the inside of the knee, my steel is too short for me and it wrecks my pants, and probably hurts my technique too.

I also want the tops of my thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. I've been listening to a lot of really good pedalists and while I haven't SEEN how they are set, I am thinking that there is an optimum position for getting the most out of your calf and foot muscles in order to play the pedals like a really good tap dancer moves their feet.

Im 40 something years into this instrument, in fact, this very PP, and after that long I am scrounging trying to find ways to improve. I don't want to "peak" at 58 years old. I want to keep getting better and better and better...which really shouldn't be all that hard.

So I am going to try the lift kit, and I'll report back. I just got another quilter amp. This one is a MACH 2 that's a little smaller and a little more versatile than the big Steelaire I've been toting for a couple of years.

Wanna get better? I'm throwing all the time I've got at that prospect. Now I's gonna throw some money at it. Shocked
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John Goux


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 8:12 pm     Reply with quote

There are some very classy players with their steels tilted.
Rick Schmidt is one.
I've tilted one guitar slightly, by necessity, to get the pedal angle correct. I can play that one equally as my guitars that are perfectly level.
J
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