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Post new topic Dobro effect for Steel comments welcome
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Author Topic:  Dobro effect for Steel comments welcome
Randy Carson


From:
Cedar Park, Texas, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 10:34 am     Reply with quote

Hi
Can anyone tell me what it is that makes a steel sound like a dobro?
How it works and
Also where I might find one?

Thanks in advance
Randy
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Bill McCloskey


Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 11:14 am     Reply with quote

As a dobro player, I'd say nothing. Anything I've heard sounds like a bad imitation at best.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 11:44 am     Reply with quote

Match-Bro by Goodrich. Very Happy
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 11:55 am     Reply with quote

Here's the device that Norm Hamlet uses along with his pedal steel. I saw him use it with Merl Haggard a number of years ago, and it sounded just like a dobro Winking


Cool
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Last edited by Brooks Montgomery on 22 Dec 2017 11:58 am; edited 2 times in total
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 11:57 am     Reply with quote

Randy, to follow up on Erv's post do a search and type in "dobro simulator."

There's probably at least one new thread a month on the subject. It will take you hours to go through all of them.

To follow up on Bill's post, even though in the right hands some of these simulators can sound decent - I just hate the idea of the things.

I can remember reading an interview with the late great Clarence White in the early '70s where he was asked something to the effect if the Parsons-White Stringbender (B bender) was designed to replace a pedal steel in a band and he shut it right down saying that he was going for some pedal steel-like effects, but no way was he trying to replace an acutal steel player. If he wanted pedal steel on a song, he'd hire a steel player.

I kinda feel the same way about dobro simulators.

Okay, back to the latest monthly simulator thread.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 2:11 pm     Reply with quote

Most everyone will agree that nothing's gonna sound as much like a resonator as a real resonator. The stompbox simulators, although some sound better than others, are basically just a fancy EQ.

The closest I have achieved to imitating a reso is by setting up a lap steel with the properly gauged strings for high-bass G tuning, playing with a Stevens-style bar as opposed to a bullet bar, and plugging the instrument straight into the stompbox, ahead of any volume pedal or other device(s).

I am presently using Tom Bradshaw's MXR/Dunlop pedal, but nearly any popular stompbox EQ with its sliders set in an oval shape, like a football, will work. I originally used a BOSS GE-7, but got tired of its constant hiss, before I obtained the MXR (which is as quiet as a church mouse).
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 3:38 pm     Reply with quote

The Goodrich Matchbro has to be at the top of the list.
Its not a "Dobro" but I've fooled a lot of musicians, including Bluegrass musicians with my Matchbro. I've had people come up to the stage on a break and ask where the Dobro is.

Our lead guitar player's brother-in-law (Bill Box) was the guitar picker for Bill Monroe in the 73/74 timeframe and later had his own Bluegrass band. He liked my "Dobro" picking.

But you have to "think Dobro" when using it, not just use it as another "effect".

Having said all that, I also have a Regal squareneck "Dobro".
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Douglas Schuch


From:
St John, US Virgin Islands
Post Posted 22 Dec 2017 4:55 pm     Reply with quote

You can get an OK dobro effect with a 7-channel equalizer stomp-box. I think the lowest goes all the way down, then they alternate from there - one all the way up, next one all the way down. I might have it backwards - try both ways and see which sounds better. Best to use a plastic bar to minimize sustain - pedal steel sustain is much greater than a dobro's.

I think it was Lane Gray who once said that he thought a dobro pedal on a steel sounded more like a dobro than any dobro playing through a pickup, but not as good as a mic'ed dobro.

Tom Bradshaw has a dobro pedal that some say is the best:

https://www.songwriter.com/bradshaw/resonator.php

Good luck!
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 3:46 am     Reply with quote

I have both a Matchbro and the Tom Bradshaw model. When my Matchbro developed a problem it looked like it would not get fixed so I bought the Tom Bradshaw model. I was lucky and another forum member came to my rescue with a hand drawn schematic of the Matchbro and I was able to fix it.

I did some comparisons of the two units and the Matchbro won out. The Tom Bradshaw model is good but the Matchbro is still the best.

Considering the age of the Matchbro (I have one of the original models) and that it has had other problems since I repaired it, at some point because of reliability I'll retire it and start using the Bradshaw model.
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Tom Wolverton


From:
San Diego, CA
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 9:17 am     Reply with quote

The closest I ever got was using a cat-can lap steel into a Matchbro (3-knob version). But it’s still only an imitation of the real deal. But I was playing in a band with the loudest drummer on the west coast. It was the only thing that worked.
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 12:13 pm     Reply with quote

Bill McCloskey wrote:
As a dobro player, I'd say nothing. Anything I've heard sounds like a bad imitation at best.


Bill, the Dunlop/Bradshaw/MXR box does pretty good.
Does it sound like a good Dobro with a mic? No.
But it DOES sound better than a good Dobro with a pickup.

It also has something to do with the player.
In the original days of the SGF (I STILL miss the treed format, but it's gone), Mike Auldridge admitted to being fooled by Buddy Emmons playing through a Matchbro.
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Bill McCloskey


Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 1:21 pm     Reply with quote

"But it DOES sound better than a good Dobro with a pickup. "

I doubt it sounds better than a dobro with a Fishman Nashville pickup going through a JD Aura box. That sounds exactly like a dobro mic'd.

Any simulator I've heard sounds like a dobro.....to a steel player. Smile
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Douglas Schuch


From:
St John, US Virgin Islands
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 2:24 pm     Reply with quote

With all respect, Bill, as I don't play dobro, but it seems to me the "Jerry Douglas Aura-box" is a dobro synth pedal to make a dobro with a pickup sound like a mic'd dobro. I wonder what a pedal steel through the "aura-box" would sound like? Also, I'd be cautious about boxing Lane in as just a pedal steel player trying to emulate dobro. I think he knows a bit more about tifkad's than that.

Having said that, I can definitely say my faux-dobro effect on my Zoom multi-stomp does not sound much like the dobros I hear, recorded MIC'ED on Youtube. I'm interested enough to see a real dobro in my future....
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 2:53 pm     Reply with quote

Technically I don't think the aura is a synth-like gadget.
As Mike explained to me (Bill, I grew up in the shadow of Mike, my dad was his bassman for decades and Mike taught me both Dobro and steel), the Aura is a combination of spectrum analyzer and high speed multiband EQ. It won't smooth or exaggerate the envelope, and if your right hand has Vic Jordan levels of pick noise, those will stay. But it'll tweak the tone to resemble the "images" stored.
If the Auldridge images were still available, I'd think about getting an Aura.
But the Bradshaw box is designed to give an emulation of the behavior of the cone, and it does that pretty well. AND if you want to emulate the behavior of the "biscuit bridge" cone, it will also do that.
I'd also love to hear what you'd get from steel-Bradshaw-Aura (with Auldridge images, TYVM) in a chain.
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Bill McCloskey


Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 3:14 pm     Reply with quote

Actually Lane, I believe that Mike's images are available, just not with the JD aura. I also have the Aura spectrum and you can download, at least you used to be able to download, Mike's images from the Fishman site.

And no offense meant, just having some fun.

The sound of any acoustic instrument is nuanced though and at least I've never heard a simulator that comes close to simulating a dobro. That said, I saw Jerry Douglas play solo a few weeks ago and he has so many pedals, he can make the dobro sound just about any way he wants:

[/img]
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 3:58 pm     Reply with quote

Like others I have never played or heard a "simulator" that sounded close to a Dobro.

In addition there are three other problems: 1) trying to play "Dobro" licks in spite of the pedal stee's' totally different tuning, 2) The very limited number of things that *can* be played "Dobro-like" on a pedal steel, and 3) players using these gadgets that don't play "real" Dobro, lacking an understanding of 2 & 3 preceding and who only can emulate things they've "heard" - not what they've "played".

FWIW I used a Shertler Basik pickup/preamp plus a Baggs Venue preamp when playing Dobro direct through a sound system or amp. With a good system and/or a very "neutral-toned" amp I got an excellent, properly "realistic" acoustic sound.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 4:38 pm     Reply with quote

I play in a show for which only one tune requires resonator sound. I get by with the Matchbro, as I don't want to drag another instrument around the country for just one song when this does a pretty decent facsimile. BTW, I don't think it's been mentioned but a VERY important part of getting the resonator tone on a Matchbro is using the lower-density composite bar that comes with it, instead of your regular steel bar.
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Keith Murrow


Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 7:45 pm     Reply with quote

Randy, the Danelectro "Fish & Chips" EQ pedal is a fairly low-cost investment to play around with. This isn't my photo, but it's the setup mine is set at.



As others have said, it's not "the real deal" compared to an actual resonator guitar. I don't have the budget to buy a resonator nor the time to master playing one, so this suits me for playing a few licks here and there.
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 23 Dec 2017 9:35 pm     Reply with quote

Through the better part of an hour of tweaking knobs on the amp and box, I got a sound out of the Bradshaw box that sounded better than the cheap Dobro that I once loaned to a student and never got back (partly my fault; I moved). But in order to get a really pleasing sound, the amp wasn't putting out a good steel sound.
I do think that the combination of the Bradshaw box and an Aura would get really close.
And I don't offend easily. But I reserve the right to chuckle if someone tells me I don't know TIFKAD.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 24 Dec 2017 3:05 am     Reply with quote

I've got two short comparison files. One of the Goodrich Matchbro and the other of the Bradshaw unit (set according to Bradshaw's instructions). Both playing the same licks. I don't have a web site anymore so if someone wants them e-mail me and I'll send them.

(I've tried the graphic EQ and I could never get close to either the MatchBro or Bradshaw units).
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 24 Dec 2017 4:54 am     Reply with quote

Jack Stoner wrote:
I don't have a web site anymore so if someone wants them e-mail me and I'll send them.

Jack, you could post them at soundcloud.com for free, then just post the links to them here. Just a thought.
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gary pierce


From:
Rossville TN
Post Posted 24 Dec 2017 5:33 am     Reply with quote

Leo LeBlanc used an aluminum tp holder tube sometimes, and sounded kind of cool.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 24 Dec 2017 10:02 am     Reply with quote

gary pierce wrote:
Leo LeBlanc used an aluminum tp holder tube sometimes, and sounded kind of cool.

I have about a three-inch chunk of chopped-off broom handle that I sanded down to about 1200 grit that gives sort of a banjo sound on steel. But who wants to sound like a banjo, anyway?
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 24 Dec 2017 11:03 am     Reply with quote

To kill the sustain when playing Dobro (or Moon licks), I have an anodized aluminum bar.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 24 Dec 2017 7:35 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
To kill the sustain when playing Dobro


???

If a resonator guitar is properly set up it won't be lacking in sustain at all. IMO as a long time player of both resonator and steel I think "lack of sustain" is a mistaken perception, or the result of unfortunate experiences with badly set up instruments -which have been, sadly, a large percentage of the ones I've played (but not owned).
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