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Author Topic:  S10 or S12? Beginner question
Baron Collins-Hill


From:
Maine, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 7:55 am     Reply with quote

I am still mulling over what to do for my first PSG. I'm new to the instrument, but a seasoned multi-instrumentalist who loves options, flexibility, and versatility.

$2000ish budget.

First thought:
Zum Encore, Emmons, with a Franklin pedal at 0.
Cons: I might miss the low register.

Second thought:
Modern lightweight/compact S12, like a used Keyless Excel.
Cons: Universal? Ext. E9? I wouldn't know where to start with a copedent.

Current dream guitar:
Being of the personality to want to max out my options, seeing Greg Cutshaw's Excel S12 crossover has me drooling, but I bet all those options come at a price.

Thoughts? Advice? Warnings?

Thanks,
Baron
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Aaron Johnson


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 8:50 am     Reply with quote

Having just bought a new S10 Excel 3/5, your are going to need more money for a new guitar. Mine was $3200 without shipping. I love this guitar but it comes at a price. Used keyless Excel’s don’t come up too often.
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 9:37 am     Reply with quote

S-10 with 3 and 4. That will keep you busy for at least several years. Look at Lloyd Green's set-up and consider what's really important to you.
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Niels Andrews


From:
Salinas, California, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 2:33 pm     Reply with quote

Listen to Paul, you are headed down a long and winding road. Keep it simple. You have plenty to accomplish with a straight S-10. It only took me five years to figure that out. Just get going, time is a wastin!
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 2:40 pm     Reply with quote

S-10.
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Ross Fellrath


From:
Minnesota, USA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 2:58 pm     Reply with quote

I have both and I think I agree. S10. Never really used the extra 2 (or three depending how you look at it). I don't really play c6 much though, I don't understand the pedals, but I play c6 on lap.
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 3:47 pm     Reply with quote

A well known, world class player that I work alot with (who doesn't play very much C6) recently mentioned to me that if he were just starting out again he would have started out on extended E9. Those low strings can be pretty cool...especially if you play in a 4 piece band.

Point being, if you do decide to go with a 12 stringer, make it relatively less complicated and go Extended E9, rather than Universal E9/B6.

Now that I think about it, I might have made the same choice, myself...

JMHO...for what it's worth.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 4:13 pm     Reply with quote

Uni 12. Would have started on one if I could have.

Wonderful forum - to any question you get all possible answers Smile
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 7:12 pm     Reply with quote

This is my journey thus far:

S-10 E9
D-10 E9/C6
S-12 E9/B6 Universal
S-12 E9 Extended (Low G# and Low E)
S-12 E9/B6 Universal (Didn't care for Extended E9)
S-10 E9

I'm loving this part of the journey, concentrating on the standard E9 tuning.
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Williams Keyless S-10, BMI S-10, Evans FET-500LV, Fender Steel King, 2 Roland Cube 80XL's,
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Jeremy Threlfall


From:
now in Western Australia
Post Posted 7 Feb 2018 7:38 pm     Reply with quote

I find limited use for the low E on my ext E9

My 12th string bottom E gets in the way of our guitar player's bottom E (same note) oftentimes, so I avoid that string except in the high registers

but the 11th string G# comes in handy. 11-stringers are not uncommon, but not really a 'standard' configuration the way 10s and 12s are. I believe some of Tom Brumley's guitars were 11s(?) Eric Heywood is another and there would be many more

I would start on an S10 with 3 and at least 3, that will keep you fully occupied for a bit
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Baron Collins-Hill


From:
Maine, USA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 6:39 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for all the thoughts everyone. It's given me a lot to think about. I agree that a 3x4 is a lifetime of learning ahead.

I do mainly just want to get my hands on an instrument, but am waiting for Doug to start up the Encore list again, which gives me all kinds of time to think about what exactly it is I want.

Part of the conundrum is price. Looking back through the Buy/Sell threads, there have been some great looking prices for an Excel S12, putting them around the price of a new Encore, with extra strings and pedals and around the same weight. Also if I could find something used (Encores are like hens teeth) I could just get to playing already rather than waiting another couple months.

Thanks,
Baron
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Justice S10 3x4

Mandolin, Tenor & 6 String guitars, Clawhammer Banjo, and beginner PSG.

Free Online Mandolin & Fiddle Tune Lessons
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Ryan Pinkerton


From:
Lincoln, Nebraska
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 8:12 am     Reply with quote

Consider looking at Justice steel guitars as well. Fred is a stand up guy and is taking orders within your price range for great guitars. I got an S10 3x4 from him in October and have absolutely loved it. He's usually about 4 months out, or was for me, and will likely be quicker than waiting for the Encore orders to kick back on I'm assuming, but then again, I don't know what Doug's schedule looks like so I can't tell you that with confidence. Just another option for you to check out!
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 9:57 am     Reply with quote

If I was just starting out, and could afford it, I would start out on a uni-12, because I also had an interest in C6. When I started (1971), the only universal I had any knowledge of was Maurice Anderson's Bb6 uni. I had no interest in that tuning, but if I knew about the E9/B6 uni, I may very well have started with that.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 10:05 am     Reply with quote

If you want to play rock, the extra bass strings will come in handy. If you plan to stick to playing country, they are unnecessary.
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Patrick Thornhill


From:
Austin Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 10:34 am     Reply with quote

MSA S-12 Universal Pedal Steel Guitar, Jet Black! $300 OFF !
https://applink.reverb.com/item/9949337-msa-s-12-universal-pedal-steel-guitar-jet-black-300-off

It’s in the for sale section here too...
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 11:09 am     Reply with quote

That MSA looks like a great deal for a UNI, EXCEPT it's missing the equivalent of P7 and P8 on the C6th side.

So it's a Semi-Uni. Seems strange to build a guitar like that. (There's a copedent chart at the end of the long string of photos.)
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 11:53 am     Reply with quote

This is one of the early 70s dieboard guitars. I had the same guitar, only it was white wih black trim, for 25 years.

These guitars, while not as luxurious as the later models, are nonetheless excellent. Reece and Bud Carter built them right. Their only real drawback is their weight.

These guitars have a double raise/double lower changer. Some copedants require 3 raises, but this is not a problem as Tom Bradshaw's conversion gizmos will convert a lower to a raise (or vice versa.)

This is a fine guitar at a very reasonable price. I say, grab it.
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Baron Collins-Hill


From:
Maine, USA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 12:43 pm     Reply with quote

There's a full U-12 MSA late 70's "Universal" model 7x5 triple raise/triple lower for around the same price on the second page of the classifieds that I was looking into, but I think the size and weight are more than I want to try to stuff into my small space. I ended up passing on it, but it's still for sale as far as I can tell.

It seems like a really good deal, more or less Newman Universal with E's on the left knees, but with a few eccentricities that make me worry that I wouldn't be able to figure the thing out.

I also see a few spots in the copedent that seems like I'd want some matching octave changes that aren't there (LKL, LKV, LKR), and I don't know anything about the underbelly of these beasts to begin to know how to do it myself or what it would cost to get someone to tinker with it for me.

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=326947



Am I being foolish passing this thing up? Would love some insight!

Thanks,
Baron
_________________
Justice S10 3x4

Mandolin, Tenor & 6 String guitars, Clawhammer Banjo, and beginner PSG.

Free Online Mandolin & Fiddle Tune Lessons
http://www.mandolessons.com
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Patrick Thornhill


From:
Austin Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 12:47 pm     Reply with quote

Yeah, I think that satisfies most of OP Baron’s wants and needs at a good price! I’m too ign’ant about that design (and most all other things too, if I’m being honest Laughing ) but I suspect it could be configured to be more like extended e9, depending on how one defines that...
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Paul Sutherland


From:
Placerville, California
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 1:15 pm     Reply with quote

The MSA Universal is probably a very good guitar. You seem to be dead set on getting a guitar with every possible change, and seem to be drawn towards complexity. That's not what any newbie needs. Your attention to detail will either make you an outstanding steel player or cause you to throw up your hands in disgust and abandon the whole project. Only time will tell.

The tuning on this guitar is complete. Don't buy it planning to immediately make changes. Just play it for at least about five years. You will have plenty to do with the tuning just as it is.

Those missing octaves are not really missing. Paul Franklin raises the low E to F# on the C pedal, but not many others do that. RKL doesn't raise the E second string to E, but there are lots of folks that don't do that. RKR doesn't lower the second down to C#, with a half-stop at D, but that's frequently not done on Unis. Nothing is missing. Play it as it is!!

You'll notice that you don't have the Franklin change on this guitar. I don't think I've ever heard of a Uni that did have that change. Unis are a compromise, but so is every steel ever made.

I still think you are more likely to actually become a life-long steel player if you start with a relatively simple tuning that doesn't overwhelm you. I've had students that struggled to the point of quitting because they couldn't consistently hit the correct strings with a ten string guitar. Twelve strings only makes the problem worse.

A newbie should be focused on intonation, bar control, the picking hand, blocking, & getting tone from the instrument. Those things are hard to master and there is no substitute for long hours of focused practice. Buying a steel with the greatest number of changes does nothing to further your progress in the areas that really matter.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 2:24 pm     Reply with quote

What Paul said.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 2:37 pm     Reply with quote

What Bob said.
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Lee, from South Texas - Down On The Rio Grande

There are only two options as I see it.
Either I'm right, or there is a sinister conspiracy to conceal the fact that I'm right.


Williams Keyless S-10, BMI S-10, Evans FET-500LV, Fender Steel King, 2 Roland Cube 80XL's,
Sarno FreeLoader, Goodrich Passive Volume Pedals, Vintage ACE Pack-A-Seat
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Baron Collins-Hill


From:
Maine, USA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 2:57 pm     Reply with quote

Paul Sutherland wrote:
You seem to be dead set on getting a guitar with every possible change, and seem to be drawn towards complexity. That's not what any newbie needs. Your attention to detail will either make you an outstanding steel player or cause you to throw up your hands in disgust and abandon the whole project. Only time will tell.


Thanks for the straight ahead thoughts, Paul. I need that sort of talk sometimes. I certainly am drawn towards complexity, for better or worse. I've had good luck with playing and designing complex instruments in the past, and hope I can replicate the process with the PSG, but you are right that only time will tell.

One thing that complicates the decision for me is the fact that there are so many options and so many copedents all around the same price and all within my budget. There is a part of me that says "if they all cost the same, why not just get one with the most options?". I know I could theorertically take strings 11 and 12 off that MSA and only attach the first three pedals and have a lifetime of fun and learning on the thing, but having the other pedals and strings to grow into is appealing to me.

Paul Sutherland wrote:
The tuning on this guitar is complete. Don't buy it planning to immediately make changes. Just play it for at least about five years. You will have plenty to do with the tuning just as it is.


I didn't mean to imply there was something wrong with the guitar or that it was actually missing changes, and nothing negative against the instrument or the seller. It is a copedent I haven't seen around much and I am not well versed enough in playing or mechanics to know if it "should" be different or could be different.

At this point I am looking at copedent's from a music theory and visual-logic based standpoint, which isn't the best way to go about it, knowing the instrument and what you want to be different is. Again I run into the problem of having this amazing forum to read and so many choices to make, even if I went for a 3x4 S10.

Paul Sutherland wrote:
I still think you are more likely to actually become a life-long steel player if you start with a relatively simple tuning that doesn't overwhelm you.


You may be right here. However, even though I am a rank beginner on a pedal steel, I have a half dozen instruments under my belt to a level that I feel pretty good about, though there's always more to learn. I don't mean to say this to boast, just that I have more musical background than someone coming to the pedal steel as a first or second instrument. I've had decent success approaching more complex variants of instruments from their fundamental core, both physically and musically, and plan to do the same on the pedal steel.

I also already hear sounds from 12 string players that I would like to emulate, both in the range and the harmonic possibilities they have access to, which draws me towards more complex systems.

Paul Sutherland wrote:
A newbie should be focused on intonation, bar control, the picking hand, blocking, & getting tone from the instrument. Those things are hard to master and there is no substitute for long hours of focused practice. Buying a steel with the greatest number of changes does nothing to further your progress in the areas that really matter.


These are wise and true words, and will be my foremost concern when I finally get an instrument in my hands. I thank you again for your straightforward advice. I've watched some of your instructional material on YouTube and appreciate your support of this community.

Thanks again,
Baron
_________________
Justice S10 3x4

Mandolin, Tenor & 6 String guitars, Clawhammer Banjo, and beginner PSG.

Free Online Mandolin & Fiddle Tune Lessons
http://www.mandolessons.com
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 3:38 pm     Reply with quote

Baron, good advice here all around. Best of luck, and keep us in the loop.
Unless you are physically unable, I wouldn't worry too much about the weight of a Uni12. Bottom line is, when you find yourself playing in the real world - on the stage or in the studio - weight's not going to matter. Only how it sounds really matters.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 8 Feb 2018 4:05 pm     Reply with quote

Baron Collins-Hill wrote:


I know I could theorertically take strings 11 and 12 off that MSA and only attach the first three pedals and have a lifetime of fun and learning on the thing, but having the other pedals and strings to grow into is appealing to me.


Ditch the pedals, but keep the strings.
_________________
My steels are Magnificent! Stupendous! Awesome!
-----------
Please visit my web site and Soundcloud page and listen to the music posted there.
http://www.mikeperlowin.com http://soundcloud.com/mike-perlowin
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