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Author Topic:  If you could have only one?
Patrick Fleming

 

From:
South Dakota, USA
Post  Posted 22 Oct 2019 6:23 pm    
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Thank you all for the insight.

I feel like I have a better idea of what I am looking for now. When I picked up the Fender, My plan was to learn just enough to add small parts to some recordings (since I couldn't find a steel player) but the instrument is so darn cool that now I want to play it full the time. Thanks again for all the help.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 23 Oct 2019 12:16 am    
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Jerry Horch


From:
Alva, Florida, USA
Post  Posted 26 Oct 2019 4:42 am     I like this one
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 26 Oct 2019 5:16 am    
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Patrick Fleming wrote:
My plan was to learn just enough to add small parts to some recordings .... but the instrument is so darn cool that now I want to play it full time.

That's good to hear, but be mindful that this is an addiction with no known treatment Smile
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Keith Bolog

 

From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 27 Oct 2019 7:38 pm     ......
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....Because money is NOT no object for a lot of people, perhaps you too Patrick, I recommend a best bang for the $$ guitar: Carter (any pro model). Yes there are 'better' guitars, but rarely better value than these underpriced contemporary all pulls.

My theory is the Carter Starter, an entirely different machine, tainted the Carter brand as'cheap'.

If you can afford new, buy new.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 28 Oct 2019 1:18 am    
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Keith is right. You don't always have to have the "best" (even if it's clear what that is) but you should look for the best value for money.
That could be in the nearly-new market of instruments that have been played less than the original purchaser thought they would be.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 28 Oct 2019 10:11 am    
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It has been suggested that you get a Stage One. I suggest that you get its big brother, the encore.

The stage one has a fixed copedant. That means the pedals and knee levers are "set in stone" and cannot be moved around or altered in any other way.

You might not care about this now, but sooner or later you will probably want to experiment with different setups or changes. You might want to change from an Emmons to a Day setup, or add a change the stage one doesn't have.

The Encore, as well as many other semi-pro entry level steels will allow you to do this.
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Kevin Fix

 

From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 28 Oct 2019 3:16 pm    
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I am a old Sho Bud guy. Almost 40 years. I owned a Mullen Discovery for a couple years. Great guitar for a pro or novice. I sold mine because I use C6 more than I used to.
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Jeremy Threlfall


From:
now in Western Australia
Post  Posted 28 Oct 2019 9:46 pm    
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OK - I think we may have covered the OP request, and if he doesn't go out looking for a good s/h Carter or GFI then good luck to him.

Me, if I could only have one type of guitar now, it would be a keyless 10 string short universal, 4x5

Brand is not important, any good quality short uni 4x5 will do



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Ned McIntosh


From:
New South Wales, Australia
Post  Posted 29 Oct 2019 1:48 am    
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Not necessarily in order of merit:- Show-Pro, Rittenberry, Mullen and Williams.

I have a Mullen and a Williams and would love to own a Rittenberry and a Show-Pro. I think I could stop at those four.
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Alan Bidmade


From:
Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Post  Posted 29 Oct 2019 12:56 pm    
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All pull, a minimum 3 + 5 with tuneable splits. Essential on a modern guitar.
I thank my lucky starts I bought a Ben-Rom. Boutique maker, perhaps, but a fine guitar, beautiful woods, solid mechanics and a personalised back-up service.
Thank you, Bent.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 29 Oct 2019 3:02 pm    
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Ned McIntosh wrote:
Not necessarily in order of merit:- Show-Pro, Rittenberry, Mullen and Williams.

I have a Mullen and a Williams and would love to own a Rittenberry and a Show-Pro. I think I could stop at those four.


Don't forget MSA.
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MSA: Magnificent! Stupendous! Awesome!
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Dick Hitchcock


From:
Wayne, Nebraska
Post  Posted 30 Oct 2019 5:34 am    
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Here is my absolute favorite!!

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Philip Mitrakos


From:
The Beach South Florida
Post  Posted 30 Oct 2019 12:41 pm    
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Dont ask me ,
Ive had about 40 pedal steel guitars ,
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Brian Hollands


From:
Franklin, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 30 Oct 2019 12:56 pm    
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Philip Mitrakos wrote:
Dont ask me ,
Ive had about 40 pedal steel guitars ,


Isn't that the whole point, you don't have to have just one!

I figure if I can only have one woman I'll have as many damn guitars as I want Very Happy (another EMCI arrived today)
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 30 Oct 2019 1:07 pm    
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Ian Rae wrote:
Keith is right. You don't always have to have the "best" (even if it's clear what that is) but you should look for the best value for money.
That could be in the nearly-new market of instruments that have been played less than the original purchaser thought they would be.


Keith and Ian are right! Stop worrying about what's the "best", and just go for a fairly modern "capable" guitar. Your Fender is likely a 3+1, so look for something with 3+4, or 4=4, and then get on with learning.

"Best" in guitars, cars, houses (and even doctors) is often something that most people can't afford. So, try to get a local (and preferably talented) steeler to help in your search. One word of advice I'd give is to not ask someone for help who is "hooked" on a single brand. Lots of great guitars out there, and many would likely fill the bill. (Avoid the "gear snobs".) Winking
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Patrick Fleming

 

From:
South Dakota, USA
Post  Posted 30 Oct 2019 1:58 pm    
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Thanks so for all the help. My Fender was a 3-1 but I added a second knee, LKR so that I could have the string 4 and 8 E-D# and not loose the string 2 D#-D and string 8 D-C#.

Once I started wanting the 1/2 stop on the string two and wishing that I had the E+F, I figured that it is time to start thinking about an upgrade. The search will begin in earnist after thanks giving I am hoping to get the chance to play a couple different guitars between now and then.

This forum has been a major help in trying to navigate this instrument. By they way; How important are the tuneable splits?

Thank you.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 30 Oct 2019 9:48 pm    
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Patrick Fleming wrote:
How important are the tuneable splits?


Don't worry about them. You're a newbie. You have a ton of stuff before you need to think about them.

A lot of great players use instruments that don't have them. A lot of great music was played on such instruments.
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MSA: Magnificent! Stupendous! Awesome!
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Please visit my web site and Soundcloud page and listen to the music posted there.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 1:15 am    
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Alternatively, I could argue that a guitar is likely to have splits by chance so they might as well be tunable, otherwise they will infuriate.
E.g. if string 6 lowers to F# then you will at some point discover the G got with the B pedal. If there's a vertical lever lowering 5 to A# you'll want to split it with the A pedal to give a C note. Both these give useful minor chords (among other things).
Mike is perfectly correct that they're not necessary and those chords can be got in other ways. But pedal steel is all about movement and those changes give you different ways in and out of them.
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Last edited by Ian Rae on 31 Oct 2019 1:30 am; edited 3 times in total
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Dave Campbell


From:
Nova Scotia, Canada
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 1:24 am    
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what kind of music are you playing? if you came from the world of guitars, what kinds of guitars were you drawn to? i think if you like vintage instruments generally, then you won't be super happy with a new guitar.

also, if the hook is truly in you (and it sounds like it is) you'll never be buying one guitar at this stage and keeping it forever. you'll get the itch sooner or later to buy something different down the road.
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Ned McIntosh


From:
New South Wales, Australia
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 3:50 am    
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Mike Perlowin is quite correct, so I'll add MSA to my list above. Nothing touches the MSA for the ease of swapping pickups in and out.

They are all great, and all still in production. They're not just a steel-guitar, they are true works of art.
_________________
The steel guitar is a hard mistress. She will obsess you, bemuse and bewitch you. She will dash your hopes on what seems to be whim, only to tease you into renewing the relationship once more so she can do it to you all over again...and yet, if you somehow manage to touch her in that certain magic way, she will yield up a sound which has so much soul, raw emotion and heartfelt depth to it that she will pierce you to the very core of your being.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 4:31 am    
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Ned McIntosh wrote:
Mike Perlowin is quite correct...


I like the way you think. Laughing
_________________
MSA: Magnificent! Stupendous! Awesome!
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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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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 4:45 am    
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Getting back to the question if tuneable splits, I played without them fo nearly 25 years, and then I got them and a whole new world of possibilities opened up for me. Today I'd feel handicapped without them. But the years I spent playing without them gave me a very solid foundation, so that when I finally got them, they added to what I already knew.

Get a guitar with 3 pedals and 4 or 5 knee levers, and learn on that, and ask about tuneable splits again in a few years.
_________________
MSA: 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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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 8:00 am    
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Before I had the 6th string split, I had to dedicate a knee lever to getting the open G note. Before I had the 5th string split, I had to half-pedal to get the open C note.

Tuneable splits make the standard 3+5 E9th truly chromatic at every fret. They fill in the 2 remaining gaps. All modern pro guitars have them. Many guitars made before the '90s do not. But what Mike says is true - you don't need them to learn to play the instument. You may never feel that you need them. No bandleader is ever going to notice that you don't have them. They are a personal preference.

I like tuneable splits. That's my preference. Mr. Green
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 31 Oct 2019 10:29 am    
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The question asked was, "If you could have only one [emphasis mine] PSG, what would it by and why?", in the context of "I have been playing for a year on a fender (by sho-bud) student model that I got here on the forum, and now want to buy a 'pro-level' guitar but only one." No constraints on price, perceived "value" for the dollar, type of guitar, or anything else were mentioned in the question.

Naturally, there have been lots of different types of answers, based on different perceptions about what is important about a PSG, its price, perceived "value", and so on. A wide range of views is useful. So I really don't think anybody ought to try to filter out responses that don't comport with their particular views on what's important. If "best bang for the buck" is your primary criterion, fine. In hindsight on my own playing journey, I think that is penny-wise and pound-foolish if we're talking about someone's only 'pro-level' PSG, but I accept that is a legitimate point of view. But I argue strongly that is not the only reasonable point of view.

I personally consider tuning splits absolutely essential for a guitar that is to be a candidate for "my only pro-level pedal steel guitar". It's not that I can't live without them - it's that they are important to the way I personally play. A lot of people feel the same. There is no reason to try to invalidate that view.

I'm also going to add that, IMO, ergonomics is absolutely critical in playing a pedal steel. The steel should fit one's frame like a comfortable glove fits the hand. If you're tall, you probably want it to be higher than normal, which can be achieved either by building to higher-than-normal spec or using a lift kit. If you're short, you probably want it a bit shorter than normal spec. I'd say "normal" spec is for someone between 5'9" and 5'11" tall or in that vicinity. My take is that the steel should be about 1" higher or lower for around every 2-3" above or below that range, respectively. But there are other variables such as length of arms, length of leg between bottom of foot and top of knee (which determines how high your knee is when working pedals and levers). Relative positions of pedals and levers is also important. Failure to deal with these ergonomic issues stunted my playing growth for several years until I finally figured out how to make a pedal steel fit my taller-than-usual frame. I've heard the same from other players who were significantly different from "average" height. If you can, I think it is incredibly useful to get somewhere where you can try some different pedal steels, just to get a feel for some different designs. Lots of great steels being made, I've had a bunch, and even within the idea that most modern makes are indeed very well made, there are some significant differences in feel.

Summary: the OP asked a clear question about what is he correctly perceives is a "confusing" process. Pedal steel is indeed a complex instrument with a lot of different potentially confusing aspects. IMO, the way to clear that confusion is to try to help him understand and sort out the full scope of variables involved. Quick, trite answers sound great on paper, but may or may not be useful in practice. My opinion.
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