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Post new topic New to pedal steel
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Author Topic:  New to pedal steel
David Dawson

 

From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 7:56 am    
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Hey, Guys;
I have been playing lap steel a while and would like to get into pedals. I know next to nothing about it except that I like the sound.
Question: What is "push-pull", and are there any known pitfalls a beginner should avoid when buying his first pedal steel?
Also, does anyone know of an accomplished teacher in the Rockport (where I live) or Corpus Christi, Texas area?

David
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Don Walworth

 

From:
Gilmer, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 9:30 am     A suggestion or two
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The purchase of a PSG is much like the purchase of a new car; list of options in almost never ending. One players must have is different than another. So here is my $.02 for what it is worth.
1. Drive to Dallas and attend the Steel Guitar Show -- largest gathering of players, instruments, etc. Eye Candy for sure: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=350700
2. There are a lot of great teachers here on the Forum that teach via Skype.
3. One really good guitar that is recommended is a Stage One. I'm sure the builder, Doug, will be in Dallas for the show. http://www.stageonesteelguitars.com/home
4. And most important; make sure the guitar fits you. If you can not sit/fit properly, it will make it that much more difficult to learn. That goes from the seat you use to how your legs clear under the instrument.
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Bill C. Buntin

 

Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 10:09 am    
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David

A push pull is the method by which the strings are lowered and raised. When the string is lowered in pitch it is a push action. When raised it is a pull action. Arguably the best sounding guitars of all are the push pull emmons. However, probably not the best choice for someone new to pedal steel. The all pull guitars are much easier to deal with in terms of mechanics and setup and tuning.

I’m thinking most will agree that a pro quality all pull guitar is the best option.

Most all of the manufacturers make a good quality instrument.

As stated above, attendance at the steel guitar show will give you the chance to interact with a number of these instruments as well as meet the builders and a huge number of great players both pro and amateur.

A private tutor in Corpus Christi I don’t know off hand. But like Mickey Adams is in bandera tx near San Antonio. And could probably get you started.

And as stated a lot of great teachers will work with you over Skype.

However if you are anxious to buy and get started, a trip up to see Mickey would be worthwhile. Or a trip up to Austin, there are several top notch guys there. There is Curtis Hogue in ft worth builds the rains guitar. Steve Lamb in Fort Worth, And you could visit Mitchell smithey at msa in Dallas. Jim Flynn In Salado tx.

Fred justice makes great equipment. Jeff Surratt at Show pro, Gary Rittenberry and Mullen also. Fessenden, Williams, GFI...and others to numerous to mention all good choices.

Research and reviews right here on the forum.

Finally pitfalls. Probably best to steer clear of eBay and such. And where a good used vintage guitar is an option, you won’t necessarily have any factory support. With one of the many reputable builders, you will have factory support. These things are typically highly specialized and personal so gather up opinions from as many experienced players as possible.

Good luck

Bill


Last edited by Bill C. Buntin on 5 Dec 2019 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 10:10 am    
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I'd say buy a used instrument - at least if you make the wrong choice or want to upgrade and decide to sell it, you stand a good chance of getting back what you paid for it.

Think about if you want a single or double neck.

Like you, I started on lap steel (and that is still my main steel instrument) but I wanted to get into some E9 sounds. For that reason, I decided on a single neck as I don't intend abandoning lap steel and I felt that, on those occasions when I might want to use the C6 neck, I'd prefer to use lap steel anyway.

Also, you can get some lap steel sounds on an E9 neck - with A&B down and a knee lever engaged, I have a 6 string A6 tuning on strings 4-9 and if I'm primarily playing an E9 gig, that;s enough for me.

So I couldn't (and still can't) imagine ever wanting to move on to a double neck PSG.
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Fred Justice


From:
Mesa, Arizona
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 10:16 am    
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David, I think maybe one our Pro Lite models would server your needs very well.

http://www.justicesteelguitars.com/Pro%20Lite.html

David, be sure to check out our "Herd" page while you are there.

http://www.justicesteelguitars.com/theherd.html
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Paul Sutherland

 

From:
Placerville, California
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 11:38 am    
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My main gigging guitar is an Emmons Push-Pull because it's the best sounding steel I've ever played. But I would not recommend one for a new player for the reasons stated above. Learn on an all pull guitar. Maybe someday a Push-Pull will call to you, but resist the temptation for now.
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Allan Haley

 

From:
British Columbia, Canada
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 12:26 pm    
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Fred Justice is a righteous and honourable man. He will build you a guitar that will do for a lifetime. I’m glad I went with a Justice PSG for my keeper guitar.
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Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Missoula, Montana
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2019 1:20 pm    
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And, stay away from a brand that starts with "B", that is named after a high end luxury car. You'll pay, but never see a guitar.
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David Dawson

 

From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 2:40 am     New to pedal steel
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Many thanks for all the responses. Some very good information and excellent advice. I really appreciate it. I'm in no great rush so I will take time to hear different makes and talk to players when I can find one.
Thanks again for your responses.
David
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Ben Michaels


From:
Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 2:51 am    
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David,

A few months ago I was in the same boat you are. Playing lap and guitar for awhile and decided to take the dive. I ended up getting a stage one and don't have a single bad thing to say about it.

There is a large initial learning curve coming from lap steel in terms of technique, but once you get over the hump it's amazing. There is so much you can do on a pedal steel. I haven't played lap steel since I got one.
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Gene Tani

 

From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 5:49 am    
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Welcome to PSGdom, it's a great place to hang out.

As far as getting your first, if you hit "Search" button and type in "Buy first" there's lots of threads about getting, playing/tuning your first PSG e.g. the ones below. If you state a budget it'll help and there's players relatively close to you to bounce questions off of.

My first was/is a Zum Stage 1 pull/release, I love it, that's the usual first PSG advice but there's others that are suitable around $2.2k or less new or used. You could look at Mullen Discovery, Fred Justice's No waiting room (that's what he calls it) and Zum Encore also, those are top notch all pulls. There's also threads about steel to avoid, either really hard to tune, hard to play or hard to get parts for.

I used to use a small (3/4") bar on lap steel, but now i use a 7/8 or 15/16 on PSG, my bars are from Hillman, BJS and Clinesmith. The larger/heavier bars actually seem easier to move because you can get under it more.

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=223881

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=314108
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 11:49 am    
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David - You're not too terribly far from Victoria.

Contact the Victoria Steel Guitar Club for a recommendation. I believe they have a Facebook page.

Here is a link to a notice about a recent meeting:

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=351636

Also, John Macy spends part of the year in Rockport:

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=728
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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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Bill C. Buntin

 

Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 12:09 pm    
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Lee, you could drive up to corpus to give lessons couldn’t you?? 😂😂

Bee-ul
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 1:50 pm    
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Do you want to play rock, in addition to country? If so, you'd be better off with a 12 string. The extra strings will give you power chords that you can't get on a 10 string.

If you want to play jazz and swing, you should get a double neck.

For now you start off with a single neck, with 3 pedals and 4 knee levers. Later, you might want to get something else, but this will keep you occupied for a few years.

By all means, go to the show in Dallas and check out all the different steels that swill be on display. Chances are you'll fall in love with one if them.
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 3:38 pm    
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I'd suggest an S10 with 3&4. That will get you through the basics, and it's suitable for most music. Any more will probably be too challenging to start with. There are usually some very nice used professional guitars in the $1800 - $2400 range. I wouldn't advise going overboard to start.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post  Posted 6 Dec 2019 4:00 pm    
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Bill C. Buntin wrote:
Lee, you could drive up to corpus to give lessons couldn’t you?? 😂😂

Bee-ul


Well, with mass quantities of shrimp and Shiner Bock, and a motel room for me and Mrs. Baucum ... perhaps ...
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David Dawson

 

From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 9 Dec 2019 5:44 am     new to steel
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You guys are just great. Yes, Lee, Victoria is one hour away. I have intended to attend one of their meetings but am recovering from back surgery right now.
I have enjoyed all the posts directed to me and have learned a few things I didn't know from them. Thank you all.
I won't be diving in too deep as I am a 1938 model and who knows how much time I have but I do intend to pursue pedals as far as I am able.
Thanks again, fellows. Hope to see some of you down the road.

David
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