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Post new topic p/p push/release all pull ??? CHANGER question
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Author Topic:  p/p push/release all pull ??? CHANGER question
Bruce Johnson


From:
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2012 9:32 pm    
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I'm so new I don't even own a psg, but I've been reading two instructional books and looking around on the forum. Am I correct thst there are two types of changers, push pull (also known as push/release?) and all pull? And am I coprrect that I should be shopping for all-pull as the most reliable changer?

Thanks!
Bruce Johnson
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Mike Dudash


From:
Bridgeport, Ohio
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2012 9:41 pm    
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Also a pull release changer. As a newbie myself, that has a pull release, I would suggest an all pull changer. Easier to tune unless you have a shop nearby that can help you. That is my problem where I live. Good luck!
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 9:01 am    
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All-pull guitars are easier to work on and simpler to tune.
Pull-release guitars are nowhere near as common anymore (I think Simmons is the only one still making them) and a bit harder to learn to tune. The changer is dead simple, which means the rods and bellcranks do the clever work, if you want more than one raise and one lower
Push-pull have great tone, but are the trickiest to learn to tune because the hidden cap screws that tune the open note of a raised string.

I said "learn to tune" because once you get the hang of it, it's easy.

I'd recommend the all-pull for one reason: learning to play the SOB will be frustrating enough. You don't need a guitar that you have to learn to tune multiplying the frustration
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Larry Bell


From:
Englewood, Florida
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 10:17 am    
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Just my opinion here . . .
(donning flame suit)

If you don't have the intelligence to learn to tune a push-pull guitar you will never learn to play pedal steel.

, , , again, just my opinion
(it's really not rocket science -- just not as intuitive as tuning an all-pull guitar)

That said, if I were a newbie today I would shop for an all-pull guitar. Other than the old Emmons original guitars and a couple of very low production models push-pulls are not as available as the many brands using an all-pull changer that allows tuning each note using a nylon nut.
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Bruce Johnson


From:
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 10:58 am     Thanks for the info, so
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I guess pull/release isn't going to be a worry if I buy a newer guitar. And I guess all pull is the way to go, but I shouldn't be too worried about learning to tune a push/pull, correct?

So I think I'm fine with looking t the GFI Ultr on the list and the MSA Classic, too?

Thanks again!
Bruce Johnson
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George Crowder


From:
Richmond, VA, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 11:03 am    
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Bruce, where are you located in VA? Billy Cooper's Steel Guitar Shop near Orange, VA has push pulls, pull release and all pull guitars. You can see each type of guitar and ask questions about the way it works. You can even play one or more of the guitars if you wish.
Billy and Wanda Cooper are great people to deal with. They have a website if you would like to check that out before you visit the store. Lastly, check the hours to be sure they are open before you go.
gc


Last edited by George Crowder on 15 Jan 2012 11:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 11:22 am    
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Larry, I'd just meant that there's no need to tackle both frustrations with most guitars being all-pull.

Bruce, the only push-pull guitars I know of are old Emmons guitars and ProMat.

If you're near Billy Cooper, by all means go talk to them. The fact that Simmons still makes pull-release pro models says there're still folk who prefer their tone

If you're gonna try to be economical and buy a used axe first, it'll probably be all-pull.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 11:43 am    
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Almost all pedal steels made in the past 20 years have all-pull mechanisms. If you get anything else, it's probably an antique or a low-end student model.

Tuning the pedals on a pull-release or push-pull isn't difficult - it's just different. And tuning the pedals isn't something that you need to do very often. I just touch up mine a bit when I change strings.

All-pull guitars are easier to work on when you want to change your copedent. Most of them also support a feature called "tunable splits", which allows you to tune the note when a string is both raised and lowered. As far as I know, no brand of push-pull or pull-release guitar was ever marketed with this feature. It's very handy for additional positions of minor and 7th chords.

All-pull is the modern standard for pedal steel guitars. Anything else is a "road less traveled", with all the bumps and potholes that the metaphor implies. A new player should get an all-pull guitar for a smoother ride.
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2012 11:59 am    
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B0b, if I weren't sitting in a little Japanese sports car from the early days of all-pull, I'd give you a standing ovation.
Well-stated, well-worded, well put.
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Paul Redmond


From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2012 1:01 am    
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I have recently prototyped out a keyless guitar that intentionally uses a pull/release, single-finger changer. The changer fingers start out in a "ground-zero" vertical position. The raises tune with conventional nylon tuning nuts. The lowers also are controlled with "neutral" rods which hold those particular fingers in their ground-zero neutral position with the use of a small remote-mounted balance spring. When a string is lowered, the lower is tuned with the endplate stop screws. If multiple lowers are used on a given string, they are all connected to a remote idler shaft which controls the lowers, but then pulls the string back to neutral and holds it there. I have designed a split-tuner bellcrank, but haven't had the time yet to make prototypes.
I chose the p/r changer partially because of the sound of the early Marlen guitars that also used them. These prototypes are 27.50 inches long, but they have a 24.50 inch scale and 7/16" radius fingers. They also have a 3/8" diameter solid gaged nut in lieu of rollers. The changer is not connected to the one-piece deck/neck insert which is 1-1/16" thick at the neck. The inherent accuracy and mechanical directness of a single-finger changer make the guitar highly repetitive and it has tremendous tone and sustain qualities. ebb had posted some info on the guitars under "ontrak" on the Forum. I have played my first prototype for slightly over a year now and have not yet broken a string. I always check it with a tuner, but rarely ever so much as tweak a string.
While most players today would prefer the simplicity of tuning an all-pull changer, I chose to go back in time, apply the "over-center" leverage principle, and resurrect a system that I personally feel was abandoned prematurely...before it could really be refined to its ultimate degree of sophistication. By applying the over-center principle to both the changer/bellcrank connections, and to the pedal/shaft throw connections, I was able to see that some pulls actually get a bit easier as the string tension increases rather than incrementally stiffer. This is unheard of on an all-pull system. FWIW there are no helper or assist springs...just single, individual changer fingers.
Had I used the body-mounted stop block as many others had done in the early days, I could not have achieved these results as in many cases, this leaves many of the changer fingers at improper, ambiguous angles...angles which may actually confound the over-center principle. These guitars have no such stop block. Rather they are basically set up as a scissors changer would be...all in a row.
PRR
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Paul Redmond


From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2012 1:19 am    
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The biggest complaint I've heard to date regarding push/pull and pull/release systems is that if a string is both raised and lowered, there must be extra slack in the raise rods to allow the lowers to go all the way down unimpeded. That's very true. You have to do that on an Emmons push/pull!!! YIKES!!! I have known and met many p/p players over the years, and I have NEVER heard a one of them EVER so much as mention the rod slack issue during a conversation.
To each his/her own. Having worked on steels for many years, I have seen first-hand the mechanical shortcomings of the "scissors"-type changer systems...metal-to-metal friction, rivet hole clearance, compromised mechanical advantages, off-center rod pulling (twist), and a host of other shortcomings. The mechanical simplicity of a free-standing, center-pull, single finger changer just seemed appealing to me.
PRR
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2012 10:00 am    
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Paul Redmond wrote:
The biggest complaint I've heard to date regarding push/pull and pull/release systems is that if a string is both raised and lowered, there must be extra slack in the raise rods to allow the lowers to go all the way down unimpeded. That's very true. You have to do that on an Emmons push/pull!!!

Just last week, a new student came in with an Emmons push-pull that he couldn't get in tune. That was the exact problem. He needed more slack in his C pedal to get his E lowering lever down to pitch. It was a simple adjustment, but it was very hard for a novice to diagnose.

Another strangeness of the Emmons design is the F lever tuning adjustment for the 4th string. It's under the guitar instead of at the endplate. It works well, but it's something that most beginners would not figure out on their own. It's an obscure but very important detail of the instrument's design.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2012 10:03 am    
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Slack is needed in an all-pull system as well, just a smaller distance than with a PP both raising and lowering a string.

Matter of fact, slack is needed on an AP system even if the string is only raised or lowered, lest the travel of the rod is so tight, having been overtuned, as to engage the changer action without the pedal even being touched.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2012 10:42 am    
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You're right of course, Herb. But in the case noted, the C pedal worked fine. The addition of slack to the C pedal change was necessary to allow the E lower lever to work properly. This interaction is somewhat counter-intuitive, which is my point.

The push-pull mechanism is hard to understand, especially for a beginner. Novices have a hard enough time getting their heads into the top of the guitar. The underside of a student's guitar should be easy to understand, and a push-pull isn't.

I have no problem with people who choose to play Emmons push-pull guitars. I wish I had one myself. You (Herb) and Jay Dee Maness are among my all-time favorite players. But I think it's a mistake to lead beginners like the original poster down that path.

The number of push-pull guitars made per year currently is in single digits. There aren't a lot of people who can service a badly adjusted used push-pull. I recommend modern all-pull guitars for new players. They can always go the push-pull route later if they desire.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2012 12:12 pm    
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b0b wrote:
You're right of course, Herb. But in the case noted, the C pedal worked fine. The addition of slack to the C pedal change was necessary to allow the E lower lever to work properly. This interaction is somewhat counter-intuitive, which is my point.

The push-pull mechanism is hard to understand, especially for a beginner. Novices have a hard enough time getting their heads into the top of the guitar. The underside of a student's guitar should be easy to understand, and a push-pull isn't.

I have no problem with people who choose to play Emmons push-pull guitars. I wish I had one myself. You (Herb) and Jay Dee Maness are among my all-time favorite players. But I think it's a mistake to lead beginners like the original poster down that path.

The number of push-pull guitars made per year currently is in single digits. There aren't a lot of people who can service a badly adjusted used push-pull. I recommend modern all-pull guitars for new players. They can always go the push-pull route later if they desire.


Absolutely, b0b. I rarely if ever recommend a PP to a player just starting out, unless it's one that was set up to perfection by one of the master mechanics.
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Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 29 Dec 2019 10:17 am    
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The pull-release discussion has been split out to a new topic: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=352864
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