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Post new topic Fender 800- What did I get myself into?
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Author Topic:  Fender 800- What did I get myself into?
Paul Strojan

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 8 Apr 2020 6:30 pm    
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I bought the Forum donation Fender 800 and I am looking forward to playing it.
While I am waiting for my new guitar to get here from Damir's, I am thinking about how I want to set up the guitar. I am a lap steel player at heart and with the 800 I really want to capture the moment when the steel guitar players first got pedals. I have been working on this copedent which gives me the classic Bud Isaac E9 to A6 change while using a standard set of C6 strings. I know just enough music theory to be dangerous so any advice would be appreciated.
Tab:
        1       2       3       4       5       6
G#                  
E                  
B       C#               
G#              A            
F#                                      E   
E                                               D
B       C#               
G#              A            
E                  
B
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Chris Harvey

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 8 Apr 2020 8:28 pm    
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Perhaps looking into Sneaky Pete’s B6 and transpose it up. I run my 800 E9.
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Bob Carlucci

 

From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 9 Apr 2020 3:55 am    
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I would run that guitar with a standard E9 and have Jim Palenscar add 4 knee levers...They don't break strings, and after owning and playing 3 different 800's and a 400, I can honestly say my 800's played as softly, as accurately, and as tuning stable as any modern guitar I have owned.. They are easy to add levers to, and it will greatly enhance the range of the guitar.. You can put any tuning you want on there, but plain old E9 or perhaps D9 will get you all you will ever need, with 4 levers added...
Setup and lube is everything on these guitars,, Poor setup and they are an unplayable mess
Proper setup, and they are soft, smooth, and very dependable,,,bob
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 9 Apr 2020 5:23 am    
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I'd use the standard E9th, like Bob suggested. Most all of the old sounds can be done with it, and it will give you familiarity with what everyone else is using. I wouldn't worry about adding levers right away, as much can be played without them. And once you start to add and use levers, all those great "old sounds" go out the window. Cool
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Erik Alderink


From:
Ann Arbor Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 9 Apr 2020 8:34 am    
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Paul,

Why not just start with the tuning that you're comfortable and add changes as you find the need for them? That's what was done back in the day. The advantage to the Fenders is the ease with which you can do just that. If you need instructional material then E9 is likely your best bet. The modern E9 came about after lots of experimenting and is not necessarily the best or most fully realized tuning, depending on what it is you intend to play. I always kept my 800s in A6 or E13, and they made great jazz guitars.

The 800 is a great guitar, and will be a wonderful platform to test all sort of tunings with. Enjoy!
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Jeff Harbour


From:
Western Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 10 Apr 2020 5:01 pm    
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Going off of what you say you're after, and what you already have listed, I would move your Pedal 1 & 2 changes over to 2 & 3... and then set up Pedal 1 to raise the E's to F, and Pedal 4 to lower the E's to Eb. That way you will have the A Pedal/F Lever combination, and the B Pedal/E Lever combination, in addition to of course the AB combination. I feel all of those are essential in E9 playing, especially in Classic Country chord progressions.

I was very impressed the first time I played on an old Fender pedal steel... Very sturdy and playable. I believe it was a 400. I think Fender could've been huge in the Steel world had they wanted to be. But, they dropped out early on.
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Paul Strojan

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 21 Apr 2020 8:10 am     Copedent question?
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I finally got the Fender 800 yesterday. The post office has been slow. When I set it up, I found that it has an unusual copedent that I think was an A6 based tuning that lowers to E9.

Pedal 1 lowers 3 and 7

Pedal 2 lowers 4 and 8

Pedal 3 raises 5 a lot

Pedal 4 raises 3 and 7

Pedal 5 raises 2 and 6

Pedal 6 lowers 1 and 8

The guitar is strung with a set of C6 strings with a G string on top. I have been sketching out tunings and it seems that their is a lot of flexibility in getting strum chords from dropping from A6 compared to raising from E9.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 21 Apr 2020 8:38 am    
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The idea of tuning to A6 and dropping to E9 is valid, if not widely adopted. According to the setups listed in Winston, Ernie Hagar did that.
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Jeff Harbour


From:
Western Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 21 Apr 2020 5:04 pm    
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Ian Rae wrote:
The idea of tuning to A6 and dropping to E9 is valid, if not widely adopted. According to the setups listed in Winston, Ernie Hagar did that.


Sonny Curtis did too. He said that early on in learning, he couldn't get his mind to accept the pitch going UP when the pedals wend DOWN... so he reversed the tuning so that it was E9 with the AB pedals down.
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Paul Strojan

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 21 Apr 2020 7:06 pm    
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I have experimented with A6 based tuning and this is what I have come up with:
[img]


It is the right 4 pedals of the C6 neck with the reversed A B pedals. [/img]
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Herb Steiner

 

From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post  Posted 22 Apr 2020 6:51 am    
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Paul Strojan wrote:
I have experimented with A6 based tuning and this is what I have come up with:
[img]


It is the right 4 pedals of the C6 neck with the reversed A B pedals. [/img]


That's very interesting. Hmmm...

(I think Danny Sneed is also one who reverses the pedal action on ABC)
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Jim Palenscar

 

From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post  Posted 22 Apr 2020 7:10 am    
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The problem w the Fender cable guitars is that the return springs on the lowers are really stiff so A6 to E9th tunings are asking the guitar to play like a truck. Changing the return springs to a lighter gauge makes them infinitely more playable.
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David Ellison

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 22 Apr 2020 8:49 pm    
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If you're going to use that E9 tuning in your original post, you could raise the high E to F# on the 5th or 6th pedal and use your right foot on it like Ralph Mooney did. That's what I would do.
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Bob Carlucci

 

From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 22 Apr 2020 9:01 pm    
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Jim Palenscar wrote:
The problem w the Fender cable guitars is that the return springs on the lowers are really stiff so A6 to E9th tunings are asking the guitar to play like a truck. Changing the return springs to a lighter gauge makes them infinitely more playable.

I dunno Jim... You're the man when it comes to pedal steel mechanics, but my 800's had very soft lowers on pedals or levers.. As easy as any rodded guitar I have owned.. Had to back the tension on the lower springs way back, with the factory springs and adjustment screws, but when I did that it never seemed to cause any other problems at all...I used standard E9 changes, but did use a 016 on the 2nd string as it had a bit of trouble lowering a full tone in 2 steps otherwise,, Other than that, I always felt that pull system had as smooth and soft an action as any guitar made during that time period...
,
Mine were always run REALLY wet on every metal to metal contact area, and the cable rollers and changer as well... Maybe mine were all "good ones", but they were always soft and easy, with low pedal action, lower pulls as well as raises...bob
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I'm over the hill and hittin'rocks on the way down!

no gear list for me.. you don't have the time......
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Paul Strojan

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 28 Apr 2020 1:08 pm    
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I set the guitar up with the A6 copedent. The guitar sounds good and I really like being able to push down on pedal 5 and play Hank Williams tunes in E6.

I am having some issues with the changes returning in tune. Aside from changing the strings (which I need to do), is their anything else that I need to look at?
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Michael Sawyer


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 29 Apr 2020 6:01 pm    
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Paul Strojan wrote:
I set the guitar up with the A6 copedent. The guitar sounds good and I really like being able to push down on pedal 5 and play Hank Williams tunes in E6.

I am having some issues with the changes returning in tune. Aside from changing the strings (which I need to do), is their anything else that I need to look at?


Make sure your cables are not overly tight.

That guitar looked clean,enjoy
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Paul Strojan

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 May 2020 6:20 pm    
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I have got the guitar set up. Everything is working well except the sixth string lower. I cant get it to drop more than a half step. I think the problem is that in resting position the finger is already in the fully lowered position. Does anyone have any experience fixing this issue.
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 11 May 2020 8:50 am    
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Paul Strojan wrote:
I have got the guitar set up. Everything is working well except the sixth string lower. I cant get it to drop more than a half step. I think the problem is that in resting position the finger is already in the fully lowered position.


If that were the case, it wouldn't lower at all. I suspect the spring is too weak, or that (more likely) the finger is just stuck. Remove the string and the spring on that finger, and see how freely and how much the finger will move.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 11 May 2020 1:40 pm    
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I've never had stiffness problems on the short-scale guitars either, although I di sometimes change springs an 400's and 100's as they aren't adjustable.

It's the long scale guitars - just 400's and 1000's, as there were no long scale 10 strings) where spring changes sometimes help when tuning to E9 or C6. With B6 I find little - if any - difference, though - I just run stock springs (so did Sneaky).
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