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Post new topic ZB Pedal Steel Guitars - Please help!
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Author Topic:  ZB Pedal Steel Guitars - Please help!
Francis Chamberlain


From:
Franklin, KY, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2002 8:22 pm     Reply with quote

I had my ZB custom built. I got it early 1969. This was my first pedal steel. I ordered it with three floors and one knee lever. I got a new Franklin in January of 1981. Shortly after I got the Franklin, I had Paul Franklin to install all new mechanical parts on the ZB. 3 floors and 5 knees. I wouldn't want to part with my ZB. I love the way it sounds and the way it plays.
It is fiddle back maple and black ebony. A beautiful instrument.
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Dan Tyack


From:
Olympia, WA USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2002 11:36 am     Reply with quote

Francis, I am jealous!

How does the ZB sound with the Franklin changers? Did it alter the sound very much?

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Francis Chamberlain


From:
Franklin, KY, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2002 5:35 pm     Reply with quote

Seriously Dan, I think it sounds just as good as it ever did and the mechanics are great.
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Jim Florence


From:
wilburton, Ok. US * R.I.P.
Post Posted 13 Nov 2002 6:20 pm     Reply with quote

Besides the obvious, the main thing I like about the way the ZB plays is something I hadn't thought of. Several years ago I was wondering if it would be a good idea to put modern belcranks etc on it. Bobby Lee advised against it saying "being used to the ZB, you might not like the way the pedals operate with bellcranks" . He was so right. My 1967 ZB D-11 has been away from home for a couple of years, I still own it and Greg Jones is rebuilding it, and I'll be getting it back soon, but anything else plays wrong for me. The ZB makes all the pulls come to their stop at the same time, even if you pull more than two strings. I can't adjust any other guitar to do that.
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Jim Smith


From:
Valley Ranch (north Irving), TX, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2002 7:44 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
The ZB makes all the pulls come to their stop at the same time, even if you pull more than two strings. I can't adjust any other guitar to do that.
Every all pull guitar does that by virtue of the way they are built. The pulls (usually) don't all start together, but they have to stop together.

ZB's don't do that. As one pull hits the stop at the endplate the doubletree swivels, pulling the other stop(s) until they all hit.

Perfect leverage, to me, is getting all pulls to start and stop together. The multiple hole pullers and changers on todays' guitars allow that to be done almost perfectly.
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Dan Tyack


From:
Olympia, WA USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2002 9:16 am     Reply with quote

Francis, is this a standard Franklin mechanism or did Paul do something special for your guitar?

I'm intrigued by this concept. I love the sound of my Franklins, but I would love to also had the sound of a ZB (but worked like a Franklin).

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Jim Smith


From:
Valley Ranch (north Irving), TX, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2002 9:21 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
Shortly after I got the Franklin, I had Paul Franklin to install all new mechanical parts on the ZB. 3 floors and 5 knees.
Francis never said the changers were replaced, were they?
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Larry Chung


From:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2002 10:53 am     Reply with quote

Please keep the ZB stories coming along with the info on serial numbers and details/setups/etc. I've got information on over 40 guitars so far and working on another 20-25.

I promise to share and play well with all of you.

Thanks!
larry chung
zbguitarinfo@yahoo.com
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richard burton


From:
Britain
Post Posted 14 Nov 2002 11:39 am     Reply with quote

I attribute the great tone of the ZB to the design of the changer; it is the only all-pull (as far as I know) that has dead-stops on the changer fingers. This transmits the vibration to the end-plates. ZB's are harder to set up than other steels, but the pay back in tone is well worth it.
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Francis Chamberlain


From:
Franklin, KY, USA
Post Posted 14 Nov 2002 3:34 pm     Reply with quote

Yes Paul changed the complete changer and all the other hardware under the guitar. Looking at the two guitars (ZB and Franklin)from the bottom, they look pretty much alike.
I am not at all sorry that I had it done. I have a guitar that looks and sounds like a ZB but plays like a Franklin. As far as I am concerned Paul Franklin is a genius when it comes to building (or, rebuilding)guitars. Not only is he a great builder but also one fine person.
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Bob Mainwaring


From:
Qualicum Beach Vancouver Island B.C. Canada
Post Posted 15 Nov 2002 10:54 pm     Reply with quote

Yes Larry - I nearly forgot, the earlier D10 of mine has lateral adjustment (allen cap screws)on both the changer machanisms much like intonating a regular guitars open strings; the SD10 is void of these.
They may have been a ploy to possibly cut costs, or they may have been installed at the date of manufacture?

Bob Mainwaring. Z.Bs. and other weird things.

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richard burton


From:
Britain
Post Posted 16 Nov 2002 2:54 am     Reply with quote

Bob, my ZB has lateral adjustment, at the nut. I've never seen one with adjustment at the changer. Surely it would throw out all the previous settings if it was adjusted at the changer? Not a good idea.
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Dan Tyack


From:
Olympia, WA USA
Post Posted 16 Nov 2002 6:23 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the information, Francis. I just figured that Paul wouldn't have taken on the job unless he was going to replace the mechanics.

Don't get me wrong, I think that the ZB guitars had exceptional mechanics for mid 60s guitars, just that the Franklin (or pretty much any modern changer) has so many advantages. I'd really be interested to hear this guitar, to see if it has that great ZB sound that is in my mind (my first guitar was a ZB). Maybe the next time I'm in KY.

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Bob Mainwaring


From:
Qualicum Beach Vancouver Island B.C. Canada
Post Posted 17 Nov 2002 9:35 pm     Reply with quote

Hi Richard,
You know - the job done on it looks like a good pro' job I'd go as far as to say it looks original.
The nut being made adjustable like Z.Bs generaly are would have been enough for me but up there in "Hughey Land" is where this finger adjustment seems to stand out.
I'd like to know if there are any other Z.Bs out there with this same detail.

Have you come accross this before Greg??

Bob Mainwaring. Z.Bs. and other weird things.

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B. Greg Jones


From:
Middleport, Ohio USA
Post Posted 18 Nov 2002 7:56 am     Reply with quote

Bob, I have never seen a ZB with the lateral adjustment at the changer end. But that doesn't mean there aren't any. Send me a picture of that guitar, I would like to see it.

As far as triple wound pick-ups, I think Clark and Rus-Ler had somethin similar to it. I have also seen something like a ZB pick-up in the older MSA guitars and Sierra's modular pick-ups I a not sure if they had 3-way taps on them or not.

There are some BMI guitars out there with a 3-way tapped pick-up. I have one of them here. Of course Zane designed both guitars, so go figure!!!

Greg
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Kevin Hatton


From:
Buffalo, N.Y.
Post Posted 18 Nov 2002 2:53 pm     Reply with quote

Larry, my ZB is a D-10, 8+2 made in 1973. The serial number is #632. It is green lacquer with natural tops. I've decided to keep it for now. I have pictures that I can email you.
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Larry Chung


From:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Post Posted 18 Nov 2002 5:34 pm     Reply with quote

Please, everyone, keep the ZB posts coming. My database is growing each day. I have information on over 40 guitars so far, and still tracking down a bunch more.

Kevin - please send the photos to me whenever you have a chance.

Best wishes to all!
larry
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Larry Chung


From:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Post Posted 20 Nov 2002 7:32 am     Reply with quote

ZBumpy.
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John Borchard


From:
Athens, OH 45701
Post Posted 21 Nov 2002 9:05 am     Reply with quote

Larry, I have Sonny Curtis' (of George Jones/Jones Boys)old ZB. I believe the serial # is 1034 - I don't have it in front of me. It's a D-10, 8&5, flame maple, apron and necks stained cherry red, natural top, white fretboards. When Tom Brumley added a knee lever to it in about '76-77, he thought it was made in '66 or '67. However, my pal, Greg Jones knows my guitar well and he claims it was most likely built earlier - say '65.

An unusual feature that Sonny had built into the guitar is a guitar cable that is attached to an old screw-on microphone connector (like those found on old lap steels) that is mounted on the threaded end of the right front leg. When the leg is screwed into the guitar, the mic connector makes contact with a spring-loaded contact in the guitar body (in the leg hole). The guitar cable runs from the top of the leg, through the inside of the leg and exits through a hole in the side of the leg about 2 inches above the rubber tip. It has about a 5 inch length of cable hanging out - just enough to reach the volume pedal. This is an absolutely COOL feature, I think. Every steel should have this. Gets rid of cable mess AND there's a jack under the guitar that you can use in the regular way OR use to tune while the guitar remains plugged in and ready to go. I've only had to replace this cable once since I bought the guitar from Sonny in '72. Great sounding guitar! I'll see if I can find a photo. I haven't entered the digital camera era yet. this guitar was featured in an article on Sonny in the December '71 edition of Guitar Player Magazine.

The E9 setup is A&B pedals, no C pedal, LKL raises E's to F, LKR (inside) lowers D# to D, LKR (outside) raises F#'s to G, RKL lowers E's to D#, RKR raises high E to F# (combined with A pedal gives you the C pedal change). The C6 copedant is pretty much standard. I'm not much of a C6 player and it's been a while since I played it on the ZB (my Mullen is A LOT lighter), so I'll have to get it out for an accurate description. Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

John Borchard

[This message was edited by John Borchard on 21 November 2002 at 09:08 AM.]

[This message was edited by John Borchard on 21 November 2002 at 09:10 AM.]

[This message was edited by John Borchard on 22 November 2002 at 08:34 AM.]

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B. Greg Jones


From:
Middleport, Ohio USA
Post Posted 21 Nov 2002 2:29 pm     Reply with quote

John, I will add this. Your guitar ser# is 1034, my D-10 is #1037. It is idential to yours except for the white fretbaords and pick ups. Mine are black. Now Tom Brumley's famous D-11 ZB the black one, is Ser # 1039. He got it in January 1966.

Greg
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John Borchard


From:
Athens, OH 45701
Post Posted 22 Nov 2002 8:31 am     Reply with quote

Thanks, Greg. You da man when it comes to ZB's. Sorry I missed you in Lexington. I was up in New Philly for work that weekend. But I did make it back on Sunday for the Jerry Douglas Show at Mem. Aud. Cindy Cashdollar played with Jorma to open the show. A great night of great steel playing!

Larry, I checked the copedant on the C6 and is as follows (remember, no 3rd pedal on the E9 neck):


Pedal 3: raises high A-B

Pedal 4: raises high G-G#, lowers low G-F#, raises bottom C-D, raises F-F#

Pedal 5: raises high E-F, lowers low E-D#

Pedal 6: raises high C-D, high A-B

Pedal 7: lowers high C-B

Pedal 8: boowah

I'll try to get photos to you at some point.

John Borchard

[This message was edited by John Borchard on 22 November 2002 at 08:45 AM.]

[This message was edited by John Borchard on 22 November 2002 at 12:39 PM.]

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Joerg Hennig


From:
Bavaria, Germany
Post Posted 22 Nov 2002 10:28 am     Reply with quote

Just curious John, what does pedal 7 do? If it has 8 pedals and you use just 2 for E9, there must be 6 for C6, right?
Id love to see pictures of that guitar, too. Although ShoBuds are my favorites, ZBs come to a close second.

Regards, Joe H.
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B. Greg Jones


From:
Middleport, Ohio USA
Post Posted 22 Nov 2002 11:56 am     Reply with quote

John, I wanted to see that show!! I didn't make it back to Athens in time that nite!!

On the date of your guitar, I am going on what Tom told me. If the serial numbers are consecutive, then the 3 of ours are pretty close family. Keep in mind too that Tom said he RECEIVED the guitar in early Jan. 66'. I suppose it could have been built in 65'. Who knows? The orange belly and solid stainless changer fingers limit them to a pretty narrow time frame according to Tom.

When Tom and Bill started building them in Bakersfield, they started a new serial number scheme, beginning with 0001. I had 0014 at one time, the blue one, you may remember the music store smelling like lacquer for 2 weeks!!!! LOL I think I just about killed poor ole Lost John!!! Wish I had that guitar back.

Catch up with you when I get home. I will bring the camera and we will get some pics of that guitar.

Late, Greg
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John Borchard


From:
Athens, OH 45701
Post Posted 22 Nov 2002 12:50 pm     Reply with quote

Doh! Thanks for pointing that out Joe. When I originally posted the copedant, I had it laid out in the form we're all familiar with, but when I posted it, it was all jumbled up. When I edited it, I left out the 7th pedal. I've added it to my previous reply (lowers high C to B).

Greg, let me know when you're coming up. If you're up for it, I'd love for you to take it and do the Greg Jones overhaul magic. And yes, I do remember the blue ZB. I think I lost a few brain cells of my own in that lacquer fog! See you when you get here.

John
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Larry Chung


From:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Post Posted 22 Nov 2002 6:45 pm     Reply with quote

What could be finer than to log on and see more talkin' about ZB guitars?

Still thinkin' about that ...

Please keep the great info and stories coming - I'm pleased to say that a rough history and some critical dates are starting to fall into place. I just listened to one of Zane's albums the other night and THE MAN COULD PLAY. He could also build a very beautiful guitar, too.

zbguitarinfo@yahoo.com

Thanks, everyone!
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