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  6 string pedal steel (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   6 string pedal steel
Matt Lange
Member

From: Wisconsin, USA

posted 19 February 2006 10:49 AM     profile     
hey, i'm a 6 string guitar and lap steel player, and know almost nothing about PSG. But looking through ebay this peaked my interest: http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Pedal-Steel-Guitar-Unusual-6 -St (there's another 6 string similar to this that's in disrepair: http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-HARLIN-BROS-Steel-G uit
i'm just curious what you guys know about 6 string pedal steel. what would it be used for? is it played more like a contemporary lap steel? what tuning would you use? what exactly do the pedals do?
they seem to be going pretty cheap, i'm just wondering what it would be good for.

[This message was edited by b0b on 21 February 2006 at 11:27 AM.]

Bobby Lee
Sysop

From: Cloverdale, North California, USA

posted 19 February 2006 11:51 AM     profile     
A 6 string pedal steel hasn't been mass-produced since the 1950's. The Harlin Bros. and Gibson models really don't work very wel, by today's standards.

I have an imaginary 6-string in the works - the prototype hasn't been built yet. www.pedalcaster.com

------------------
Bobby Lee (a.k.a. b0b) - email: quasar@b0b.com - gigs - CDs, Open Hearts
Williams D-12 E9, C6add9, Sierra Olympic S-12 (F Diatonic)
Sierra Laptop S-8 (E6add9), Fender Stringmaster D-8 (E13, C6 or A6)   My Blog

basilh
Member

From: United Kingdom

posted 19 February 2006 12:48 PM     profile     
With the pedals you can have the equivalent of an EIGHT necked "Lap" steel.
(Eight tunings E6, A6, C6, D9, A9, Amaj7, Cmaj7, A7)
The three inversions of a major triad. E (Root on top) C ( third on top) A (Fifth on top). Greater scope than that of a Triple neck.

------------------

quote:
Steel players do it without fretting

[This message was edited by basilh on 19 February 2006 at 12:48 PM.]

Lee Baucum
Member

From: McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) - The Final Frontier

posted 19 February 2006 01:18 PM     profile     
Great idea b0b. "BLAK Guitars Sound Best". Bob Lee ? ? Any hints on the A and K?

Lee

Charlie McDonald
Member

From: Lubbock, Texas, USA

posted 19 February 2006 02:28 PM     profile     
I actually like the idea, b0b. I hope you make it look like a steel, and not a guitar.
Makes me wish I'd kept the Multi-Kord I had.
John Steele
Member

From: Renfrew, Ontario, Canada

posted 19 February 2006 04:07 PM     profile     
I know zilch about MultiKords, so correct me if I'm wrong, but;
The thing appears to be left handed, the way the pedals protrude. Either that or the photo is reversed or it's set up backwards.
-John
Jon Zimmerman
Member

From: California, USA

posted 19 February 2006 04:27 PM     profile     
Does look confusing. The player would be seated in the same position as the green plant; it's the changer/keyhead that've reversed sides on a Harlin. The pedals would be under your left foot...or, in my case, under both my left feet.
Roy Thomson
Member

From: Wolfville, Nova Scotia,Canada

posted 19 February 2006 04:52 PM     profile     
It has a National Dynamic Fretboard?
Jim Phelps
Member

From: just out of Mexico City

posted 19 February 2006 04:57 PM     profile     
quote:
I have an imaginary 6-string in the works - the prototype hasn't been built yet.

Sounds like a great idea, b0b... but if's it's an "imaginary" steel, can't you just imagine it's built?

Sorry, I'll go back into my corner now.

Seriously, let us know when it's done, and some pics too.

[This message was edited by Jim Phelps on 19 February 2006 at 04:58 PM.]

Bobby Lee
Sysop

From: Cloverdale, North California, USA

posted 19 February 2006 07:07 PM     profile     
BLAC is Bob Lee And Company.
Frank Verdone
Member

From: Schaumburg, Illinois, USA

posted 19 February 2006 07:35 PM     profile     
Freeman Cowgar made a slide master aimed twards the guitar player. Bobbe Seymour had one, do not know if it is still there. Just my 2 cents. Frank
Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 19 February 2006 07:37 PM     profile     
A buddy of mine in Alaska plays one of the 6-string Cougars.
Gerald Pierce
Member

From: Maydelle, Texas, USA

posted 20 February 2006 05:48 AM     profile     
Hey b0b...didn't you get one of those skeleton 6-strings from Lone Star? I thought I saw a post once that said one was on it's way to you. I guess I missed any follow-up posts about it.
G.P.
Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 20 February 2006 06:21 AM     profile     
Matt, the pedzl steel guitar is a different animal than a standard guitar or even a lap steel. There is a reason why everybody uses at least 10 strings.

Do youself a favor and get a Carter Starter. If you get a 6 stringed instrument, you'll only regret it later as you learn more and find that you want to play things your instrument won't let you play.

Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 20 February 2006 06:27 AM     profile     
"There is a reason why everybody uses at least 10 strings."

That's not correct. Quite a few of us use 8 string steels. I refer you to the many threads regarding Fender 400's and 1000's. Sneaky Pete would likely get a real giggle out of that statement.

10 string is certainly the majority choice - but it's not used by "everybody".

Jack Mansfield
Member

From: Reno, NV

posted 20 February 2006 07:58 AM     profile     
I posted 0n 2-14-06 in the wanted section about looking for a cougar 6 string psg but no response. I have been looking for a cougar slidemaster 6 string psg for quite a while. If anyone knows one for sale, I would very much appreciate it. You can send email at JMansf1249@charter.net or my phone # 775-827-5530. Thanks
Jack Mansfield
Bill Hatcher
Member

From: Atlanta Ga. USA

posted 20 February 2006 06:01 PM     profile     
Jack. How would you set up a 6 string when you find one.
Jack Mansfield
Member

From: Reno, NV

posted 20 February 2006 06:51 PM     profile     
Bill, the three floor pedals would be the basic set up, have two knee levers, one would raise the e's to f#, one would lower the e's to eb,
Jack Mansfield
Member

From: Reno, NV

posted 20 February 2006 06:56 PM     profile     
Bill, I forgot the tuning would be
E B G# E B G#
Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 20 February 2006 11:30 PM     profile     
quote:
Quite a few of us use 8 string steels.

Aside from Smeaky pete, no important pedal steel guitarist still uses an 8 string.

[This message was edited by Mike Perlowin on 21 February 2006 at 01:52 PM.]

Jussi Huhtakangas
Member

From: Helsinki, Finland

posted 21 February 2006 02:52 AM     profile     
A-ha now, careful Mike...
Willis Vanderberg
Member

From: Bradenton, FL, USA

posted 21 February 2006 05:00 AM     profile     
The Multi-Kord was set up for right handed pickers. It required both feet to work the pedals. The pedal cluster was located on the left front leg as you sat behind the guitar. The keyhead was on your right end and the pedal tuning mechanism or changer was on the left end right above the pedals.
As you look down from the top at the guitar there was a bar drilled with small tapped holes for each pedal. The changer fingers layed horizontally or flat under these bars. Ther were small screws with a lock nut to adjust the length of the pull.You could actually put a screw in for every string. none of the folks I knew used a volume pedal. Most of the Multi-Kords had a red button between the volume control and the tone control. This was the so called
" shot gun button ".
The weakest part of the guitar was the pedals. They were cast aluminum and had a tendancy to break right where the cable eye bolt ran thru.The legs with the pedal cluter folded up and the two right end legs were screwed in. I hope this will help clarify the Multi-Kord.By todays standard it is a relic but in it's day it was a great improvement over a drilled hole with a bent spike like a lot of us tried.It also saved a lot of nice Fender , Gibsons and Rics from have their cabinets mutilated.
If I made any Errors in this, it's cause I picked too much this week...

Bud

Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 21 February 2006 06:14 AM     profile     
"Aside from Smeaky pete, name one important pedal steel guitarist who still uses an 8 string."

About 20 or 30 members of this forum at least.

You do consider members here important, right?

Regardless, even one means not "everybody" plays 10 string.

There are quite a few 12 string players as well.

[This message was edited by Jim Sliff on 21 February 2006 at 06:15 AM.]

Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 21 February 2006 07:18 AM     profile     
Folks, I lost my cool and said some harsh things to Jim that should have been left unsaid, which I'm now editing out. But the inplication that an old 8 string is a viable alternative to a modern 10 or 12 string is simply bad advise to a newbie.

If Jim chooses to play an instrument that most of us consider to be obsolete, that's his choice. But to Matt and anybody else starting out, I stand by my recommendation that tney get a guitar with 10 or 12 strings, 3 floor pedals and at least 3 knee levers, preferaby 4 or 5.

The Carter Starter has 4, making it an ideal student guitar. One should also consider a used pro model.

But whatever you buy, if you get less than the recommended minimum, there will come a point where you want to play something that your guitar won't allow you to play.

It is better to have things on your guitar that you don't need, than to need things that you don't have.

[This message was edited by Mike Perlowin on 21 February 2006 at 02:03 PM.]

John Fabian
Member

From: Mesquite, Texas USA

posted 21 February 2006 08:30 AM     profile     
Hey Mike and Jim,

Your remarks help to answer Matt's question how???

You both should take b0b's frequently posted advice to "attack the issue NOT the person".

[This message was edited by John Fabian on 21 February 2006 at 08:32 AM.]

Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 21 February 2006 09:45 AM     profile     
I initially addressed the 6-string Cougar by pointing one out.

Mike decided to say "everyone" plays 10 string. This thread was about 6-string pedal steels, which do exist. As do 8 strings and 12 strings. He was in error, and I clarified the point without an attack.

Mike decided to imply nobody except Sneaky Pete is "important" on the 8 string. That's also incorrect. No personal attacks. Yet.

Mike: "Your attitude that everybody who plays country music is an ignorant toothless cousin marrying redneck and that you know more about music than any of us uneducated yokels is offensive and obnoxious."

I have said none of this at all.

I have said I don't play country, but not insulted it. I've pointed out I respect the country players even though it's not my style.

I have never said I know mre about music - I've clearly said I know LESS than almost everyone here, and asked for help with theory.

Mike, I don't know why you do this stuff. You're entire last post is based on stuff I've never said nor implied. I'm sorry that you don't like me because I don't want to "pay my dues playing country", but we are all allowed to take our own road with any instrument. That's how progress is made.

Anyway - back to the 6, strings, Don Miller in Alaska uses one live with his band and thinks it's tremendous. He's only a part-time steeler, so uses it for "pedal steel sounds". He doesn't consider himself a "real" pedal steeler, but says the instrument is very well built and sounds terrific. Might be a great thing for a lap-steel player for some variety.

One member already emailed me asking if he'd sell it! But no, he likes it far too much.

I think the Multikords are also something with possibilities for a lapsteel player.

Not everyone wants or needs a 10-string, traditional steel. There are lots of other playing styles out there. But Don plays country on his Cougar, and Tom Brumley sure as heck played country (as did a host of others) on 8-strings.

A six-string pedal steel would give you a variety of tunings to work with quickly, or could be set up with "lick pedals" for playing lead parts with little bar movement. Either way, you could have a lot of fun with one, and may not need to go to the unfamiliar territory of a traditional pedal steel depending on your style.


Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 21 February 2006 10:07 AM     profile     
+

[This message was edited by Mike Perlowin on 21 February 2006 at 02:04 PM.]

Russ Tkac
Member

From: Waterford, Michigan, USA

posted 21 February 2006 10:12 AM     profile     
I bought a Fender 8 string this year for fun and have had a great time with it. I like the 10 string as well but if I had to choose one I would keep the 8 string Fender.

I just like it...Oh, I like Jim Sliff too.

Russ

Charlie McDonald
Member

From: Lubbock, Texas, USA

posted 21 February 2006 10:42 AM     profile     
I've decided six strings is enough for me.
It still needs four pedals and at least two levers. Thinking about how to mount a real changer on an MK.
Matt Lange
Member

From: Wisconsin, USA

posted 21 February 2006 12:53 PM     profile     
Jim,
what you described was about what i was thinking. I've played 6 string lap steel for almost a year now and i really like it, mostly for playing lead on blues and rock stuff and for more "steely" sounding stuff on folk and country/rock songs. i just thought that perhaps a 6 string pedal steel like this might add some more versitility to the latter. I've got a couple questions you might be able to help with:
so far i've been playing exclusively in open D tuning (low to high DADF#AD). It works great for blues, has a nice "power chord" on the bottom for more simplistic rock stuff, and using the 1st and 3rd string with a few simple bar slants can give you some good Hank Williams-y licks. If i bought a 6 (or 8) string pedal steel like the one here, would there be any sense in putting it in an open tuning? would the pedals be of any use in open D? i wouldn't have a problem trying out a new tuning (c6 or a6 probably), but i'm curious.
another question for anyone: how rare are these 6 strings? would i be a fool to pass this up and wait for another (newer) one? would i end up paying a lot more?
Charlie,
you say you play 6 string, what kind of stuff do you play, and what tunings do you use?
thanks for your help guys, this is all really interesting stuff.
Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 21 February 2006 01:13 PM     profile     
Aw, Russ - people will talk!

;-)

Matt - I'm probably not well-versed enough in different tunings to give advice, but if I was going to move from a D tuning lap steel to a 6-string pedal steel I think I'd first try your normal tuning. Then I'd play with pedal changes that do the same thing as your slants do now, plus maybe a single pedal or two-pedal combination that takes you to a IV or V chord. Also, perhaps a dominant-7th change.

If you pop over to the Clarence White Forum (www.clarencewhiteforum.com) and look for Don Miller, shoot him an email and ask what he uses. Unfortunately I don't have his email with me at work and it would be faster if you jumped there yourself. He's a good guy, very helpful, and showed me my first non-dobro lapsteel tunings.

Mike - I understand your feelings in a way. I wish you didn't dislike me so much, especially for things I haven't said, but I can't change you. Please try to understand that there are many people here approaching things differently than you're used to. The guy who started this thread wanted six-string steel advice, not to be told he's wasting his time unless he does it the way you think it needs to be done with equipment you say he needs. Maybe someday we can sit down, have a cup o' Joe and kick around instrument ideas. It might actually be fun.

But remember - everybody doesn't play 10-string steel. Everybody isn't GOING to play country as an intro to learning pedal steel.

Man, I bet Buddy Emmons ticked some people off when he started messing with those confounded chromatic strings! It's hell being outside the politically-correct traditionalists...

;-)

Tim Tweedale
Member

From: Vancouver, B.C., Canada

posted 21 February 2006 02:12 PM     profile     
I like this thread.

I would love to see a 6 string pedal/lap steel. I imagine the open D/ open E tuning shape (EBEG#BE). Lose the bottom E and/or throw a G# on top, and there you have all the strings of a pedal steel anyway, minus your top chromatics, the b7 (9th string) and the F# (7th string). I'd keep all the changes the same... A, B & C pedals, lowers and raises for the E's...
All your 3rds and 6ths are there, your AB changes, minor, major, diminished, dominant chords, and more strumming possibilities than you can shake a stick at! I'd love this mini-steel setup! Plus, it would be way easier for beginners to learn on an instrument that has a lot more similarities to an E Major lap steel.

Addendum:
Let's imagine the tuning is EBEG#BE; I might prefer if the A pedal (or a separate pedal) raised the 2nd string B to a C# and lowered the 5th string to an A, so that way, by engaging the AB change, it would move the steel into a low bass A tuning: EAEAC#E... Yeah!

Edited to add: I just read b0b's pedalcaster copedant, and realized we came to the exact same conclusions; right down to my low bass A idea!

b0b, clearly you're a genius.

-Tim

[This message was edited by Tim Tweedale on 21 February 2006 at 02:21 PM.]

Bobby Lee
Sysop

From: Cloverdale, North California, USA

posted 21 February 2006 02:35 PM     profile     
I've been thinking along those lines for a looooooooooong time, Tim.
Stephen Gambrell
Member

From: Ware Shoals, South Carolina, USA

posted 21 February 2006 02:59 PM     profile     
As far as the "10-strings-versus-8" thing is concerned, I believe I can play 4 sets on strings 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, NEVER touch 7 or 9, and NOBODY would notice. I know that raising 7 is a popular change, as is lowering 9. And I DO play a D-10 guitar.
But Mike, how DARE you make remarks about somebody eelse's choice of instrument? You've chosen to play all the instruments on your two major works, "West Side Story," and "Firebird Suite." I don't think Stravinsky OR Bernstein were considering the pedal steel guitar, mandolin, or ANY of the other instruments you played, when they were writing their works. So maybe you oughta consider extending the same license to Jim, that Mssrs. B. and S. extended you, huh?
Honestly, how some people can be so SELECTIVELY close-minded, as far as music is concerned, is beyond me. AND, BENEATH ME!!!
EDITED TO ADD---that pedalcaster "Open "E" copedent looks way cool!! I bet Sonny Landreth would have a field day with that one! b0b, when do you expect to start production?

[This message was edited by Stephen Gambrell on 21 February 2006 at 03:04 PM.]

Bill Hatcher
Member

From: Atlanta Ga. USA

posted 21 February 2006 04:43 PM     profile     

If you want 6 or 8 strings and have not found a dedicated guitar strung like that, why not just get a 10 string guitar and set it up for 6 or 8. There are plenty of fine used steels out there that might not fit the bill for what todays E9 players require, but would be perfect for a custom tuning that approximated a lap guitar or any other type of tuning. When you get finished experimenting, you can restring and reset and sell it with no problem. Also there is the added potential of adding strings as wanted/needed.

I could not find an affordable Cougar six, but I did find a very affordabe Cougar SD10.


Fred Newell plays a GFI D10/6 that I would like to know what he has the 6 string neck set up to. Anyone know?

Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 21 February 2006 05:10 PM     profile     
Bill, the only problem with that is the string spacing is closer on a 10-string. My Fenders are far easier to play, and 6-strings use the same spacing from what I understand. It's a lot different from lapsteel spacing.
Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 21 February 2006 05:15 PM     profile     
Stephan. I donít criticize Jimís choice of an instrument. He can play whatever he wants. I criticize his recommendation of an instrument to a beginner, which I believe will hinder that personís attempts to learn.

The idea of a 6 string model for guitarists making the transition to steel might seem like a good idea, but itís only a matter of time before a new player who has one reads about some lick that requires more strings, and finds that their instrument wonít allow them to play it.

As we all know, the pedal steel guitar is difficult instrument to learn. Students need instruments that will help them, not get in their way.

Bill Hatcher
Member

From: Atlanta Ga. USA

posted 21 February 2006 06:17 PM     profile     
I know what your saying Jim as I used to have a Fender 400 set up with 6 strings. I found the single raise/lower changer to be extremely limited for what I had in mind to do and I made the decision to move up to a better set up even though the spacing was not like the Fender. That was years ago, and since then I have only seen one 6 string pedal guitar on Ebay that went for way more than I thought I would want to pay. I could not see sitting around forever hoping to come into a 6 string guitar for a good deal or spend the big bucks for one so I just moved on. Ed Fulawaka quoted me $1800 for a 6 string pedal guitar and $3500 for the one that is pictured on his website. Another builder quoted me $1200 for the parts to build one myself. You can find a nice older 2/2 raise/lower D10 pedal guitar for less than a grand and have plenty of fun with it and not lose a penny if you need to sell it.

When you get right down to it, the 10 string PSG players I hear don't seem to be hampered by the string spacing very much!

Mike P. makes good sense with what he says about the newbies. I think that this thread is pretty much players wanting to do something other than country on the 6 set up.

Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 21 February 2006 07:06 PM     profile     
Mike, please don't second guess my comments unless you know what you're taking about. You failed to note that the man who started this thread was looking for exactly what I commented on, not what you tried to force on him, like you have me and others. He specifically asked about...and continued the discussion of...6-string lapsteels and pedal steels. He didn't ask for a recommendation on starting out on pedal steel fresh - he asked about a specific TYPE of instrument. Thanks for editing your attack, but you still fail to grasp what the thread is about:

"Jim,
what you described was about what i was thinking. I've played 6 string lap steel for almost a year now and i really like it, mostly for playing lead on blues and rock stuff and for more "steely" sounding stuff on folk and country/rock songs. i just thought that perhaps a 6 string pedal steel like this might add some more versitility to the latter."

Mike: "But the inplication that an old 8 string is a viable alternative to a modern 10 or 12 string is simply bad advise to a newbie."

No, it's not. Not when the person asking questions isn't asking about 10-string steels. For his application, a 6-string would be a viable and fun alternative. So would an 8. He didn't ask about modern, "normal" instruments, he asked about something unusual. Why try to force him to something that doesn't fit what he wants to do?

No additional comments are really necessary. If you wish to continue your off-topic attacks in the future though, Mike, please do so through email. I've tried to be nice and offer a handshake, but you don't want it. And anyone who thinks I'm a little upset, it was a real doozy that was edited out.

PS - BTW, there is a significant spacing difference that can make a difference to some players. I find 10 string spacing far too tight after years of dobro playing. the 8 and 6 strings are far easier to play, especially for someone transitioning from lapsteel who isn't looking for chromatic strings and a traditional country platform.

[This message was edited by Jim Sliff on 21 February 2006 at 07:37 PM.]

Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 21 February 2006 09:52 PM     profile     
Jim, I let my anger get the better of me and was out of line, and I apologise for that.

But in your zeal to promote the steel guitar in other musical genres, you really do come across as being comtemptuous of country music and everybody who plays it. Maybe this is not your intent, but I know I'm not the only one who gets the impression that you feel this way. Perhaps you ought to think about the way you put things.

I have no interests in fighing with you, and will refrain from making any more negative comments about you in the future.


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