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  Best pedal guitar steel you can buy? (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Best pedal guitar steel you can buy?
Randall Miller
Member

From: Lockport, New York, USA

posted 29 October 2006 08:40 AM     profile     
Well, The ZumSteels I have seen in pictures look really nice. Myself, I have a 1971 Emmons D-10. Back then I asked what was the best pedal steel to buy and the store owner said 'Emmons' was the best. So I am happy with what I bought and I like the sound, but now I am wondering in this day and age....if money was no object,...what would be the best pedal steel to buy these days? I mean there seem to be quite a few new brands I never heard of before as I have been out of the loop for 25 years now. (shift worker)
Now I suspect everyone would have their own opinion, but I am just looking for a quick answer as I am sure most people talk about a certain brand they wished they owned over all others. Thanks for any replies.
Randy
Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 29 October 2006 08:50 AM     profile     
MSA. If I had the bucks I'd have 2 millenniums and a legend.

The truth is though that they're ALL good, and it I truly had the bucks I'd also have a Fulawka and a Mullen and a Zum and a Fessy and a Carter and a GFU and a Desert Rose and a Star and.....

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Warning: I have a Telecaster and I'm not afraid to use it.
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My web site

Jon Light
Member

From: Brooklyn, NY

posted 29 October 2006 08:54 AM     profile     
Nope. Your post has the potential to generate many many responses but there will be absolutely no answers within. The premise that there is a consensus 'holy grail' steel---that if everyone could, they would get a "xxxxxx" steel guitar is totally false. All you will get here is a list of everybody's favorite personal preference.
David Higginbotham
Member

From: Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA

posted 29 October 2006 09:15 AM     profile     
Well stated Jon!
Dave
Kevin Hatton
Member

From: Amherst, N.Y.

posted 29 October 2006 09:22 AM     profile     
Exactly again Jon. There is no best steel guitar. Its strictly personal choice.
Jon Light
Member

From: Brooklyn, NY

posted 29 October 2006 09:31 AM     profile     
I didn't mean to jump on you, Randall. But if your premise once was true (and I'll wager you can get a real good fight going on that), today there are too many excellent instruments being made that all sit at the top of the heap.
At one time people may have called the Anapeg "the one" because of the ultra-long waiting list and the long list of boutique features (doesn't he plant his own seeds and wait for the tree to mature before building each guitar?---JUST KIDDING!!!!) but truly, with no negative feelings about Anapeg, I'm not sitting here wishing I had one.
If you are in the market for a new steel, there's many to choose from and you will need to narrow down your choices by reading between the lines of all the happy owners to figure out what it is that you like in a guitar. And ideally, go to St. Louis or Texas and try some guitars. It is hard to go wrong but we all want something a little different.
James Morehead
Member

From: Durant, Oklahoma, USA

posted 29 October 2006 09:43 AM     profile     
Like Jon said, If you can take in a steel show that has a lot of vendors, start sitting down behind a few steels and play them. 25 years ago, you couldn't go to a major show and see all these beautiful well built instruments like you can today, and they are all pretty equal, more or less. You get to determine the "more or less" part. What do you like? Chevys or Fords? Blue ones or red ones?

[This message was edited by James Morehead on 29 October 2006 at 09:45 AM.]

David L. Donald
Member

From: Koh Samui Island, Thailand

posted 29 October 2006 09:54 AM     profile     
Different steels have different gigs they can be best applied to.

There is no best guitar,
there are several really great guitars,
that work even better in the right situation.

I would want to get :
D-10 & S-12 Millenium
D-10 PP,
D-10 and S-12 Zum Hybrid PP AP
D-10 Fulawka
S-10 Carter
S-10 Fessendon

Each for subtly different reasons.

Mike Perlowin
Member

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 29 October 2006 10:11 AM     profile     
Actually guys, I have to dissent here. It's true that every manufacturer builds a high qualty instrument, and you can't go wrong with any of them. But at the same time, some bulders are coming out with new improvements such as the zum hybrid changer or the anapeg/excel fingers that, according to people who own them, don't break strings.

I truly believe MSA has advanced the art of designing and building pedal steel guitars beyond what was the state of the art before they started building them again. I'm talking about the undercarriage, not the carbon fiber body, (although that too is a great innovation.)

The new Millenniums and legends have the best pedal and knee lever action I've ever experienced (I must admit, I've not tried every brand.) The fact that the pedal height can be easily adjusted in seconds while the player is seated at the steel is a major improvement over anything else out there.

In the previous post a reference was made to Fords and Cheveys. I believe that if those Fords and Cheveys refer to Zum, Carter, Mullen etc, (all of which are excellent instruments) by comparison, MSA is the Rolls Royce.

------------------
Warning: I have a Telecaster and I'm not afraid to use it.
-----------
My web site

Randall Miller
Member

From: Lockport, New York, USA

posted 29 October 2006 10:22 AM     profile     
Hi all....well it certainaly isn't my intentions to start any arguments on who's is the best, I just thought there might be 1 or 2 pedal steels that most people would want over all the rest is all. I have never heard of many of the new ones and certainly not a 'Anapeg' mentioned by Jon.
I have a close friend that has several steels at home, including some old 'Fenders', an 'Emmons', a recent 'Mullens', and now he just added a 'GFI' to his collection. He said to me he'd love a 'Zumsteel'. So it looks so far as tho no one steel fits all.
A player can't usually have more than 1 steel on a club stage to play as they take up a lot some room anyways. So that is why I asked originally, what is 'the one' that most people would like to have.
Now in the few post so far I see that it is more a matter of personal taste and probably going after the particular sound of their favorite artist, and what he/she plays at the moment!
Jim Sliff
Member

From: Hermosa Beach California, USA

posted 29 October 2006 10:43 AM     profile     
It is personal taste. If I could only have *one*, I'd take my Fender 400 purely for tone, ease of service and versatility.

If I could have two - I'd add my GFI Ultra - tone close to the Fender, buit like a Ferrari and Sherman Tank combined, yet extremely light - so really easy to gig with. I've tried a bunch of other steels and after getting he GFI realized that between it and the Fenders I have no desire for any other 10,12,14 or whatever string modern steel. For me personally, I could not conceivably find a single thing that would make me want to switch "modern" steels from the GFI. Even if I was given something for free I doubt I'd play it.

T. C. Furlong
Member

From: Vernon Hills, Illinois, USA

posted 29 October 2006 10:46 AM     profile     
I think it all boils down to what's important to you. It's a little complicated and requires some thought. For me, the most important thing is tone (the one that I hear in my head as being good) followed closely by pedal action. Not necessarily how smooth it is, but how fast the pedal snaps back. My experience has been that for me, no steel does these two things as well as an early push/pull. Third would be the steel's ability to play and stay in tune. Fortunately, my wraparound is really stable. Now if low maintenence was high on my list, the early push/pull wouldn't cut it. I have owned many of the "modern" steels and as many have pointed out most are wonderful instruments. I played a 1980 Zum for over 20 years and it is a nice sounding steel and a reliable friend. But when I plug in the wrap, and it's magic. In some ways a push/pull is like a bad girlfriend. Everything is going along great and then you lose your "A" pedal in the middle of a show. (It's happened to me) I'll let you draw an analogy with the girlfriend thing...

Now maybe with the Zum hybrid you get all of the good and none of the bad. Hmmmmm?
TC

Tony Prior
Member

From: Charlotte NC

posted 29 October 2006 12:23 PM     profile     
the best steel guitar is the one I have in front of me, with a confidence that when I sit and play it for daily practice and weekly gigs,it does not break strings, stays in tune and has a good overall tone that compliments what I am playing.

The pulls return to natural pitch and the action is positive and comfortable.

the Steel does what I need it to do , and more. The Steel is capable of way more music than I am...

I don't need anyone to tell me if it is a good one or a bad one, or that it is the best one or not the best one...

I gig 4 or 6 times per month and I want it to be reliable and very consistent..

and it is..

thats why I own it and play it..

and from where I'm sitting I can't even see the name on the front.


I went to a Chevy dealer once and asked them which Car was best..

What do ya think they told me ?

[This message was edited by Tony Prior on 29 October 2006 at 12:24 PM.]

Ward Skinner
Member

From: Mission, TX

posted 29 October 2006 12:29 PM     profile     
Billy Carr??
Steve Hinson
Member

From: Hendersonville Tn USA

posted 29 October 2006 12:57 PM     profile     
Randall,you already own one of the best steel guitars ever made...

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http://home.comcast.net/~steves_garage

Sonny Priddy
Member

From: Elizabethtown, Kentucky, USA

posted 29 October 2006 01:04 PM     profile     
GFI. Magnum. Rittenberry. All Great. SONNY.

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Donny Hinson
Member

From: Balto., Md. U.S.A.

posted 29 October 2006 02:12 PM     profile     
There is no "best"...never has been, and never will be. Each brand has certain advantages, and none of 'em are perfect. Ignore what anyone else says and just buy what you like.
Charles Curtis
Member

From: Bethesda, Maryland, USA

posted 29 October 2006 02:14 PM     profile     
Well let's see; if I had the opportunity and money, I'd like to buy Randy Reinhard's 'ol push pull Emmons. Yes sir, I'd be very content with that one!
Hal Higgins
Member

From: Denham Springs, LA

posted 29 October 2006 02:41 PM     profile     
In my nearly 37 years of playing and owning steel guitar(s)...I've had a good many different brands (e.g. emmons, Sho-Bud, MSA, etc.) but the one that I own now, and you'll see what it is on my forum signature, is the one I absolutely and truly believe to be the finest built and sounding guitar I've ever owned. As with most of the guitars built today, this guitar is top quality....with some great innovative design. A great deal of thought went into the design of these guitars. For me, it's the best on the market, and that's not putting down any other manufacturers product in no form or fashion. Just my 2 cents worth....and you can put it in your "for what it's worth" file or trash if you so desire, and won't hurt my feeling in doing so.........HAL

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Be Blessed........HAL
2006 Rains w/8 & 5 Chestnut Burl Mica. Rack system with Evans Preamp (LV), DPC1400,Lexicon MPX500, Furman Power Conditioner, 2 Evans Cabs with Eclipse 15's Modified Evans Preamp (no rack ears), Boss RV5, DD3, Digitech RP50, 2 Hilton Pedals, Walker Seat w/sidekick and backrest, BJS 10 string bar with birthstone. Zookies thumb pick L-30.


Billy Carr
Member

From: Seminary, Mississippi USA

posted 29 October 2006 03:33 PM     profile     
Well, like it's been mentioned earlier, there's several great guitars on the market. Regardless of the brand, I believe a player has to personalize his/her guitar. In other words, each player adjust pedals/KL'ers a little differently. Same way with pick ups. Everybody hears differently. In my steel shop, I see pretty much every brand at one time or another. I like all PSG's. I'm a dealer for RAINS & FESSENDEN and will promote and sell those but there's guitars out there that are just as well built as either. I've talked with GFI a while back about ordering GFI's but I
keep getting late model GFI's in on trades, so therefore, I hadn't ordered any new ones. Another thing that goes a long way in purchasing PSG's is the SERVICE a player gets from the seller/builder. In my opinion, this is probably the most important aspect of purchasing a PSG. As you know, it doesn't really matter what brand guitar it is, if a player gets a negative feedback or is talked to in a disrespectful matter, then hey, they'll go somewhere else. As I said earlier, it's mostly about SERVICE and add to that good public relation skills. With these two things you can sell about anything, including PSG's.
Steve Spitz
Member

From: New Orleans, LA, USA

posted 29 October 2006 03:36 PM     profile     
Whatever I`m trying to sell.
Joe Smith
Member

From: Charlotte, NC, USA

posted 29 October 2006 05:52 PM     profile     
Well, The best pedal steel guitar built is a, uh a ........ WHAT'S THAT DEAR? Gotta run guys the wife's calling.

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My playing sounds more like it did before than it does now


Greg Cutshaw
Member

From: Corry, PA, USA

posted 29 October 2006 07:06 PM     profile     
I'm a sucker for how a guitar looks as much as for how well it plays. Lately I've seen a lot of Rains guitars with the blue or red fiddle back maple wood and that would probably be one of my next choices. Truthfully, I haven't spent hours playing more than 5 brands of guitars so there may be lots of good ones I've never tried. Watching Gene fields play those Thumbs Carlisle riffs on his front neck (fretted!) was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and I'd be temped to put that contraption on a GFI back neck with E9th on the front. I've heard that a lot of the steel bodies are built by just a few people for all different brands. I do like the newer more compact/lighter bodies so I would tend to stay away from a rebuilt older guitar. They are all pretty good and they all have some problems and need adjustment. Service is important.

Greg

Cliff Kane
Member

From: Long Beach, CA

posted 29 October 2006 07:32 PM     profile     
Well, you've got a '71 p/p....many would say that's hard to beat, except by maybe another p/p. If we're using moto analogies, you've got a nice Harley--and a real Harley, not some sort of Evo thingy, but like an early Shovel Head (the Wrap Around being a Pan Head ). Why would you want to ride anything else?
David L. Donald
Member

From: Koh Samui Island, Thailand

posted 29 October 2006 07:53 PM     profile     
I'll add that my short list,
is of instruments I have actually played.

I have not seen an Anapeg, nor played an Excell.
Though they are clearly fine instruments.

And the older PP would be a Tommy Cass refurbished unit.


What Mike P. says is pretty spot on.
One reason sverla forumites own several steels, is because each has a different
feel and tone.

Randall Miller
Member

From: Lockport, New York, USA

posted 31 October 2006 11:34 AM     profile     
Hello....well it looks like this thread is winding down. I want to thank all those who responded with your personal thoughts and feelings from around the globe. I probably won't be buying a new steel as I still love my Emmons. I wish only that it had come with better tuning keys is all. But, maybe Shallers or Grovers weren't available back then?

Randy in Lockport, NY

J PARKER
Member

From: Meridian Miss

posted 31 October 2006 01:14 PM     profile     
There are a lot of good steel builders in this day and time. I have personally played numerous guitars over the years. The past several years i have been a RAINS player because of the feel and tone i get from it without using any effects. Great guitars in my opinion. Jim
Herb Steiner
Member

From: Cedar Valley, Travis County TX

posted 31 October 2006 04:04 PM     profile     
I've been playing this instrument long enough, with many guitars, to realize that the best guitar you can buy is the one that says "let's you and me make music" within a few moments of your sitting down behind the horn.

In other words, you like the feel, the look, the vibe, and the sound of the guitar simultaneously.

To do that, you have to play many guitars. The best place for that is either one of the guitar shops that has mucho guitars, like Bobbe's or Billy Cooper's, or else at a MAJOR steel show, which right now is only ISGC (St. Louis) in September or the Texas Jamboree (Dallas) in March. There are a number of shows in which you can see SOME guitars, but the manufacturers pretty much all agree that they must make a serious presence at the Texas and St. Louis shows.

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Herb's Steel Guitar Pages
Texas Steel Guitar Association

Garry Vanderlinde
Member

From: Garden Grove, California, USA

posted 31 October 2006 08:23 PM     profile     
quote:
that the best guitar you can buy is the one that says "let's you and me make music"

I agree with Herb, get the guitar that talks to you

Brett Day
Member

From: Greer, SC, USA

posted 31 October 2006 09:10 PM     profile     
I think a GFI is a good'un. It's like sometimes, I imagine my GFI("Redgold Beauty) sayin', "Okay, Brett, it's time for you and me to make some good music together and please don't play just one song,haha. I also think a Zum is a good guitar, and so are guitars like Emmons, Franklin, and Sho-Bud. There's just so many guitars out there. Brett, Emmons S-10, Morrell lapsteel, GFI Ultra D-10-aka "Redgold Beauty"
Ernie Pollock
Member

From: Mt Savage, Md USA

posted 01 November 2006 04:58 AM     profile     
Not to change the subject, but I will, I was thinking, would those carbon fiber guitar bodys break easy?? How hard is that stuff? I have seen only one of those guitars [in person] and it was a real beauty, but I worry about that carbon fiber? Anyone want to chime in here?

Ernie

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David Doggett
Member

From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

posted 01 November 2006 06:39 AM     profile     
I think carbon fiber is stronger than wood. They make acoustic guitars of very thin carbon fiber, and no internal bracing is required. The body of the MSA Millenium seems to be about 1 1/4" thick, and I believe there is a honeycomb-like internal structure (I think I read this somewhere, but I'm not sure about this). That's gotta be very strong. In addition, there are full length metal rails front and back up under there. The aprons and pedal bar cover are very thin. They are slightly flexible, like plastic, but seem very tough.

I can't imagine that there is a better pedal steel made than the MSA Millenium. However, I haven't tried them all, and several others may be equal to it or negligibly close.

[This message was edited by David Doggett on 01 November 2006 at 06:45 AM.]

T. C. Furlong
Member

From: Vernon Hills, Illinois, USA

posted 01 November 2006 06:49 AM     profile     
Herb, I couldn't agree with you more. Well said. If I may take your excellent observation a bit further...I really like it when my steel says "Why don't you stop what you are doing, come over here, sit down behind me and let's you and me make music together"

BTW, which one of your guitars says "let's you and me make music together" most quickly after sitting down behind it?
TC

[This message was edited by T. C. Furlong on 01 November 2006 at 06:51 AM.]

Penny Custureri
New Member

From: Florida, USA

posted 01 November 2006 08:01 AM     profile     
Got a brand new Derby SD-10 few months ago. I'm a Beginnger/Intermediate. Gotta lotta guitar and keyboard background. Love my Derby. They put a lot of extra touches on them like the extra wide pedals if you wish. Also the paddles on your knee levers. Can't say enough. Also the Stepps are wonderful people to do business with.
Herb Steiner
Member

From: Cedar Valley, Travis County TX

posted 01 November 2006 08:19 AM     profile     
TC
The guitar that fits me best is my Emmons wraparound #1264018, the one I play onstage and the one you saw at ISGC.

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Herb's Steel Guitar Pages
Texas Steel Guitar Association

Jim Cohen
Member

From: Philadelphia, PA

posted 01 November 2006 08:28 AM     profile     
quote:
the best guitar you can buy is the one that says "let's you and me make music" within a few moments of your sitting down behind the horn.
FWIW, in my own experience, I've hated just about every guitar I've owned for the first 2 weeks until I learned how to get my sound out of it. It's a subtle thing, but I eventually subconsciously adjust my attack (and amp settings) till I get it to where I want it. I can be impressed by the appearance, technology, and 'playability' immediately upon sitting down at it, but it takes a while longer for it to really 'speak' to me (or, rather, for me to learn how to get it to speak to me). YMMV.
Mark Eaton
Member

From: Windsor, Sonoma County, CA

posted 01 November 2006 08:45 AM     profile     
As far as the carbon fiber thing-the material is being used in race cars and race motorcyles these days.

The area where I have some familiarity with it is in bicycles. I enjoy cycling for exercise and recreation, and did some amateur racing myself many years ago.

10 plus years back, there were issues with the carbon fiber fork on a racing bicycle breaking a lot easier than the traditional heavier steel fork, but engineers have improved the things dramatically.

Carbon fiber has become the darling material of the bike racing scene. All sorts of parts are made out of it, and probably the majority of the bikes ridden in the Tour De France now have frames made out of carbon fiber.

It has gotten to the point that ballpark 160 lb. riders are descending twisty mountain roads in the Alps at 50 mph on bicycles containing a lot of carbon fiber, and the bike weighs all of 15 lbs.

So as far as the strength factor of an MSA carbon fiber PSG, I wouldn't think there is anything to be concerned about.

It is my understanding that the tooling and molds to build things out of the material-be it bicycles, 6-string guitars, or pedal steel guitars-is ridiculously expensive, so this had to be quite an investment for MSA. Hence the high retail price.

Carbon fiber can be designed and molded to different thicknesses, to put more material where it is needed and less where it isn't.

The guy that builds 15 steels a year in a small shop on his property isn't going to be able to afford to participate.

If pedal steels were a larger segment of the musical instrument industry, I think we would see more builders using the material.

I'll be looking forward to checking out the MSA carbon fiber steels at the San Jose jam this Saturday, from Mike Perlowin and David Wright.

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Mark

[This message was edited by Mark Eaton on 01 November 2006 at 08:48 AM.]

[This message was edited by Mark Eaton on 01 November 2006 at 08:50 AM.]

Bob Hoffnar
Member

From: Brooklyn, NY

posted 01 November 2006 10:07 AM     profile     
Randall,
There is nothing better than what you play right now. The Emmons PP can not be beat when it comes to tone.

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Bob
upcoming gigs
My Website

Jim Cohen
Member

From: Philadelphia, PA

posted 01 November 2006 10:28 AM     profile     
quote:
There is nothing better than what you play right now. The Emmons PP can not be beat when it comes to tone.
Bob is, of course, correct... depending on what sound you are looking for!
Cliff Kane
Member

From: Long Beach, CA

posted 01 November 2006 10:37 AM     profile     
Hey Penny,
Welcome to the Forum!

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