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Author Topic:   Msa?
Damir Besic

From: La Vergne,TN

posted 04 December 2002 06:44 PM     profile     
I`m waiting on my MSA Classic.I have never owned a MSA or even played one.I`m sure they are great guitars but would like to know more from you experienced MSA players out there.What can I expect?What are bad and what are the good sides of an MSA?What does it sound like?Which p/u are the best for MSA?Are they original ones ok?Thanks.
Donny Hinson

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

posted 04 December 2002 07:02 PM     profile     
What can you expect of an old MSA "Classic"? In the used market, they're probably one of the best bargains out there. Depending on how well it's been maintained and how much it's been played, expect a guitar that's substantial (large, and a little on the heavy side), rugged, reliable, and simple (very easy to maintain). Unless you have a hum problems where you play, the stock single-coil pickups will be fine.

I oughta' know...I played one for 29 years.

Al Marcus

From: Cedar Springs,MI USA

posted 04 December 2002 08:32 PM     profile     
I have a maple wood body S12 "Universal" a later model with triple raise and triple lower.

8 pedals(room for more) and 5 knee levers. Original pickup SSII.I can get that growl or hit the bright switch and get the real highs.

Stays in tune. you can't go wrong if you get one in good condition. Either way, it is a

Vernon Hester

From: Cayce,SC USA

posted 04 December 2002 11:57 PM     profile     
I have a MSA D10 classic I bought in 1977.I am using BL710 pickups and like the tone. I have used BL705's,2 different types of MSA pickups. It's a hard choice between the 705's or 710's as I like both. The guitar stays in tune and plays like a dream
Chuck McGill

From: Jackson, Tn

posted 05 December 2002 12:33 AM     profile     
Bobbe has a real beauty on his site I noticed
Wed.12/4. A real nice package deal.
Joey Ace

From: Southern Ontario, Canada

posted 05 December 2002 07:11 AM     profile     
I had an S10 Classic.
I agree with all the above comments.

Heavy, mechinacialy sound. Very positive action on the rod-tuning nuts.

Changing the setup is more difficult than most newer guitars, due to the way the bell cranks attach.

The handle on the case was not connected very good, a common fault.

The sound is not as bright as I like.
No bad, just different, darker.

The pickup cavity had to be routed to allow a replacement pickup.

Darvin Willhoite

From: Leander, Tx. USA

posted 05 December 2002 08:23 AM     profile     
I love mine, it is the smaller and lighter Classic SS. A very well made guitar.

[This message was edited by Darvin Willhoite on 05 December 2002 at 08:26 AM.]

Mike Perlowin

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 05 December 2002 10:46 AM     profile     
I have 2 MSAs, one lacquer and one mica. They are different but both are great guitars. I like the lacquer one more, but I use them pretty much interchangably.

MSA set the standard by which all of todays instrunment are judged. There are some probably builders who have surpassed what MSA did 25 years ago, but those old instruments are still totally functional and usable. One cannot say that about all vintage steels.

MSAs are heavy. They are rock solid and are built like tanks, which means they weigh a lot. But it also means thay they are very substantial, and don't wear out. They tend to sound darker and more midrangy that some other guitars, and some people don't care for that.

I think that their tone can be improved by replacing the pickups. I have George Ls in mine.

As has been mentioned, changing the copedent is much harder on an old MSA then it is on a more modern guitar. This is due to the round cross rods that have to be removed when you remove a bell crank. The square cross rods that came later were a big improvement in this regard.

But once you're tuning is in place, the guitars play extremely well. MSA was considered the Rolls Royce of steel guitars back in the 70s. I intend to keep both of mine as long as I live, regardless of whether or not I buy another steel.

[This message was edited by Mike Perlowin on 05 December 2002 at 11:12 PM.]

Gordon Borland

From: San Antonio, Texas, USA

posted 05 December 2002 07:01 PM     profile     
My MSA D10 is the only steel guitar I have ever owned. I was influence by Don Pack and Denny Mathis in San Antonio in the 1960's
and 1970's. They both played MSA's then and Don still does. I agree with all of the above comments about the MSA.
I got mad as heck when I saw the new MSA on the MSA website. I wrote Reece about it and gave him a piece of my mind. I want the new MSA so bad I can taste it! Iam taking odd jobs to make extra money so I get one. Nothing except a new MSA would ever make me want another steel guitar.
Why yes I am an amateur. Why do you ask?

From: Grove City,Ohio

posted 05 December 2002 11:09 PM     profile     
Damir, I have a MSA Vintage XL that I bought new from Reece over 20 years ago,and it's still going strong. I did however,install a George L E-66 pickup in the E9th neck. Great steel guitar!
Bosse Engzell

From: Äppelbo, SWEDEN

posted 05 December 2002 11:19 PM     profile     
Hi Demir, I have just sold my -73 Classic MSA. And I bought a MSA Vintage XL SD-10, 3+4. This one is more easy to go gigging with. Good luck with your MSA.
Bosse in Sweden


Tony Prior

From: Charlotte NC

posted 06 December 2002 02:24 AM     profile     
Damir, when I returned to Steel last year I purchased a D12 Classic with 8 + 4. I had never owned but MSA but was familiar with them.I have since sold it and moved on but it really was a fine Steel, very well made excellent playability and it was one heavy barge ! I had to pay and bribe my wife and daughter to carry it ( in pieces) up to my music room .

I would consider another MSA like a Classic SS D10 or S10 again . I too think these Steels may be the best used value out there.

good luck


[This message was edited by Tony Prior on 06 December 2002 at 07:43 AM.]

Bill Llewellyn

From: San Jose, CA

posted 06 December 2002 07:22 AM     profile     
I have a third-hand 1973 MSA Classic universal 12 string with a humbucking SuperSustain pickup. The guitar has put up with all my beginner's mistakes over the three years I've had it. I think it's great, though I admit I haven't had a chance to make many comparisons. It is heavy; I don't stow the legs inside the carrying case but instead carry them separately in order to keep the case lighter.

Bill L | My steel page | Email | My music | Steeler birthdays | Over 50?

Damir Besic

From: La Vergne,TN

posted 06 December 2002 06:23 PM     profile     
Here it is,

I just got it today.My two cents?There we go.

1.heavy and very stabile wich I like,I don`t like guitar that move around the stage while playing (even tho this one could be little lighter)
2.looks great as any other high dolar pro steel
3.mechanicaly is also very,very good,also as any other high dollar guitars I ever played
4.SOUND? if you ask me,as good as any high dollar steel,not muddy or mellow sound at all,at least not through my 500 Session.Of course any guitar will sound bright or mellow if you set you EQ that way,I guess.I love bright tone and this MSA is as bright as it gets.(my wife told me "this guitar sounds brighter then your other guitars")so much about all that "doesn`t sound good" typ a stories.And that is with original p/u.I will not be buying another p/u,I don`t see any need to.

And the best thing of all,price is great,one of the best deals I have ever got on the steel.1K for perfectly functional D-10 in great condition.

final toughts-very good

that was my two cents and of course there will be people who will, or will not agree with me, but that`s ok,different strokes for different folks.
Thanks to all of you guys who sent me emails and who posted reply on here,have a marry christmas and happy new year and I wish you all many,many years of picking your steels,whatever brands they may be.

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 06 December 2002 at 06:23 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 06 December 2002 at 06:25 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 06 December 2002 at 06:55 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 07 December 2002 at 08:14 AM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 07 December 2002 at 02:15 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 07 December 2002 at 06:06 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 07 December 2002 at 10:25 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 11 December 2002 at 06:07 PM.]

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 11 December 2002 at 06:35 PM.]

Bill Moore

From: Manchester, Michigan

posted 07 December 2002 05:37 AM     profile     

Damir, I tried to get your photos to show up, for some reason they don't want to. I agree with what you said about the MSA, the one I owned had plenty of treble, and a nice even range of tone. Since I can't get your pictures to work, here's one of the MSA I had:

[This message was edited by Bill Moore on 07 December 2002 at 05:40 AM.]

[This message was edited by Bill Moore on 07 December 2002 at 05:43 AM.]

[This message was edited by Bill Moore on 07 December 2002 at 05:47 AM.]

[This message was edited by Bill Moore on 07 December 2002 at 05:48 AM.]

Rex Thomas

From: Thompson's Station, TN

posted 07 December 2002 06:20 AM     profile     
Yous guys are making me regret I ever sold mine. I had a mica like Bill's except rosewood & a lacquer (natural) Classic. Probably if we had the pickup options back then we have now I might still have the lacquer, who knows.
The lacquer was a babe, though. Had the built in fuzz tone, just as good as the Jordan. Indestructible. Never broke strings. Oh well. Somebody got 'em a treasure.
Damir Besic

From: La Vergne,TN

posted 07 December 2002 08:25 AM     profile     
There is some darn nice guitars shown here.Mine is not as nice as yours, but thats ok.I like rosewood mica anyway,so I`ll live.I had to re-post pictures,I hope they will work now.The way this instrument was build,reminds me on Sierra,solid aluminum,and everything fits (end plates to body,etc..)great,no gaps or lose parts.Very tight.Not a cheap built guitar for sure.Mine has a Bud Carter`s signature on it,so It makes me feel even better.I don`t know Mr.Carter,and never had a guitar built by him,but the way he built this guitar,I can tell that he knows what he`s doing.I would like to see some more MSA`s here,so if you have more pictures,please post it.Thanks again to everyone.

how do you get a p/u to be closer to the strings?Sho~Bud has a three screws you can adjust the hight of your p/u with,but I don`t know how to do it on MSA.They are a little to far down from the strings.Thanks.

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 07 December 2002 at 08:29 AM.]

Mike Perlowin

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 07 December 2002 08:33 AM     profile     
My mica MSA is white Just like Bill's. My Lacquer one is emerald green.

I have some news for those of you with mica guitars, Sierra has agreed to liscense their interchangable pickup system to other manufacturers, and also allow people who own other brands of guitars to retrofit their existing instrument with the system.

There aren't many guitars that can accept it, but the old Mica MSAs can. (The lacquer ones can't). I have the first and so far only retrofit.

BTW, yesterday the pictures wouldn't open, but today they did.

Jim Smith

From: Plano, TX, USA

posted 07 December 2002 09:04 AM     profile     
Damir, old MSA's pickups mount from underneath. Looking from underneath you'll see two screws directly below the pickups. Unscrew them to raise the pickups.
Damir Besic

From: La Vergne,TN

posted 07 December 2002 02:09 PM     profile     
Hey Jim, great,thanks a lot.
btw. it has already 9 pedals,but still set up for one more.Nice.

[This message was edited by Damir Besic on 07 December 2002 at 02:20 PM.]

Dave Seddon

From: Leicester, England.

posted 10 December 2002 02:10 PM     profile     
I have had my S10 for 3 weeks now and I love it. My very first American Steel was an MSA, 30 years ago, like a fool I sold it. since then I've had Emmy's and Bud's and one or two other wierd things, Now I have this Classic, it's like buying your first house back again.
Al Marcus

From: Cedar Springs,MI USA

posted 10 December 2002 07:55 PM     profile     
I would like to add the the later wood body MSA" were not as heavy as the earlier mica.

The Lacquer Classic SSD10 , the Lacquer Vintage XL"s and the Lacquer "S12 Universal" models were all somewhat lighter in weight.

My green lacquer S12 "Universal" with 8 pedals, set for 9, and 5 knee levers weighs exactly 39Lbs out of the case and the case weighs 16lbs. So that's not so bad, and it is very, very

Harry Busby

From: Wroxeter, Ontario, Canada

posted 11 December 2002 07:00 AM     profile     
I'm fairly new at steel playing so please be patient with me if this is a dumb question. I have an MSA D-10 Classic built in July of 76. How do I tell what it is made of? The word "Classic" is in gold lettering and it has gold pin stripes on the back of the two necks.
Harry Busby
Mike Perlowin

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 11 December 2002 01:58 PM     profile     
Harry, if it has a lacquer finish, the body is made from a solid piece of maple. It it has a formica finish, chances are the body is made from die board which is a laminate.

Another giveaway is the pickup well. If it is inside the aluminum piece that supports the changer, the guitar has a maple body. If the pickup well is cut from the neck of the guitar, it's a mica/dieboard instrument.

You can also tell by also looking at the underside of the front apron. It it is a laminate, you'll be able to see the various layers, not unlike a cross section of ordinary plywood (which of course it is not.)

Either way, it's a great guitar.

Emmett Roch

From: Dripping Springs, Texas

posted 11 December 2002 06:11 PM     profile     
Gordon--have you seen the natural-finish MSA Denny got last year? It looks like it was just built, and it would sound good even if somebody besides Denny was playing it

GFI S-12 extended E9

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