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  What is a Pedabro?

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Author Topic:   What is a Pedabro?
Leslie Ehrlich

From: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

posted 22 December 2002 11:02 PM     profile     
I see the word 'Pedabro' pop up now and then and I'm just wondering how one works. Is it a pedal steel with a Dobro resonator cone assembly? What does it use for a changer? How many pedals? Is it tuned like a dobro or like a steel? Is this the instrument that Carson Chamberlain played on Keith Whitley's recording of 'When You Say Nothing At All'?
Mike Perlowin

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 22 December 2002 11:20 PM     profile     
Is it a pedal steel with a Dobro resonator cone assembly?

That's exactly what it is. They were made by the Franklin company, and I believe only 25 were ever built. I also believe they came in both E9 and C6 tunings. They are played like a regular steel, but have the tone of a dobro.

Paul Franklin obviously has at least one. Dan Tyack has one or two, and Peggy Green has 2.

And I don't have any.

Jeff Peterson

From: Nashville, TN USA

posted 23 December 2002 05:26 PM     profile     
The tuning was D9, E was a little light to drive the cone. They record well, but are a real problem live. I use mine to record only. And they do not exactly sound like a resonator....that is, full acoustic-Dobro type. They sound like what they are. They're very difficult to output to speak of. If you use a pickup, it sounds like a lap steel/pedal steel. Carson did not play on the Keith song.....that was Paul Franklin.

[This message was edited by Jeff Peterson on 23 December 2002 at 05:30 PM.]

[This message was edited by Jeff Peterson on 23 December 2002 at 05:32 PM.]

Herb Steiner

From: Cedar Valley, Travis County TX

posted 23 December 2002 06:02 PM     profile     
An example of how difficult the Pedabro is to mike occurred at this year's ISGC during the Resocasters set. Heffernan and Auldridge had tone to die for as well as volume for days, but my dear friend Hal Rugg, on his Pedabro, was at a sonic disadvantage though he was miked. No ambient stage tone whatsoever... it drastically needed amplification.

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Mike Perlowin

From: Los Angeles CA

posted 23 December 2002 06:15 PM     profile     
Just out of curiousity, has anybody ever tried to record with a small condensor microphone placed inside the guitar body? Perhaps amplified through one of those amps made specifically for acoustic guitars with Peizo pickups?

[This message was edited by Mike Perlowin on 23 December 2002 at 06:16 PM.]

Jeff Peterson

From: Nashville, TN USA

posted 23 December 2002 06:33 PM     profile     
Piezo's don't work for the same reason...not enough 'movement' happening. The last time I used mine live, I used 2 mics(one close, one shotgun), with the pickup(Lawrence). The sound could be described as 'so close, you could just touch it!'. This was with the best working FOH and monitor guys today. It's tough to make work, and sound acoustic/like the record. The main problem with piezo's is, gain before feedback...and they don't truely represent the acoustic properties of the instrument. Contact mics just don't make it.
tom anderson

From: leawood, ks., usa

posted 30 January 2003 01:44 PM     profile     
I'd like to restart this thread with to get feedback on how the players of this instrument rate it? Why were so few made? I thought Bobby Seymore told me that Shobud once made a few pedal resonators. Is that true? They have good mike's and pickups for Dobro's or Nationals- I still don't understand why those wouldn't work with the Pedabro (McIntire, for example). Why was there so little projection from these if the very fact that the resonator cone itself was developed to project sound from a guitar? Is there no soundhole beneath the cone? How is the action on these? Thanks, Tom
David Cobb

From: Chanute, Kansas, USA

posted 30 January 2003 01:56 PM     profile     
See a photo of top and undercarriage at, click on Bio
Jeff Peterson

From: Nashville, TN USA

posted 30 January 2003 07:18 PM     profile     
Again, force from the strings(down), 'drive' the cone. Bad resonators have no angle between the bridge and endplate...hence, no pressure downwards. You might have seen cheap resonators that run their strings from the underside of the endplate...wrong!! They do this because of bad design. The more angle...the more 'downforce' on the cone and then more 'bark' and 'Dobroish' tone. Go with a fatter string the guitar fold itself in half..too much tension. Always has been a problem with resonators.
The PedaBro, by design, just does not have a great angle between bridge and endplate, so, no big cone driving/vibration going on....which is why I always thought Paul's C6 PedaBro sounded best....bigger strings. It may have even been an A6...I don't know.
I've had a couple of guys with resonators say to me, 'listen to this great tone-what terrific low-end!', when in fact, they weren't moving the cone at all and were, in essence, just playing slide on an acoustic guitar...which is good for that kind of application, not for a resonator.
Anyway, that's why a piezo-type really does not work for to use a mic and a pickup together--preferably Lawrence pickup and a good condenser mic.
As far as action plays like a Franklin, which feels just fine.
One more note, it does matter whether you use nickel, stainless, or bronze strings....they don't sound/pickup the same at all.

[This message was edited by Jeff Peterson on 30 January 2003 at 07:24 PM.]


From: N.Y.C.,N.Y.

posted 30 January 2003 08:42 PM     profile     

[This message was edited by HowardR on 30 January 2003 at 08:43 PM.]

Dan Tyack

From: Seattle, WA USA

posted 30 January 2003 10:14 PM     profile     
I concur with the comments about playing the pedabro live. I need to add that the pedabro has a killer, killer electric sound, as long as you don't try to play it through a transistor amp. Play it through a small tube amp and it really sings, a cross between a 335 and a DanElectro. Very nice. One of my pedabros has a C6th type tuning on it, and it is also killer (electrically) for that archtop jazz sound.

The key to recording these puppies it to get right down and close with a good large diaphram condensor. The recording engineers love them because there isn't any of that close miking boominess....

For live bluegrass playing, I've been sticking to a dobro.


[This message was edited by Dan Tyack on 31 January 2003 at 09:30 AM.]

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