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  What was your first pedal steel? (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   What was your first pedal steel?
Lem Smith

From: Fulton, MS. U.S.A.

posted 24 January 2005 12:39 PM     profile     
Mine was an awful beast! It made some of the odd steels on Ebay look like a modern D10 in comparison!

I don't know what brand it was because it had no name on it, but it was a single 8 string on a double body. It was tuned by screws on the changer, which tuned like a student model with a pull/release changer. It had three pedals and one knee lever, but the C pedal didn't work, and it had no pedal used the floor for that. Tune it in one spot, and move a couple of inches and if the floor wasn't perfectly level, you had to retune the pedals.

It was too short to use a volume pedal under it, so I had to put it out to the right of the guitar...I think I remember seeing a picture of Buddy E. doing that with one of his guitars as well.

The undercarriage was literally made from coat hangers and was a nightmare to keep in tune.

I was 16 years old when I got it, and it WAS a pedal steel, at least in the most basic sense of the word! I was thrilled to at least have one, because North Alabama in 1979 wasn't exactly a hotbed of pedal steel!

The thread about the Mavericks got me to thinking about this. At least in my case, a Maverick was an improvement!

Any other "humble" beginnings like this? Let's hear how you started out.


Ray Minich

From: Limestone, New York, USA

posted 24 January 2005 01:06 PM     profile     
MSA S-10, for a short time in 1977, Then a Dekley S-10. Matrimony and it's aftereffects (undoing) came between me and the MSA. That won't happen again
Jon Light

From: Brooklyn, NY

posted 24 January 2005 01:20 PM     profile     
Lem--that BMI that you are acquainted with was my #1. no horror stories there. A real good way to start. Bought it direct from Mr. Beck in '83----3+2, bar and BMI pedal included, for $650, shipped. Not bad, eh?
Ben Slaughter

From: Madera, California

posted 24 January 2005 01:34 PM     profile     
Carter Starter. Summer of 2001 I think.

Zum D10, Carter U12
Twin, NV400, PODxt, G&L Guitars, etc, etc.

Michael Lewis

From: Coral Springs, Florida, USA

posted 24 January 2005 01:45 PM     profile     
GFI Student - 3 & 1 that I found on Flea-Bay. There are no pedal steel stores in Southeast Florida! Even my teacher moved to Austin. I thank Neil for many things, amongst them, introducing me to this Forum and the wonderful community found here!
72 Emmons D-10, Nashville 1000
Len Amaral

From: Rehoboth,MA 02769

posted 24 January 2005 01:56 PM     profile     
My first pedal steel was in kit form that you had to put together and finish the body. I purchased this guitar via an ad in Guitar Player Magazine for $150.00. It would not stay in tune and the mechanism would grind when you pressed the pedals.

What was I thinkin?....

Carl Williams

From: Oklahoma

posted 24 January 2005 02:34 PM     profile     
Okay, let's see, it was 31 years ago and I heard my first live steel guitar which was an old Fender 8-stringer if memory serves. It almost brought me to tears (good not bad) and I had to have a pedal steel!! Long story short, I bought my first (a homemade version--10 stringer--no name) one for $100.00 and some of the parts were in a box---took it to Mr. Leroy Prine, (Pedalmaster Godfather) in Fort Smith, Arkansas and he put it all back together. It had one knee lever and 3 pedals with a brand new finish on it! I wish I still had it... Now, I've come full circle from a small homemade wooden guitar to two MSA's and now back to wood--SHO-BUD LDG--I'm satisfied now--I think?! Carl


[This message was edited by Carl Williams on 24 January 2005 at 02:35 PM.]

James Pennebaker

From: Mt. Juliet, TN

posted 24 January 2005 02:43 PM     profile     
An 8 string Fender 400 which I bought from a good friend of mine around 1976. About a year later I bought a Sho-Bud LDG from him. I sure wish I had them both back!
Ed Naylor

From: portsmouth.ohio usa

posted 24 January 2005 02:58 PM     profile     
My first Pedal Steel was a GIBSON Electraharp. I bought it in early 1958 new for $375. I was drafted a couple months later and was making $39 per Mo. in the Army and paying $15 Mo on the Steel. I had my 7 string Ricky shipped to me in Italy and I was in SPECIAL SERVICES and played a lot.The group I was with lost out to the SETAF RAMBLERS in the 1959 All Army contest. I still have the Ricky. Ed Naylor Steel Guitar Works
Dean Vallery

From: San Antonio, Texas, USA

posted 24 January 2005 03:14 PM     profile     
Interesting answers you are getting. Mine was one that I built. It was really a Jerry Blanton clone. I didn't have the money to buy one but I worked in a machine shop. I would make parts for Jerry and we would trade labor for parts. It was a S-10 3 pedal and one knee. I sold it after about one year and lost track of it for twenty years. One day a fellow started work where I worked and as soon as we were introduced he said he had a psg that had my name stamped in it. Who would have thought it.
Paddy Long

From: Christchurch, New Zealand

posted 24 January 2005 03:26 PM     profile     
A single 10 ShoBud with 3 and 2 -- 1978, I very quickly added 2 more knees and it served me well, till I got a Super Pro in 1982. Both were Black of course.

[This message was edited by Paddy Long on 24 January 2005 at 03:27 PM.]

Jim Phelps

From: just out of Mexico City

posted 24 January 2005 03:32 PM     profile     
Fender 1000. I don't know what year it was and don't have the serial number. It was Fiesta Red, had the wide Jazzmaster-like pickups and no rollerbridge or nut.

I didn't know anything about pedal steels, I'd been playing lapsteel, so I set it up with the same A6 and C6 I had on my aluminum body/bakelite neck Ric D8, and I hooked the pedals to simulate the E9th sounds I heard. I had two pedals doing the same as the A&B pedals used on E9th, though I didn't even know what E9th was at the time and I had my pedals backwards. Instead of raising the strings I was lowering them, so instead of stepping on A & B to go from a 1 chord to the 4, stepping on mine went from 1 to the 5 chord. If your 1 chord was with pedals down, then lifting your foot off the A & B took you from 1 to 4. Exactly backwards! I found out later I had them backwards but also found I couldn't tune them to E9th and set them correctly to raise the strings without breaking them off in no time, with that solid round non-roller bridge, you'd break strings anyway, and they'd also saw into the bridge.

I loved it anyway. It had a wonderful tone through my Fender amp and worked fine for what it did, for being an early pedal steel, as long as you didn't want the modern E9th. I wish I still had it.

Dave O'Brien

From: Okeechobee, FL USA

posted 24 January 2005 03:43 PM     profile     
A Pedalmaster (NO relation to the fine guitars Roy Thomas makes) D-10 8&0 beautiful birdseye maple lacquer. No nut rollers- permanent set up with welding rods underneath -weighed about 100 lbs. Bought it in early 70's. It was custom built for Paul Wheat in the 60's. Anybody know who he was??
Archie Nicol

From: Ayrshire, Scotland

posted 24 January 2005 04:14 PM     profile     
A Maverick. Nuff said.
Jerry Van Hoose


posted 24 January 2005 04:23 PM     profile     
In 1969, for my 16th birthday, I received a new D-10 Fingertip Marlen, 8 & 4, walnut stained top and natural necks & aprons. It had the most beautiful star of david inlay, both front and back. Leonard included a case, Marlen volume pedal and 2 cables, total $950.00.
Craig A Davidson

From: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin USA

posted 24 January 2005 04:24 PM     profile     
Sho-Bud Maverick w/3floors. Had the phillips screws on the endplates for tuning I believe. Wood body wood neck.
Ricky Davis

From: Spring, Texas USA

posted 24 January 2005 04:56 PM     profile     
It was a red Marlen S-10 3&3 that I bought from Herb Remington in 1981.
Ken Connors
New Member

From: Jacksonville, Florida, USA

posted 24 January 2005 05:02 PM     profile     
I bought my first - a ShoBud Maverick - two days ago. I'm excited, but already I've found references to the 2nd knee lever in the instructional material. I already play guitar, banjo, and dobro, but this is pretty scary. They tell me that it'll be easy with my background, but I'm not so sure. It's gonna be fun trying though!
- Ken in Jax

Any other Steelers in North Florida??? Alas, the ones from Pittsburgh won't be visiting next week :-(

Rick Collins

From: Claremont , CA USA

posted 24 January 2005 05:10 PM     profile     
Emmons D-10, with only one knee lever ___ lowered the E's on the E9th.
John Drury

From: Gallatin, Tn USA

posted 24 January 2005 05:32 PM     profile     
An S-10 Deckely 3 X 2. I bought it from Duane Marrs in the summer of 1983. It was in new condition. The guitar, case, and a brand new Marrs volume pedal was only about $400-, he practically gave me the thing.

I bummed a Peavey Pacer from Tommy Cash and was off to a roaring stop! I didn't even know how to tune it! It was only third pedal steel I had ever even seen!

Duane always took a minute or two to show me something on the steel each time I would stop by. Had it not been for him and Bobbe Seymour being so generous with their time I would have given up on the instrument after a very short period. It was and still is an intimidating instrument, to me anyway.

John Drury

[This message was edited by John Drury on 24 January 2005 at 05:37 PM.]

Herb Steiner

From: Cedar Valley, Travis County TX

posted 24 January 2005 05:40 PM     profile     
A Gibson Electraharp, in 1964. Paid $200 for it, and later sold it to Rodney Dillard for $100. I hated it. Rodney gave or sold it to Pete Grant who used it on the Dillard's Wheatstraw Suite album. About 10 years ago I ran into RD who told me the story of what happened to the steel, and Pete later confirmed it. I later found a Fender 400 which I subsequently traded to Jeff Hanna, and I think that one made it to a Nitty Gritty album, though I'm not sure about that story.

Herb's Steel Guitar Pages
Texas Steel Guitar Association

Spencer Johnson

From: San Mateo, FL. USA

posted 24 January 2005 05:54 PM     profile     
Mine was a winner Muli-Cord 6 string 4 pedals on the left end $100
Jerry Overstreet

From: Louisville Ky

posted 24 January 2005 06:04 PM     profile     
I walked into Carma Lou's House of Music in Waterloo Iowa [while I was working at the mall there] one day in the fall of 1977, I think, and there was a new MSA Red Baron. I believe it was the first one I had ever put my hands on although I had never dreamed I'd be able to afford one.
Didn't know 1 thing about them except that they pedals and that I loved the sound. The salesman didn't know anything at all about it and could barely disassemble it and pack it in the case. Took a credit card and all my folding money. Still have the receipt!

This is one of my fondest memories.
I have never wanted to do anything else since that day. Sold my nearly new car, left the upper echelons of retail management, moved back home to KY and haven't been worth killin' since!

Discovered you could die in many ways playing music for a living and just couldn't subsist on the meager pay. Went back to the corporate world but still play all I can and still love it as much today as I did that first day I ever put bar and picks to strings!

Dan Galysh

From: Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA

posted 24 January 2005 06:15 PM     profile     
A beautiful red lacquer Sho-Bud Pro III. Waaaa! I wish I still owned it.
Paul King

From: Gainesville, Texas, USA

posted 24 January 2005 06:30 PM     profile     
Mine was a BMI I bought in April 1979. I believe I paid $450 for it. It was black with 3 pedals and 4 levers.
Patrick Carlson

From: Sutton, Nebraska, USA

posted 24 January 2005 06:40 PM     profile     
Sho~Bud LDG gathered enough here not to get a Maverick.Thanks Folks

The Lone Prairie Steeler Pat


From: United Kingdom

posted 24 January 2005 06:45 PM     profile     
A 1960 Gibson EH-150 Electraharp six string 4 pedal

Also in the pic is my good wife Pat and my sister Barbara..


Steel players do it without fretting

Jim Ives

From: Los Angeles, California, USA

posted 24 January 2005 07:08 PM     profile     
A blonde ShoBud Maverick, I bought new in approx. 1974.

Mullen D-10
Lexicon MPX 100
Fulltone Full-Drive II
Evans FET 500 -or-
Peavey Nashville 1000
Vox wah-wah pedal
My dog Toby sittin' on the floor listening

Lem Smith

From: Fulton, MS. U.S.A.

posted 24 January 2005 08:12 PM     profile     
I know the guitar you're talking about Jon. That was a sweet deal you got on it. It's a good playing/sounding guitar for sure.

As far as price goes, I forgot to add that the first one I had, my parents paid $200.00 for it. That was about $190.00 more than it was worth!


George Rozak

From: Braidwood, Illinois USA

posted 24 January 2005 08:52 PM     profile     
Fender 400 - 4 pedals/no knees - around '69 or '70.

Sho-Bud: Professional & Fingertip

Brendan Mitchell

From: Melbourne Australia

posted 24 January 2005 09:42 PM     profile     
An Emmons S10 BlackRock 3+3 I bought from Randy Broughton who went back to the US and plays in a band I think called Trailer Trash.I liked it so much I bought another one a couple of years later.Second one cost me a 68 Tele sunburst with binding.Looking back I'd rather have the Telecaster now.
Brett Day

From: Greer, SC, USA

posted 24 January 2005 11:33 PM     profile     
My first pedal steel was a rosewood 1974 Emmons S-10 student model pedal steel with three pedals and one knee lever. I got it for Christmas in 1999 and it came from Steel Guitar Nashville. I still have it now, and it's the first steel guitar I've ever played with picks and bar. Brett, Emmons S-10, Morrell lapsteel, GFI Ultra D-10

[This message was edited by Brett Day on 24 January 2005 at 11:35 PM.]

David L. Donald

From: Koh Samui Island, Thailand

posted 24 January 2005 11:40 PM     profile     
1981 Sho-Bud Pro-II 8+6
Joey Ace

From: Southern Ontario, Canada

posted 25 January 2005 01:34 AM     profile     
1978 MSA Classic, White Mica, 3P, 4KL.
Bill Myrick

From: Pea Ridge, Ar.

posted 25 January 2005 03:16 AM     profile     
1969--Ivory colored Fender 400 - 3 pedals--8 strings--D9th tuning-- from Scotty-- added two knee levers to raise and lower the "E"'s Traded it back to him a couple years later for a Sho-Bud D-10. Sure wish I'd have kept it !
norm mcdaniel

From: waco tx

posted 25 January 2005 04:01 AM     profile     
My first was a new Sho-Bud Pro 1-3 and 2. I was so proud of that guitar. I got it new in 1977. It was blue stained and beautiful. It was in tune when I got it in Oregon where I lived. I knew nothing about steel but I learned to keep it in tune with the piano. My wife didnt like it at all. She said it was an instrument of the Devil and refused to let me play it in the house. I got rid of her soon after. I finally sold that guitar for $400.00 dollars and moved up. I should have kept it. My loss.

Sierra Universal And all peavey amps and speaker systems

Robert Parent

From: Savage, MN

posted 25 January 2005 04:50 AM     profile     
My first PSG was a Fender 1000, D-8 which I purchased back in 74 for $468.00. I was 14 and have been hooked ever since. A year or so later my Dad and Uncle added 4 knee levers. I played the guitar for almost 4 years before I could afford my first 'real' guitar which was a Sho Bud ProII.

[This message was edited by Robert Parent on 25 January 2005 at 04:51 AM.]

Allen Peterson

From: Katy, Texas

posted 25 January 2005 05:03 AM     profile     
A Dekley S10 3X4. Great guitar but it was sure heavy. I went through several case handles lugging that thing around. I bought it new from Herb Remmington in the early 80s. Wish I still had it.
Bob Carlucci

From: Candor, New York, USA

posted 25 January 2005 05:33 AM     profile     
"Mother of Contact Paper" Maverick.... feh..
Ernie Pollock

From: Mt Savage, Md USA

posted 25 January 2005 05:43 AM     profile     
After a long search, I found a ShoBud Crossover D-10 setting in the back of Harry Geimans music store in Winchester Va, It was covered with junk & dust, there was also a D-9 shobud there at the time, since I remembered them having 10 strings, I went for the Crossover. It was a mess, took me a week to get it in tune, a friend [who had a Marlen] was helping me tune it, [like his Marlen push/pull] finally gave it up & took it to another friend of mine & he laughed & tuned it right up. It had 6 pedals, 3 worked on E9th & 3 on C6th, but the crossover part was broken & would not work. I think I have one picture of it around her somewhere. But it did get me started on my 'steel guitar itch'. I had played lead guitar for quite a while before getting into steel, I would not trade my steel guitar experiences for a million bucks!! Its been great, some of the nicest people I have ever met have been associated with pedal steel.

Ernie Pollock


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