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TheGoodRev

So, I went and bought a Pedal Steel

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...and it's fucking awesome. The Carter Starter, a 10-string, 3-pedal, 4-bar job. I've barely owned it for 40 hours and I can't stop playing it. E9 tuning is crazy and I was discouraged for the first couple of hours because I couldn't make head nor tail of it. Standard guitar players, dig this crazy tuning:

B/D/E/F#/G#/B/E/G#/D#/F#

Made me crazy too, till I realized Carter had included a lengthy DVD in the package including a 10-minute segment entitled "Nashville E9 Tuning Demystified for Standard Guitar Players". 10 minutes later, I'm a C&W superstar. Give me 6 months, I'll be on fire. It's been a few years since I've tackled a whole new intrument, the challenge is incredibly exciting.

carterstarter.jpg

YEE HAW!

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Nice! What kind of amp do you run it through? Can pedal steels use regular guitar amps, or is a different kind of amp needed? (I've also never heard of a pedal steel player using effects. Do you use any, or plan to?)

Aloha,

Brad

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I've also never heard of a pedal steel player using effects. Do you use any, or plan to?)

pretttttttty sure Robert Randolph uses a wahwah and perhaps a touch of distortion on his tone sometimes...

but i'm not 100% on that.

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Nice! What kind of amp do you run it through? Can pedal steels use regular guitar amps, or is a different kind of amp needed?

I have seen amplifiers specifically for pedal steel, but a steel will work though any guitar amplifier, yes. The electronics are exactly the same; actually, simpler, in the case of this Carter. The pickup is wired straight to the output jack, no volume or tone pot. I have been running it through the clean channel of my Fender DeVille 4x10 with the treble cranked, and through a little Roland cube, also with the treble cranked. Sounds great through both.

I've also never heard of a pedal steel player using effects. Do you use any, or plan to?

Well I happen to know, while his is not the style of playing I'm shooting for, that Robert Randolph runs his steel through a whole chain of effects and into a guitar amp head and 4x12 cabinet. The Van Halen rig of steel players, really (maybe I only make that association because I seem to recall that Randolph has a Peavey endorsement).

Most standard steel players, though, use a volume pedal as part of their technique. It's funny - I had the Carter shipped to the Bloor Street Long & McQuade from the Ottawa store, it was the only L&M in Ontario that had one. The guys who helped me out in Toronto were awesome, and one of them said something to the effect of the following to me: "Son, I've played steel guitar for 4 years, and I only play lap and table steel. I would never go near a pedal steel because it's one of the most complex instruments I've ever seen. And that's with a LOT of steel playing in the past four years." So as we're doing up the bill and such, I asked the guy if they could put a volume pedal on the bill and I would grab one from the guitar department downstairs (I was up in the acoustic department, that's where they shipped it to for some reason). He says to me, "Oh no, you're not taking home a volume pedal today. You've got plenty to learn right hear [pats the steel]. You take this home and you learn how to PLAY it first, then you can come back and get a volume pedal and work on your technique."

It was pretty funny and kind of refreshing that the guy would offer his advice from his own experience, to the point of selling less merchandise. I'm making leaps and bounds in my playing after only two days, though, so I think there'll be a volume pedal in my near future.

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nice one rev. glad to see your getting your collection going again after the raping it took.

i felt your same sense of excitement while learning to drive standard so i can drive my new car!

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Hey man, any chance I could somehow get a copy of that dvd? I have a '72 Sho-bud E9er that I'd like to restart.

I don't have a burner, but if anybody in the Hammer or Toronto can rip and burn for you, I'll see to it. Anybody?

What did you end up paying for it? Why did you take that model versus others?

The list price at L&M was $899 Cdn, which is awesome considering that all the others I looked at were well over 1000 bucks. I read a lot about the Starter online, it got some great reviews, like this one:

IF YOU'VE EVER THOUGHT about learning to play the pedal steel, one look at the average instrument's price tag may have stopped you cold. Professional-level steels are expensive, and the so-called student models are often so stripped-down as to be of dubious value. Finding a decent instrument at a reasonable price has been a dicey proposition — until now.

The well-made Carter-Starter functions much like a professional steel yet is priced more like a student model. Although it's a no-frills instrument, it sounds good, is easy to play, and — unlike student models — could definitely be taken out on a gig.

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