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#250303 - 05/19/14 07:20 AM [Off-Topic] Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ?
Joe V Offline
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Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1020
Loc: NYC
Hi all,

I love the sound of the pedal steel guitar - the twanginess, volume swells, legato and stacatto mix of connected notes.

BB has EXCELLENT steel guitar sounds - but I'd like to reproduce some of them live - without the expense and learning curve of buying and learning to play the actual instrument.

Have any of you felt this way - and selected a guitar and boxes to mimic the beauty of the sound ?

Also - have any of you liked the sound so much you transitioned from electric guitar to pedal steel ? How'd that go, what was different and surprising, and how long until you enjoyed what you heard coming out of it ?

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#250304 - 05/19/14 07:37 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Charlie Fogle Online   content
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4533
Loc: South Carolina
Hi Joe. Since you already have the quality steel sounds that come with BB, you can create unique and original riffs within the program by comping sections from the several takes into one track.

I've found that some sounds are easier to accurately mimic than others but I'm not familiar with any modules in my price range that consistently capture the uniqueness of the pedal steel.

Regards,


Charlie
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#250310 - 05/19/14 08:03 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
Trying to get that sound live on stage....with a guitar. Yes, I have to admit, I've tried that as has several other guitar players in bands I have been in through the years.

Yes, to one degree or another, it's possible to get surprisingly close for short licks. Of course, it will not sound completely like a steel guitar but you can emulate some of the licks. The problem is that once you fade in and do a fancy little bend, you have a very difficult time from that point going to a slide into the next chord and changing a note in the chord. The pedals on the steel and the knee levers give the steel a super advantage over a normal 6 string.

Usually, a bright sounding guitar such as a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, makes it easier since they have that bright clean metallic sound...AND..... they have a volume knob that is really close to the bridge so that creating volume swells is easier.

Then, it's simply a matter of learning the hot country sounding licks that sound like a steel and working that volume knob.

Consider another option. Lap steel. There are no pedals and levers on a lap steel. It's all about the bar, the tuning used, and the player's skills.


Listen to country picker and session man Albert Lee. That guy does a lot of cool things on a guitar.

Also... youtube has some stuff that might be helpful : Pedal Steel licks on a Guitar


Edited by Guitarhacker (05/19/14 08:12 AM)
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#250311 - 05/19/14 08:06 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Joe,

I've been experimenting favorably with a guitar effect pedal by Digitech named HarmonyMan

If you play the guitar with a slide and experiment with the various harmony settings you can get it to sound AMAZINGLY like a pedal steel guitar... especially if you also use a volume pedal or reverb that includes swell.

By using a harmony pedal you get several advantages:

1) you don't have to angle the slide to get correct harmonies.. single note solos get automatically turned into chords

2) you can turn off the effect when you only need one note at a time

3) one of the harmony settings on this pedal actually allows some notes in the chord to remain the same while other notes rise or fall, which is exactly whet the pedals do on a pedal steel.

4) if the action on your guitar is set high enough to use a slide but low enough the play normally, this opens up a world of possibilities.

5) it isn't just a trick for recording.. this also works quite well in a live performance!


I like this pedal for other reasons too. Most harmony pedals limit you to scale-based harmonies, but many songs don't stay in the same key throughout the song. THIS pedal is capable of following the chords, adapting the harmony on the fly


Edited by Pat Marr (05/19/14 08:12 AM)
Edit Reason: added info

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#250317 - 05/19/14 08:31 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Pat Marr]
GHinCH Offline
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Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 1486
Loc: Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
HarmonyMan is a discontinued product (I haven't checked for a follow-up product). But this guy does an icredible job of mimicking the pedal steel sounds on guitar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mPvRRzVpLb0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddu-Bg1jde4

Guido


Edited by GHinCH (05/19/14 08:34 AM)
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#250355 - 05/19/14 01:31 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: GHinCH]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Originally Posted By: GHinCH
HarmonyMan is a discontinued product


that means they'll be showing up on ebay and craigslist at reduced prices!

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#250361 - 05/19/14 02:17 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2224
Hey Joe! I have no experience with pedal steel but I bought a square neck resonator guitar in December and it is taking longer than I had hoped to come up to speed with it! If you already have slide experience that will probably help.

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#250372 - 05/19/14 04:08 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11360
Loc: Hamlin NY
Joe, if you have an extra guitar around you can get a Slide guitar extension nut http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/reviewme/4596?submitreview=true&utm_source=rebopp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20140322#submitreview
for $3.77 USD.

I have one on an old strat copy and it works just fine. You may also want to get a lap slide also
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Accessories/Capos,_slides/Shubb-Pearse_Guitar_Steel.html?actn=100101&xst=1&xsr=4596

I tune that strat to the key of E.
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#250375 - 05/19/14 04:19 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: MarioD]
90 dB Offline
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Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4724
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: MarioD
Joe, if you have an extra guitar around you can get a Slide guitar extension nut http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/reviewme/4596?submitreview=true&utm_source=rebopp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20140322#submitreview
for $3.77 USD.

I have one on an old strat copy and it works just fine. You may also want to get a lap slide also
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Accessories/Capos,_slides/Shubb-Pearse_Guitar_Steel.html?actn=100101&xst=1&xsr=4596

I tune that strat to the key of E.




Mario-

Thanks for the tip. I've got an old Squire Strat that I'm gonna put one of those on.
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#250423 - 05/20/14 12:50 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
I don't even bother with the extension nut... I just slip a finishing nail under the strings near the regular nut, and it raises the string height just enough to use the slide.

Later in the set when I need to have a regular guitar, the nail slips out easily.

You can even treat it like a "slide capo", sliding it under the strings at any fret. this can be useful when you want the open strings to be in the key of the song

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#250441 - 05/20/14 06:44 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Joe V Offline
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Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1020
Loc: NYC
As always - you guys never disappoint. I'm embarrassed but honest enought to say though I've used the term "pedal steel" often - it never occurred to me that it had pedals !!

And the video suggestions, stomp box and 'nut' suggestions - obviously this is a very desirable sound to many guitar players on the forum.

Thanks for all the suggestions - I'm enjoying (and tinkering with) them immensely.

Appreciatively,
Joe V.

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#250451 - 05/20/14 08:03 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
Originally Posted By: Joe V
As always - you guys never disappoint. I'm embarrassed but honest enought to say though I've used the term "pedal steel" often - it never occurred to me that it had pedals !!



and knee levers too....
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#250495 - 05/20/14 12:46 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
as time allows, I'm going to post a video or sound snippet of the technique I suggested... but in messing around preparing for the video, it occurred to me that most of what I was doing with the harmony pedal was scale based... so any harmony creating device should work.

From a recording standpoint, you should be able to play single note slide guitar into Real Band, then apply the TC Helicon harmonizer to it and get something pretty close to what I'm talking about.

If you added harmony to a copy of the single note track, you could use volume envelopes to switch seamlessly between the tracks for parts where you don't need a full chord.

in fact, you could also use volume envelopes to substitute for the volume pedal used by pedal steel players to fade in the sound.

BTW, I like to add a 3rd and 5th to the single note in order to get the full chord sound so often played on steel guitars.

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#252264 - 06/01/14 02:08 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
OK, here's the snippet I promised to demo the use of a harmony pedal, volume pedal and slide guitar imitating the sound of a pedal steel guitar.

Its a quick & dirty one-take 2 minute demo, so don't expect a stellar production. wink

I purposefully did not use the volume pedal throughout the demo... that way you can identify spots where the use of it changes the sound, and you can get an idea of the range of sounds that are available using this technique.

CLICK HERE FOR DEMO VIDEO

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#252346 - 06/02/14 08:16 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Pat Marr]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
Originally Posted By: Pat Marr
OK, here's the snippet I promised to demo the use of a harmony pedal, volume pedal and slide guitar imitating the sound of a pedal steel guitar.

Its a quick & dirty one-take 2 minute demo, so don't expect a stellar production. wink

I purposefully did not use the volume pedal throughout the demo... that way you can identify spots where the use of it changes the sound, and you can get an idea of the range of sounds that are available using this technique.

CLICK HERE FOR DEMO VIDEO


That is, without a doubt, one of the best guitar versions of a steel I've seen. Of course there are always lap steels and we forget about them quite often because they are the less well known little brother to the pedal steel, and not quite a guitar. Although, folks who master them (listen to David Lindley playing one with Jackson Brown on the Running on Empty LP) are quite amazing.

I noticed a rod to raise the action.... absolutely necessary..... and did you use other than standard guitar tuning on this? kinda sounds like you did. If so, what was it?
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#252380 - 06/02/14 12:28 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Herb,
thanks for the feedback... after about 24 hours and no replies I was starting to wonder if maybe I was hearing it wayyy differently than everybody else.

To answer your questions:

it's standard tuning... I'm just playing single notes, so there's no need for different tunings... the harmony pedal takes care of all the places where a lap steel player would have to angle the bar to stay in key.

And yes, the strings are raised with a .080" diameter pin swiped from an old elastic-style capo that I don't use anymore. But a nail works just as well. In when you need it, out when you don't. No need for a 2nd guitar with higher action.

I cranked this video out in one take just to get something posted, so be aware that a performance that is actually geared toward emulating a steel guitar would naturally sound closer than this. In retrospect, I should have used the volume pedal more and also should have used the slide a lot more to transition from note to note. As recorded, the notes are uncharacteristically abrupt for a steel... but it still gives the listener an idea for experimentation.

edit: also some reverb with a long decay also helps

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#252390 - 06/02/14 01:59 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
additional thought regarding the HarmonyMan pedal:

it is a stereo pedal that can add two separate harmonies, each controlled by its own algorithm.

Upshot is that if one of the harmonies is a 3rd and the other is a 5th, there are times when following the key moves one of the notes, but not the other. This is exactly the way a pedal steel works, with the pedal (or knee lever) bending one note of a triad while the other 2 notes remain the same.

I don't know if other harmony devices work the same way or not, but this one does.

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#252391 - 06/02/14 02:38 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Pat Marr]
Kajun Jeaux Offline
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Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 372
Loc: Baker, La
I'm impressed!!! I'm considering trying this with my Harmony-G XT. I wonder what it would sound like with both harmonies and the doubler turned on. Great idea, Pat.

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#252395 - 06/02/14 03:09 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Joe V]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5797
Great info.

I was thinking that tuning to a chord on the guitar would be really cool too... using this same basic playing style.
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#252457 - 06/03/14 12:41 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Best way to get Steel Guitar sound out of standard electric ? [Re: Kajun Jeaux]
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7548
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Originally Posted By: Kajun Jeaux
I'm impressed!!! I'm considering trying this with my Harmony-G XT. I wonder what it would sound like with both harmonies and the doubler turned on. Great idea, Pat.


please post a followup to let us know how your experiment turned out!

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