Bill Moore's

Pedal Steel Guitar Page

I've played pedal steel since the early '80's, except for a break for a few years in the late '90's. I'll never be the greatest player in the world, but it's been fun trying.  Since I first made this page, I've had several other guitars, including a BMI S-10, Remington S-12, Carter/Magnum SD-10, and the one I play the most, a D-10 Fessenden, black, of course!  I really need to get some pictures up here of these other instruments.
Once in a while, someone will approach me at a gig and ask, "Is the steel guitar very hard to play?"  I think the answer is not so simple, in other words, the basics  are not that hard to learn, the real problem is being able to put everything into practice.  Many of the really simple licks and runs that I play just won't sound right unless they have been practiced over and over.  You must learn to play in tune, which is not as easy as it sounds.  So I usually tell them that anyone can play the pedal steel guitar, as long as they put in the practice time needed to get "that sound".   I'm still working on it!
My first steel was a Sho-Bud Maverick, the most basic student model. I played that for 8 or 10 months, then bought a BMI S-10, with 3 pedals and 3 knee levers. That was a nice little guitar, I wish still owned it. The next guitar was an MSA D-10, black mica, 8 pedals/5 levers, and I kept this one for about 17 years. here's a photo of it.

This guitar was solid as a rock. Some people are critical of the old MSA guitars, but I found it to be well designed and built, and I thought it sounded fine also. I never got into playing on the C6th neck, so I felt that maybe the 12 string, Universal tuning might help me get into learning it. So I bought a Carter S-12, Universal. This one had the basic Jeff Newman setup, 7 pedals and 5 levers. That was a nice guitar, but I found another Carter that had 8 and 8, thinking that this would be better, I bought it and sold the first Carter.

Carter makes a really nice guitar, well designed and both the ones I had sounded good. The concept of the universal tuning is very sound, there are some great players, guys like Joe Wright, Larry Bell, and Jeff Newman, who can get just about any sound out of this type of tuning.

I needed to make some changes in the location of the levers, the guitar was originally set up with a B6th Universal tuning. I wanted to be able to easily reach all the pedals and levers from one position. I ended up with 8 pedals and 7 levers, with only 6 of the levers hooked up. Here is a photo of that Carter S-12, E9th/B6th Universal.



Here's a view from the top:

I mentioned that I re-arranged the knee levers. One of the things I wanted was to switch the normal 6th pedal to operate on a knee lever. It's on the LKR, the one toward the rear. Here is a photo of the bottom, showing the knee levers, as they were first set up.

I found that with the levers set up this way, I had a problem using the LKR and the vertical lever at the same time. The vertical lever was too short, which made it difficult to push up if the LKR was engaged.

I solved that by making a new longer lever, now it works fine. Here's a photo of the new arrangement.










Here's the set-up that I ended up with:

  1 A B C 5 6 7 8 LKL1 LKL2 LKV LKR1 LKR2 RKL RKR
F#                   G#          
D#                 D           C#
G# G   A                        
E       F#                   F Eb
B   C#   C# A C#         Bb        
G# G   A   F# A#       F#          
F#             F                
E                         D F Eb
B   C#     C     C# D            
G#     A                        
E             F Eb           F  
B             C# G#              





The carter is a really nice guitar that sounds beautiful, but I heard so much talk about the old Emmons push/pull guitars, that when I got the chance, I bought one. This guitar is from the early 1980's, here is a photo:


This guitar has 8 pedals and 4 knee levers, pretty much a standard setup. It has a satin walnut mica finish, very nice. The guitar is in great condition, it looks like it was played very little. It has a slightly different sound than any of the guitars I've owned. It's the first I've had that sounds good plugged straight into a headphone amp, without any reverb or other effects. So far, I like it, but I still believe in the concept of the 12 string Universal tuning, I think I will play both for a while, then decide which I like best. I may concentrate on learning the C6th neck, that would probably help if I go back to the E9th/B6th Universal. Here is how this guitar is set up:




F#           F  
D#             D/C#
G#   A          
E     F# F D#    
B C#   C#        
G#   A         F#
F#           F  
E       F D#    
B C#            


  4 5 6 7 8 LKL LKR RKL RKR
E     F            
C       D         B
A B     B       Bb  
G   F#              
E     D#            
C         C#        
A B                
F   F#     E        
C   D     A        



Here's a photo of the back side:

After a while I found that I played the Emmons most of the time, so it was time for the Carter to go. I REALLY, like the sound I get from this Emmons guitar, it's got a kind of mid-range twang that sound great. Hands down, it's the best sounding guitar I've owned.  


Here are a couple of photos of some of my recent gear.

 This is a Tradewind non-pedal D-8.  Made in California by Elva West.  It's a nice copy of the classic Fender Stringmaster.  I need to play it more!


 2003 Fessenden D-10, I consider this my workhorse guitar, I guess I play this one the most.


This is a BMI S-10, Lime Green, COOL, it's a good sounding guitar, and easy to carry.


Carter/Magnum SD-10, good sounding, lightweight pedal steel.  A little plain looking, but plays really well.



Amps and other stuff:


I like Peavey amps for pedal steel,  I have a Session 400, a Nashville 400 and two LTD 400 amps, mostly, I prefer to use the LTD 400s.   I sometimes use rack system, with a Peavey Tubefex, power amp, and two 15 inch Peavey Black Widow speakers. I use a Hilton electronic volume pedal, which is wonderful. Fingerpicks are made by Jeff Newman, and I use Herco Blue thumbpicks. And last, I usually use a 7/8" stainless steel bar.



Some links to check out:

I also enjoy photography, here are a few I've done.

The Steel Guitar Forum


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