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KäneKïHö`alu
Akahai

64 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  1:57:33 PM  Show Profile  Send KäneKïHö`alu an AOL message
Aloha kākou,

I've been playing slack key for several years now and ʻukulele for even longer. Now I really want to get into acoustic Hawaiian steel guitar. I was wondering if any of you experienced steel players could give me recommendations on what kind of guitar to get. I've been looking at three types: a Gold Tone Weissenborn, a regular Dobro (the kind that Barney Isaacs plays on the album "Hawaiian Touch,") and a tricone (used by Bob Brozman in his albums with Led and Cyril.) I know all three have different sounds. Also, is there anything that you can do with an acoustic that you can't do with an electric or vice versa? Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. Mahalo nui loa!

E mālama pono a e hoʻomaha ma ka maluhia o ke Akua,

Matt

Edited by - KäneKïHö`alu on 03/07/2008 2:01:49 PM

Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2008 :  07:00:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
You know Matt,
Since they all have different sound characteristics, you can choose by the kind of music that appeals to you... or you can just go looking and see what comes your way.
When I first heard Ken Emerson, I swore that I needed a squareneck tricone. Then I actually met Ken, and he was selling a Weisenborn style "Superior". Even though I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a tricone, I bought it from him, and it's beautiful acoustic sound caused my style to develop around the sound that it produced.

I later purchased a single cone resonator, thinking it would be my main instrument, but the Superior had already gotten under my skin, the metalic sound no longer did it for me...

I guess what I am getting at is...
It is hard to tell what the Best steel guitar is going to be...for you! Sometimes it is the guitar that comes to you that is meant to be your ax. You never know.
Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2008 :  4:20:11 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Konabob

You know Matt,
Since they all have different sound characteristics, you can choose by the kind of music that appeals to you... or you can just go looking and see what comes your way.
When I first heard Ken Emerson, I swore that I needed a squareneck tricone. Then I actually met Ken, and he was selling a Weisenborn style "Superior". Even though I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a tricone, I bought it from him, and it's beautiful acoustic sound caused my style to develop around the sound that it produced.

I later purchased a single cone resonator, thinking it would be my main instrument, but the Superior had already gotten under my skin, the metalic sound no longer did it for me...

I guess what I am getting at is...
It is hard to tell what the Best steel guitar is going to be...for you! Sometimes it is the guitar that comes to you that is meant to be your ax. You never know.
Aloha,
-Konabob


I have 2 resonator guitars - a Dobro 8 string, which I alternate between C13 and B11 as the mood strikes me, and a koa/spruce top 6 string made for me by Dave Krause here in Seattle. I love them both. The Krause doesn't have a single piece of plywood in it - the resonator well is curley maple. It is abosolutely sweet, and it's a harmonics MONSTER! - Jack

keaka
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2085 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2008 :  07:21:00 AM  Show Profile
I have a 6 string squareneck Dobro that Slipry1 helped me to change over from GBDGBD to CEGACE or BbEGACE. I love the acoustic sound. I also like Jack's frypan and his double 8 Fender. Each guitar has its own sweetness and context. The acoustics are great for quick jams, practice and "old" sound.
I love the Barney Isaacs stuff with George Kuo. Each is a different tool for a different job. Love'm all!

Edited by - thumbstruck on 03/09/2008 07:22:07 AM
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Mark
Ha`aha`a

USA
1628 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2008 :  10:53:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mark's Homepage
I've played a few of those Gold Tone jobs. When they are good, they are very good indeed. Ditto with the Superiors KonaBob mentioned. The trick (as with all guitars) is to play a bunch till you find a good one.

I play a Weissenborn copy made by a guy in Canada under the name Celtic Cross. It is a really great sounding guitar-- far Superior to a GoldTone, if you get my drift. I've got it in C6th, sometimes in C13.

For my taste, I prefer the sweeter sound of wood to the resonators. Of course, if I played as well as Kory or Jack, I might change my mind.

quote:
Also, is there anything that you can do with an acoustic that you can't do with an electric or vice versa?


Playing a ways from electricity jumps to mind. And volume swells are really a bitch on an acoustic.



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KäneKïHö`alu
Akahai

64 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2008 :  8:54:42 PM  Show Profile  Send KäneKïHö`alu an AOL message
Mahalo nui loa everyone!

E mālama pono a e hoʻomaha ma ka maluhia o ke Akua,

Matt
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steam-powered
Aloha

15 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2008 :  07:07:54 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Mark


I play a Weissenborn copy made by a guy in Canada under the name Celtic Cross. It is a really great sounding guitar-- far Superior to a GoldTone, if you get my drift.



I agree that the Celtic Cross weissenborn-style guitars are definately worth the extra money. Rance White at Lazy River makes some incredible instruments as well (check out Fred Kinbom on youtube and the soundclips of Steiner Gregertsen). Lazy River and Celtic Cross don't cost much more than the gold-tone and are much finer quality instruments.

I used to play in C6 tuning on my Phil Leadbetter dobro and it sounded really nice, although I sold it to buy the Lazy River weissenborn cause I like the woody tone.

Amor et Hilaritas
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rendesvous1840
Ha`aha`a

USA
1055 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2008 :  07:28:16 AM  Show Profile
One advantage of acoustic comes to mind readily; You don't need an amp when you go to the beach. Especially if there's an airplane between you and the beach.
Paul

"A master banjo player isn't the person who can pick the most notes.It's the person who can touch the most hearts." Patrick Costello
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Kanekila
Aloha

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2008 :  06:13:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kanekila's Homepage
quote:
"I have a 6 string squareneck Dobro that Slipry1 helped me to change over from GBDGBD to CEGACE or BbEGACE. I love the acoustic sound. I also like Jack's frypan and his double 8 Fender. Each guitar has its own sweetness and context. The acoustics are great for quick jams, practice and "old" sound. I love the Barney Isaacs stuff with George Kuo. Each is a different tool for a different job. Love'm all!"


I have to agree with that. It really depends on what you're going after. I bought a tricone because I really love the old school tone, but the spider bridge reso sound in C6 that Barney uses with George Kuo sounds really sweet, too.

If you're considering a tricone, but don't yet have the $2,500 for a real National (or a lot more for a vintage National), I can recommend a Republic. Frank sets them up nicely at his shop in Texas. You'll need to put much heavier strings on it when you get it (I recommend the D'Addario EFT13's for resonator), but it's a worthy and very playable instrument.

Good luck and have fun steelin'. Warning: can be habit forming and is highly addictive.
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2008 :  06:50:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
One more thing -
One of the sweetest acoustic steel guitars I have ever played was an old dreadnought size 6 string acoustic guitar (a Gibson or Washburn, maybe) with a nut extender. One of my students brought it to a class, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Soft, warm, and delicate... plenty of low end. If I were performing solo on stage with a microphone, that would be what I would go with. The very first lap steel guitars were just that: Guitars that were played on your lap.
And, you can often pick up a great guitar with funky action for very little money. Then for $6, buy a nut extender, and you have a classic. It is a very vintage sound indeed!
Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass
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RobO
Akahai

USA
97 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2008 :  07:13:24 AM  Show Profile
Question for Jack, Kory, or Konabob - Do you have to change the string gauge to a lighter gauge for the 6th string to tune all the way up to a G (when you tune to GBDGBD)?

a hui hou... Rob
"Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono"
Translation: Acquire skill and make it deep
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2008 :  05:33:51 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by RobO

Question for Jack, Kory, or Konabob - Do you have to change the string gauge to a lighter gauge for the 6th string to tune all the way up to a G (when you tune to GBDGBD)?


Yes. I select the string gauges based on the note for that string. I'll reply again with the gauges for my C6/13 tuning when I get home. As for G, a set of medium gauge guitar strings works fine. I have not been happy with pre-packaged string sets that say they are for C6 - some strings are too thin and others too fat (unless there is another C6 tuning I don't know about....hmmmm). I keep a list of string gauges for my lap and pedal steels to tweak my memory. I like Ernie Ball strings - Ernie was a steel player, so his strings have extra wrappings around the ball end, and, IMHO, they hold up better when being stretched, so you can retune without fear. Now that I think about it, there is a list out there by Jerry Byrd which has compromise gauges so you can go from C6 to A6 to B11 to E7 without restinging, along with the notes for each tuning. If you can get hold of his book, it's in there. Try e-bay.

keaka
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cpatch
Ahonui

USA
2187 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2008 :  06:44:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit cpatch's Homepage  Send cpatch an AOL message
quote:
Originally posted by slipry1

...so you can go from C6 to A6 to B11 to E7 without restinging


Restinging...that would be when you break a string multiple times while retuning and it lashes you on the arm/hand/face.

Craig
My goal is to be able to play as well as people think I can.

Edited by - cpatch on 06/25/2008 06:44:44 AM
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RobO
Akahai

USA
97 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2008 :  06:10:53 AM  Show Profile
Thanks Jack.

a hui hou... Rob
"Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono"
Translation: Acquire skill and make it deep
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2008 :  10:11:29 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by cpatch

quote:
Originally posted by slipry1

...so you can go from C6 to A6 to B11 to E7 without restinging


Restinging...that would be when you break a string multiple times while retuning and it lashes you on the arm/hand/face.


A distinct disadvantage of playing steel. POW! Right in da face! Hmmmmm.... maybe I AM glad I wear glasses!

keaka
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2008 :  2:55:16 PM  Show Profile
As promised, but a day late, here's the C6 string gauges I use for my 8 string steels:
G - .021
E - .014
C - .018
A - .020
G - .024
E - .030
C - .036
Bb - .040 (A - .042)

keaka
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