Steel Guitar News December 10. 2012

This is Bob Hempker with today’s newsletter and some answers to questions we’ve received through emails.

I’ve been asked to compare the advantages and disadvantages between the Emmons and Day setups. In truth, they’re just two different ways to get to the same place. I would recommend that anyone starting out use the Emmons setup because nine out of ten players use it. That way, if you sit down behind somebody else’s guitar, it’s most likely you’ll be able to play it without any problems. All our guitars on the floor are setup the Emmons way.

If you’re already playing the Jimmy Day setup and are comfortable with it, by all means stick with it. I play the Day setup, have for fifty plus years and don’t see any reason to change.

We had someone ask about the best amplifier for a steel guitar. I haven’t found it yet. Personally I like the sound of the highs and high mids of a solid state amp. I like the sound of the lows and low mids of a tube amp.

Older is not always better. To me, dollar for dollar, the Peavey 112 can’t be beat. It’s not big and heavy. The size and weight of it allows a person to carry two amps if he so chooses. They don’t take up a lot of room on a small stage.

For those just getting started who may not know this, the Peavey has an effects loop in it which a lot of older amps don’t have. An effects loop reduces noise for one thing and the effects work cleaner. It makes it easier to insert more units in the effects chain.

Newer amps also have an XLR output which enables you to run directly into the sound board. I personally like the sound of a miked speaker better because I want the sound of the speaker with my tone. Going direct out through an XLR doesn’t give me the sound of the speaker.

However, understand there are situations where they demand that you go directly into the sound board. You’ll find the XLR output on the back of the Peavey 112.

If budget it not a concern, a tube preamp with a solid state power amp in a rack with a rack mounted effects processor can sound good. Some guys are opting for self-powered speakers and they’ll use a preamp with them. There are many options out there and different ways of going about this. Use your ear, your imagination and know what fits your budget.

I’ve been asked about tone. Tone is all so subjective. It depends on what style of music you’re playing, the limits of your equipment and your own personal tonal preferences. The room you’re playing in makes a difference.

I’ve played a show in the afternoon and been totally elated with the tone I got, then came back two hours later to play a second show and I hated the tone I got. Nothing had been moved or changed in any way.

I hate to paint anything with a broad brush and say this sounds like this and that sounds like that. Not necessarily. Everybody has an idea in their head what they want their instrument to sound like. We can’t really explain it but we know it when we hear it.

There is no Holy Grail of tone. As long as your tone is not bothering you, sometimes it’s best not to get concerned about it and just play it. Don’t get discouraged if on occasion your tone isn’t what it’s supposed to be. It happens to each and every one of us regardless of what equipment we use.

If it becomes a normality that you always hate your tone, it might be time to look at some different equipment. When you get new equipment, get the best equipment you can afford. The better you like your equipment, the better you’re going to like playing it.

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Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday

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