© 2013 Flying Monkey Productions Inc.
Like many steelers, I've gone through a lot of gear looking for the ultimate stage and recording sound. For me the main requirements are quality and purity of tone, and consistency of sound from venue to venue.
Currently I'm playing a recent Show Pro SD-10 Pedal or '74 Emmons Push-Pull S-10 Pedal Steel Guitar through a "sidekick" rack containing a DOD Envelope Follower, Mad Professor Golden Cello Overdrive, Boss RV 3 Reverb/Delay, and a Biyang Baby Boom Delay, then into a Telonics FP-100 Volume Pedal, to a custom GD Walker Mono Amplifier combo with a 15" Sica Speaker. For tuning onstage and in the studio I use the Peterson Strobo-Flip virtual strobe tuner. The rack has a filtered power strip for the gear, which also holds the power transformers for the Telonics pedal and effects. Just open it up, plug in a couple of things and I'm good to go. (I also use a Heet Sound E-bow, which is a hand-held electromagnetic string driver).
The Telonics pedals are an enormous improvement over the older potentiometer style- no tone loss or change throughout the full range of the pedal. When I want to play lap steel, I just plug my Marrs RGS or Oahu Tonemaster into the volume pedal and use the Golden Cello for overdrive or distortion. Although it sounds complicated, it takes me about 10 minutes to set up and be ready to play.
In the studio I sometimes use the same setup, but most frequently I use the Telonics Volume Pedal into a Line 6 POD XT Pro rack preamp either directly into the board, or through various studio preamps or compressors, depending on the sound the particular track requires or the producer prefers. The photo shows a recent set up for sessions at OmniSound recording in Nashville.
The Emmons was rebuilt from the ground up by Push-Pull guru Lynn Stafford, and if anything, it's better than new. The Show Pro is an outstanding piece of craftsmanship with all the bells and whistles, and great tone.
Sammy the Studio Cat helping me out when the producer says "Can you give me a little more hair on it?"
Photo courtesy Johnny Radcliff, thanks!