Fender 1000 Pedal Steel Guitar - Projects - Audio Artillery

Fender 1000 Pedal Steel Guitar

  1. Intro
  2. Details
  3. Theory of Operation
  4. Front Neck Setup
  5. Back Neck Setup
  6. Adding Knee Levers
  7. DIY Tone Bar
  8. Puzzling Out the Back Neck Tuning

6: Adding Knee Levers

The primary limitation of the early Fender pedal steels was the lack of knee levers. The cable system is quite easy to modify so adding a lever isn't that big a deal. The main limitation is the changer system only supports a single raise and single lower per string. The standard E9 copedent has only one double raise (the E's are raised to F by a lever and F# by a pedal).

To overcome the double raise case I designed a lever that can adjust the pull at the lever instead of at the changer. This is only needed on one string so it's not too inconvenient to tune. The cables go thru a hole in the lever and are pinned in place by set screws. The screw at the back provides a hard stop but isn't really necessary.


(click for full size)

The bracket and lever I fabricated myself on my CNC mill. I was able to find the cable (it's called "wire rope"), 18 gauge wire for the hooks, and other bits of hardware at Home Depot. I used regular electrical solder to attach the hooks.


(click for full size)


(click for full size)

This works pretty well. I didn't have any issue tuning the F. If both cables needed to be tuned at the lever it would be a little harder. Resulting copedent (left knee lever not yet implemented):

Front Neck E9 Copedent (modified)
StringP1P2P3P4LKRRKL
G#+A
E++F#-D#-D#+F
B++C#++C#
G#+A
F#++G#
E++C#-D#+F
D
B

I am unsure if I should disconnect the 4th pedal. I don't think the current P4 pulls are useful. I could use P4 and P5 to mimic the remaining two knee levers of the standard copedent. I'm very much a beginner at playing pedal steel so I don't know what I need yet.


 

7: DIY Tone Bar

These are not that expensive to buy ($25 - $40) but it was so easy to make one I don't know why more people don't make their own. I used 7/8" 304 stainless steel rod from a metal supply. It was $8 for a 12" rod. I cut mine to 3.25", rounded the end, and polished to 1500 grit. The rough grinding on the nose and rear were done on a belt grinder but everything else I sanded by hand. The rod was very round and pretty smooth so it wasn't that bad. About a 1 hour project.


(click for full size)


 

8: Puzzling Out the Back Neck Tuning

After some attempts to decode the previous owner's tuning I gave up and decided to use a simple C6 tuning/copedent which includes most of the changes from the Day C6 copedent:

Back Neck C6 (Day) Copedent
StringP4P5P6P7P8
G+G#
E+F
C++D
A++B++B
G-F#
E-D#
C+C#
A++B

This is the string gauges I settled on. They seem to work fine.

Back Neck C6 String Gauges
StringNoteGaugeType
1G.0135plain
2E.018plain
3C.020plain
4A.028wound
5G.030wound
6E.038wound
7C.042wound
8A.048wound

I arrived at this by comparing tensions with the front neck on strings that are tuned close to each other. It's basically the same string gauges as on the front neck but a slightly thicker bottom string. This is a pack of D'Addario EXL110+ plus .042", .030", and .020" singles.


 
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