Your Chain For Recording A Pedal Steal Guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Drewslum, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    Seattle, WA
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    I did a little search on this forum and did not see many results for people's opinions of how they like to/would mike a pedal steal guitar rig. Any thoughts?


  2. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    Eugene, Oregon
    I've actually only had the opportunity once to record pedal steel, but it turned out pretty good. I just miced the amp, like you would an electric guitar. Move the mic (standard choice would be a Shure SM-57) around on the speaker cone until you get the sound you're looking for, and go. You might also consider using a room mic. Generally a Large Diaphragm Condenser of some sort will do the trick. That should be placed maybe 10 feet away from the amp or more. Exact placement will depend on your room, the amp and the mic. Experiment. Mix the close mic and room mic together for your final sound.

    By the way, instead of an SM-57, I actually used a Studio Projects C-1 (an LDC) as a close mic on the pedal steel track I did. Not quite right on the speaker grill cloth, but only maybe 8-12 inches away. I've also used that on electric guitar cabinets. Works well. I've used the two mic method on guitar amps, with an SM-57 up close and and a B.L.U.E. Mouse as the room mic.

    Have fun!

  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Normally I stay clear of Peavey amps, but the Session 400/500 series works pretty well for the pedal steel. Most players have spent some time and bucks getting their rigs right. I just aim a Sennheiser 421
    right at the cone, about halfway between the outer surround and the center dome of the speaker, a couple of inches away from the grille.
  4. Cody01

    Cody01 Guest

    Curious, why do you steer clear of most Peavey amps for steel?

  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    A pedal steel guitar is one of the most amazing instruments I've ever recorded. I've liked the sound of the Show Bud more so than the thinner sound of the MSA. And of course I like them in nice tube amplifiers. Where I have had some fun in the past was to eliminate the musicians amplifier. I plugged his guitar into my friends Hammond rotating speaker that he used on his Farfisa organ. It was way cool. Another time, I used an original Eventide Clockworks H1 Harmonizer. I barely dialed in 1 sent of pitch change which gave me a great stereo chorusing effect after putting a Shure SM 53 on his amplifier. It makes a steel guitar even more slippery sounding than it normally is. And it gives you some nice stereo at the same time. Of course that's not a purist way to record pedal steel. But then some years ago George Massenburg tried to record a double manual harpsichord playing baroque music as if he was miking for rock 'n roll. The harpsichordist hated it and she was correct that she was the principal harpsichordist for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. But this was when George was still young and had just invented his parametric equalizer. He wasn't used to recording classic nor baroque music. But he sure is good with R&B & rock 'n roll ain't he? So I have no complaints about him. I know him. He's great.

    Pedal steel guitar is the country version of a double manual harpsichord.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. BusterMudd

    BusterMudd Active Member

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York City
    Ideally: through a silver-face Fender Vibrolux Reverb combo amp, close-mic'd with either an Electro-Voice RE20 or a Sennheiser MD421 and (presuming you're in a nice sounding room with wood floors) simultaneously distant-mic'd (@~1meter) with either a Neuman U-67/U87 or an RCA 77DX. Preamp du jour, kiss it lightly with an LA2 or equivalent, badda-boom, badda-ning, done.(I've also had reasonable success using older Peavey combo amps. But greatly prefer the Vibrolux!)

    In a pinch: direct through a Countryman Type 85. Same comp, add a tiny touch of spring 'verb (in mono!) when tracking.
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