Three Handy Tips for Steel Players

Just a quick little newsletter today because I’ve got a lot going on at the moment.

Tip … When playing through two amps with the third ground prong on the AC receptacle, you will always hear an audible hum. Cutting off the ground prong or adding a ground lift adaptor which can be bought at any hardware store, will eliminate the annoying 60 cycle hum. You can also plug everything into the same power strip and then plug only the power strip in thus eliminating the ground loop and the 60 cycle hum.

Tip … I’ve noticed many players are replacing the nylon tuners on their all-pull guitars with tuners that are longer than the stock ones that come from the factory … this gets the tuner out beyond the end of the guitar and makes them much easier to see and faster to tune. I agree with this modification but be careful to pack your guitar in its case in such a way as the tuners are protected from contact with the case. Many guitars automatically have enough space because of the switch on the end of the guitar.

Tip … As several of you may have noticed, when tuning your guitar, if there is a fan in the room or near you, tuning seems to be more difficult. The larger the blades on the fan and the slower the fan is turning, the more it seems to affect your ability to hear the strings in perfect tune. This happens very often in the summer on stages or in clubs where there can be fans blowing on the band. To illustrate this point, a Leslie tone cabinet that has a rotating speaker you will notice, actually raises and lowers the pitch of the note due to the Doppler effect of the moving speaker. It is not just the noise of the fan but the way it actually affects the pitch to your ear. To sum up, make sure the air around you is still or else use a good tuner when in an ear-unfriendly environment.

Bobbe Seymour

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