Pedal Steel Guitar — Measure Cabinet Drop with your Peterson Tuner™

 

 

Cabinet Drop: What Is It?

When a pedal or lever is depressed, a certain amount of stress is transferred to the body, or cabinet, of a pedal steel guitar. The resulting change in the tension has an effect on the pitch of the strings. Sometimes this is minimal and not worth worrying about, but in other cases, the differences can be large and will adversely affect the ability of the guitar to stay in tune.

What Causes It?

Although the age of the instrument, brand, set-up and the player’s style are all contributing factors, there is often initially no clear clue as to what exactly causes cabinet drop, but it does help to be aware of the phenomenon in order to be able to take measures to counteract and minimize its effects on stable performance and tuning.

Determining the Amount of Cabinet Drop in a Pedal Steel Guitar

Although it is possible to aurally register pitch change, it’s not always possible to pinpoint the source. However, it is very easy to not only find the cause when using your Peterson tuner, but also the extent of the change as well as the result of any structural changes made to the instrument, such as adding or removing raises and lowers or replacing particular parts.

How to Gauge Pitch Change Caused by Cabinet Drop Using a Peterson Tuner

                Using a guitar cable, connect the StroboPlus HD™ input socket                    (right side marked with arrow) to the output socket of the steel guitar.


 

 

 

 

                                                 Press the 031214_1642_5.png button.

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Rotate dial (lower right) until “Sweetener™” flashes on the screen.

Press dial once.

Rotate dial until “EQU” appears on the screen.

Press dial once to confirm.

 

 

E9 Neck

031214_1642_9.png1. Tune the first string to F#4 until the tuner’s strobe display is immobile.

2. Depress the A&B pedals (pedals 1&2), play the first string and observe the strobe display for movement.

3. Rotate tuner dial (lower right) until “Cents” flashes on the screen

4. Press dial once.

5. Rotate dial until Strobe image is immobile.

                                                                         6. Observe the Cent display.

The cent value on the screen represents the relevant amount of cabinet drop.


 C6 Neck

1. Tune the first string to D4 (of G4) until the tuner’s strobe display is immobile.

2. Depress pedal 4, play the first string and observe the strobe image for movement.

031214_1642_7.png3. Rotate tuner dial (lower right) until “Cents” flashes on the screen.

4. Press dial once.

5. Rotate dial until Strobe Image is once again immobile.

6. Observe the Cent display.

7. The cent value on the screen represents the relevant amount of cabinet drop. 

Measures can be taken to minimize the effects of cabinet drop, such as tightening end-plates & changer and ensuring that the changer fingers and other moving parts perform and return properly after the activation of a pedal or lever as designed. If in doubt, consult the instrument’s manufacturer.


© 2013 John Norris for Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc, USA