Pedal Steel Dobro Simulator Using Danelectro Fish And Chips

What a goofy idea! Buying a $30 Danelectro Fish and Chips 7 band EQ, hooking it up to your pedal steel, and expecting to get anything resembling a dobro sound. Well I got it, hooked it inline with the following flow: Steel Guitar > Goodrich Foot Volume > Boss RV-5 > Fish And Chips > Steel King Amp. After a lot of experimentation I did end up with something pretty close to a dobro sound! You can see my fish and chips EQ settings in the pics below. It does a good job of getting you in the ballpark of a dobro sound but the type of bar you use is the key to getting an authentic sound. Using a conventional steel bar or a hollowed out Dunlop bar resulted in complete failure. Going to a sawed off hardwood handle or a glass bar was a bit better. Then I tried the end of an empty 12 ounce Pepsi can and got something very usable. My final attempt (I left out many other items) with a Skin So Soft metal container got me so close to a dobro sound that I stopped looking any further! I did try various plastic items both solid and hollow to no avail. Depending on the strings I am picking either the Pepsi can or the Skin So Soft works better. I found that setting the RV-5 on Room reverb helps to simulate the short reverberation of a real dobro body. Picking VERY hard helps in getting a more metallic sound. I am using a plastic blue Herco thumbpick and two heavy metal National finger picks. My amp settings are what I normally use for playing - no special settings to enhance this effect.

Link To Danelectro Fish And Chips At Musician's Friend

A few last minute comments

For $30 I think this is a worthwhile investment. You can hear the results in a mix with the recorded song above and it does offer an authentic dobro sound on the E9th neck. I'm still not done trying different bars and placements of the Fish And Chips in the effects chain. I did try reversing the order of the RV5 and Fish as listed above and I lost some of the authentic tone. I also found that placing the Fish between the steel and the Goodrich volume pedal greatly reduced the white noise but also lost some of the desired dobro effect. This unit is not full analog bypass so if you leave it in line you will have some change in tone.

As another experiment I recorded my straight steel sound and ported it to Reaper. I then proceeded to try various Reaper EQ plugins with the same 7 bands of EQ and cut/boost as the Fish And Chips. Nothing came remotely close to the Fish sound. This would have been handy for recording dobro sounds without swapping in the Fish. No soap and no dobro sound!

Late Breaking News Update!

Fellow pedal steeler Dave Simonis took this setup a few steps farther with great success. He added the Danelectro Corned Beed reverb unit between the foot volume and the Fish And Chips and also added a Paloma round Blue Cobalt glazed bar as the bar of choice. So far I have just added the Corned Beef as above with the Hi-Cut set all the way to the left and the Mix control set at 11:00, no Paloma bar yet. Amazingly I would say that the effect is 100% improved and very close to an electrified dobro or pedal Sho-Bro sound. Lately I am liking the FULL Coke can bottow edge (more metallic sounding) or the hollowed out Dunlop steel bar (more sustain) for the best Dobro tone. I'll try out the Paloma slide bar when it arrives for comparison. See the last picture below for the setup. In case you're interested, I had little success in emulating the Franklin Pedabro sound but using a conventional heavey steel bar and regular hall reverb does take you more in that direction. The Corned Beef is an out of production effect so you may have to search a bit to find one new or used. It does alter the EQ, adding to the dobro effect and it also has the type of spring reverb sound that sounds a bit like an accoustic dobro chamber. Sound sample 9 below is a recording of this latest setup.

Song Recorded with the Fish and Chips Dobro Sim

Steel Guitar Audio Samples - All samples use Wooden Dowel then Skin So Soft then empty Pepsi can as bars

Sound Sample 1

Sound Sample 2

Sound Sample 3

Sound Sample 4

Sound Sample 5

Sound Sample 6

Sound Sample 7

Sound Sample 8

Sound Sample 9

Pictures! Click on them to see full sized pics. (Sorry about the flash, I am working on improving my photo quality)

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