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GFI pedal steel guitars have a clear and expressive tone with excellent frequency response and note separation.
They excel in recording situations as well as being the live choice of many touring professionals.
They are incredibly reliable mechanically and the pedal and knee lever action is accurate, smooth and responsive.
A simple, clean, and modern design
Efficient and reliable mechanics
A GFI pedal steel guitar is carefully designed and manufactured to be a superior instrument
Pedal steel guitars are subject to a large amount of string tension and then additional stresses as the strings are pulled by the pedals and knee levers to change pitch. Our instruments are designed to provide as much stability as possible and minimize any adverse performance effects those stresses might cause in a package that is as light weight as possible.
ALL ALUMINUM FRAME AND EPOXY COATINGS
We begin with an all aluminum frame to provide maximum stability in a lighter weight structure which results in much less detuning than the more traditional design of two metal endplates attached to a wood body. All of our aluminum is extruded aircraft grade material, no castings are used. Extrusions are a very efficient way to make various odd shaped parts and each GFI pedal steel utilizes about a dozen different extrusions. The frame and body parts are coated with a baked on epoxy that provides extremely durable protective finish and an excellent bearing surface for moving parts.
DIE BOARD BODIES
Our bodies are made from die board which is a type of “super” plywood normally as a backing for punch presses that stamp out parts of various materials. All plies are maple and laminated with an epoxy base, which makes it much stronger than solid maple. Unlike ordinary plywood, die board has a natural resonance that is superior to solid maple and very consistent from piece to piece. Here, Gene describes how he came to the decision to use die board:
“A friend of mine (Coy Howard) owned a steel rule die company. He asked me several times to try die board in the pedal guitars. As it was a form of plywood I refused because my past experience with plywood had been negative. I finally built two pedal guitars, identical except one was solid maple and the other was 5/8" "all maple die board. DeWitt Scott ("Scotty") was here when we tested them. We were both pleasantly surprised to find the die board superior to the solid maple. The tones were similar except with the die board, the strings seemed to come alive. It is tough enough to drill and tap, and hard enough to have a resonance. When strumming the strings, more vibration is felt through out the instrument than with solid maple.”
Die board also costs more than solid maple but the superior strength and sound characteristics make it well worth the expense.
LAMINATE COVERED BODIES AND FRAME INLAY
We use a durable high gloss finish laminate as an inlay for the frames and pedal board and as a covering for the top of the die board body in several colors and wood grain patterns.
OVERVIEW OF MAIN FEATURES
Our pickups are double coil humbuckers made by George "L" to our specifications.
12 Strings are equipped with the George “L” E-
Pro Model changers are all pull, triple raise and double lower. The changer housings are made from an extrusion and designed so that the steel changer axle is supported between every finger, eliminating any possible axle deflection.
The changer finger is where the ball end of the string is anchored and is the main point of contact for the string's vibration to resonate into the wood body. Most steel guitar companies use aluminum for this part. Our stainless steel finger is manufactured by a unique process by which powdered metal is formed under extreme pressure and high heat to create a part much harder than its original starting material. The part is then precision ground to +/-
Student Model changers are a single finger pull-
LEGS, PEDALS, AND KNEE LEVERS
Our legs are also an extrusion of 3/16" thick aluminum wall. When assembled, the steel stands at a standard height of 26 1/4" from floor to the bottom of the back rail. Custom heights of 1 or 2 inches taller or lower are available at no extra cost if specified at the time of order. Front legs are fixed in length while back legs can be adjusted plus or minus about 1/2 inch for leveling. This leg assembly provides greater stability at about 2/3 the weight of conventional steel legs.
The pedal board and pedals are unmatched by any other model on the market today. All pedals are mounted on delrin bearings and attached inside an extruded pedal board eliminating any metal to metal contact in the pedal movement. Pedal to pedal rod connectors attach to delrin shafts on the pedals also eliminating metal to metal contact. A small thumbscrew rides in a channel on the shaft to hold the rod in place. Pedal numbers are stamped on the connectors.
Knee levers are rounded for comfort. Adjustable knee lever "Wing" is standard on D-
OTHER NOTABLE FEATURES
Detail of the fretboard
Crossrod and bell cranks
Leg, pedal board, pedals, and pedal rods on a D-
Detail of the knee levers.
Detail of the changer.
Drawing of the stainless steel changer finger.
Laminate color choices
Die board body after lacquer coating and being drilled/milled.
Die board patiently waiting to become pedal steel guitars.
Frame for a D-
Frame for a D-