Last year I acquired a vintage MSA D12 pedal steel guitar. It was in storage since about the late 1960’s according to the owner and because of this the guitar is in remarkable condition. Unfortunately because of the odd copedant, it wasn’t really playable when I got it home. I immediately got to work by disassembling the undercarriage and re assembling it into a usable copedant.
The major challenge to playing older pedal steel guitars is that they might not be able to be set up like a modern instrument. That is the case with this guitar. This MSA pre-dates MSA Classic guitars by several years. As such it has 4 knee levers that work on the E9 neck but are not connected to the C6 neck. That is the reason for all the pedals. The extra 4 pedals take the place of knee levers on the C6 neck.
I had to have some small parts for the knee levers made but overall it was a very complete guitar. While I have it playable for the most part, it is a work in progress. I went with an extended E9 for the front neck and like it but the rear neck is not set in stone. Right now I have the first string set to a G and the second string set to D. I really like having both possibilities available. The other change I made is I added a D on string 8 which makes scale runs such as a pentatonic scale very easy in position. The downside is it creates a challenge for some right hand chord fingerings so I’m not sure if I will keep it there.
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