Saturday, August 8, 2015
How do older Melobar's Sound?
An important question now that we are no longer building them, older models are going for pretty high prices on ebay, and you should know what you are looking at.
Older Rosac Model
a quick A - B is to listen to a Rosac body Skreemr from the 90's on the A video then a Tele Body Melobar from 2016 on the B video...NOT Pros but a decent sound bite
A - Old 1992 Melobar Skreemr (skip forward to .30) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqnVbZkGGg4
B - 2016 Melobar Tele version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzHjoVJpqUw
Real difference is scale length and pickups
Mosrite Melobar; The first production Melobars were built by Semie Mosley in the Mosrite factory with Mosrite pickups. I love these guitars in that they have that fat Mosrite sound with a longer scale. Excellent for Blues, professional stage and studio work if strung as a 6 string.
Rosac Melobar; Paul Barth single coil pickups, these guitars were supposed to be for students and this guitar is not good for stage if you don't want old single coil non-shielded hum. Magnets are 63mm, so with standard spacing, best if strung 6-string.
Powerslide V and X 10 models with Bill Lawrence Pickups from the 80's are the best and good for up to 10 strings. This was the best professional model built by Melobar until the late 90's.
Note: want that Lindley sound...click here
Skreemr 6-sting models built in the late 90's started with EMG pickups but were later upgraded to L500 Lawrence pickups with Grover Keys, these are very good professional instruments but the short 22 7/8" scale doesn't give a fat blues tone like the Mosrites did, take the same guitar and lengthen the scale and they'd be even better.
Steelgitr and Telobar double necks were all built custom but all were expected to go on stage so they have good components and sound good.
In the lap steels...
The LS model had the Rosac Paul Barth pickups on them so limited to single coil problems.
SLS, upgraded using the Lawrence pickups but a bit sharp in tone because of those pickups, switching out to even a tele rhythm pickup can help that tone a lot.
CC8 again Lawrence pickups but built for steel not guitar so more of a steel sound.
Teleratt most had Lawrence Tele pickups and had a good tone
XL models had Lawrence L500 pickups with the best tone of all the Melobar Lap Steels
Supersteels had the above set ups so match your pickups to the above
Rattler, considered the best Melobar Lap Steel if you want that "Running on Empty" Lindley sound
In all, Melobar's were a crossover from a standard guitar to a steel built with Alder like a Strat' so you'll want to set your amp with that in mind and roll back the treble if it sounds too bright or aggressive if you want Hawaiian steel, and not be afraid to change out pickups.
Hope that helps...