GFI Pedal Steel Guitars have top quality features and design characteristics, a number of which are unique.
D-10 Expo X1 showing detail of the Gold Vein hammer tone finish as well as the Vintage Wood and Maple mica.
We use all maple die board for steel guitar bodies. Die board is normally used as a backing plate on punch presses to stamp out parts of various materials, including steel. 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 far superior to solid maple and more consistent from piece to piece. The die board body is entirely surrounded by an aluminum frame which is a much more stable environment than the more traditional designs of a wood body with metal end plates.
Frames and most metal body parts are epoxy-coated. This provides a hard protective coating that eliminates the need for polishing. Ultra Frames, pedal boards, key heads and necks are brush finished and coated with a clear epoxy. Gloss Black is also available. Expo Models are available only with the Gray Hammer Tone finish, Expo X1 Models are available only with the Gold Vein Hammer Tone finish with a protective clear coat, and Student Models are available only with the Wrinkle Black finish.
S-10 Ultra with the Gold frame finish (discontinued) and Black mica.
The frames are inlaid and the body tops are covered with a long-lasting scratch-resistant mica type material.
Our pickups are double coil humbuckers made by George "L" to our specifications. The GFI-II, standard on all models except 12 strings, is comparable to a slightly heavier version of the E-66. They provide a full frequency range with excellent clarity and note separation. The GFI-I is available as an option for all models and is comparable to a slightly lighter version of the E-66. The GFI-III is available as an option for all Professional Models. It's output is approximately the same as the GFI-II, but with a little brighter tone without any loss of bass at the low end. It's outstanding feature is the note separation in chords at bandstand volume levels. 12 Strings are equipped with the E-66. Other pickups are available on request.
Undercarriage of a D-10 Ultra.
Undercarriage of a D-10 Expo.
All aluminum parts are extruded and machined. No castings are used. GFI uses only stainless steel screws for assembly. Pull rods and pedal rods are made from stainless steel.
Pro Model changers are all pull, triple raise, double lower with super hard aircraft aluminum bridge sections that support the steel changer shaft between every finger. 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 as well as GFI 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 precision ground to +/- .001" total tolerance. The end result is a finger with much less internal friction, less internal undesired movement in the changer, and a harder bridge surface which is much more resistant to scratching and indentations by the strings. There are sound benefits as well, including an increase in overall volume and better note separation in chords while adding a brightness without sacrificing overall fullness of tone. Stainless steel fingers are standard on new Ultra, Expo X1, and Expo pedal steels.
Student Model changers are single finger aluminum and limited to the standard Nashville E9th tuning and setup.
Bell cranks have 7 positions with only 1/8" between hole centers to allow for better balance of string pulls.
Lower string profile (1" above the body), combined with an aluminum support rib on doublenecks and models with a pad, provide much greater stability and minimum detuning.
S-10 P Ultra showing detail of the brush finished aluminum with Clear coat finish.
All GFI pedal steel guitars come from the factory equipped with SIT stainless steel strings. Click here for copedent charts on all models (includes string gauges).
Fretboards are silk screened on mylar with a non reflective finish. 24-inch scale is standard.
The pedal board and pedals are unmatched by any other model on the market today. All pedals are mounted on delrin bearings and attached to an extruded pedal board. Pedal to pedal rod connectors attach to delrin shafts on the pedals 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-10 Right Knee Right. Knee lever stops are mounted on their own brackets to eliminate crossrod deflection. All pedal and knee lever movement is smooth and accurate. All stops are solid and positive.
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.
D-10 Expo showing detail of the Gray hammer tone frame finish and Red mica.
The GFI Student Model has been highly underestimated. It has the same tone environment as our Pro Models and more and more of our Pro Model features have found their way into the Student Model as it becomes more cost effective to keep fewer different parts on hand. It is capable of the complete Standard Nashville E9 set up with 3 pedals and 4 knee levers. If that is the tuning and set up you are looking for, who cares what it won't do. The sound and performance is comparable to many Pro Model steels. The GFI Student Model Steel is probably the best pedal steel guitar value available today.
Undercarriage of the Student Model.
Click here to see the Student Model Setup Sheet, included with every new Student Model, that details setting up the steel and getting it tuned.
Click here to see the Owner's Manual Sheet included with every new GFI Pedal Steel Guitar.
Click here for copedent charts on all models (includes string gauges).
All GFI Pedal Steel Guitars have a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.