Universal Pedal Steel Guitars
MSA steel guitars always were strongly related to steel player Maurice "Reece" Anderson. MSA was one of the very first steel guitar manufacturers recognizing the potential of the Universal setup single neck pedal steel guitar. When no-other manufacturer even thought about production of universal setups MSA revolutionized the 12 string single neck. Today again MSA steps into the toprank with production of its Carbon-Composite bodied PSG's.
History of the
MSA was first formed as a partnership in 1963 with the M, S, and A standing for the last names of the founders. In late 1972, MSA teamed with a machine shop called Micro, so MSA was renamed MSA Micro Inc. Over the years, two of the three founders left the company and, in 1983, the general economic climate forced Maurice Anderson, the remaining partner, to close MSA.
In June of 2002 another company was formed bearing the name MSA Pedal Steel Guitars LLC. While the new MSA is a separate entity from the old, some of the principals of the new company were principals in the former company. The principals of the new MSA are Maurice Anderson, Kyle Bennett, Dave Horner, Jerry Anderson and White Properties Inc.
The letters MSA now stand for Micro Space Anderson due to the company's close working relationship with MicroSpace, a Dallas company.
Although the letters MSA signify a different name and wholly separate company, the MSA legacy for craftsmanship, precision, dependability and quality continues with the new MSA Company.
What About The Sound And Tone
The sound/tone of a steel guitar is an extremely important quality to the steel player. Since the quality of the sound produced by any given guitar is somewhat subjective for each individual, what is great to one may be marginal or barely acceptable to the next. Further, most players do agree that the sound/tone of any steel guitar improves relative to the increased proficiency of the player. That being said, we at MSA do believe there are certain sound/tone parameters that must be exhibited by the guitar itself if the sound it produces is to be truly outstanding.
What about a pedal steel with a carbon-composite body? It has never been done. What would be the sound/tone characteristics of such a guitar? We know carbon-composite construction is strong and light, but "what is this thing going to sound like. . . ?" These were some of the basic questions confronting the Millennium design team at MSA.
Well, rest assured and make no mistake about it, MSA did not get the cart before the horse. Yes, we are offering what we truly believe to be the highest quality pedal steel guitar both in production methods and advanced materials ever produced, but our very first and highest priority from the very inception of the MSA Millennium, was that of a superior sound/tone.
To this end, the design team proceeded to go to great lengths to ensure the tone of the all new MSA Millennium would be second to none. Finally after months of research and experimentation, that sound has dramatically surpassed our greatest expectations. To put it simply, the composite body offers a velvet sound and touch on the bass strings and a sparkle on the higher strings that we think has never before been achievable on any pedal steel.
Sound/Tone Logic Of Composite Body.
MSA's ability to maintain sound/tone consistency relative to the construction of the carbon-composite body represents a tremendous advancement in steel guitar technology. In addition, through varied core design, the MSA Millennium offers refinements and extensions of traditionally acceptable sound/tones never before provided by pedal steel.
Steel guitar bodies made of wood are often inconsistent due to different moisture content, age and density. In addition, the varied use of glue in body fabrication and/or mica lamination further reduces consistency. Theoretically, bodies made of aluminum should have more consistency than those made of wood. However, both wood and aluminum bodies share a common inconsistency. That inconsistency is in the attachment of all other guitar parts to the body itself.
In other words, how tight is the neck? What about the key heads? What effect do these have on the resonance and vibration of the body itself? There are many factors that make a guitar sound the way it does, and these are certainly some of the many.
When the body of the MSA Millennium is formed, virtually every point of compression where changer, neck and key heads are attached is predetermined with laser accuracy. When the body is molded, these points are not part of the core material and resin flows within the mold into these predetermined compression points. The result becomes a perfectly integrated body that recognizes no fault or void at attachment points. MSA also goes a step further. To ensure total consistency, all components are assembled to the body at predetermined torque settings.
Carbon-composite technology, when used in steel guitar construction, provides an outstanding sound/tone and a superior level of consistency in the body itself, making the MSA Millennium truly unique and a one of a kind. We most sincerely hope our efforts on your behalf help to provide an even brighter future for the pedal steel guitar.
New Features On The MSA Millennium.
The quick release pedal bar which has thumb latches at each end is allowing for instant removal. Matching color knee levers are designed to be adjustable and are sculpted for maximum comfort.
The ball end of the string attaches into a failsafe slot on the pulling finger. Also notice the specially designed ring on the pulling finger. Should a string break, the ball end will be retained instead of falling downward into the pulling system and possibly causing damage to the changer system. Looking at the very bottom of the neck close to the cabinet, a line of what appears to be small holes exist to allow for "split tuning" on every string. At the very bottom of the guitar a row of screws is visible which allows for adjustment of return springs.
Close examination of the one piece key head reveals different alloy for the plain strings and the wound strings bridge rollers. This entire design greatly enhances the overall sound and sustain, while smoothly balancing the timbre differences between plain and wound strings.
The pickup can be removed and another inserted almost instantaneously. The flush mounted pickup door provides a smooth chrome appearance while making the door almost invisible. The ability to get most any sound desired almost instantly by changing pickups, provides a remarkable musical advantage.
The clean and precision underside will provide years of dependable service.
On the underside of the guitar the "tension balance" springs have been incorporated just to the right of the return springs thus enabling the Millennium to have ultra smooth pedal action.
The round "wheels" at the top next to the front apron of the guitar allow the player to instantly adjust the pedal height while staying in the playing position. Having this unique advantage allows the player to overcome the inconsistencies of playing on different surfaces and the wearing of different footwear with varying sole thickness. A consistent pedal playing height is critical to the feel of the instrument, and this feature eliminates a problem which has persisted with pedal steel since day one. No more having to go back and fourth under the guitar while trying to adjust the pedal heights only to have them change the next time you play the guitar on a different surface or when changing footwear. AND... yet another great innovation has been added, in that ANY pedal rod will attach in ANY position. No longer will anyone have to look for the corresponding pedal rods or have to put on his or her eye glasses or get a flashlight to see the small numbers on pedal rods. That's a thing of the past for MSA Millennium owners.
Maurice "Reece" Anderson. October 14th 2004.