Though most of us have heard it, many probably can not recognize the sound of the pedal steel guitar. Based on a technique first popularized in Hawaii in the late 1800s, the pedal steel found a home among country musicians in the 1950s due to its twangy tone and ability to shift notes quickly. Though they are not the easiest instruments to play, with practice anyone can become proficient in the art of pedal steel.
Select a tuning. Steel guitars can be tuned as easily as a regular six-string guitar, with the only difference being the additional number of strings. Most pedal steel guitars are played in open tunings, such as E9 or C6. This makes playing easier by producing single bar chords, which are much easier to play with a slide. Bar chords are created when you lay the slide parallel across the entire fretboard.
Three Different Types of Slides Choose a slide. A slide can be made of several materials, including Pyrex glass and steel or brass. Many pedal steel guitarists use only one slide, which can either be held in the hand or worn on a finger. However, others opt for multiple slides at the same time to give them a wider range of possibilities in sound. If using more than one slide, they are generally worn on the fingers. The most important factors when purchasing a slide are sound and comfort.
Learn the pedals. The number of pedals varies from instrument to instrument. The note pedals of a pedal steel are used to bend the notes of the instrument up and down and add sustain. This is something that can only be mastered by practice. Start by depressing them gently, as pressing too hard can break strings. Learning the feel of the instrument and its pedals will happen gradually.
Play using open chords to begin with. Master hitting perfect notes using the slide in open positions and then move on to scales. Scales are considered the backbone of playing the pedal steel, as the pedal steel is primarily an accompaniment instrument and is used for light filler within songs. By knowing several scales, you can keep it interesting.
Practice whenever possible. The more you practice, the better you will be,It’s important to buy a instructional book on playing pedal steel, as it will be have many different scales and runs on which to work on.