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Become a good steel guitar player

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Steelman36, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Steelman36

    Steelman36 TDPRI Member

    Jun 8, 2017
    Dallas Texas
    Written By Hank Ruf

    I believe one of the most important factors in becoming good at anything is - Motivation. How do you get motivated? How do you stay motivated?

    1 - Set your goals

    2 - Make a plan on how to reach them

    3 - Look at your plan often - let it inspire you to work harder

    Learn technique and scales

    Learn the fundamentals. Technique, scales and chords, are in a way building blocks of music. Learn them well, because they give you a strong base for creating your own voice on your steel guitar.

    Practice your weaknesses. Play the things you find difficult often, and you will get better at playing them. Practice often - try to play a bit every day, and practice different things. For example, you could practice technique for half an hour, take a break and practice scales for another half hour. You get the idea. Don't just learn to play a song.

    Timing - Practice with tracks, metronome or drum machine

    Timing is everything. You must be able to play the notes with good timing. Make a habit of practicing with tracks, drum machine or metronome, especially when playing scale patterns and such. Get some play-along material you can jam with, or record your own backing tracks. I know most of you don't like to play scales but it is necessary if you want to improve your playing. Remember, Effective practice isn't just in the fingers. It's in the mind too.

    Take lessons

    Take a few lessons from a teacher with good reputation, and explicitly state to the teacher what you want to achieve. Informing the teacher about your goals and gameplan will make teaching and learning easier and more effective for both parties.
    tfarny and brookdalebill like this.
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Good advice.
  3. kuvash

    kuvash Friend of Leo's

    Feb 13, 2010
    Upper California
    Yes welcome,can't argue with that ...
  4. galen

    galen TDPRI Member

    Sep 5, 2016
    Union Hall, Va
    Hank, great advice. I would add a couple of things. I second your emphasis on a good teacher. I got a lot out of Jeff Newman both personally and through some of his video and audio lessons. In particular, his video course on Just Play The Melody seriously advanced my knowledge of the fretboard and scale patterns, and how to turn those into melody lines. I can pretty much create my own intros, leads, fills, and endings based on what I learned out of that course. He also taught me in person all that goes into the right hand to get that wonderful tone.

    Today, I'm working with with William Litaker on line to improve my skills in backing-up a singer. He's opened up a lot of possibilities on various string and pedal combinations, and passing chords. You don't have to get real fancy on the pedal steel to add a new dimension to a band. Just tasteful stuff.

    If you listen to Paul Franklin on Vince Gill's A World Without Merle (YouTube), you can see and hear what I mean. Not hard stuff, but man does that steel sound great.

  5. jmiles

    jmiles Friend of Leo's

    Nov 29, 2003
    If you already fingerpick guitar, you have a big advantage over other steel beginners, If you play guitar, try to relate the steel to the guitar. The "sorta main strings" on a steel in open E9th tuning are the 3rd thru 6th strings. That's the same E chord you get on guitar barring an E at the 4th fret. On guitar 1st-4th fret,2nd st-5th fret, 3rd st 4th fret, 4thst 6th fret. push a pedal or a lever, and see what note moves, then move that same note on your guitar. Sit at the steel with the guitar, preferably a Tele, on your lap, normal style, not flat like a lapsteel. You will learn a lot this way, very quickly!
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