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Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by cowboy rob61, Dec 29, 2019.
no useful advice but sounds fun good luck!
steel guitar is imo the coolest sound ever!
I play pedal and lap steel ( 8 string)
Playing pedal steel has made me a better musician in so many ways. I've learn to slow down in my single note solos. And it has opened up a whole new genre of music, from traditional Texas, Sacred Steel to ambient.
OP.. look at Youtube to get online lessons and insights. There is a pedal steel community over in Europe.
I own a 10 string Rittenberry SD 10.
After a lifetime of thinking about it, I started learning lap steel a year ago. It's a fascinating, complicated journey for sure!
I started out on Open E. If you're proficient on standard guitar, you'll be playing blues licks in that tuning in no time. My ultimate goal with lap was to be able to play the simple old country styles, so I started learning C6 as well. E was intuitive for me, C6 is a completely different language, but as soon as you start playing in it you'll start getting those classic country and Hawaiian sounds.
As for picks, I think it really depends on personal preference, but after much experimenting I settled on Herco thumbpicks, the ones shaped like a standard guitar pick, and ProPik angled brass finger picks. The brass picks are a little more forgiving than steel for beginners like us... A little mellower, with less string noise. The angles make picking easier if you have sloppy right hand technique (like me!).
Once I found this pick combo it felt very natural to me, to where I can easily forget I'm even wearing picks.
(Traditionally you use a thumbpick and three fingerpicks... On index, middle, and ring fingers...)
Good luck! And I second checking out steelguitarforum.com. Super nice guys with no attitude who are willing to help beginners.
Edited to add: as for bars, after much trial and error, the one that feels most natural to me is the Dunlop Lap Dawg. It has a handle like a Stevens bar, but is angled up on the ends, which helps avoid snagging and pulling the strings.
One (two?) barring tip(s): press down on the strings with the bar a bit, don't just glide the bar lightly. The extra pressure will give you a cleaner, stronger tone. And "mute" the strings with your barring hand pinky, behind the bar. This cleans up overtones and really tightens things up.
How deep do you want to go?
Open E (EBEG#BE), a Lap Dawg bar, and a flat pick, will get you out of the gate and making music really fast.
C6, a bullet bar, and finger picks (thumb, index, middle) is the basic go-to setup for most lap steel players these days.
My favorite thing about lap steel is that there is no single “right way” to play. You can have a lot of fun experimenting with different tunings and techniques until you find something that works for you.