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Learning how to play the pedal steel

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Steelman36, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Steelman36

    Steelman36 TDPRI Member

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    What's the first step for a beginner to learning how to play the pedal steel?
    First, you MUST have the desire and stay with it attitude to learn how to play the pedal steel. Ask yourself if you are willing to do that before you continue. If you are, then look for help to decide what kind of steel guitar is best for you to buy or borrow and, if buying, how much money you are comfortable spending. There are many types of pedal steel guitars; single neck, double neck, 6 or 10 strings, and many manufacturers. It is very important for a beginner to find someone, a knowledgeable friend or teacher, to help you select the guitar that’s best for you and whether to buy a new guitar or a used one. If you decide to purchase a used guitar, sight unseen, you are taking a risk of buying someone else’s problems. Being a beginner, you will more than likely not be able to correct problems on your own. If you do decide to buy a used guitar, it’s best to take along a knowledgeable friend and try out the guitar before purchasing. Of course, that’s not always possible. Unfortunately, there aren’t many guitar stores that carry or know much about pedal steel guitars. Here on the Steel Guitar Network website you have access to many knowledgeable people who actually play/teach and can answer your questions and provide guidance. You are beginning a new and exciting journey; enjoy it!

    How Long Does It Take To Learn? Learning the steel guitar is a lifetime endeavor! Yes, there are some technical mountains to climb at first and you will have to want to climb those mountains. The pedal steel guitar is without a doubt one of the hardest instruments you can take up. But the rewards are great if you stick with it. Good luck and keep steelin.
    Written By
    Hank Ruf
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    soulman969 and Paul in Colorado like this.
  2. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't play pedal steel (I do play lap) but having been in bands with PSG players, what you say is right on the money. I grew up with a guy who went from drummer to lap player (using a pan handle as a slide on an acoustic) to a pedal steel player. We were in bands for years and he's still at it going strong in his retirement years. My current band has a guy in his 30's who came from playing underarm guitar. He's got a lot to learn in some ways, but his approach is different and he plays things that you wouldn't expect. I really like having him in the band. He's more of a Jerry Garcia then a Buddy Emmons if that makes any sense. He'd probably never make it in a Texas Swing band, but in our groovy little combo he's a perfect fit.

    Welcome to the TDPRI!
     
  3. rainbowbear998

    rainbowbear998 Tele-Meister

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    Great advice... it seems that it's equally valid for pedal steel, normal guitar, banjo, or even flute for that matter!
     
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Howdy!
    Welcome to this cool place.
     
  5. Steelman36

    Steelman36 TDPRI Member

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  6. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

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    Twenty years ago, when the Steel Guitar Forum was still kind of a bulletin board on AOL, I posted that I was looking for a steel guitar teacher in NYC. A guy named Buddy Cage responded. Well, it hadn't been since college that I had listened to a lot of New Riders of the Purple Sage, so I didn't immediately recognize the name. I called him and one of the first things he wanted to know was what kind of steel guitar I had. He said he wanted to make sure it wasn't a "piece of hillbilly junk."

    Then I really stuck my foot in my mouth and asked, "So, what are your qualifications to teach me pedal steel?" After a long pause he said, "You don't know who I am, do you?" I said, "Uhhh...I got a feeling you're getting ready to tell me..." That was an interesting conversation! I didn't end up taking lessons from him, but I did meet and talk to him several times at gigs he was doing in NYC. Nice guy and a unique steel player.
     
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