A post about pedal steel guitars

18 Sep

I’m supposed to be sorting my belongings into suitcase, air freight and cargo ship piles, but for some reason I’m thinking about pedal steel guitars. I have a soft spot for the pedal steel guitar. I never really fancied myself a fan of country, folk or blues music, but the twang of the pedal steel really gets to me (in a good way).

But there’s one thing I’ve been wondering–how exactly does one decide to play the pedal steel guitar? Growing up I learned to play the piano, flute and saxophone, which I consider to be pretty standard school band instruments. I wonder what my parents would have thought if one day I decided I wanted to pick up pedal steel. Was there anyone in northern Kentucky that could have given me pedal steel lessons? I wonder if most pedal steel guitar players learned to play regular guitar, joined a band, and then someone in the band said, “You know what would sound perfect after this riff? Some pedal steel. Kenny, you should pick one up and learn how to play it.” Or perhaps Kenny, like me, was fond of the pedal steel and learned to play and then shopped around for a band looking to kick up their tunes a notch. I can’t imagine there’s a huge demand for pedal steel guitarists, but there probably aren’t that many either.

<Shameless plug> If you’ve never heard a pedal steel guitar, check out this video I shot at the Over the Rhine concert last weekend. Kenny (on the right) is playing the pedal steel.

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2 Responses to “A post about pedal steel guitars”

  1. Stann Sicade April 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Hello,
    I was introduced to the steel guitar back in the 60’s by my parents. I loved the sound then and still do. My parents sent me to a local conservatory where I spent two years learning the lap steel. I decided to move on to more important things like girsl, baseball and having fun. Almost 40 years later, I returned this time to the pedal steel guitar and found a new passion for this instrument. I think it is one of those things that get in your blood and it stays. Whats exciting about this instrument there is no other instrument that can bend notes the way a pedal steel can. It can be used in rock, jazz, blues and not just country and hawaiian music. Check out my blog as I chronicle my journey learning the psg and some of the intricacies of this instrument. Find me on steelguitarpassion.blogspot.com

  2. DubC June 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    I have to say that Lap Steel Guitars create one of the worst offensive sounds my ears have ever heard. Akin to nails on a chalkboard, this sound of this instrument sends chills down my spine, in a bad way. In country especially, this instrument sounds like a cat slowly dying from internal injuries.

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