Learn to play the steel guitar!
I bought my first steel guitar, a 6-string Rickenbacker lap steel, in 1972. In 1974 I got my first S-10 pedal steel, a Sho-Bud 6139, and was playing in a working band a few months later. I’ve been playing country, rock and western swing on pedal steel as a “weekend warrior” ever since. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of techniques, songs, music theory and tricks of the trade. You can benefit from all of those experiences. You can avoid the self-taught bad habits that I spent years un-learning. And I can teach you how to think steel.
Palm blocking or pick blocking or something else entirely? I believe that everything you can do with your hands to control the strings is fair game. The trick is in finding the right technique for the next lick you want to play.
Equal temperament or just intonation or something else? It’s not as important as you think. What’s important isn’t so much how you tune, but being able to play in tune.
Most of my students are learning 10-string E9th, but I am familiar enough with C6th and U-12 to guide you down those roads as well. I also teach non-pedal steel guitar with bar slant techniques. Lessons are guided by what you want and need to learn, not by any pre-programmed lesson plan.
I can show you the theory behind the tunings so that you can play by chord names or by the numbers, in any key. You don’t need a double neck with 8 pedals and 7 levers to play country, western swing, jazz, rock and blues. You might be surprised at how much stylistic variety is available on any steel guitar, once you understand the theory and techniques behind the music.
I teach in Cloverdale, California, about 90 miles north of San Francisco. Lessons are one hour long and cost $40. I also do minor repairs and copedent changes.
E-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your lesson.