Watch the Pedal Steel: Study 1 online guitar lesson by Jason Loughlin from Country Guitar Survival Guide: Lead Edition
The stringed octopus—also known as the pedal steel guitar—has inspired country guitarists for decades. As far as instruments go, pedal steel is fairly new since it has only been around since the ’40s. Some of the great early pedal steel pioneers included Speedy West, Bud Isaacs and Buddy Emmons. These guys helped to shape the mechanics of the instrument as well as being great players. In the bending thirds and sixths instrumental studies you will find a lot great pedal steel licks for soloing. This section is dedicated to another side of pedal steel guitar. A signature sound of the pedal steel is bending one note of a chord while the others remain stationary. This is achieved with the aid of foot pedals and knee levers—two elements that we need to learn to replicate on the guitar. We will be playing pedal steel guitar bends out of triads shapes, approaching notes of the triad with half and whole step bends. I'm sticking to only three strings for this example. It works best on the 5th, 4th and 3rd strings by bending down on the 3rd string. You can also try this on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings by bending up on the 3rd. The voicings in this section are great for embellishing your rhythm playing behind someone or even for taking a lush solo over a ballad. Remember, pedal steel players don't normally strum, so use a hybrid pick-and-fingers approach.