posted on Apr, 11 2009 @ 09:34 PM
A simple country guitar lick
When I learn new stuff these days, what I try and do is take a really small unit and build a whole vocabulary with it. In this post I'll describe
the simplest way to do a "pedal steel" effect and then in the next I'll try and detail some ways to expand on it.
So, for this effect, the first thing we're going to do is bend the B string up a semi-tone (1 fret's worth).
1. Play the B string at the fifteenth fret with your little finger. This note should be a D natural.
2. Using your middle and ring fingers, play the B string at the 14th fret and bend the string up slightly until the pitch matches the D you've
3. Repeat until your muscle memory is good enough that you don't have to look at the fretboard and the bent note is in tune every time. A
tuner can be helpful.
So, now you've learned to bend the string up a semitone.
The secret to make this stuff sound like a pedal steel is to have the bent note ringing against another note. The note we're going to play is the
high E string, 12th fret.
Some of you may have guitars with whammy bars. This causes a problem because with most floating bridge arrangements, bending one string causes all
the other notes to go slightly flat. If you're afraid of hard work, get a fixed bridge guitar and learn on that.
I've always played whammy bar bridge guitars and so I've actually had to learn to do these bends and keep the guitar in tune. Warning: this
takes ages and you MUST use a tuner. Otherwise you'll be putting in hours of practice just to sound horrible.
The trick to this is to bend the top string slightly. The trouble is, then your B string will go a little flat. That means you have to push it a bit
harder, which sends the E string a little flat... and so on into insanity. You have to learn to do it in all positions along the string because the
Anyway, assuming you have sorted out all the foregoing, you will now have a lick that goes like this:
1. Play the B string at the 14th fret with your third finger.
2. Bend that C# up a semitone to D.
3. Play the E string at the 12th fret with your first finger while the B string is still sounding.
4. Pluck the still bent B string and release. (D - C#)