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Author Topic:  Where to start?
Dan Inzinga


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 2:22 am     Reply with quote

Hey everyone!! Just joined the group and was wondering where to start for a beginner Lap player? I know almost nothing about guitar and have played around with a mandolin the last couple years. I dont have the cash for lessons so I guess I am wondering if there are some good apps or recorded lessons for beginners? Thanks peeps!! Cant wait to start learning!!
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Dan Inzinga


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 2:25 am     Reply with quote

I should also add that I cant read a lick of sheet music
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Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 3:04 am     Reply with quote

I'd start with this book (and the Cth tuning it is based on).

https://www.amazon.com/Basic-C6th-Non-pedal-Steel-Method/dp/078668819X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508238204&sr=8-1&keywords=c6+lap+steel+instruction
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 4:09 am     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier's book/CD combos and YouTube videos will get you started in the right direction.

http://playsteelguitar.com/
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George Piburn


From:
The Oklahoma Hills, USA
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 5:44 am     Calling all beginners Reply with quote

We are specialist in beginning C6 steel guitar education.

apps and more on www.steelguitarcamp.com try the free chord locator to start out.

Our youtube channel also has 50 + free instructions for beginners.

After completing our instructions you will find all others much more easy to understand.

Hope this helps
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 7:46 am     Reply with quote

Lots of good suggestions but nobody has asked the most important fundamental question.

What style(s) of music do you want to play on it?
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Jim Hoock


From:
Highlands Ranch, CO.
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 6:58 pm     Calling all beginners Reply with quote

Hello Dan, welcome to the forum. Random thoughts from a 3+ year beginner:

1. This forum is invaluable. The people in here are very generous with their knowledge.
2. Be careful with your expectations. There will be frustrating days, and good days. Focus on the fundamentals, and there will be that day when you actually enjoy the sounds coming from your fingers.
3. ALWAYS...play to a metronome or track.
4. Practicing without an amp will make you pick hard and loud.
5. Sitting in front of the TV with your significant other and "practicing" is not practice.
6. Learn basic theory.
7. Know that this is a long process, and be humble.
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Dan Inzinga


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 17 Oct 2017 9:03 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for all the replies. I would mostly like to play blues, old school country, and folk.
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Steffen Gunter


From:
Munich, Germany
Post Posted 18 Oct 2017 3:34 am     Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum and the steel guitar, Dan.

As a Mandolin player who wants to play Blues, old time Country & Folk, I guess "open D" on a 6-string guitar would be the way to go (low to high: DADF#AD).

There's a lot on You Tube. Forum Member Peter Funk has excellent books for this tuning and style (but I guess it's in German language only, what wouldn't be a problem: You mostly need the pics and the tabs).
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Mark Helm


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 20 Oct 2017 12:52 am     Humility.... and some more advice from a fellow newbie Reply with quote

Jim Hoock offered some amazing advice: Be humble.

I, too, am a lap steel beginner--but I've played guitar at a relatively high level since I was 15 (I'm 55 now). So I figured C6 lap steel would be fairly easy.

It wasn't. AT ALL. So humility has really come in handy!

I'd advise you to find a great teacher. Not one of the on-line fellas, but an actual human being you sit down next to who can share his/her experience and evaluate your playing on an on-going basis (and with whom you share a real passion for lap steel). Now, finding someone could take a while and could be tough depending on where you live. The forum comes in handy for finding a lap steel guru.

I would suggest you don't try to take on too much too soon (especially if, like me, you have a full-time job, kids, and are still devoting a little time to improving on guitar).

And listen-- A LOT. Listen to the best, too. At least 1/2 my listening time is Jerry Byrd these days, but I also listen to some great swing players like Speedy West, Chris Skruggs and others. Again--the forum is a wellspring of suggestions.

And these guys know what they're talking about.

Best of luck!
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 20 Oct 2017 1:16 am     Reply with quote

Dan Inzinga wrote:
Thanks for all the replies. I would mostly like to play blues, old school country, and folk.


In that case, I'd definitely suggest a 6th tuning of some kind. Very versatile. My own preference is for A6 and as a guitar player (and this also might help you as a mandolin player) I find it easier to relate to A6 because I instinctively know that I'll find a D chord at the 5th fret and a G at the 10th - starting from C, I'm counting on my fingers.

6th tunings are perfect for old school country and swing. They work great for folk because you can easily play both major and minor chords. For blues, if you go 3 frets up from the root key, you have a pentatonic scale accross all the strings (if you are in C6, you have the scale at the 3rd fret). Also for blues you get some nice jazzy voicings that can work really well with some styles of blues. Of course, you always have the option of tuning the 6th note (the A if you are in C6) to a 7th for a blues set, or for a few songs with a different feel.

The only thing to be careful if is the 6th note itself which is known as the "Hawaiian Bomb" meaning that if you are playing a major chord and hit it by accident you will suddenly sound all Hawaiian which may not be what you want!
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 31 Oct 2017 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

OTOH I'd suggest open G "Dobro" tuning. It's very easy to learn basics on for folk,blues and country styles and there are hundreds of websites, free and paid videos and books available.

You'll find FAR more instructional resources for G tuning (low to high - GBDGBD) than you will for C6. That alone makes it a better choice in my book.
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 1:22 am     Reply with quote

Jim Sliff wrote:
OTOH I'd suggest open G "Dobro" tuning. It's very easy to learn basics on for folk,blues and country styles and there are hundreds of websites, free and paid videos and books available.

You'll find FAR more instructional resources for G tuning (low to high - GBDGBD) than you will for C6. That alone makes it a better choice in my book.


There is a lot of merit in what you say -but C6 is a VERY popular tuning and if you want to play music other than Bluegrass and such, a more complex tuning is useful.

C6 is by far the most common non-triad steel tuning with lots of resources for learning.

SO it depends on the music you want to play.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 3:32 am     Reply with quote

Can you tell us why you chose to pick up a lap steel? What was the inspiration? Is there a particular record you really like with some playing?

The reason I ask these things is because this will get moving towards a goal and you can narrow down some options, such as what tuning is appropriate for what you're trying to play.

There are a decent amount of resources out there to help in certain areas. The picking techniques and left hand bar movements are things that take a long time to master, so have a lot of patience. Be in it for the long haul!
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Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 6:21 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:

6th tunings ... For blues, if you go 3 frets up from the root key, you have a pentatonic scale accross all the strings (if you are in C6, you have the scale at the 3rd fret).

This is a good little nugget, and something that, after 3 or 4 years of playing, I've not really paid any attention to! Thank you! I look forward to trying a bit better to incorporate that into my playing.

note for clarity's sake: there is no 4th scale degree present in this "+3 frets" approach, but it's easy enough to drop down two frets from the 5, or slide up two frets from the b3.
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 6:35 am     Reply with quote

Mike Neer wrote:

There are a decent amount of resources out there to help in certain areas. The picking techniques and left hand bar movements are things that take a long time to master, so have a lot of patience. Be in it for the long haul!


The bar and picking techniques are need to play in all tunings, so even if you decide to use another tuning, you still have to be able to use the bar and your picking hand well.

Another good tip from Mike!
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 6:51 am     Reply with quote

Hi Dan, welcome! I have some learning materials you may find interesting at www.volkmediabooks.com. Troy Brenningmyer's lessons are quite good too - check 'em out.

The lap steel is a wonderful, confounding unique instrument that responds to the slightest nuances of a player's touch. Listen carefully to the players you admire and take your time to learn the instrument the right way. You won't sound great for a while - the steel has a steep learning curve - but we've all been there and you too will get over that hump, just hang in there!

C6th is probably the most popular electric lap steel tuning with A6th popular as well. The advantages of these tunings are that multiple inversions of all the basic chords are available and scale tones lie in logical patterns on adjacent strings. Open D or Open E are popular for rock and blues but are actually wide open for all kinds of music.

Acoustic players generally use Open D or Open G (the defect standard tuning for Dobro players). Each of these tunings offers simple one-string tweaks that can expand the types of sounds available on the tuning.

Try to play simple melodies ear making sure that you are in tune.One of the most critical aspects of steel playing is right hand blocking using your palm and/or picks. Start working on this ASAP. It takes a long time to master but it helps you control how long you want notes to sound and helps avoid the Uber-slidiness that can make the listener queasy. Smile

Best of luck and please ask questions - you have an incredible pool of knowledge at your disposals and be sure to use the search function as your questions have likely been asked many times before.
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 10:24 am     Reply with quote

Andy Volk wrote:

One of the most critical aspects of steel playing is right hand blocking using your palm and/or picks. Start working on this ASAP. It takes a long time to master but it helps you control how long you want notes to sound and helps avoid the Uber-slidiness that can make the listener queasy. Smile


More great advice - blocking is an absolute necessity to play cleanly with proper phrasing and articulation.

Andy's books are quite good, I recommend them.
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