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Author Topic:  Minimalist Steel Guitar Players
James Quillian


From:
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 11:50 am    
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One of the things I have learn to appreciate is a minimalist pedal steel player.

The best one I can think of was Don Warden who played with Porter Wagoner. There are a lot of songs that have a small steel presence, but the song would never sell without the steel guitar part.

Who are some others?

I would not call Jimmy Day a minimalist but he never wasted a lick by putting one where it didn't belong.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 12:40 pm    
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I think that both Red Rhodes and B.J. Cole would fit into that category. Here's two songs illustrating both Red and B.J. doing what they do best:

Red -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gQWfUtrUrA

B.J. -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBWfUc5jKiM
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Bob Carlucci


From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 1:33 pm    
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Me.... Done lots of sessions over the years, some of them pretty good... however the steel parts were always cut/edited/deleted/attenuated/adjusted/fixed/manhandled until they were quite minimalist despite my annnoyance... bob
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K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 1:36 pm    
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I qualify for that catagory!
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Craig Bailey


Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 2:01 pm    
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I qualify too but it is because of my lack of ability!!!
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 5:59 pm    
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How about Mike Daly from George Straight's gigging band?

Last edited by Pete Burak on 12 Mar 2019 6:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Harry Dove


From:
Edmore, Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 6:22 pm    
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The first guy I thought of was Pete Drake. I know he did a lot of the studio work for Porter Wagoner.
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Tommy Allison


From:
Transfer, Pennsylvania, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 6:23 pm    
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Norm Hamlet.
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Joseph Napolitano


From:
New Jersey, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 6:44 pm    
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Ben Keith
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2019 11:17 pm    
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Lloyd Green's work with Don Williams and Crystal Gayle comes to mind.
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Bill Miller


From:
Gaspe, Quebec, Canada
Post  Posted 13 Mar 2019 6:01 am    
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Dan Dugmore has a very sparse, tasteful approach.
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 13 Mar 2019 7:04 am    
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...Russ Pahl on most Patty Loveless albums is also a typical example of "less is more". Very tasteful.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 13 Mar 2019 8:49 am    
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Quote:
The first guy I thought of was Pete Drake.


Harry, really? Confused Laughing
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Tony Glassman


From:
The Great Northwest
Post  Posted 13 Mar 2019 9:01 am    
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Another vote for Pete Drake. He always played just enough.
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Glenn Suchan


From:
Austin, Texas
Post  Posted 13 Mar 2019 12:02 pm    
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Donny Hinson wrote:
I think that both Red Rhodes and B.J. Cole would fit into that category. Here's two songs illustrating both Red and B.J. doing what they do best:

Red -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gQWfUtrUrA

B.J. -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBWfUc5jKiM



Thanks, Donny - good examples. Here are two more from the same:

Red Rhodes with Mike Nesmith (live) from the Zigag Concert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bany2-9u7Fg

BJ Cole from Joan Armatrading's eponymous album:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7147pAjGbpU

Keep on picking'!
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James Quillian


From:
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 12 Apr 2019 6:36 pm    
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I appreciate you guys telling me about Pete Drake. He plays some of the best backup I have ever heard. He really gets all you can get out of just one position.
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Marc Jenkins


From:
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Post  Posted 13 Apr 2019 12:07 am    
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Joseph Napolitano wrote:
Ben Keith


Yes yes!
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James Quillian


From:
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 13 Apr 2019 7:56 am    
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I will tell you where my mind is. I listen to BB King play. I am amazed at how much sound and variety he gets in one position, sometimes with one two or three notes.

That is blues. This is pedal steel, very seldom blues and played with a bar. Still the overall concept of optimizing the utility of one position makes sense.

I like the kind of licks I have heard on Drakes back up. To be honest, I only associated the guy with the talking steel guitar concept, which I find annoying to listen to. He was a master at adding color to a song. I had no idea that he played on Stand By Your Man. W/o his steel guitar, I doubt the record would have sold half as well.

It is a little difficult to find his licks on Youtube because most everything there is focused on his talking guitar.
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Rick Abbott


From:
Indiana, USA
Post  Posted 13 Apr 2019 5:42 pm    
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Marc Jenkins wrote:
Joseph Napolitano wrote:
Ben Keith


Yes yes!


Yet again...YES, to Ben Keith.

And in his vein of playing, fellow Forumite, Terry Rouch.
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Steve Spitz


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post  Posted 14 Apr 2019 7:14 am    
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I think so many of the great ones know to play just enough. The most memorable parts of any tune by any instrumentalist is usually the simple one. It’s my opinion that the listener connects with the less complex.

The artistry is in making the simple part musical, appropriate, tasteful, and emotional. Ideally, you cant imagine the song without that bit. The real skill set is composing the iconic part, as well as playing it.

I know I’m not answering the question as to who is the minimalist, so sorry the drift.

I try to apply the same idea to my gigs and sessions. The simple, melodic bits usually record the best. Let the other guys play the busier stuff.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 14 Apr 2019 8:01 am    
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Sleepwalk was a good example of minimalist playing. Cool
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 14 Apr 2019 9:41 am    
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Quote:
Sleepwalk was a good example of minimalist playing. Cool


I agree. Santo Farina played mostly single note melody, but what a sound!
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Henry Nagle


From:
Santa Rosa, California
Post  Posted 15 Apr 2019 1:17 pm    
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I too will say Ben Keith! I love his playing. That one note he hits on the chorus of Out On The Weekend is a great example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08ts6hekHlc

Lots of other good names mentioned here too.
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