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Author Topic:  Actually playing rock on pedal steel.
Jim Fogarty


From:
Phila, Pa, USA
Post  Posted 20 Sep 2020 10:11 pm    
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As has been said......"rock" is a lot of different things.

Here's a track I did for a recent cd by my power pop band Travel Lanes. It's kind of a Byrds/REM thing. I was INTENT on putting a fuzz guitar solo on it.......and it never fit.

Right before final mix, I did a one take pedal steel thing, thinking they might use a small bit of it. They used it all.....and it totally made the track. It doesn't make it sound like "country" tune, but steel players can tell it's just country-style steel.....with a different groove and attack.

https://youtu.be/5T3sUtVy_nU

So really, it's all about context, IMO. Throwing an overdrive on and playing bluesy licks doesn't necessarily = ROCK.
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Jim Pitman

 

From:
Waterbury Ctr. VT 05677 USA
Post  Posted 21 Sep 2020 4:45 am    
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Nice track Jim.
Yeh, I'd call that the "wall of sound" mix which is common in Rock and what you played fit wonderfully and enriched the harmonic content - ear candy IMO.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 21 Sep 2020 10:36 am    
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+1 Jim Pitman
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 21 Sep 2020 11:34 am    
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Jim Fogarty wrote:
...



I would not call that rock. IMO it's Americana. And the steel (which you play quite well,) fits in perfectly.
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Jeff Harbour


From:
Western Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 22 Sep 2020 4:56 am    
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I played Pedal Steel exclusively (never brought a 6-string guitar) in a Classic Rock group several years back. Here is some of what I did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxE6bafrvl4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88qak7ta37w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPIZFCNicB4
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 23 Sep 2020 4:20 pm    
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I think this late '70s rock song has a great pedal steel intro and ride...but that's just me. Winking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSfOB8ANdWU

(A fistful of chords in this one, too!)
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Ian Worley


From:
Sacramento, CA
Post  Posted 23 Sep 2020 5:31 pm    
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I guess I never noticed that was steel guitar but now that you mention it... It is BJ Cole? He was kind of the guy in the UK in the '70s.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 23 Sep 2020 6:11 pm    
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Yeah, Right Down the Line is BJ Cole on steel. Gerry Rafferty's City to City was great, and always takes me to a good place in my life. Mid-late 1970s, young guy outta college working in the auto industry in Detroit and lots of great music of all stripes. Doesn't look like any of it is coming back. Oh well.
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Keith Hilton

 

From:
248 Laurel Road Ozark, Missouri 65721
Post  Posted 24 Sep 2020 1:45 pm    
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Can someone post how to play the intro riff to ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man?" I think it is in C. What scale is Billy Gibbons working out of? Thanks
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Pete Burak

 

From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 25 Sep 2020 11:28 am    
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I have been playing along with Right Down The Line this morning.
What a great chord progression! (I Googled it up).
A simple yet unique Theme Lick on Pedal Steel in the Key of F.
Great Bridge.
Not exactly what I call Rock, but...
Nice!
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Jim Pitman

 

From:
Waterbury Ctr. VT 05677 USA
Post  Posted 27 Sep 2020 3:26 pm    
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Donny and Pete I agree. I recall when I first heard that song finally realizing from the lick in the last measure resolving to the one that it was actually pedal steel guitar. BJ cole is the master.
I researched Gerry Raferty afterward. What an interesting guy. Essentially he shunned fame but loved the music. He suffered beaucoup artists pain that he medicated with alcohol eventually doing himself in - not an uncommon story.
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Jerry Jones


From:
Nashville, Tenn.
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 1:30 pm     Sand
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Sand was the name of an early 70's rock band from the Northwest. I really like the unusual approach the steel takes.... don't remember who it was? Anyone?

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



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Ben Birdsall

 

From:
Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 2:39 pm    
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I've never heard of them (though I like 'em), but the comment on the youtube vid says it was Dan Ross playing the steel guitar (in addition to sharing lead guitar and singing backup).
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Britt Newsome

 

From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2021 5:21 am     Nice!
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Mike Perlowin wrote:
This is from 2002. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkSnoeTWR4I


Mike,
I am curious. This sounds great! Did you use any levers/pedals in this solo or were you just playing a minor pentatonic or blues scale up/down the neck with the slide? I was watching a youtube video of Al Perkins with Manassas in 1973, and on the "rock" songs, he really abandons pedals/levers and played a blues scale up and down the neck as far as I could see.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2021 7:49 am     Re: Nice!
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Mike Perlowin wrote:
This is from 2002. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkSnoeTWR4I

Britt Newsome wrote:

Mike,
I am curious. This sounds great! Did you use any levers/pedals in this solo or were you just playing a minor pentatonic or blues scale up/down the neck with the slide?


I used the pedals, but not any knee levers. At one point I played the 1st and 4the strings together,while pumping the C pedal.
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Dennis Detweiler


From:
Solon, Iowa, US
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2021 8:07 am    
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The Suite Steel album from the 70's was a good effort to show the versatility of styles and effects on pedal steel.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2021 9:13 am    
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I've been a member of several rock bands. Here's a rehearsal tape from one of them. I'm playing the chunky rhythm part in the intro of You Gotta Breathe and have a solo later on. I Walk Downtown was written as pedal steel showcase song. The guitar was a Sierra SD-12 (ext E9th) through a Mesa V-Twin preamp for distortion and a Lexicon MPX 100 for echo.

https://soundhost.net/2020/05/with-open-hearts/

I'm not sure if I've said this before, but Mike Daly is my favorite rock steel player. He is a master of steel tones and has flawless technique.
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2021 9:43 am     Rock on pedal steel?
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And of course, we can't have this discussion without mentioning this guy... Cool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1SQR4FnRoc
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Dennis Detweiler


From:
Solon, Iowa, US
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2021 12:28 pm    
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Keith, I sent a pm with the ZZ Top intro on 10 string E9th. You realize you're stepping on the lead guitar players toes? Very Happy So sad!
Working out of a C7th scale (1st fret) with moments of suspended 4th.
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Mike Bacciarini


From:
San Luis Obispo, California
Post  Posted 11 Jun 2021 2:04 pm    
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Well kids, here's my three cents worth on the subject. Going back to the OP's opening comments, the thing that stands out to me about playing rock music with a psg is "attitude". Phrasing, attack, VP and tone can all be used with or without attitude. Some of us can pull it off and others can't. Seems to me that regardless of the genre, each instrument or voice should serve the song. I struggle to do it in the 4-piece band I'm in playing covers of 60s and 70' "folk-rock" stuff (and a few tunes that are not that).

As far as Pedal Steel in Rock, the prototype for me was the late, great Rusty Young. He had the chops and the attitude as far as I'm concerned. The thing about Poco that is sometimes forgotten is that they were, from the very beginning, a rock band, that employed country (Americana?) instruments and some versatile song writing, and of course killer vocal chops. They could play straight country and they could flat out rock, many times doing both at the same time. The Gram/Burritos things was different.... long hairs playing country music and introducing it to a new audience. Now, the Buckeroos I always thought of as a rock band (instrumentaly at least), playing Buck's brand of country. They had that punchy electric edge that I associate with rock. And yet there are great examples of rock music being played with acoustic guitars instead of a Paul or Strat.

This can be quite the rabbit hole.... it really comes down to personal tastes, I'm afraid. In any case, here are some tunes with Rusty to consider. I should also mention Al Perkins, Sneaky Pete, Buddy Cage and so many others who could bring it with a rock attitude.

Poco (2nd Album) - Nobody’s Fool / El Tonto de Nadie, Regresa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbHDvTgkxpo
In addition to his B3 thing, check out around 16:45

Pickin’ Up the Pieces (1st album) – Short Changed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiO5nb1eI1M

Poco (Seven) - Skatin’ (actually on a Melobar)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl3x0QtDbnE

......and then there's this one. I wouldn't call it a country song although it leans heavily on acoustic guitars, but it's got that attitude:

Pickin’ Up the Pieces (1st album) – Calico Lady
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZsdUV4MhmM
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 12 Jun 2021 2:52 pm     Western Waterloo
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Mike B. -
from Cantamos, an example of “both at the same time”.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=edrJL1mXxXM

Other than the string sectiony-sounding intro, Rusty is playing pretty straight country steel full of AB pedal stuff over what I would consider one of Poco’s rockier tunes. It’s not Led Zep or Aerosmith, but still pretty rockish. And I don’t recall either of those two bands pulling off believable country, by the way. Edgar Winter Band, yeah definitely.

Skatin’ is my favorite Timothy B tune!
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Mike Bacciarini


From:
San Luis Obispo, California
Post  Posted 12 Jun 2021 8:36 pm    
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Well put, Fred. It’s the totality of the song that defines if it’s rock or country or country rock. No rules sayin’ you can’t put pedal steel, or banjo for that matter, in a rock tune.
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Cody Legg


From:
Lebanon, Missouri, USA
Post  Posted 13 Jun 2021 3:29 pm    
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Too much here to read it all when you join in on a post this late in the game.
You never expect any other instrument played in a rock band to sound like a guitar.
So why would you expect a Steel guitar, no matter the effects or technique you are using, to sound like a Guitar. If that's what you are looking for why not just get another guitar player?

Garage Band Rock, no Banjos no fiddles no steels and no Fenders!
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 19 Jun 2021 8:22 pm    
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Cody Legg wrote:
Too much here to read it all when you join in on a post this late in the game.
You never expect any other instrument played in a rock band to sound like a guitar.
So why would you expect a Steel guitar, no matter the effects or technique you are using, to sound like a Guitar. If that's what you are looking for why not just get another guitar player?


Problem is, what you think isn't what everyone else thinks. Winking Rock music is different things to different people, what a guitar sounds like is different things to different people, and what a pedal steel sounds like is...well, you get the idea. I hear instruments sounding like other instruments all the time. (Guess I'm just lucky.)
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Dennis Detweiler


From:
Solon, Iowa, US
Post  Posted 20 Jun 2021 12:27 pm    
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Standard rock guitar licks aren't that hard to duplicate on steel. String bending is certainly built into the steel guitar. Duplicating the tone is more complex. A pedal dialing in the proper amount of crunch along with a little compression is part of it.
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