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Author Topic:  Is Steel Guitar Fading Away?
Michael Hardee

 

Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 8:14 am    
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Dobro is almost never heard on commercial country music any more. You still hear a pedal steel once in a while but producers sure seem to have a bias against hiring steel players now. Thank God for Marty Stuart keeping the flame alive.

Also kids do not seem to be interested in learning steel. When I was a kid pedal steel was everywhere. I remember going to a show at the National Guard Armory in Tampa back in '65. Can't remember the name of the opening act but the old boy playing a Sho-Bud Permanent sure made me sit up and take notice. I thought that was the prettiest sound I had ever heard. Every song he had to take out an allen key and touch up a problem pull.

Charley Pride was also on the show but the headliner was a very pregnant Connie Smith. Memory fails but I believe Weldon Myrick played steel for her. He was using a new Emmons push pull and I remember thinking how I preferred the sound of the Sho-Bud to the Emmons through the Fender Twin both players used.

Funny how your preferences are formed at an early age. Are there even any new steel players in their twenties being recorded now?
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 8:58 am    
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It's not just the steel that's fading. Give it a few years, when the digital "economy" is really in full swing and is all people know and the digital natives are the majority, us "digital immigrants", who still have perspective on how things used to be, will be surprised how much we value has been lost. That includes people getting together.
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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 9:50 am    
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I think music itself is fading.
Since recording became digital it has lost the depth and sonic qualities it once had that made it enjoyable to listen to.
This is enhanced with the advent of all the digital effects being used and the God-awful auto-tuner.
I used to always have a headset on and/or a stereo turned on in the home.
No longer. Everything sounds flat or "dead" to me.

That's one reason at my age I am still trying to learn to play this plank of wood.
It may not be good but at least it sounds real.
I am considering buying a good turntable and go in search of some vinyl recordings.

This is just my opinion of course.
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W. Van Horn

 

From:
Houston, texas
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 10:32 am    
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There are a lot of young steel players touring and recording. Additionally, I'm hearing a good bit of steel in pop country right now.
Of the top of my head, young steel players working nationally/internationally would include myself, spencer cullum, Eddie Dunlap, Brett Reznick, Adam ollendorff, Jonathan Lam and a bunch of others.
I just played the sixth man cruise called cayamo and if I recall correctly there were at least 5 or 6 steel players on the ship.
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 11:35 am    
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Excuse me for sounding so negative. That's great, Will, and good to hear.
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chris ivey


From:
california (deceased)
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 11:53 am    
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lame thread. steel is fine. i hear dobro everywhere.
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 12:26 pm    
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If it's not then maybe it's me.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 2:02 pm    
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I wish I had a smart answer , but I'm playing more Steel each month now on a regular basis than I have in years. Mandatory two instrumentals for each show as well as requests. People LOVE Steel guitars. Sure not everyone but who cares . I don't like Rap so we're even ! Smile
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Howard Parker


From:
Clarksburg,MD USA
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 2:18 pm    
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If you are not hearing steel or dobro you are not listening to indi country artists, Bluegrass, roots rock or Americana.

h
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Jon Alexander

 

From:
Florida, USA
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 2:24 pm     Is steel guitar fading away?
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It's commercial pop music that's dead(with a few exceptions) and relevant only to itself like the mindless sitcoms that laugh at their own jokes.The best most creative projects are under the radar because of the expansion of recording technology.It has been that way for a while.You can find all the steel(or anything else) you want knowing where to look.Many young indie artists are using steel,they're just not utilizing star making machinery.In the early 80's some synth-pop star said acoustic music would become obsolete.As if on cue Nancy Griffith,Tony Rice and Allison Krause showed up.And to paraphrase,like stocks past performers can't guarantee future trends and Merle Haggard is still touring.I find Will Van Horn's post encouraging and worth exploring.Anybody interested might look up Alice Wallace from California with Jeremy Long on steel.Tony's right,people are fascinated by the instrument.
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Ray Montee


From:
Portland, Oregon (deceased)
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 2:53 pm     Unless my memory has failed me...........
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I seem to recall more and more television movies and current advertising clips........

that feature DOBRO for a considerable amount of measures.......truly a joy to hear.

What really galls me tho', is those Hawaiian Vacation advertisements that have some unknown steel player banging away while truly great Hawaiian steel types remain in the dark.
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post  Posted 14 Feb 2016 3:47 pm    
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Ray, I've noticed that dobro in movies (slide guitar too) is often used for stark, desert scenes. Very rarely do I hear lap steel or pedals in movies these days, though I don't watch a lot of movies.
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Jeffery Self

 

From:
Spring City,Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 15 Feb 2016 7:47 pm    
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Excellent post Chris T. !!
It's not negative, but TRUE Exclamation Exclamation
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Bob Carlucci

 

From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 4:05 am     Re: Is steel guitar fading away?
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Jon Alexander wrote:
It's commercial pop music that's dead(with a few exceptions) and relevant only to itself like the mindless sitcoms that laugh at their own jokes.The best most creative projects are under the radar because of the expansion of recording technology.It has been that way for a while.You can find all the steel(or anything else) you want knowing where to look.Many young indie artists are using steel,they're just not utilizing star making machinery.In the early 80's some synth-pop star said acoustic music would become obsolete.As if on cue Nancy Griffith,Tony Rice and Allison Krause showed up.And to paraphrase,like stocks past performers can't guarantee future trends and Merle Haggard is still touring.I find Will Van Horn's post encouraging and worth exploring.Anybody interested might look up Alice Wallace from California with Jeremy Long on steel.Tony's right,people are fascinated by the instrument.


What you wrote is true of course, but it is backing up what the OP wrote about.. Steel has been marginalized, and you need to look under rocks to find it in the music world.. Its there of course, and sometimes its there in good measure.. However its now in the fringe area of modern music, disregarded by most.
The French Horn is beautiful and majestic sounding instrument, and I love its timbre.. Its out there I suppose, if I care to seek it out, but I would have to make an effort.. To me thats the way steel is in modern music.. You have to look under rocks.... bob
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 6:47 am    
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Last edited by Chris Templeton on 16 Feb 2016 3:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 8:04 am    
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I don't find Chris' post negative. I happen to share his views about some of aspects of the digital age, today in particular.
Some of us can ignore the social ramifications of the time; others of us are students of it and may not be in the mainstream of popular thought.
I bemoan that we are becoming more separate, and the things predicted to bring us together are having negative consequences, but...

A positive aspect is the Steel Guitar Forum. Being able enjoy music so broadly has come about from digital information, without a doubt.
Old information makes way for new information. If steel guitar fades from the popular culture, it will be because it gets replaced by something else, something more 'modern'--in fashion. In future, as Bob says, we may have to look under the rocks.
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 8:12 am    
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Well, just for me, I've been playing some gigs that feature steel, although I'm the leader and the music is jazz...

Also, I teach a partially disabled 20 year old, and he's into it enough that he got himself an 8 string lap steel, and is able to (slowly) sight read standard notation on C6/A7 tuning. Some young people do like steel, although not necessarily country or Hawaiian music. All good stuff, to me
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Bob Carlucci

 

From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 9:02 am    
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Christopher Woitach wrote:
Well, just for me, I've been playing some gigs that feature steel, although I'm the leader and the music is jazz...

Also, I teach a partially disabled 20 year old, and he's into it enough that he got himself an 8 string lap steel, and is able to (slowly) sight read standard notation on C6/A7 tuning. Some young people do like steel, although not necessarily country or Hawaiian music. All good stuff, to me

I too have noticed that young people are intrigued by the look, sound , and perceived complexity of a pedal steel. However they have no idea of its historical context, nor do they care.. They typically like it even better if it makes a raspy, raucus, highly distorted screaming sound.. It is what it is... Read what I said about the French Horn.. Back 100 years ago, the Harp was a well beloved instrument.. Today if you want to hear it in a modern context, start picking up rocks... bob
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Brett Day


From:
Pickens, SC
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 10:27 am    
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I've always loved the sound of the pedal steel and it's been my favorite instrument since I was nine years old. Now, as a steel player, I wish there was more steel and I'm going to keep it alive and well! I now play Dobro in addition to pedal steel to play steel acoustically, so Dobro is an addition to pedal steel for me.

Last edited by Brett Day on 25 Mar 2019 8:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Doug Earnest


From:
Branson, MO USA
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 2:14 pm    
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If steel guitar is fading away you certainly couldn't tell it by my orders lists.....
A lot of us are just really out of touch with what is happening with the younger guys. I include myself in that to some extent but am working on making it better.
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post  Posted 16 Feb 2016 2:46 pm    
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Just going on the amount of session work I have been doing lately - there is no chance of Pedal Steel Guitar fading any time soon Very Happy at least in my little part of paradise !
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David Rupert


From:
Mesa, Arizona (via Mahopac, NY & Missouri).
Post  Posted 17 Feb 2016 5:11 pm     Thank you, Doug Earnest!
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Doug Earnest wrote:
If steel guitar is fading away you certainly couldn't tell it by my orders lists.....
A lot of us are just really out of touch with what is happening with the younger guys. I include myself in that to some extent but am working on making it better.


Doug Earnest needs to be commended for making an affordable Pedal Steel Guitar, that is definitely a pro Pedal Steel Guitar. The Encore! I absolutely LOVE my Encore!!

Only complaint, the case could be around 2-3" wider. I can't seem to fit the attachable pad, in with the pedal rack & legs.

If someone could send me, or post a pic of the CORRECT way to put everything in thd case....WITHOUT harming the pad, I'd appreciate it very much. I should have taken a picture of how Doug sent it to me. Was in a hurry to see my new Pedal Steel Guitar!

Thank you!
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Johnny Cox

 

From:
Lives in Hallettsville Texas
Post  Posted 18 Feb 2016 7:35 am    
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I personally think that steel is just in a slump in commercial music. Folks like Chris Stapleton and Robby Turner will rekindle the flame in country.
What I see is the younger players aren't playing C6th, or any other tunings. I feel this is mainly due to lack of interest in swing and jazz or othe styles. It's important that steel guitar is moved out of the box it has lived in most of its life; the box of being a country & western instrument. It has to be a musical instrument.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post  Posted 18 Feb 2016 10:18 am    
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"Is Steel Guitar Fading Away?"

If so, turn up your amp and use that volume pedal! Razz
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Ron Scott

 

From:
Michigan
Post  Posted 18 Feb 2016 1:20 pm    
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NO NO NO. Don't see a fade.
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