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Author Topic:  Steel Players That Play Guitar- Question
Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 25 Nov 2017 4:43 pm     Reply with quote

How has your steel playing influenced your guitar playing?
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Dyke Corson


From:
Fairmount, IL USA
Post Posted 25 Nov 2017 6:40 pm     Reply with quote

Early in my playing I decided to leave on the finger picks when switching to lead guitar. Lots of good and bad in that decision - but I suck with a flat pick anyway....
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Joseph Napolitano


From:
New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 25 Nov 2017 6:55 pm     Reply with quote

I believe that playing pedal steel has made my six string playing more precise, and hopefully more tasteful. As best I can, I try to make every note count.
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 25 Nov 2017 7:35 pm     Reply with quote

I find that my 1st and middle finger of my fretting hand "think" more like a bar.
Django must have been a steeler at heart.
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Tim Herman


From:
Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 25 Nov 2017 9:29 pm     Reply with quote

I think my chord awareness has become more on point.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 1:01 am     Reply with quote

both directions, it's not singular. More aware of music and phrasing, less goofing and noodling around just filling space.

the theory is exactly the same while at the same time playing one or the other makes us very aware of stepping on space or filing space with notes that don't matter.

Many times taking phrases from one to the other and vice versa opens up entirely new pockets and positions.

For me it's hard to say which instrument I prefer to play, I do double duty and single duty often on either or .

One thing that is a beast though and has to be controlled, when playing Steel or guitar with another player, it's easy to become critical of what they may be playing counterpoint to what I am playing. Thats a no no. keep it in check or you'll end up playing by yourself because they may be thinking the same thing ! Laughing

Learn a phrase on one, move it to the other .
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 6:29 am     Reply with quote

PSG has convinced me that the "level of difficulty" of guitar playing is sooooo low that I can impart my will on it (at will Smile) and play basically ~99% of anything I've ever wanted to play on a guitar.
With that said... The guys who are really good on guitar are really good!.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 7:54 am     Reply with quote

Like Tony, I find that each instrument helps the other because some things are more natural to execute on one than the other and it's a good challenge to figure out how to play it on the other instrument, thereby expanding my abilities on both. Having said that, it seems a lot easier to pull stuff out of a guitar than a steel.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 9:51 am     Reply with quote

Pretty much what Tony and Jim are saying, for me. Every instrument has things that just lay out there more naturally that you might not think of on a different instrument. Translating them to different instruments can open things up more. Not that you can't just hear them without that - decades of listening ought to give ideas along the same line. But for me, there's something different about actually playing it that sinks it in better.

Physically, I've been using a flat pick and two finger picks (middle/ring) for a long time on guitar - never would I use a thumb pick. I tried a thumb pick back when and immediately rejected it. But now I will sometimes use one on guitar, especially if the strings are light enough to dump the finger picks. Without the finger picks, the index finger is free to choke up on the thumb pick and do alternate up-and-down picking as if it were a flat pick. I just can't live without being able to do alternate picking on standard-tuned guitar.

And I now always use a thumb pick when playing slide guitar - with or without finger picks - and I use 3 finger picks in that case. I think that's hugely important for slide. Without forcing myself to do this for banjo and steel, that transition may have never happened.

My take is that knowledge in one domain can often be translated to other domains - and not just in music. I have always tried to be multi-disciplinary. But there is a downside - it may lead people to have a hard time pigeon-holing your identity. People tend to be pretty tribalistic, and it you do a lot of things, tribal membership may be tough to come by.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

regarding picks, for me, obviously with the Steel it s a thumb and two finger picks but with the guitars the picks just feel wrong, so it's no picks 99% of the time and a rare flat pick, based on the song.
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Eric Philippsen


From:
Central Indiana, USA
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 2:04 pm     Reply with quote

For me, the influence of one on the other isn't close. Other than some minor construction similarities and obvious shared music theory, they're different animals. When I switch from one to another it's as if I go into "the steel room" or "6-string" room in my mind. Both are challenging with, perhaps, pedal steel being more so. Some things don't translate well from one instrument to the other. For example, steel licks played on a 6-string tend to sound awkwardly simple to my ear.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 2:22 pm     Reply with quote

I have found an almost unconscious parity. After gaining some ground on steel guitar I found I was playing chords on six-string with finger-style 'grips' or, if you like, simultaneous upstrokes with thumb-and-two or three fingertips.

Then I phased out the flat-pick and, these days, play electrics and acoustics with just my fingers but with lighter-gauge strings than I did before. Single-note runs are now accomplished with thumb/2nd finger, just as I usually do on my steel albeit without picks on guitar.

I don't know that I think differently because of steel but the above is a physiological change, anyway.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 10:38 pm     Reply with quote

Steel is still pretty new for me. When I'm playing guitar, sometimes I'm thinking about how great it would be to be playing the song on steel instead, if I could. That's about the only influence I recognize so far. Good question.
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Paul Arntson


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 26 Nov 2017 11:00 pm     Reply with quote

Intonation - my ear has changed with PSG. I'm not a good PSG player, but my pitch sense has increased x10. Now I have to have to set up my guitar bridge with a Peterson in order to be able to stand my 6 string playing.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 5:41 am     Reply with quote

there is a serious dilemma to this double duty thing . Being a double duty player in bands for over 40 years creates a very unique set of circumstances. While I'm playing guitar and maybe singing a Hag song, there is NO Steel guitar behind me. The other singers and guitar players get to have a sweet Steel behind them playing counterpoints, the turns, the intro's, endings, etc...me, I get nuthin! Sad


My wife has been telling me this for over 30 years now, she is right. When I'm playing guitar and singing on the gigs I'm in a country band with no Steel ! I should file a complaint.

It's quite a dilemma Laughing
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Emmons Steels, Fender Telecasters
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12


Last edited by Tony Prior on 27 Nov 2017 7:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 5:58 am     Reply with quote

Good comment, Paul.
Some of you might remember when Jeff Newman changed his tuning method to tuning sharper. It was around the same time that Buddy said he played along with the radio and decided to tune everything "straight up ( A 440)" and started using compensator rods to adjust for hysteresis (tuning changes to the unbent strings when engaging pedals or knee levers).
That was around the time he started using an extra rod to get "split tunings (i.e.: 6th string G#-F# (knee lever) and with the B pedal down, G#-G.
Buddy once said something about what he called "the corrective process", being able to spot things that he wasn't satisfied with and making changes.
A good application to steel playing and mechanics as well as life in general.
I remember him saying, "There's another crease on the cerebellum", when he had incorporated a new lick or method of playing to become second nature. (definition of the cerebellum: "The part of the brain at the back of the skull in vertebrates. Its function is to coordinate and regulate muscular activity").
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Wally Moyers


From:
Lubbock, Texas
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 7:36 am     Reply with quote

I think playing guitar and steel make me approach each instrument from a different mindset. Unless you want to be a player that just spits out learned licks you need to first hear something different in your head. Most of my original songs I usually write on a different instrument than I will record it with.. I find that if I set down to the steel I will start playing what lays under my hands (same old stuff). Playing guitar and limited keyboards really help me be inspired to something new (to me) on steel.. With keys you can pull up a B3 or Sax ect. This really helps me in the creative processes.. The challenge part is learning the melody on steel later. It's always opens up new positions for me to play out of even though it can make your head hurt trying to apply theory from one to the other...
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Shorty Smith


From:
Columbus, Georgia, USA
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 8:10 am     Reply with quote

I played lead guitar for 20 year, bought my Emmon P/P in 1973 but continued playing lead guitar for 5 more years while I practiced on the steel guitar. When I begin playing the steel in 1978 my 1970 Telecaster went in the case where it been now for 35 years, still looks excellent and plays wonderful, take it out bout every 6 months and play at home a little. I think my guitar playing really helped me to learn the steel, Shorty
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 27 Nov 2017 9:58 am     Re: Steel Players That Play Guitar- Question Reply with quote

Chris Templeton wrote:
How has your steel playing influenced your guitar playing?

Just thought I would repost the OP's question.
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Jay Jessup


From:
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Post Posted 28 Nov 2017 10:30 am     Re: Steel Players That Play Guitar- Question Reply with quote

Chris Templeton wrote:
How has your steel playing influenced your guitar playing?


When I started steel I didn't play guitar for quite a few years but then I added lead playing in along with banjo in the band I was in at the time. I think my guitar playing had more influence on my steel playing than vice versa.
Since I often played more than one instrument in a single song I would tend to have either the guitar or banjo strapped on while playing steel so the extra room playing an S-12 provided kept me from having a really banged up guitar.
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Pete Woronowski


From:
Saskatchewan, Canada
Post Posted 28 Nov 2017 8:01 pm     Reply with quote

I was a lead gtr player first in country rock bands, the pedal steel came much later and it made me learn more open string work on the gtr.
One of the biggest bonuses for me although I still use a flat pick was adding 3 more fingers for chicken picking etc.
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Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post Posted 29 Nov 2017 8:24 am     Reply with quote

Playing steel guitar has taught me to play more economically on lead guitar...playing less, making what I play really count
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Dave Hopping


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 3 Dec 2017 7:19 am     Reply with quote

Palm blocking and volume pedal technique translated very nicely to six-string! Smile
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 4 Dec 2017 2:26 pm     Reply with quote

Dyke Corson wrote:
Early in my playing I decided to leave on the finger picks when switching to lead guitar. Lots of good and bad in that decision - but I suck with a flat pick anyway....


Same for me Dyke... I think it's improved my guitar playing a bunch by being able to simulate flatpicking with the thumb and index or ring finger and then go into an Atkins/Travis mode instantly. I couldn't imagine doing it any other way now... Sometimes when I do steel and guitar gigs I'll just leave the Telecaster on and go back and forth between the two with no problem.. I've gotten a bunch of gigs over the years by being able to "double" like that.....JH in Va.
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MIchael Bean


From:
North Of Boston
Post Posted 5 Dec 2017 5:42 am     Reply with quote

I am playing more double stops now, with pedal tones being held while notes change under it.
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