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Post new topic Need tips for playing pedal parts on a non-pedal
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Author Topic:  Need tips for playing pedal parts on a non-pedal
Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 5:45 am    
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I've been tasked to play some pedal steel parts for a live show and hoping to get some tips for getting my lap steel to sound a bit more like a pedal steel. Rehearsals are at different locations so I will be playing through different amps. The lap steel I'm using has two Bill Lawrence L500 rail humbuckers and I have lots of effects at my disposal. I'm using open E and so far I've been able to slant to get close to pedal changes and have been practicing swells with my Ernie Ball volume pedal. I'm also using a compressor and plate reverb but still missing that PS whine. What else can I do with regards to tone, effects or even technique that I might be missing?
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Frank James Pracher


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 6:31 am    
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Have you tried any behind the bar bends?

The only other thing that comes to mind would be go with a very clean tone..
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Joe Burke


From:
Toronto, Canada
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 7:16 am    
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Check out Andy Volk's C6 Lap Steel book. He goes through it nicely.

http://www.volkmediabooks.com/products-books/exploring-c6th-lap-steel-guitar
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 7:25 am     Speed Picking can help
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Speed Picking can help
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Last edited by George Piburn on 25 Sep 2019 11:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 7:53 am    
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Here is a link to a recent discussion on behind the bar pulls that has some very useful information.

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=347838

And here is a link to a mind blowing clip, from that discussion, with the best demonstration of pedal steel bends on a lap steel I have ever seen. Astonishing!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtsJ773XpAo
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Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 9:27 am    
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Excellent information. I completely forgot about behind the bar bending so I need to experiment with that since it's something I never do and may eliminate some of the slants I'm doing which are extensive. The videos of Martin Gross and Steve Cunningham are great.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 13 Sep 2019 10:13 am    
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See if this helps any. It is in C6, so it may not be of help to you in E tuning, but you can pull 2 strings at a time in E to get an AB pedal change. Pull string 2 up a whole step and string 3 up 1/2 and it will sound great. However, you may have to experiment with getting the exact right gauge of strings to make it work perfectly. There isn’t a trick in the book I haven’t tried or made up. Lol
https://youtu.be/NpnpU5csKk4
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Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post  Posted 14 Sep 2019 7:56 pm    
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I play a 6 string lap steel tuned to CEGACE and with slants get some pedal like sounds. It takes a while to get the slants right so I advise to practice a lot if you go that route. Behind the bar bends sound good but I've never mastered that technique. Lap steel is not as limited as it may seem at first. There is a lot to do with even 6 strings.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2019 12:05 am    
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If you watch/listen to Buddy E, or Lloyd Green, they both learned to play on non-pedal steel before switching. When playing single-note solos, both primarily move the bar instead of using levers or pedals to get notes - pedals or levers are used when they want the bend effect - so that is what will be hard to get. But the more you stick to single-note stuff, the more like a pedal steel it will sound. Beyond that, I would not worry too much - We steel players might can discern the difference between a pedal-on (or off) pitch-change vs. a bar slide one - but few in the audience will know, or probably care.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 15 Sep 2019 10:29 am    
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Billy Robinson plays some amazing combinations of slants and bends that land squarely in pedal steel territory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbyMAnhFyl8
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Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 25 Sep 2019 8:41 am    
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Wow, Billy Robinson is excellent.

FYI, I've been practicing my mock pedal technique for a couple weeks now and it's sounding pretty good. I'm no stranger to slanting the bar but there is a lot more of it in what I'm trying to achieve than anything I've done in the past. I'm also farther along with behind the bar bending than where I thought I'd be by now. I still need to work on volume swells but I've been getting lots of compliments from others involved with the music so I'm happy about that. Your comments have been helpful and encouraging. Thanks.
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 25 Sep 2019 11:39 pm    
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Look into Byrd-style split bar slants as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euUBJVlIIjc&t=608s

Also, re: things that cost real money, since i got my Hilton (active, impedance matching) volume pedal, I haven't touched the Ernie Ball, big jump in tone from that.
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Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post  Posted 26 Sep 2019 3:21 am    
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mark. years ago i recorded way to survive on lap steel. here is a link to it. maybe you can get some ideas from it. hopefully the material you record will be in good keys that will give you some open strings to work with. best to you! click on the download icon. site is media fire and is pretty safe. thx! http://www.mediafire.com/file/59jtbwwdmj4/Way_to_Survive_Lap_Steel.mp3/file
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Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 26 Sep 2019 5:58 am    
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The Byrd style split slants reminded me of dog leg slants that I do occasionally. Occasional because it takes real skill to get those to sound good, especially with a Stevens style bar that I use.

Bill, that is some mighty fine playing! As of now I'm not doing anything that would really benefit from open strings so everything I'm doing is with the bar.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 26 Sep 2019 8:00 am    
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Mark Mansueto wrote:
The Byrd style split slants reminded me of dog leg slants that I do occasionally. Occasional because it takes real skill to get those to sound good, especially with a Stevens style bar that I use..

By “dog leg” slant, I assume you are talking about 3-note chords that involve something like slanting across two strings and then one. When the bar makes a straight line on a crooked harmony, something’s not going to be in tune. The only way to play it in true intonation is to slant from the low to the middle note true (leaving the high note flat), and then pull the high string behind the bar until it’s true. It’s also possible to slant across one string then two, in which case you would slant straight from low to high string and pull the middle note up.

Along with lighter gauge strings, it also helps to have a short scale guitar for doing pulls. And be careful building the muscles doing the pulls. It is a good way to get an RSI injury.

You need a bullet bar for Byrd splits.

Pedal steel players used to tell me the best way to make a lap steel sound like a pedal steel is to set it up right next to a Sho Bud and walk away from both of them.
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Mick Hearn


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 27 Sep 2019 12:03 am    
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You can get very close and it is getting in to the mindset of the pedal steel player. The only way to sound like a pedal player is to play a pedal steel. Having said that I have tremendous fun playing pedal steel tunes with lots of bar slants. It always sounds like a cross between the two but I like it. It's different.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chlGnqpoyJc&feature=youtu.beHere&fbclid=IwAR3GwZqvLUgd6JpveP_mutX8cuTtro0suTapxQuDHiMKnSizxd8wvlpQ2Ow
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Ken Pippus


From:
Lake Oswego, OR
Post  Posted 27 Sep 2019 7:27 am    
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That Stevens bar is not doing you any favors.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 27 Sep 2019 8:39 am    
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Pick 2 high strings a 5th or 6th apart and learn the solo from "Together Again" . I play it with slants on my pedalsteel sometimes for fun.

Oh yea, and be careful using the volume pedal for swells. If you are not super careful you will sound like a guitar player making that horrible "mweep mweeep" sound that pedal steel players don't actually make but for some reason is the first thing guitar players do. It is truly unforgivable and offensive to pedalsteel players Wink !
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Roy Thomson


From:
Wolfville, Nova Scotia,Canada
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2019 4:04 pm    
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https://soundcloud.com/roy-thomson/exercises-1

The above link should take you to a clip of some exercises I arranged for getting the pedal feel on 6 string lqp steel. It is 6 string with E on top.
I have tab for these also.

Roy
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Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 16 Oct 2019 10:31 am    
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Fred Treece wrote:

By “dog leg” slant, I assume you are talking about 3-note chords that involve something like slanting across two strings and then one. When the bar makes a straight line on a crooked harmony, something’s not going to be in tune. The only way to play it in true intonation is to slant from the low to the middle note true (leaving the high note flat), and then pull the high string behind the bar until it’s true. It’s also possible to slant across one string then two, in which case you would slant straight from low to high string and pull the middle note up.

Along with lighter gauge strings, it also helps to have a short scale guitar for doing pulls. And be careful building the muscles doing the pulls. It is a good way to get an RSI injury.

You need a bullet bar for Byrd splits.

Pedal steel players used to tell me the best way to make a lap steel sound like a pedal steel is to set it up right next to a Sho Bud and walk away from both of them.


Correct. My Shubb GS has a rounded end so I can do it but would be easier with a bullet.
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Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 16 Oct 2019 10:34 am    
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Bob Hoffnar wrote:

Oh yea, and be careful using the volume pedal for swells. If you are not super careful you will sound like a guitar player making that horrible "mweep mweeep" sound that pedal steel players don't actually make but for some reason is the first thing guitar players do. It is truly unforgivable and offensive to pedalsteel players Wink !


Can you explain the mweep mweep thing more? One thing I've noticed is by using only part of the sweep on the pedal sounds way better that using full sweep but I'm still not really copping the way pedal steelers do it.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 16 Oct 2019 11:06 am    
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The “mweep” is when the sound goes from zero volume to full, eliminating the sound of the pick attack. When it is done correctly and with appropriate tone, it is a legitimate effect for both guitarists (Dickey Betts on “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed”) and steel players, though obviously some steelers are offended by the sound... The more common use of the volume pedal for steel guitar is as you describe - allow enough volume for the pick attack to sound and then gradually bring more volume in to sustain the notes.
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Mark Mansueto


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2019 7:24 am    
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Thanks, Fred, sounds like I'm on the right track, just need to work on my technique a bit more.
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D Schubert


From:
Columbia, MO, USA
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2019 10:04 am     mimic PSG with E13 tuning
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I've found some very useful moves in E13th tuning that sound like I'm using the A-pedal. These are Z-shaped patterns. Moving from the 10th to 12th fret produces typical PSG sounds on the 2nd string for an A chord, specific notes are B and C#.
Same over on the 5th string for an E chord, with F# and G# notes.
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