I hooked up with my old mate Alex Bondonno last weekend.
Previously a devout jazzer (saxophone being his instrument of choice), he has started performing as a folk artists playing banjo and singing.
We spent the weekend recording a bit of dobro on his songs, these is how it came out:
Since getting my universal pedal steel one of the things I’ve had to struggle with is accurately getting my foot onto one or two of seven pedals, instead of three on my E9 guitar.
I knew this was going to be tricky from the start but my reckoning as always is ‘other people can learn to do it so hopefully I can’! Rarely proven true but I stick by it.
I knew it was going to be something I would have to develop in isolation, that it wouldn’t just happen automatically by using the pedals, so I diligently practised being in various useful pedal positions:
over the A and B pedals (E9 home)
over pedals 4 and pedal 5 (B6 home)
over pedals 3 and 4
and then moving between these positions.
Over time this started improving my ability to move between the pedals but it was still proving slow progress.
Then I started thinking I needed visual markers on the pedal steel neck to show me where I needed to get my feet. At this point it dawned on my that I had fret markers already, I just needed to figure out which frets the pedals were at! Simples!
Or not! I think it is helping but it’s still taking time to match up where it *feels* like my left foot is, and where the fret directly above the pedal I’m going for is..
One day I’ll get there..
I have started listening to a load of great pedal steel playlists on Spotify check them out, and let me know if you have any others..
Pedal Steel In My Soul
Steel Guitar Gold
As mentioned in a previous post, I am playing my dobro/resonator in the GBDGBD tuning, which is pretty standard G.
If I want to play a C chord, I go the the fifth fret where I get CEGCEG. That’s great but a bit limiting to have to be at a specific fret to be able to play a desired chord.
In order to open up what is available on the dobro, players slant the bar, giving them the ability to vary the interval. This typically happens when playing two strings, as finding slants that work over more than two are less common (there are very useful ones out there) and also it’s harder to make them sound in tune.
If I am playing strings 2 and 4 of my C chord at the fifth fret (numbering from high to low), I get a G on string 4 and an E on string 2.
If I then drop back by three frets and slant the top of the bar back a further fret, so the bar is over fret 1 at string 2 and fret 3 at string 4, I get an E on string 4 and a C on string 2.
At fret 5 the interval is a maj 6th, at the slant a min 6th.
This technique is incredibly useful for playing chord voicings around the neck and for playing harmonised scales.
More to come..
Posted in Dobro
Tagged with: Technique