Lesson: Gerry Hogan

I had another lesson this weekend, this time with Gerry Hogan in Newbury. He organised the late:'(, great Newbury Steel Guitar Festival. In so doing has got to know the likes of Buddy Emmons, Jimmy Day, Jeff Newman, Paul Franklin, Joe Wright..

In fact about every steel player I’d ever heard of (which is not many) he has a picture of with him!

Gerry is another really nice bloke, really enthusiastic and encouraging (

– something you need from time to time when confronted with 10 strings, three pedals, a volume, some knee levers etc). He was very polite about my playing (much more so than BJ, but I kind of prefer the hard truth approach).

We looked at a few chord/scale shapes. I’ve been trying to learn how to noodle using 6 chords, something you hear a lot on the steel guitar, so Gerry showed me a few moves going between A&B down and then moving down two frets to and dropping the Es.

And also creating a dominant 7 sounds by moving the 6 shapes down a tone/ two frets.

He also pointed out a couple of technical problems that I had

– I was playing with my right arm raised. This prevented it from relaxing, and also meant that my picking hand rotated anti-clockwise a little.

– When I finished a phrase I often (somewhat dramatically!) raised my picking hand up off the strings. Doing this I immediately lost my reference and would be less likely to be able to find my position on the strings again. He suggested practising always keeping my little finger in touch with the fretboard. Keeping your hand low then becomes second nature, _and_ it assists your muscle memory by giving it a point of reference.

Gerry charges £150 for a half day lesson that includes a CD with all the playing from the lesson and some delicious cheese and ham sandwiches for lunch!


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