How to Play Pedal Steel Guitar

(Image credit: Chris Morphet/Getty Images)

David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Jerry Garcia, Steve Howe, Daniel Lanois and Pete Townshend, shown above…. They’re just a few of the guitarists who have at times played a pedal steel guitar.

If you’ve ever thought about learning pedal steel guitar—or if you’re just curious about how this relative of the guitar operates—here’s a video that demystifies the instrument.

Country guitarist Jim Lill demonstrates the basics of the pedal steel: how the strings are tuned, what the pedals do, basic picking and muting techniques, how to use a volume pedal, how to assemble a pedal steel—and much more.

Jim—whose videos we’ve featured here many times before—says most of the money he’s made as a gigging guitarist has come from his talent with the instrument. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your chance of getting a gig and making more money as a working guitarist, the pedal steel might be just the thing.

Take a look and learn. And when you’re finished, head over to Jim’s YouTube channel for more of his great videos, many of which we’ve featured here. Be sure to give his videos a “like” and leave a note of thanks.

In addition, check out his Back from the Gig podcast, where Jim talks about the life of a gigging guitarist and gives you a chance to ask him questions.

Finally, follow Jim on Facebook and Twitter, and check out his website, where you can find more lessons and MP3s and purchase his e-book, The Graphic Guide to Country Guitar. You can also join his mailing list to get immediate updates on videos.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49