Saturday, August 9, 2014

Featured Player: Buddy Emmons in California

Buddy Emmons is considered one of the best steel guitarists of all time. Lloyd Green said of his colleague: "He's not an ordinary guy. In my opinion, Buddy Emmons is probably the most intelligent and talented musician who's ever played the instrument. He's like Picasso or Michelangelo. That might be laying it on a little thick, but he's just flawless in his playing. Nobody is the composite player he is. He was the first modern great steel player and nobody's surpassed him yet. Emmons just, by God, came along and sounded like a 1977 steel player when he came here in 1955."

In 1967, after more than a decade of doing studio work in Nashville and touring with country music legends such as Ernest Tubb and Ray Price, Buddy moved to Los Angeles. Here he recorded with a musically diverse group of artists such as The Carpenters, Nancy Sinatra, Gram Parsons, John Sebastian, and Ray Charles.

Here is a sampling of Buddy's work from this period:

Resource of the Week: Howcast is a website that provides instructional videos on a variety of topics, ranging from photography to training your dog. I recently discovered that there is also a section of the site dedicated to playing and maintaining the pedal steel guitar. Jonathan Gregg teaches where to buy an instrument, how to tune the guitar, and provides an overview of chords and scales. There are 41 videos in all. They should be most useful for a beginning player, but even an intermediate player could learn some new information and strengthen their basics here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Featured Player: Mickey Adams

Mickey Adams is a talented player from Dallas, TX. He is a long-time professional musician but also contributes to the pedal steel community with a series of instructional videos that he posts on YouTube. Through his videos, Mr. Adams has hundreds of high-quality lessons available to benefit beginner, intermediate, and advanced players alike. The most popular videos on his YouTube channel feature tutorials in which he breaks down and teaches iconic pedal steel parts, including absolute classics such as the intro from Al Perkins' version of Crazy Arms. Mr. Adams encourages comments from the community and even teaches songs based on requests. A complete list of his lessons can be found here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Product Review: Golden Gate Extension Nut

Some members of our pedal steel community maintain that learning a pedal-less style greatly increases their left hand dexterity. Because of this, learning on a dobro or lap steel translates into better steel guitar playing. I was considering buying a pedal-less instrument, but then I discovered the Golden Gate extension nut that raises the action on a standard guitar to allow for the use of a steel. This is a much cheaper solution than a new guitar, and it has performed very well over the past few months. Consider using this product if you want to convert guitars back and forth from regular playing to a dobro or lap steel style. Highly recommended!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Resource of the Week: the Steel Guitar Forum

This is the largest steel guitar community in the world. The webmaster charges a $5 fee to join the forum and submit content, but anyone can read posts for free. The steel guitar forum covers news, discussion, tablature, classified ads, and other topics. I recommend this discussion board for anyone who is interested in pedal or non-pedal steel guitar.

The homepage is here.