Pedal steel guitar

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The pedal steel guitar is a type of electric steel guitar that is built on legs or a stand. It usually has foot pedals which adjust the sound of the instrument. Like other electric guitars, the musical instrument produces sound by the vibration of its strings which are converted by magnetic pickup connected to an amplifier.

Pedal steels may have one or two "necks" that typically have 10 strings each.[1] Some may have as many as 14. Unlike most other guitars, pedal steel guitars have reference lines on the fretboard. This is where frets would be, but there are no actual frets. The player changes the pitch of one or more strings by sliding a steel from one position to another while plucking the strings. Pedal steels are typically plucked with a thumb pick and fingers, or two or three fingerpicks. The pedals are mounted on a cross bar below the body. The action of the pedals may be fixed or changed by the player to select which strings the pedals affects. While there are some fairly standard pedal assignments, many advanced players devise their own setups, called copedents. The pedal steel evolved from the console steel guitar and lap steel guitar.

The pedal steel, with its smooth portamenti, bending chords and complex riffs, is one of the most easily recognized instruments of American country music.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Richard Carlin, Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary (New York; London: Routledge, 2003), p. 197
  2. Robert L. Stone, Sacred Steel: Inside an African American Steel Guitar Tradition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010), p. 179