A good steel guitar is hard to find, as are dobro lap steel lessons or pedal steel guitar lessons for those students wishing to gain mastery in the resonator guitar.
Music lovers say that country music was formed and shaped around the lap steel guitar and pedal steel guitar, but the sound of lap steel guitars is much broader than that, as its distinct haunting resonance sound is heard in blues and bluegrass as well as notably in Hawaiian music from which its true origins spring.
Although dobro has become a generic term for the lap steel guitar, dobro lap steel lessons cover any of the manufacturers of lap steel guitars. The Dobro lap steel guitar registered trademark name was bought by the famous Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1993, and Gibson continued on with the line featuring both roundneck, as used in Blues music, and the squareneck which is used by Bluegrass players.
The origin of steel guitars began in Hawaii when a schoolboy named Joseph Kekuku walking along the railroad tracks discovered the resonating sound while strumming his guitar. The first dobro lap steel lessons were developed by a Hawaiian schoolboy, as the legend goes. Further credit goes to an anonymous sailor from India who enhanced the sound; then later still by another Hawaiian with a Portuguese background, named James Hoa.
In the United States the Hawaiian guitar methods and sounds became most popular during the post WW1 years with the influx from various Hawaiian groups capitalizing on the new sound. From there the steel guitar became a strong backbone of country music and blues, and was later incorporated into a variety of rock and pop music. Dobro lap steel lessons along with pedal steel guitar lessons quickly grew like wildfire, as popular recording artists used this new technological achievement in the guitar sound which enhanced and spread its popularity.
Differences between Lap Steel and Pedal Steel Guitar
Dobro lap steel lessons are the bedrock curriculum of any young musician interested in a career in blues, bluegrass or country music today. The dobro, a resonator guitar, is a steel guitar that has an internal resonator which gives the guitar a louder sound. Lap steel guitars may also be referred to as resonator, ampliphonic or resophonic guitars. Investing in Dobro lap steel lessons is a must for gaining complete mastery of this guitar.
Pedal steel guitar lessons are necessary for any musician interested in learning to play the pedal steel guitar. The pedal steel guitar, a type of electric guitar, is an offshoot of the lap steel guitar that further morphed and developed. It uses a similar metal bar to fret and stands on legs while the player uses a pedal to allow them to change tunings while sitting and playing the guitar. Whether the pedal steel guitar lessons teach musicians to play on a single neck or double neck pedal steel guitar, both variations give a more versatile sound than a regular steel guitar.
The Steel Bar and Pick, and Pedals
For either dobro lap steel lessons or pedal steel guitar lessons the use of the metal steel bar and pick are essential elements in mastery. Both are complex instruments to learn, but as with any beginner learning an instrument, they should begin by learning the individual moves slowly, then combining and speeding up gradually as playing improves and they grow more comfortable. Learning initial moves slowly; then proceeding gradually from there to increase speed is a mark of thoroughness in a musician.
Learning to play and eventually master the pedal steel guitar will take time. The crucial years of preparation in pedal steel guitar lessons are needed as this instrument has a technical and complicated harmonic inner construction. The player must sit on a seat in order to play while the right foot operates a volume pedal, the left foot operates another pedal and the knees are under the body of the instrument pushing levers mounted there.
The strings on the pedal steel guitar are higher above the neck, so that the player uses a metal bar to press and slide against the strings for fretting which changes the pitch. A player must learn how to manoeuvre the steel bar to change the orientation of the fret so that when held perpendicular all strings are changed similarly or when held at a slant to the strings there is a lapse or interval between notes. Pitches and notes can be changed to give different affects and sounds and extend the duration of a note.
Similar principles apply whether taking dobro lap steel lessons or pedal steel guitar lessons as the steel bar and pick is used in playing either type of resonator guitar.
Photo Credit:Gary Miller