How to Understand the Pedal Steel Guitar Fret Board

Learn about the pedal steel guitar fret board in this Howcast video.

The fretboard of a pedal steel guitar.

Well, in the case of this particular guitar that we’re working with, this guitar is tuned in an E tuning. So, if you’re a guitar player, you’ll be relieved to know that G is still on the third fret, A is still on the fifth fret, B on the seventh fret, et cetera. That’s pretty much all… The fretboard is just a way of measuring, so you can see where you are, and knowing what chords you might expect to occur at that place in the neck. It’s pretty straightforward. Your root is the E here. So, as I said, third fret’s going to be G, fifth fret’s going to be A.

You want to be following the guidelines. Your tone bar is going to be right in the vicinity, right over the fret marker, because you are the fret. These things are just painted on for guideline purposes. They have no physical effect on the string. You’re half an inch off the neck, so this moving part is your fret.

That is the beauty and also the peril of this instrument, because you have to be accurate and listening to what your band is playing. And staying in tune with them is really one of your main jobs.

That is pretty much the extent of what you do with the fret board. It’s a guideline. There are no frets. There are just painted on lines. You just have to be accurate and know where you are as much as possible. Learn your inversions, basically different voicings of chords, and be able to access them readily and swiftly so that you can take advantage of all the different positions and the combinations that are available to you.

And that’s it for the fret board.