How to Tune the A Pedal on a Steel Guitar

Learn how to tune the A pedal in this Howcast video about how to tune a pedal steel guitar.

How do you tune the pedals? Okay, well what we have here is the tuning mechanism for the pedals and the knee levers. We’ve already discussed how to tune the strings. That’s over here. You use the tuning pegs to tune the strings to the tunings that we’ve previously discussed and that gives you your open string tunings. That’s all sounding pretty good. Now, what this does is to affect how much effect the pedals and knee levers have on the strings in terms of raising or lowering them. And what you have here is a little three sixteenth socket wrench that fits these little hex things and they allow you to raise or lower, or increase or decrease I should say, the amount of effect that a pedal or knee lever has on a string. So that’s the thing to keep in mind is that you’re not necessarily talking about raising when you’re increasing. It’s just going to make the pedal or knee lever do more of the task that you’re asking it to do. So let’s look at for example, the very first pedal that we have, the A pedal.

I’m going to turn on the tuner here, we’re going to see the tuner is telling me that we’re in tune. The B string is in tune with my chart and we want to make sure that we are getting a C sharp note that is 438 and a half. This is actually pretty close. It’s just ever so slightly sharp. So as I said, since this affects the degree to which something is happening, and what’s happening in this case is the string is being raised, we have a little tiny bit more than we want so we’re going to go counter clockwise just a very little amount. These are quite sensitive and there we go. That’s actually pretty much right on the money. Let’s just do a tiny, tiny bit less. Okay, that’s pretty good.

Now, we have the low B, it’s in tune too. That’s actually a little flat. So we’re going to raise that. Now, you need to pay attention to what’s moving so that you don’t suddenly start tuning the wrong hex nut thing. You want to, so this is fairly clear that this is the last and the lowest string.

There’s not a lot of competition around here and it’s the only thing moving when you press the pedal so that’s how you know. Okay, so since this is a little flat, we want the pedal to do more of that. And so we will then go clockwise. And there you go. Okay, so that was the A pedal. You’ve tuned your B strings.