How to Use the B Pedal on a Steel Guitar

Learn how to use the B pedal on a pedal steel guitar in this Howcast video.

The B pedal. Okay. What is it and why?

The B pedal raises the G sharp string a half step. So, it goes from G sharp to A. And by itself basically it creates a suspended chord.

Suspended because as the name indicates it really, really wants to go back to where it started. It wants to go back to the G chord and it’s half way toward a C chord.

It’s basically giving you half of the full C chord. And the way to get the other half is to engage the A pedal along with the B pedal.

So, there you get a full four chord against the (?). But by itself very nice hovery sound. That’s basically what it’s good for. Mostly in combination with other things but certainly legitimate for its suspension purposes.

As I said to get the full fourth. The A and B together will give you the forth of the whatever root fret you happen to be on. In this case if you’re in G it’s C.

The other opportunity to use it would be with the C pedal. In which case it will give you a minor chord. So, here I’m in G and if I press the B and C pedals it gives me an A minor.

If you lower the Es and you engage the B pedal you get a really nice seventh chord that is going to be the seventh of the A and B position two frets higher. It sounds confusing but it’s not. Let’s just look carefully.

G. Okay? The fifth position A and B is the fifth chord, dominant fifth. It’s going to be two frets higher with the A and B down.

Now you want a seventh chord, really, to have the full value of the dominate chord. So, one of the easiest ways to do that without even leaving the G fret is to lower the Es and to press the B pedal.

So you’ve got a progression that could go. I’m pumping the A pedal but I’m just sticking with the positions I was talking about.

At first we had suspension. Then we went all the way to the fourth. Then we went to the dominant to the five chord, dominant seventh. Then we release everything and we’re back to G.

Okay. That’s the B pedal.