How to Play Major Chords on a Pedal Steel Guitar

Learn how to play major chords in this Howcast video about how to play a pedal steel guitar.

Okay, how to play major chords. Well, you’ve got different positions that are available to you in several different ways. Because you’ve got ten strings, you’ve got quite a lot of horizontal action going on here. Starting with the tenth string, you can have a grip that’s, a grip is basically a hand position and the combination of strings involved. So there are numerous grips that will give you all the same major chord of E. You’re in E when you start here. It’s the ninth climatic tuning.

So, you’ve got four different E triads right out of the gate. You’ve got ten, eight and six. You’ve got eight, six and five; six, five and four; and five, four and three. Okay? So that’s just without anything. That’s without using the tone bar, without using needle levers, or anything. Now, we’ll use the key of G as an example. So not only do you have the four major chords we just described, but moving upward if you have the A pedal engaged and the F lever engaged, that’s the first needle lever here on your left, raising the E’s. Go up three frets from the G, and that’s another G major. So you have a G major here on the third fret. You have a G major here on the sixth fret.

Now, if you bring your knees together, lower the E and lower the G sharp… A nice sound there, huh? That’s a G also. So let’s see what we’ve got. Then two frets higher than that on the D fret, A and B pedals down, it’s the fourth of D, so the fourth of D is G, just as the fourth of E is A. The same thing applies higher up. So let’s see. All right, that’s not bad, and then all the way up again to the then 15th fret is going to be your next G chord.

So that’s already quite a lot of G stuff going on. Now, we’ve only touched upon those voicings of the six, five and four variety. So, I mean, this all applies. That’s your ten, eight, six voicing. That’s your eight, six and five voicing. That’s your six, five and four voicing, and that’s your five, four and three voicing. Now, you can use all sorts of combinations. You could do eight and three and four if you wanted. You can use six, five and three. It’s purely a matter of the kinds of sounds you want to get, and where you’re coming from and where you’re headed to. Those are the basic major chords.