How to Play Minor Chords on a Pedal Steel Guitar

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

Okay, how to play minor chords. Well as you probably know, a minor chord is just a major chord with a third lower, so if you have, one- three-five-three-one. Okay, so you need to lower the third half step. In this case basically I’m just lowering the six string, and I’m pressing the B pedal to achieve a split we’ve discussed before. So since it lowers the third a whole step, and then the pedal raises it a half step, you’ve just lowered it a half step, which is exactly what you want.

So in a root position, a good minor chord is eight string, six string lower with the B pedal activated, so you’re hitting on eight, six, and five voicing. The six, five, and four is also acceptable, you can’t go any further than that, because then you get some unfriendly notes, but those are both good. And also the ten, eight, and six voicing. It’s sometimes disorienting if you’re looking, you know, what I’ve just, the little singing thing I did, the one-three-five-three-one, it doesn’t necessarily happen in that sequence. Here you’ve got one-three-five-three-one, so don’t be, you know, the lowest note is not always going to be the root.

The next minor chord you’re going to find is, you probably remember, three threads over the root if you have the A pedal and the F lever engaged, you got a major chord, G major. Okay, well so, do our little diagnostic, and how do we lower the third? Oh well, we just, since we have the E raised to the F lever, we’ll just not raise that, and sure enough we have a minor chord. Okay, G minor.

Now moving up some more, you have your A and B pedals down on the D fret, in other words the 10th fret, that’s a G major. Now we have another split. You have a B lever, you should have if you’ve got a good guitar, and the B lever is a vertical lever, which means it’s under the, it’s between the two levers on the left-hand side. But it goes up. So you just raise your knee, you’ve got, which is easy because you’re pressing down on the pedals anyway, so you just sort of arc it, and that lowers the B string a half step. And since you’ve raised the string a whole step for the major, and because of the split, this actually will lower that a half step to give you a minor.

Okay, so recapping we’ve got . . . could be a little better in tune, but you get the drift. The final minor chord that’s the most common is using the B and C pedals two frets below the root position. So if you’re in G, that means you go two frets down to the F fret, and press the B and C pedals. It’s good with a six-five-four and the five-four-three positions, and this is also got a sort of a nice low quality there as we’ve discussed before, the B and C pedals. Those are the primary minor chord positions.