How to Play Seventh Chords on a Pedal Steel Guitar

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

Seventh chords. Okay, so these are dominant seventh chords, the kind you need when you’re playing in a one-four-five progression when you’re at the five, that’s always going to be a dominant seventh chord. It’s a very strong chord, it’s used to, very strong pull back to the root chord.

You have several ways of playing it. We’ll start in G here. First of all the second string can be lowered a half step, and when it’s not lowered it’s a major seventh, which means it’s the leading tone to the root of the scale. What you want, however, is the dominant seventh, which is a whole step lower, not a half step lower from the root. And since we are a half step away from the root, we’ll lower this a half step with your right knee lever going right, and you’ll feel the half stop as it goes to the seventh. So if you have . . . you can play Wooly Bully.

Anyway, you’ve also got a nice seventh in the base on the ninth string. This is the D, so you know without doing anything to it, just an open position, it’s got a nice jazzy quality to it because of being in the base there, it’s going… You’re pressing the A pedal there, but anyway that’s the seventh right there too, that would be an F note against the G, which makes it a seventh.

Okay, let’s go back up three frets to our familiar place that we’ve already figured out for major chords with the A pedal and the F levering gauge. In this case we’re going to release the A pedal this time instead of any lever. There is that friendly note. So three frets higher, just F lever raised, that’s a seventh chord there. Two frets higher than that, if you lower the E and have the B pedal engaged, that’s also a G seventh. Again, these are available in all of the same voicings that we discussed in major chords, ten-eight-six, eight-six-five, five-four-three, six-five-four . . . et cetera.

Okay, now because you’re playing only three notes, what the rest of the band is doing has a huge effect on what sound you’re actually going to make. So this is kind of the freedom of the instrument in a way, is that you’ve got a lot of things that are going to apply in more than one situation. It’s just a question of knowing, you know, where you are and what you want to use at a given time. That covers it for seventh chords.