How to Play Minor Scales on a Pedal Steel Guitar

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

Minor scales, slightly more complicated than major scales but you can still, of course, do them. In the root position, you’re going to hit the eighth string, the seventh string, the sixth string which has already been lowered because you’ve got your right knee going left, lowering it a whole stet and then releasing it.

Now, after you’ve released it, then you hit the fifth string open. You hit the A pedal for the next, then the second string, and then the fourth string. Again, you’re playing a little bit both ends off the middle, reaching up for the second string and then coming back to the fourth string. That’s one.

Now here’s another possibility based on the minor chord you get when you’re three frets above the root with the A pedal down. Okay, so in that case if it’s just a fragment… This is probably more likely what you’re going to play, since you’re not going to probably be playing a whole lot of complete scales of any kind in any case. People rarely do.

But certainly parts of them are crucial, like this. Like that, so that would be pedal down on the fifth string, reach for the second string. Then your thumb hits on the fourth string, then your second finger reaches for the first string, and then your thumb hits the third string. Again, a perfect example of the kind of exercises you’re going to want to be doing to get used to the fact that the third string is the highest one, which is a little confusing.

Reaching up to go down, which is what’s happening when you’re reaching for the first and second strings, they’re lower than the third, so it’s a little weird. But it is one of the brilliant things about this instrument that it makes a lot of sense design-wise in terms of your access to higher strings. Minor scales.