One can gain a deeper understanding of the pedal steel guitar by taking a good look at its history, tradition, and styles. Don’t let this bore you though, as the steel guitar’s story is truly amazing. Did you know the pedal steel guitar is one of the only true American instruments, born in America? The following books are very insightful, and contain loads of information, details, pictures, and articles about the steel guitar, and its very cool story.
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Hawaiian Steel Guitar Books
Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Its Great Hawaiian Musicians – This is a great book for better understanding how the steel guitar made it to where it is today, and why. The steel guitar was once a very popular instrument around the world, did you know that? Hawaiian music was its “partner in crime”, and it is amazing how much the world and America used to love Hawaii and its music. Most still do!
The Art of Hawaiian Steel Guitar (Book & CD) – This book is a great resource for understanding the Hawaiian style of playing steel guitar, and looking at it from a player’s perspective. This book is more tablature based, taught in an open G tuning, which can easily be translated to C6 with some effort and thought.
The Art of Hawaiian Steel Guitar Volume 2 – This is the second volume, or follow-up, for the previously mentioned book above (The Art of Hawaiian Steel Guitar). It is a nice supplement to have if you are really diving into learning the Hawaiian style of playing. Both of these books will really improve your single-note melodic playing if you practice the tabs included.
Bottleneck Slide Books
Bottleneck Blues Guitar (Guitar Book) – I recommend this book just for the intro pages, which include a historical look at bottleneck slide playing and its story. It is really interesting to understand this culture of playing, and the influence it has had on American music. Taking a look at the history of bottleneck slide guitar in America, (as well as the steel guitar’s Hawaiian relation from other books), one can see just how interesting steel guitar is in American music’s history. Some could argue that bottleneck blues guitar, along with its “cousin” Hawaiian steel guitar, were pivotal instruments and styles in developing music as we know it today. Another reason for steel guitar players to look into the bottleneck tradition is that it can help improve vibrato knowledge and technique, as well as gaining a better understanding of open tunings and more.
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